The 2015 Dallas Cowboys are a distant memory. That team is dead, giving way to a current 2016 team that started the regular season in the same circumstance that doomed 2015. No Tony Romo.
Enter Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, the pair of electrifying rookies that have taken the league by storm in leading Dallas to a 4-1 record thus far. One could argue that Elliott is merely living up to his drafted expectations, as the fourth overall pick out of Ohio State, but the rate that he has developed at is startling. Meanwhile, Dak Prescott should impress Cowboys Nation simply by completing passes, drafted as a fourth round developmental rookie.
Elliott leads the NFL in rushing with 546 yards, and Prescott has completed 69% of his passes without throwing a single interception through five weeks - leading an offense for Scott Linehan that tops the league in total first downs.
Just in! The jerseys worn by @dallascowboys @dak & @EzekielElliott. They were 1st rookies w/ 1,000 pass yds & 500 rush yds in 1st 5 games
While some fans are ready to mold busts in Canton for these two already, they will have to live with the jerseys of Prescott and Elliott reaching the Hall of Fame this early in their careers for now. As you see above, the QB and RB combo became the first rookies to hit 1,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards through five games.
With eight more completions before his first interception, Prescott will break Tom Brady's NFL record for total passing attempts without a pick at the start of a career, another record in striking distance for the quarterDAK of America's Team.
Elliott has topped 100 yards in three straight games, preparing to face another tough test in the Packers rush defense this week. He is on pace for 1,747 yards on the 2016 season, which means he could be in striking distance of another meaningful record - Eric Dickerson's rookie rushing record of 1,808 yards.
These two rookies are something special, and visitors to the Pro Football Hall of Fame will now be reminded of that. More importantly, they are both individually focused on their young careers in progress, understanding that there will be much more to play for both on the field and in Canton one day.
Just how impressive have Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott been? Start the conversation about these two rookies with a comment below, or email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com!
Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson
The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.
Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.
The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.
Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.
Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.
For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.
Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal
At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.
The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.
Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.
Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.
A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.
Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.
Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders
Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.
Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.
To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.
In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.
Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.
Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.
Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.
Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.
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