The Dallas Cowboys have turned their season around with a change of direction on offense, spurred by the acquisition of Wide Receiver Amari Cooper. The Cowboys traded away a first round pick for the former fourth overall selection, instantly seeing results from the ex-Raider as his connection with Quarterback Dak Prescott has blossomed.
Prescott and Cooper connected twice on touchdown plays of 40 and 90 yards in the Cowboys most recent win on Thanksgiving over the Redskins. With the victory, the Cowboys reclaimed first place in the NFC East, improving to 4-1 since the Cooper trade. Of these four wins, two have come on the road, where the Cowboys were previously 0-4 prior to coming out of Philadelphia and Atlanta victorious.
All signs point to the 24-year old Cooper being part of the Cowboys long-term future, though the Cowboys have every reason to be focused solely on the present with Amari under contract through 2019.
The Raiders picked up the fifth year option on Cooper's rookie contract prior to trading him, giving the Cowboys the gift of time when it comes to evaluating their overnight success at the top of the WR depth chart.
According to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Cowboys have not discussed any contract extension for Cooper at this time. The team's current plan is to wait until after the season for these discussions.
Cowboys and WR Amari Cooper have yet to engage in any contract extension talks, but those are expected to occur after this season, per sources. https://t.co/fDUWQObbqr
Just how long this roller coaster of a Cowboys season has to go on for to determine Cooper's value is a fascinating inquiry. For a team that spent the offseason puffing their chests over their ability to play offense without a number one receiver, only to lose ground in a weak division early, the Cowboys deserve credit for correcting their mistakes on the fly.
Trading for Cooper is not the only move that's worked wonders for Dallas, as the transition from Paul Alexander to Marc Colombo as offensive line coach has elevated the play of the Cowboys line - as well as Running Back Ezekiel Elliott.
Elliott snapped off 121 yards on 26 carries with three backup offensive linemen starting for the Cowboys against the Redskins. It was his third straight game with at least 100 rushing yards, as Elliott's yards per attempt have increased from 4.69 to 5.35 since Cooper arrived.
It is hard to understate how difficult life was for the Cowboys offense without a player like Cooper on the roster, and how equally impressive it is that he's performed so well this quickly.
With Jerry Jones all but confirming a Dak Prescott contract extension every chance he's given, and the Cowboys returning to their roots of running the football well in three straight wins, it's logical that Cooper is becoming just as important a cog in this Cowboys offense.
He's be the key to the Cowboys leading the league in third down conversions since his first game in week nine. For an offense that prides itself on staying on the field in order to punish defenses with physicality, this is surely a stat Cooper's agent has bookmarked for any contract discussion.
None of this is to say that Head Coach Jason Garrett nor Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan will remain with the team through 2019. Clearly pleased with the return they're receiving on Cooper, the Cowboys brass should expect this team to sustain their current level of play and contend in the playoffs should they make it.
Anything short of this could shake up the Cowboys coaching staff significantly prior to Cooper's final contract year, leaving a new voice to influence the Alabama product's future impact on the offense.
The Cowboys were criticized heavily for overpaying for Cooper originally, now being lauded for their overall resilience at 6-5 with everything to play for in the NFC playoff picture. Paying the star receiver that's made this possible will cost them even more, yet should be understandable as Cooper becomes the latest player out of Oakland to thrive away from the Raiders.
The Cowboys philosophy to roster building has focused heavily on retaining proven players already on the team. Though the way they acquired Cooper was unconventional for them, the Cowboys welcomed him with open arms, and will prepare to embrace Cooper as a cornerstone to the offense at the right time.
Cowboys Offseason: Landon Collins Cleaned Out Locker, Set to be FA
It's no secret that the Dallas Cowboys are heading into the 2019 offseason looking to upgrade at the safety position on a defense that finished inside the top 10 in 2018. With much of the focus on Earl Thomas, New York Giants Safety Landon Collins has become the center of attention in the last couple of days.
Per a report by Josina Anderson, Collins cleaned out his locker on Wednesday as he gets ready to go into free agency for the first time.
I'm told that Giants S Landon Collins cleaned out his locker today at the team facility and said his goodbyes to teammates, coaches and trainers. It doesn't seem like Collins expects to be a Giant for much longer, per sources.
After Paul Schwartz attempted to assert that there was no claim to the report...
Attention those who care about the New York Giants: Landon Collins HAS NOT cleaned out his locker at the team facility. Repeat: Landon Collins HAS NOT cleaned out his locker at the team facility. Go about your business and have a nice day.
And Landon Collins had this to say...
If cleaning out a locker is any kind of evidence, then Collins is prepared to hit the market when free agency opens on March 13th. He joins a loaded safety group that includes Thomas, Houston Texans Safety Tyrann Mathieu, Los Angeles Rams Safety LaMarcus Joyner, Glover Quin of the Detroit Lions, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix formerly of the Green Bay Packers, but most recently of the Washington Redskins, and several others who could find new homes this offseason.
The Cowboys are very familiar with Landon Collins, as they've seen him nearly twice a year over the last four years. The three time Pro Bowler was one of the best players on the Giants defense. They would line him up in the box and at time use him to cover Cole Beasley.
Collins ranked first in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus in run stop percentage at 7.2%. Meaning on running snaps, he made a tackle that rendered the running play ineffective 7.2% of the time.For further reference, Jeff Heath made a run stop on 4.2% of his run plays, which was 15th in the NFL among safeties.
The only positions to have more of an impact on the running game were linebackers and the defensive line. Even if you include linebackers, his run stop percentage was 31st in the NFL. Leighton Vander Esch led the Dallas Cowboys with a run stop percentage of 11.3%, which was third among linebackers. Collins number nearly matched the run stop percentage of Jaylon Smith at 7.6%.
Add Collins to a defense that stops the run as well as the Dallas Cowboys did last season and you take your team to another level against the run.
Landon Collins will probably get the most money this offseason. He's only 25 and has had success in the NFL. Many teams will be reaching out to Collins when free agency opens and the Dallas Cowboys should certainly be one of those teams. Collins would be an excellent addition to the Dallas Cowboys defense and would allow Xavier Woods to stay in his role as the free safety.
We're just under three weeks away from the start of NFL free agency and the drama will only get bigger as the Cowboys look to add to their team.
Report: Free Agent DL David Irving Not in Dallas Cowboys’ 2019 Plans
The Dallas Cowboys and troubled Defensive Lineman David Irving appear to be at an impasse. According to a report from David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, the team has "no intention" of trying to re-sign Irving and will allow him to become an unrestricted free agent.
Irving started the 2018 season with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He only appeared in two games after that, registering one sack and four tackles.
Source: Cowboys have no intention of keeping DT David Irving at this time https://t.co/vqMNZty6Aq via @sportsdaydfw
Despite reports of David's ongoing issues with an ankle injury, Dallas never placed him on injured reserve. Then came the reports that Irving was missing practices and team meetings while dealing with personal issues related to the custody of his daughter.
The team stayed pretty mum on the subject of Irving's status throughout the year, falling back on the ankle injury when pushed. But after months, it became clear that either David, the team, or both parties were disinterested in his return to football.
The Cowboys had high hopes after 2017, when Irving posted seven sacks in just eight games. They placed a second-round tender on him last offseason as a restricted free agent and were surely ready to give him a long-term deal if he'd built on that success.
But David's issues, physical or otherwise, have clearly done the opposite.
Dallas is known for working with troubled players, as we've recently seen with Randy Gregory. That they're closing the book on Irving suggests there's an issue with his desire towards football.
It's a sad loss for both. David's potential is enormous, as evidenced by his productivity when he actually does play. But he appears more likely to hit the Commissioner's exempt list in 2019 than the football field, given the reports of multiple failed drug tests over the last year.
Hopefully David Irving can turn things around one day and capitalize on his talent. But if it ever happens, it appears that it won't be with the Dallas Cowboys.
BREAKING: WR Terrance Williams Gets Dropped by Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys have ended their six-year relationship with Wide Receiver Terrance Williams. According to multiple sources, they have declined a team option on Williams' contract and he will now be an unrestricted free agent in 2019.
The move will reportedly save the Cowboys $2.25 million in salary space this year.
Williams was the team's third-round pick in 2013 and started 68 of the 83 games he played in. He developed into a solid number-two receiver by the end of his rookie deal in 2016 and was given a new four-year contract that offseason.
Terrance Williams career w/ the Cowboys is done. Sources say the club has declined the WR's option for 2019, making him a free agent. The move is no surprise. He caught just 2 passes for 18 yards last season. His departure frees up $2.25 million on the cap.
After another decent year in 2017, things took a bad turn for Terrance last season. It started with an offseason arrest for public intoxication that eventually led to a three-game suspension, although Williams served that while on injured reserve.
The Cowboys already appeared to be giving Williams' spot away when they made several offseason acquisitions at WR; Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Tavon Austin all were brought in even before Terrance's arrest.
While Williams did start in two of Dallas' first three games in 2018, he only had three passes his thrown his way. The team finally put him on IR due to ongoing complications with a surgically-repaired foot.
While it didn't end well, Terrance Williams' time in Dallas was ultimately a solid return for a third-round pick. He made a few big plays and was a proficient run-blocker, good enough to start in almost 75% of the team's games since he was drafted.
The Cowboys now hope that another third-round pick, Michael Gallup in 2018, will do bigger and better things.
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