Connect with us

Player News

Shuffle The Deck: Byron Bell Splitting First-Team Reps At Left Guard

Kevin Brady



Shuffle The Deck: Byron Bell Splitting First-Team Reps At Left Guard
Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It was just one short year ago the Dallas Cowboys had two starting caliber left guards on their roster, with one looking to be traded for an opportunity to play elsewhere. Now, they are looking for the next starter at the spot, and due to some extraneous factors have turned to an unfamiliar face.

Today, newly signed offensive lineman Byron Bell split first team reps with Thursday night's starter Jonathan Cooper.

Mike Leslie on Twitter

Seemed to be an even 50-50 split of reps for Byron Bell and Jonathan Cooper at LG. Still a long way to go before that's sorted out. #Cowboys

The former Carolina Panthers and Tennessee Titans offensive lineman was considered a disappointment during his previous employment, but that does not mean he can't turn it around in Dallas.

The main reason he struggled so mightily during previous years was that he was asked to primarily play tackle. Though he does possess massive size, Bell's athleticism and fluidity of feet is lacking, which caused some issues on the outside.

He was a much more consistent and a higher quality player when at guard, which appears to be where the Cowboys want to give him his chance.

I did not think Jonathan Cooper played poorly during the preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals by any means. In fact, he came through with a few solid reps in pass protection. Still, he tends to be on the ground far too often, and struggled a bit when run blocking in the zone scheme. Most of Cooper's issues seem to stem from his balance, something he has struggled with throughout his entire NFL career.

Of course, just because Bell is taking reps does not mean that he has won the job, but it does show the Cowboys are nowhere near being comfortable with simply handing the job to Cooper following Chaz Green's injury.

This now seems like a three-man race to start at left guard, and it will be very interesting to watch it play out over the coming weeks.

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

  • John Williams

    Cooper still may be the guy, but I’m intrigued by Bell. He may not have great athleticism to play tackle, but if you put him inside, he might have good athleticism for a guard. I’ve always felt his experience was an intriguing x-factor for the offensive line.

    • Kevin Brady

      John, I agree that Bell is much more suited to play inside than out. He didn’t look bad during the preseason opener, so I’m interested to see how he does over the remaining weeks.

Player News

Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson

Jess Haynie



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.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

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.

Continue Reading

Player News

Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

Sean Martin



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.

Jon Machota on Twitter

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.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

Continue Reading

Player News

Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders

Jess Haynie



Jamize Olawale, 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.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

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.

Continue Reading

Reader Survey

Want to help make Inside The Star better?

We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.

> Take the survey now

Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).

Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here