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So T.O. Is Gone

Terrell Owens has been released, what happens now?

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So T.O. is gone, now what?

Jerry Jones has finally stepped up and rid the Dallas Cowboys of their number one troublemaker.

At least, that is what the pundits and critics are saying. For them, the release of Terrell Owens makes the Cowboys a better team - a sort of addition by subtraction.

Overall, the move to release Owens has been met by praise from most members of the media and fans alike.

But, I'm not one who favors the move.

No, Terrell Owens is no saint. Still, he was a very productive member of the Dallas Cowboys. Some point to his numbers and say he is on the decline and no longer an elite receiver. Still, he managed to post yet another 1,000 yard/10 touchdown season, and that was considered a down year. Personally, I believe the lack of creativity in the offense, more specifically, failure on the part of offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, had more to do with his statistical drop-off than diminishing skills.

Had Owens lost a step? He actually seemed like he was faster this season.

Off the field, Owens has been labeled a distraction or cancer. However, everything seemed to be going okay until the big fiasco involving Owens, Garrett, Romo, and Witten. And, in all honesty, none of us truly know what transpired. The only information leaked to the public came from ESPN's Ed Werder and his "sources". The "sources" were never identified. It did seem though that whoever the "sources" were, they definitely had an agenda. Much like the talking heads at ESPN who seemed like they were on a mission to get Owens released from the Cowboys.

I found it particularly funny listening to ESPN analysts Keyshawn Johnson and Chris Carter lambast T.O. at every opportunity for demanding the ball more. These are two individuals who pretty much did the same thing during their careers. Keyshawn even took it one step further and wrote a book. I guess he has forgotten about that.

All we really have to go on is what Owens said public ally. Yes, he did criticize Garrett and even Romo. But was he wrong in doing so? I don't think so. We, as fans, all saw it. And if we're completely honest, we all thought it too. Owens simply voiced it - and, was vilified by some of the fans and media for doing so.

When the Cowboys were 13-3, and Owens was getting the ball, he was model teammate. Last season, the team went 9-7, and he wasn't getting the ball, and he was upset. So, he doesn't like losing. Or, better yet, he like several other superstars, felt like he could help the team win if he had the ball in his hands.

Isn't that what we want from our top players?

I wonder what the reactions would have been if Jason Witten had made the same statements?

Would he have been vilified? Or, heralded a leader?

I guess we'll never know.

In listening to Jerry Jones, he insisted that this move had nothing to do with locker room chemistry, but everything to do with change. He also stated that his belief in wide receiver Roy Williams was a major reason for his decision. But, clearly that is not the case. Jerry, uncharacteristically, bowed to the pressure by the media, fans, and some of the people on his staff. Jerry didn't want to release T.O. You have to believe that after witnessing the success of Arizona and the success of their "81/11 tandem", Jerry had visions of the Cowboys being able to duplicate or surpass them with their own tandem.

But, Jerry decided to cave in. And he sided with those who wanted T.O. gone. None more so than Jason Garrett, who by all of accounts, told Jones he didn't feel he and Owens could co-exist.

So now what?

If I'm offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, I'm feeling the immense pressure.

Even without Owens on the team, the Cowboys have a tremendous amount of talent on offense. They still have the offensive line, Romo, Witten, Bennett, Williams, and their trio of running backs. In my opinion the X-factor is going to be Miles Austin. No disrespect to Patrick Crayton, he proved that he can be a decent 2nd receiver. But, he is much more effective in the slot but lacks the outside speed the Cowboys need. Austin has the size and speed. He has shown flashes that he is capable of being a 2. He just hasn't been consistent, mostly due to injury. But, if he is able to step up and be a force, this offense has the ability to be very potent.

That is where Garrett comes in. It will be up him to create mismatches, and free up his playmakers to make plays. He won't have the luxury of teams doubling Owens on nearly every play, so he is going to have to be creative - something, he definitely wasn't last season.

Of course, Romo will have to prove that he is the franchise quarterback Jones believes he is as well.

But, that is a topic for another discussion.

As for Garret though, I'm not sure he is up to the tasks, but he had better be. It is not a good sign when opposing defenders comment that your offense is one of the simplest to figure out. And, if the offense is still stagnant much like it was towards the end of last season, he no longer has the Original 81 to point the finger at.

The bright lights will shine squarely on him. And, if he fails, he will no longer be the coach in waiting.

He'll be amongst the unemployed. Or, at least should be.

The Wizard has spoken.



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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Bryson Treece

    March 6, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Bryan, I agree exactly. Cutting TO will be a good thing for this team if for no other reason than because we can move forward without being held hostage by his demands and distractions.

  2. Bryan Martin

    March 6, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    This is what is boils down too. In my opinion the exit of T.O. is the introduction to a balanced efficient offense. T.O. (though great) demanded too much, his demands took away from every players productions. It took away from our rushing game, and spreading the ball around. Sure we’re loosing a playmaker, but Jerry’s been around, he’s not always right but in this case he is.

  3. Bryson Treece

    March 6, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    It isn’t only a good thing to have one player consistently draw double coverage. Think about it, anywhere he lined up he had two guys on him, which can shut down that side of the field if they’re playing zone on him.

    Not to mention, it’s easier for other teams to simply put two guys on him because it’s a threat you know is there, and you know how to take it away, by making defenses spread out more, you can take advantage of mismatches.

  4. Craig Cotton

    March 6, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    TO being gone does several things.

    1. He is no longer in the ear of Garrett, which eases the pressure on Romo to get him the ball.

    2. He is no longer getting jammed at the line of scrimmage, throwing off all timing.

    3. He is no longer going to have the ball forced to him causing turnovers.

    4. This will allow Roy to step into his role as the #1 and develop with Romo.

    5. It will allow Austin (if he stays healthy) to be groomed as a #2.

    6. It allows the offense as a whole to move on, and develop as a group. It’s no longer a few receivers, and then Owens.

    7. It allows Felix to be used more in the offense on dumpoffs, and split wide.

    It allows for a lot of things, as long as Garrett will take advantage.

    http://www.CowboysFanRebellion.com

  5. Bob Sanders

    March 6, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    this is very bad! in case you don’t remember Owens demanded duble coverage every play. other teams couldn’t play us man to man. he opened the field up for other players. all of yall talking about him wanting the ball, at least we now that he is not here to just pick up his money. he wanted to win more than almost any one on the team. I bet romo will suffer a lot for this.

  6. The Wizard

    March 6, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    I have to disagree, having a man command double teams on each play is a huge advantage. It now means that the defense is committing an extra player in one area, thus leaving another area exposed. I can’t think of any offensive coordinator in his right mind who wouldn’t want that type of scenario.

    The problem was Jason Garrett failed to take advantage of that with his lack of creativity.

  7. Bryson Treece

    March 7, 2009 at 1:22 am

    On Jason Garrett, I agree fully. Have said it myself many times, as you know.

    But anytime you become predictable to another team, that’s a bad thing. Teams were doubling on Owens so much that they got to find out to do it best, and what happened? Only Witten was able to do much, and that was that much.

    Point is, you’re right, double coverage is a coordinators dream because it should leave a hole somewhere else. Now may Garrett was the sole reason for not finding that hole, but I’m thinking that once he proved he couldn’t find the hole, other teams clamped down and forced us to run five or six plays over and over. How is that a good example of what double coverage gets you?

  8. Bryson Treece

    March 7, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    That bugged the hell out of me watching that week in and week out. Garrett certainly cemented it as fact that he didn’t do enough with how that played out, in addition to how he completely abandoned the running game when we still had Felix and Barber at Washington the first time around.

    That’s my biggest concern right for this team, is whether Garrett will start running an offense or not. The offense playing good wins games, and that keep everyone pumped up and playing better.

  9. The Wizard

    March 7, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    I agree completely with what you’re saying but I lay the blame for that completely on the shoulders of Garrett.

    After Green Bay provided the blueprint, every team played the exact offense and Garrett did nothing to counter what they were doing. The easiest thing he could have done was put Owens in motion more often. Motion makes it extremely to jam and to set your double team. But, no, he decided to leave Owens basically in one place and basically allow teams to dictate what the offense was able to do. For the life, I could not figure out why he refused to make adjustments. Maybe, it was an ego thing.

  10. Craig Cotton

    March 8, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Teams stopped having to double TO during the last half of the year last season. They realized that if they pressed him at the line, he couldn’t gain separation, and was easily contained. Blame Garrett some for not putting him in motion more often, but there is no doubt that TO is not the receiver he once was.

    http://www.CowboysFanRebellion.com

  11. Bryson Treece

    March 8, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Good point Craig

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Dallas Cowboys

Terrance Williams Was OK, But Cowboys Need More From Michael Gallup

Jess Haynie

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Can WR Michael Gallup Eclipse 1,000 Receiving Yards as a Rookie?

Just yesterday, the Dallas Cowboys declined an option on Wide Receiver Terrance Williams' contract and ended his six-year tenure with the team. One reason the veteran was no longer in their plans was the presence of Michael Gallup, who the team has high hopes for entering just his second NFL season.

It's interesting to compare Gallup and Williams on several levels. Just as Terrance's time ends, having only made a few appearance last year in just three games, Michael was a fast learner as a rookie and emerged as the team's number-two receiver by the playoffs.

Both were third-round picks, with Williams (74th) being selected just seven spots higher overall in 2013 than Gallup (81st) was in 2018.

Terrance came to Dallas when Dez Bryant was firmly entrenched as the team's primary receiver. Michael was drafted less than a month after Dez was released, but Amari Cooper soon established himself as the number-one WR midway through the year.

In both cases, the Cowboys hoped that their third-round selection would yield a player who could at least play a complimentary role as a solid roleplayer, if not regular starter.

For all his warts Terrance Williams was ultimately a solid draft pick. He started in about 75% of the games he played in and was a proficient run blocker, helping both DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott have big years. He also made some highlight reel catches in his time.

Did Terrance Williams' Big Game Quiet His Doubters?

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

But with those big plays came some big blunders. Terrance often had a bad drop for every good catch he made. A huge mental error may have cost Dallas the 2016 season opener against the Giants. And if the team wasn't already starting to turn on him, his 2018 arrest for public intoxication seemed to push them over the edge.

That said, the biggest issue with Williams was his inability to produce without other plays drawing attention. He didn't rise to the occasion when Dez Bryant was injured. He rarely even made defenses pay for giving Dez too much attention.

At his best, Terrance was a solid number-two receiver. Plenty of teams who've spent first-round picks on receivers wish they could they'd gotten as much in return. Nobody should be disappointed with how that 2013 third-round pick turned out.

But when it comes to Michael Gallup, Dallas should hope that Williams' career is the floor for Gallup's potential. As teams key on Amari Cooper going forward, can Gallup do damage in ways that Terrance rarely could?

Even more importantly, if Cooper were to ever get injured, could Michael step up and take on a larger role? Can Dallas finally have a number-two receiver with the capacity for occasionally taking the lead?

#DALvsWAS: Michael Gallup Will Play, Value Extends Beyond Passing Game 1

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup

That may be putting too much pressure on young Mr. Gallup but it's really not an unfair expectation. Recent drafts have produced highly productive third-round receivers such as Keenan Allen, Cooper Kupp, Kenny Golladay, and Tyler Lockett.

Even more pressure comes if Cole Beasley leaves the team in free agency. While his role lessened toward the end of 2018, Cole remained one of Dak Prescott's favorite options in clutch situations. He was almost impossible to stop with just one man covering him, and that gave defenses a real dilemma once Amari Cooper arrived.

Can Gallup fill those shoes? Can he become a reliable target when the game is on the line?

In the end, all Michael has to do is be a solid starter to provide a great value for his draft selection. The Williams standard isn't a bad measure.

But if the Cowboys ever want to win more than just the occasional playoff game then they need another receiving threat who truly punishes opposing defenses. They need the next Alvin Harper, not the next Terrance Williams.

We can only hope, as the team does, that Michael Gallup is up to the task.



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Dallas Cowboys

Deep Dive into the Dallas Cowboys 2019 Salary Cap

John Williams

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Sean's Scout: Cowboys Blitzes Keep Giants Play Makers in Check

The Dallas Cowboys are heading into free agency, which opens March 13th, in really good shape. The Cowboys will be able to be aggressive in the free agent market if they want to. They have the 10th most cap space in the NFL. It could make for a fun free agency period for the front office and Cowboys Nation, however, we know how this team has felt about spending on outside free agents since being burned by the Brandon Carr signing.

In years past, they’ve opted to bargain shop. Last year was a departure from the norm though, as they chased the mythical unicorn that is Sammy Watkins last offseason.

Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make. 

They haven’t generally been a team that chased big-time free agents, though this could be the season that all changes with several free agent safeties that could be immediate upgrades.

We know they’re going to spend a lot of money on their own with Demarcus Lawrence coming free and Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and Dak Prescott looking for contract extensions, but they’re could Ben opportunities to bring in a star from another player to come where The Star.

I hope Jerry Jones has his signing hand ready, it’s going to be putting in a lot of work over the next couple of months.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had people on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Google+, MySpace, AOL Chatrooms, and via USPS correspondence express concern about whether the Dallas Cowboys will be able to afford all their guys and chase free agents.

Not to worry Cowboys fan, with a little salary cap and contract gymnastics, the sky’s the limit.

Let’s take a look.

Current Cap Space

According to OverTheCap.com, the 2019 Salary Cap is estimated to be around $190 million. After the release of Terrance Williams, the Dallas Cowboys are expected to have nearly $48 million in cap space available to them when free agency opens on March 13th.

When you look at that number by itself, it doesn’t look like a lot with big money contracts coming to DeMarcus Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and Byron Jones. Remember, though, the salary cap may be a fixed number, but contracts are pliable, meaning the team can do several things to create cap space through releases, how they structure new contracts, and restructures.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the Dallas Cowboys will have the money they need to sign the players they want to sign.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 2

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

Likely Releases

Sean Lee, Linebacker

Age and injury catch up to everyone and this is where we are with All-Pro Linebacker Sean Lee who will be turning 33 in July. Lee’s career has just been unlucky from the time he set foot in Dallas.

Since coming to the Cowboys in the 2010 draft, Lee has only played in 64% of the possible 149 games that the Dallas Cowboys have played in that time frame. Contrast that with a player like Zack Martin who has played in all but two games in his five-year career. That’s a 92% availability rate for his career.

The Dallas Cowboys don’t typically pay age. The difficult choice with Lee is that he’s long been a leader for the Dallas Cowboys. However, with the emergence of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, it’s extremely difficult to justify a $7 million cap hit to a part-time player.

Allen Hurns, Wide Receiver

Allen Hurns was a roller coaster ride in 2018.

First, it appeared he was brought in to be an upgrade at the number two spot. Then when the Cowboys shocked the world and released Dez Bryant, he immediately moved up the wide receiver pecking order, but was generally ineffective. After the Cowboys acquired Amari Cooper, Hurns became somewhat of an afterthought in the wide receiver snap distribution. Then he was lost in the win over the Seattle Seahawks with a gruesome ankle injury.

Allen Hurns is a fine player, but the Cowboys could get $5 million in cap relief by parting ways with the former 1,000 yard receiver.

A couple weeks ago, I outlined why I think Hurns could be a solution to the problem facing the Cowboys if Cole Beasley walked away. Hurns best attributes shine when deployed in the slot and asked to run over the middle of the field.

Coming off of the ankle injury, the Cowboys could easily move on and use that $5 million to extend one of their own or go after a big name in free agency.

Unlikely, but not Impossible Releases

The next few players are players that will most likely be on the squad in 2019. But as we saw with Dez Bryant, there can always be surprises.

Joe Looney, Center

The 2018 season seemed almost sunk when news came down that Center Travis Frederick was diagnosed with Guillen-Barre Syndrome during training camp. One of the stories of the 2018 season, was the play of Frederick’s backup Joe Looney. Looney may not have been the most valuable player, but you can’t understate how important he wasn’t to the success the Dallas Cowboys had in 2018.

We’ve seen what happens when backups who are incredibly inferior to the starter they play behind see action. Think back to Atlanta in 2017. If the Cowboys get better play from Chaz Green and Byron Bell, that game and perhaps the season turns out differently. Kind of like when Cameron Fleming filled in for Tyron Smith this season. It was a completely different result. Was Fleming perfect? No, but he wasn’t a disaster and the Cowboys were able to win games without their All-Pro left tackle.

Joe Looney is going to be with this team unless someone loses their center and wants to trade for him. In the event the Cowboys wanted to get some cap relief, they could save $1.5 million in 2019, with only $125 thousand in dead money on the cap.

I don’t see them making this move, but for those of you curious, there are the numbers.

Joe Thomas, Linebacker

Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch got all the glory at the linebacker position in 2018, and for good reason, but Joe Thomas was an important piece to the puzzle as well. He provided excellent depth and a lot of good snaps for the Cowboys in 2018, which is why I think he’s back next year.

He only saves you about $2 million on the cap, but if you didn’t want to pay a  backup linebacker $2 million, then you could part ways with him.

Jeff Heath, Safety

Jeff Heath is a solid player, but gets relied upon for a little more than he should. He’d probably be best served with being a rotational safety in the NFL. He has a penchant for making plays, but also has some maddening snaps as well, like the final play against the Rams where Jared Goff was able to scramble for a first down. Heath never saw the bootleg and was late getting to Goff to keep him from picking up the first down.

The Dallas Cowboys like him as a player and he’s likely to stay with the team. He helps on special teams and provides valuable depth.

If they were to move on, they could save $2.5 million.

La’el Collins, Tackle

It’s not often you hear people talk about releasing a starting tackle, and I’m certainly not here to advocate for that.

Collins has had some up and down games, but in his short two-year stint at right tackle he’s been pretty good. He’s stood tall against some of the best pass rushers in the NFL.

His contract will carry him through the 2019 season, but if the Dallas Cowboys wanted to part ways, again, not saying they should, they could save a whopping $8.5 million in the salary cap.

$8.5 million could be the cost of Earl a Thomas or a Tre Boston. That’s  pretty big chunk of change.

Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, offensive line

Dallas Cowboys offensive linemen Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Travis Frederick

Potential Restructures

When it comes to restructures, the Dallas Cowboys have been selective over recent years with who they choose to flip the switch on.

A restructure doesn’t change the money owed to the player, just changes when the pay out happens. When a team and a player agree to a restructure, the cap hit or base salary is lowered to a more manageable amount and the difference is paid out as a bonus. The bonus is then spread out evenly over the remaining years of the contract.

For example.

Player A has four years remaining on their deal with a cap hit of $16 million per year for the rest of the contract. The team and player A agree to restructure the contract to decrease this season’s base salary to $1 million dollars. The $15 million difference is then paid out as a bonus and then the cap hit is added to the final three years. So instead of the cap hit being $16 million per year for the remainder of the contract, it is now $21 million per year.

The problem with restructuring contracts is that you better hope that the players you restructure make it to the end of their contract otherwise you could end up with big dead money holds on your cap.

The Dallas Cowboys could restructure the following players:

Tyron Smith, Tackle

The Dallas Cowboys All-Pro Left Tackle may be the best draft pick they’ve made in the last 10 years. He’s been one of the best in the game at his position for nearly his entire NFL career and until recent seasons, had been incredibly reliable.

According to Over The Cap, if the Cowboys decided to restructure Smith’s contract, they could get $7.26 million added to the salary cap this season.

That’s a big number, which would help you get your hands on a top safety or defensive lineman in free agency. The reasons why you wouldn’t do it surround Tyron’s health.

He’s missed games each of the last three seasons because of back issues. He’s signed through the 2023 season, which is his age 33 season. It’s entirely possible that he continues to play at a high level through the end of the contract, but you’ll always be a bit concerned about his back.

Zack Martin, Guard

If Tyron was the best draft pick, Zack Martin is a close second. He’s been the definition of reliability as he’s provided elite guard play through the first five years of his career making the All-Pro team each of his first five seasons.

If I were managing the cap for the Dallas Cowboys, it would be a no brainer to restructure Martin who is signed through the 2024 season; his age 34 season. Offensive lineman can play at a high level well into their 30’s barring injury and Zack has the ability to be one of those guys. At his current pace, he could one day end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

By restructuring Martin, the Dallas Cowboys could save $7.36 million on the 2019 salary cap.

Travis Frederick, Center

Last summer was a scary situation for Travis Frederick and by all accounts his recovery is going well. It sounds like he should be ready to go by training camp, and if that’s the case, there’s no reason to believe that Frederick won’t be the player we’ve all come to expect and missed during the 2018 season.

He’s a leader on the offensive line. He’s an excellent communicator and really good at blocking other big humans.

Getting Frederick back for the 2019 season is as big of an upgrade as you could have on an offense. He changes everything. He helps set protections and call out stunts. He will make Conor Williams a better guard just by being present. The offense as a whole will be better by having Frederick available.

Like Smith and Martin, there’s no reason to believe that he won’t play out his current contract at a high level. Even if he’s only 75% of his previous self because of the illness, that’s still a really good football player who is worth every bit of the $10 million a year he’s getting paid.

Travis Frederick has five more years left on his contract. If the Cowboys were to restructure his deal, they could gain another $4.1 million in cap relief this offseason.

Tyrone Crawford, Defensive Line

If ever there was a player that was a victim of his contract it’s Tyrone Crawford. The Dallas Cowboys signed him to an extension thinking he would be the answer at the 3-technique defensive tackle spot. He was good on his rookie deal but his contract was more of a projection than a deal based on prior production.

Unfortunately, Crawford hasn’t lived up to his deal, but he’s been a reliable and versatile player for the Dallas Cowboys. His ability to play both at defensive end and defensive tackle has been huge over the years and he’s come up with some timely defensive plays.

Crawford has two years remaining on his contract that runs through the 2020 season and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Cowboys keep him around. He’s a leader on the defense and he gives you good quality snaps. As they continue to wait for Randy Gregory and/or Taco Charlton to take steps forward, Crawford is a guy that they like and will continue to find snaps for.

If the Cowboys restructured Crawford’s contract, they could get a little over $3 million in cap savings this year. $3 million may not sound like a lot, but in combination with the other moves they could make with the cap, it can help. Every bit helps when constructing a roster. That money could go to paying for the 2019 draft class.

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 18: Dak Prescott #4 and Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys celebrate after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at AT&T Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Grand Total

The Dallas Cowboys front office has a lot of decisions to make this offseason and several of them will be in the form of extensions for their own players. They’ll have to figure out a way to use the contracts to their advantage.

If they did everything that could be an option to them, they could create another $48.22 million in space in the salary cap. If they didn’t release any of the “unlikely releases,” they could still free up another $33.72 million by releasing Lee and Hurns and restructuring Smith, Martin, Frederick, and Crawford.

So, they’ll be going into the offseason with at least $48 million in cap space, but through a few moves could have as much as $81-$96.22 million in cap space when it’s all said and done.

None of this even accounts for the way the Cowboys could structure the contracts of Elliott, Dak, Cooper, Lawrence, and Byron Jones. With some smart salary structuring, they won’t necessarily have to eat much of their cap hits in year one of their new contracts.

Don’t worry Cowboys fans. The Cowboys will be able to create enough money to get the things done that they want to get done. If they don’t sign anyone of note in free agency or extend your favorite player, it won’t be because they couldn’t afford to.

It’ll be because they didn’t want to.



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Player News

Report: Free Agent DL David Irving Not in Dallas Cowboys’ 2019 Plans

Jess Haynie

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David Irving

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.

David Moore on Twitter

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.



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