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The Cowboys Perfectly Handled the Need for a WR

Mauricio Rodriguez

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The Cowboys Perfectly Handled the Need for a WR
Eric Hartline / USA TODAY

Although constantly bashed, the Dallas Cowboys' front office has done a good job the last few days by adding some free agents who will really help the team's cause in 2018. They've added players to help on offense, defense and special teams.

It's hard to say they're not doing a great job by turning their offseason around in this second wave of free agency, but the biggest upgrade comes without a single doubt at the wide receiver position. One of the most pressing needs in the team was clearly in the receiving department and the Cowboys' front office handled it as well as we could've hoped.

Despite having some very well-known names in the WR room, the truth is that Dak Prescott's offense needed a new, fresh guy to provide this group a much-needed spark.

Dez Bryant has struggled to get back to his old self, Cole Beasley failed to replicate his 2016 monster season last year when he started facing double-teams constantly, and Terrance Williams has yet to prove he can be a reliable target on a consistent basis.

Now, the Cowboys are bringing in the former Jaguar WR Allen Hurns in an effort to create the "Dak-friendly offense" we've all been talking about.

Naturally, everyone in Cowboys Nation is happy about the move. Year after year, we see a conservative approach to free agency and how some big time players never even look like a target for the front office.

This time, though, America's Team stole Allen Hurns for a very friendly two-year deal that's only worth up to $12M.

Todd Archer on Twitter

Allen Hurns has officially signed the deal with the Cowboys. The two-year deal is worth up to $12 million and includes a $2.5 million signing bonus that is the only guaranteed money. Hurns will count $4.375 million against the cap in 2018. https://t.co/YMo0hMZP22

Even though many fans are convinced Hurns is the replacement for Dez Bryant, that doesn't seem to be the case. It really shouldn't be. While Bryant hasn't really justified his salary hit, the truth is the Cowboys don't get any better on the field without him.

If we stick to football here, this team's offense has the opportunity to be one of the league's best if Hurns and Bryant can be on the field at the same time. As mentioned earlier, Hurns will be the spark this team definitely needs.

Could Special Coach Help Dez Bryant's Route Running?

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant

Teams will now have a hard time double-teaming Beasley, Bryant or Hurns while also being concerned about the game-changer that the Cowboys have in the running game with Ezekiel Elliott.

Bryant's deal is definitely not team-friendly, but what was a great acquisition by the Cowboys could end up as a downgrade if they part ways with #88.

Adding Deonte Thompson didn't stop WR from being a top need for the team, but Hurns did. With this signing, Dallas gets flexibility in the NFL Draft and can now stop thinking about Calvin Ridley or DJ Moore at 19.

They could still try to find another guy in later rounds, but WR with a Day 1 or 2 pick may be out of the question now.

Terrance Williams' contract provides him with job security. Due to his contract numbers, it's unlikely to see Dallas releasing him. However, could they get something for him if they decide to trade him? Probably not much, but if he remains a Cowboy, it's tough to see him getting a lot of playing time.

Dak Prescott, Cole Beasley

QB Dak Prescott and WR Cole Beasley (Tim Heitman / USA TODAY Sports)

Cole Beasley, whether we like it or not, provides the team with a dilemma. Ryan Switzer may not be as productive and as good as he is, but he sure looks like Beasley's clone and a guy who could easily replace him if the Cowboys decide to trade Beasley.

With Hurns on the team, they should really be looking at both Williams and Beasley as trade ammunition. What if you get really good value out of them?

The wide receiver room will be the most interesting this offseason for the Dallas Cowboys. There are some really talented players there that will have this coaching staff making some really, really tough decisions.

However, as far as wide receiver is concerned, they should be really comfortable right now. When "decision time" comes, it'll be about who are the best guys, not the worst.

Tell me what you think about "The Cowboys Perfectly Handled the Need for a WR" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

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16 Comments
  • Juan “Tecneak” Perez

    Love your article agree strongly. Just keep doing what you’re doing .

  • Derek Robinson

    The COWBOYS got Hurns because he wanted to play for Dallas. He wanted to play with Dez. This could be the best receiver Corp in the NCF East. Maybe the league. A top notch receiver at a great price. Can’t wait to see, Dez, Hurns, Beasley and T. Will. With Zeke in the back field. “Pick your poison”

    • BUDDY

      Yeah it’s good in theory and on paper but last year it was the same thing and look how that turned out. Our QB is the issue and until they get someone to compete with Dak and really give that qb a serious chance to play then it’ll be the same shit just another year. The qb is the issue!!!

      • EverybodyTalks

        To me, it is really more an O-line issue than a Dak issue. Dak will continue to grow into his position. More important than the signing of Hurns are the Fleming and Morris signings. The hope is Fleming will be better than Chaz Green. Morris is back-up for Looney. I could see them having Chaz and Morris fight it out for starting Guard. Could also see them look for a Guard in the draft.

      • pdstix78

        It’s a coaching thing. Until the QB gets the green light to put his foot on the gas, this is what we’ll continue to see. Poor coaching easily cost them @ least 3-4 games. Same on the defensive side. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to discover Byron Jones isn’t a safety

      • Ervinlang318

        Dak had you jumping off your couch with joy in 2016 and Now he’s the only issue?
        Was it Dak Fault that………
        Dez and TWILL always batted up Balls that got Intercepted?
        Dez forgot how to run Routes and get separation?
        We threw on 3 straight plays on 4th and 2?
        Chaz Green allowed 6 sacks against Atlanta?
        Witten would run 4 yard curls when we needed 7yards?
        Every Team knew what play we were running next?
        Our coaching staff makes ZERO adjustments in the 2nd Half
        Our O-Line was terrible
        Zeke Was suspended

        I Can Keep going….

  • yamean88

    I was praying for the hurns signing, then coupled with the others, I think helped us to beef up the def this year in the draft and maybe just maybe get that up grade at RB position behind zeke, say maybe sony mitchell anyone or that big guy from LSU or even scarboro from alabama, case closed!!!!

    • BUDDY

      We signed a RB from Oakland last week. We traded a 4th or 5th. We won’t be signing a RB in the draft.

      • EverybodyTalks

        It was a compensatory 5th, very late round and you could call it a 6th, for that matter. Never say never. We carried 3 RBs and a FB last year. It is not beyond the realm of possibility for the Boys to take an RB in the draft. Olawale is being called a FB and a replacement for Keith Smith. Remember. Rod Smith has also played FB, so there remains a chance we grab a late round RB in the draft.

  • Travis Diggs

    I would start back up the Earl Thomas talks, push beasley and/or williams and some draft picks on Seattle( i mean we got 10 picks, do we need all of em??)

    • Steve

      I agree with you Travis on the Earl Thomas talks, I believe JJ will trade T Will or Bees with a 5th fo Seattle for Thomas and extend his contract to another 4yr deal maybe, it seems like they may happen or a trade up in the draft for James but I believe Thomas will be a Cowboy because we have signed 2 Wr’s now and that gives us 5 and I know we need depth but I see one of them gone because of Seattle’s need after they let 2 Wr’s go in FA. Also I do look for us to draft a Rb in the draft and maybe even as high as a 4th because Morris is gone and we dont have what u would call a threat left on the roster and after Barkley which is a top 5 pick no brainer you have Guice LSU, Chubb GA, Michel GA, Jones II USC, Johnson Auburn, Scarbrough Alabama so there are plenty to pick from and we may even get one in the 3rd if those first mentioned slip.

      • EverybodyTalks

        Seattle wanted a #1 and #3 for Earl, so why not jump up an get Derwin James in the 1st, with a possible 5 year contract? When you add up draft picks and contract, Derwin is cheap money compared to Earl Thomas with a HUGE upside.

  • Emilio Gonzalez

    Mauricio I like your article very true about what you’re saying couldn’t agree more keep up the good work, writing bout the Dallas Cowboys and yourself. Thanks,Go Cowboys.

  • Emilio Gonzalez

    Please let’s keep Dez Happy and Dak Prescott accuracy even better common DAK. THANKS

  • EverybodyTalks

    Great perspective on how the WR situation has changed in just a few days. Agree that T.Will is safe due to his contract. Dez is safe also. Beasley is definitely exposed. You are already hearing from the rumor mill that he will be traded to the Patriots, since Amendola is no longer there. The draft became a whole lot more interesting on where they will go with the #19 pick. The only thing I disagree with is that the WR is wrapped up. I think these picks create a security blanket for a Calvin or DJ or whoever to develop and eventually replace Dez at the end of his contract.

  • Russ_Te

    The Cowboys have signed 2 journeyman WR’s without speed. Not the solution. It only suggests they think it is, so won’t be drafting a WR high, and aren’t worried about stretching coverages.

    Then the prospect of paying Witten for years after he’s off the team and/or a backup. Didn’t learn anything from Romo about out-years on older players apparently.

    The Jones’s have done 1 good thing, Cameron Fleming. See the article, graded the best of 4 OT’s on the Patriots last year. He should be a big depth upgrade, and if a guard should go down conceivably Collins could move inside to fill that while Fleming goes to RT during the injury. This looks like a quality signing >

    https://nesn.com/2018/02/patriots-free-agency-should-new-england-re-sign-tackle-cameron-fleming/

    Rest of this off-season is abysmal. I got the “8-8 For The Next Three Years Blues”

Star Blog

Sean’s Scout: Measuring Randy Gregory’s Impact on Cowboys Defense

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Measuring Randy Gregory's Potential Impact on Cowboys Defense

The Dallas Cowboys report to training camp next week, and for the first time in a long time there may be more excitement for their defense compared to a largely reshuffled offense. This hype for Rod Marinelli's defense, bolstered by the addition of Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard, was elevated earlier in the week when the Cowboys learned Defensive End Randy Gregory would be reinstated.

Gregory's presence as a potential starting right defensive end is an uplifting one for the Cowboys as they depart for Oxnard. Above all else, this is a rare turn of fortunes for a player the NFL can now tote as a success story.

Once Gregory's focus shifts towards taking hold of that starting DE position for good and giving the Cowboys a pass rush of him and DeMarcus Lawrence off the edge, his impact could change the entire complexion of this defense.

After watching Gregory's last game for Dallas, a week 16 win in Philadelphia back in 2016, here is what I saw from the Cowboys "Christmas in July" addition to their defensive line.

Gregory3

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

This first clip is probably Gregory's most memorable play through three seasons with the Cowboys. Two teams going in opposite directions since this game, the Cowboys have cycled through their rotation of pass rushers to play the weak side -- with nobody coming close to the athleticism and bend Gregory displays here.

Already planning on attacking the offensive tackle to the outside with his long arm approach, Gregory regains his balance avoiding the low block to get even with Carson Wentz and finish the play. This type of relentlessness is a signature of the Cowboys defense under Marinelli, now fielding a deep group of defensive ends around Gregory and Lawrence.

Gregory1

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Just how much Gregory comes off the field for the likes of Tyrone Crawford, rookie Dorance Armstrong, Charles Tapper, or Taco Charlton will be determined by his ability to hold up against the run. This was a strength for Gregory against the Eagles, as his cornering ability helped him chase down plays all over the field.

It's hard to understate just how important Gregory's speed and range from this RDE spot could mean to the Cowboys, especially given their changes at linebacker for the 2018 season.

This is a team that's also added plenty of range to the second level of their defense with rookie Leighton Vander Esch and another year of Jaylon Smith.

These linebacker's ability to shoot gaps and be disruptive in the backfield will be aided by the depth Gregory is capable of gaining with ease against left tackles.

Gregory2

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Gregory does have a tendency to play upright at times and offer a larger blocking area than needed. As you see above, this can help him as an all-around player, as chasing down the run to the outside comes easy for him.

The Cowboys won't be at full strength at defensive tackle to start the season, with David Irving suspended for the first four games again. Maliek Collins is also coming back from another broken foot, as him and Gregory will be important to watch progress through training camp.

The overall potential for a Cowboys defensive line featuring all three of these players, and the rotational pieces behind them, is incredibly high for a team just looking to get back to their roots this season.

For the Cowboys in 2018, this means running the ball effectively, limiting turnovers on offense, and protecting the lead on defense. Randy Gregory significantly helps the Cowboys do the latter here, improving an already fearsome pass rush in ways that few players are capable of.

This is ultimately why the first-round talent fell to the second round for the Cowboys, who took the risk on Gregory and are now on the long path back towards seeing this gamble pay off, something a very thankful Gregory must see through on the field.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Measuring Randy Gregory’s Impact on Cowboys Defense" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Star Blog

Why Patience Is Key In Evaluating Randy Gregory

Kevin Brady

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Will the Dallas Cowboys "Get Lucky" at Defensive End?

The Cowboys were fully aware of the risks involved when they drafted prolific edge rusher Randy Gregory in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

They were also well aware of the potential rewards too.

Gregory has spent much of his NFL career away from the Dallas Cowboys, dealing with suspension after suspension and rarely playing actual football. Now, Randy Gregory has gained reinstatement into the league, and all signs point to positivity around his future.

As expected, both the Cowboys and their fan base are excited about the return of Gregory to the roster. And, of course, they should be. Gregory possesses all the traits necessary to be a top tier pass rusher in the NFL, even if we haven't seen it on full display thus far.

At his best Gregory is the prototypical RDE that Cowboys Nation has been yearning for. But it's probably unfair for him to reach that potential as early as this season. Pass rushers coming off suspensions, particularly lengthy suspensions, are rarely able to find their way quickly after returning.

And if you want proof of this, you only have to look across the way at DeMarcus Lawrence. After a strong 8 sack 2015 season, Lawrence was suspended the first four games of 2016. Once he returned, Lawrence battled injuries all season and only appeared in 9 games. Over those 9 games Lawrence tallied just 1 sack and made a minimal impact.

The next season, though? DeMarcus Lawrence was back to playing fully healthy and engaged, en route to a team leading 14.5 sacks and the best overall season of his career.

Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence are different players, and this is obviously a different situation, but the need for patience remains the same. To expect Gregory to be a dominant pass rusher in 2018 is more-than-lofty, as he deserves time to work back into playing shape and perfect his craft off the edge.

Unlike Lawrence, Gregory will have a full offseason and 16 game slate ahead of him. Plus, we haven't heard of any lingering injuries affecting Gregory going forward.

So while we may need to temper expectations at least a little bit, I still expect Randy Gregory to become the RDE we all hoped he could be with time.



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Star Blog

How Should The Cowboys, And The NFL, Value RBs?

Kevin Brady

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Will Cowboys' Offense Improve With Ezekiel Elliott's Return?
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

There is no one, stand-alone "best" strategy for winning in the NFL. There are, of course, common themes and ideals which run true year in and year out among the top teams.

Strategy in the NFL is dynamic, or at least it should be. Running in place for too long under the same leadership often breeds mediocrity, and refusing to move with current trends can put you at a severe disadvantage.

Succumbing to those trends without fully analyzing the confounding factors your situation presents, however, can also ruin a team building exercise.

With that being said, should teams pay elite running backs top dollar? Or are those running backs expendable, replaceable, and often forgettable within the NFL machine?

To be honest these aren't very fair ways to pose legitimately interesting questions. You can acknowledge that a running back is important to your offense while also acknowledging that you don't want to break the bank for a position with such injury risk and high turnover year-to-year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently facing this dilemma, as their star running back Le'Veon Bell asks to be paid like an elite "weapon," not as a normal running back. And when you examine how the Steelers deploy Bell within their offense, he clearly has a point.

Bell is not your traditional "running back." He lines up on the boundary, in the slot, and is a passing threat out of the backfield as well. On top of all of this versatility, Bell is an excellent pass protector, something which is often lost among other "versatile" backs.

Bell can quite literally do it all for an offense, but the idea of paying that position elite-level money makes teams cringe. As The Athletic's Marcus Mosher pointed out on Twitter, teams like the New England Patriots have been able to replicate Bell's production by using multiple speciality backs rather than one workhorse.

In theory, this takes away the injury risk component to a certain extent. Rather than giving one player 350-400 touches per season, you spread those touches out and allow for players to do what they do best.

Lately, the NFL has seemed to agree that this is the most efficient way to play offense. But when you have a player like Bell or Ezekiel Elliott, in what way is taking the ball out of their hands "efficient" at all? In addition, how is using three players to mimic the skill set of one efficient?

Yes, the NFL is a passing league, but when you have a playmaker who is of the caliber of a Bell or an Elliott, it is up to the offense to deploy in him ways that maximize his value. Teams should be using the Bells and Elliotts of the world as pass catching threats and as weapons all over the field. Force the entire defense to account for your running back rather than just jamming him between the tackles like it's 1975.

The movement towards "running back by committee" rather than the traditional one-back system can also be credited to the lack of workhorse-worthy backs entering the league.

Ezekiel Elliotts don't grow on trees, they are rare and special players. And when you have one, especially when you spend a premium pick on him, you should get the most out of him that you can. Playing winning offense in the NFL is about more than just "do you run or do you pass," and it often hinges on creating splash plays of 15-20 yards.

If you can get those plays through the use of an elite running back, that player becomes intrinsically valuable to your team. No matter what "position" he is labeled as. Of course you want to be able create mismatches in the passing game all over the field, so when you are able to do this with a running back, shouldn't that be deemed as highly valuable?

We can't say just yet if the Cowboys should re-sign Ezekiel Elliott once he enters free agency. After all, five seasons (and a franchise tag year) where he touches the ball more than most players in the league will almost certainly bring about some wear and tear.

But with the way the Cowboys have chosen to play offense, and the way in which they've built their roster, a workhorse back like Elliott is necessary for success.

Once again, at least it is for now.



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