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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 @MauNFL 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 @MauNFL.

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Tyron Smith Named Most “Underpaid Veteran” On Dallas Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Dallas Cowboys Player Profile: T #77 Tyron Smith 1

Counting the pockets of Cowboys star players has become a favorite activity of the national media this offseason, as everyone tries to figure out how Dallas will structure the deals for their young players over the course of the next year.

While trying to figure out what the new deals will look like, it's worth reflecting on how well the team did on some of their past negotiations. The Ringer released an article this week naming the most underpaid veteran on each NFL roster, with Tyron Smith earning that honor for the Cowboys.

Smith, who signed his extension with the team back in 2014, is under the deal until the 2024 season. That 8 year extension was lucrative at the time for sure, but as the salary cap rises and other offensive tackles have gotten paid, it looks more like a bargain deal for Dallas by the second.

"A long contract is a bad deal for an elite player in a league in which revenue grows handily. The salary cap was $133 million in 2014, but it’s $188.2 million for 2019. So while the Cowboys have 41.5 percent more money to spend, Smith hasn’t had a raise in five seasons. The Cowboys essentially locked up one of the best tackles of his generation for his entire career."

When put like this, you can see just what a steal of a contract the Cowboys signed Tyron Smith for. Smith is inked for the entirety of the prime of his career, and has very little leverage for a holdout given how many years still remain on this deal.

On the field, Tyron Smith remains one of the best left tackles in all of football, even if back issues have forced him to miss some time over the last two seasons. Smith should remain a top contributor for the Cowboys for at least a few more years, all of which will come at a bargain for a Cowboys team looking to execute some salary cap gymnastics next offseason.



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PFF Ranks Cowboys Run Defense 13th In The NFL

Kevin Brady

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Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith

The Cowboys duo of young linebackers took the NFL by storm in 2018.

Rookie Leighton Vander Esch and former second round pick Jaylon Smith played well above expectations, as for the first time in years Dallas did not face a significant drop off in defensive production when Sean Lee was out and injured.

These young linebackers are the cornerstone of a run defense which should be among the league's best going forward, and Pro Football Focus agrees. Well, somewhat agrees.

PFF ranked all 32 run defenses heading into the 2019 season, slotting the Cowboys 13th overall. Better than half the league, but not quite top 10.

https://twitter.com/PFF_Cowboys/status/1151155572059717632

PFF's reasoning behind this ranking certainly makes sense, as they credit the young linebacker duo without mentioning much of what will be in front of them helping to stop opposing running games.

"The Cowboys’ run defense begins and ends with the league’s best young linebacker duo. Leighton Vander Esch ranked third in run-stop percentage as a rookie while Jaylon Smith checked in at 29th."

The playoff loss in Los Angeles has left a bad taste about the Cowboys' interior defensive line in a lot of mouths, but I do think they've improved the unit this offseason. Signing Christian Covington and drafting Trysten Hill was a nice start to do so, but having Maliek Collins healthy and Antwaun Woods back for a full season will also go a long way.

Interestingly enough, two of the Cowboys divisional foes came in ranked above them on this list. Washington was slotted as the 12th best run defense, while Philadelphia was placed at number 8. Both teams' units deserve respect, of course, but this further highlights how difficult it could be to run the ball in the NFC East this season.

While I hate simply throwing this term around, analytics suggest that passing is what wins games in the NFL. Passing and stopping the pass, I should say.

With strong run defenses in their division, the Cowboys will need to maximize their passing game efficiency if they want to repeat as NFC East champions.



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3 Reasons Amari Cooper is Primed for an All-Pro Season

Matthew Lenix

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3 Reasons Amari Cooper is Primed for an All-Pro Season

Amari Cooper changed life for the entire Dallas Cowboys offense in 2018. Finally, Quarterback Dak Prescott has the number one option at wide receiver he's desperately needed since his rookie campaign. Now, after half a season and multiple playoff games under his belt in Dallas, Cooper is set to have a monster year. Here are three specific reasons why.

1. Culture

Head Coach Jason Garrett has established a certain way of doing things in Dallas since taking over in 2010. His constant search for the RKG or "Right Kinda Guy" as he puts it has the culture in the locker room at a very positive and productive place. As criticized as he is, justifiably or not, he has his team all on the same page. This is something Cooper has been trying to find since he entered the league in 2015. An organization with the right mindset in order for him to perform and maximize his skill set. After being traded to Dallas, Cooper opened up in November about being unhappy during his days in Oakland.

"I wasn't really happy in Oakland or anything like that. But when I sat and thought about it [Monday} night, I thought about the fact that they traded me away. I don't know how to feel about it," Cooper told Yahoo Sports.

This may seem small to others considering these players make millions of dollars right? Well, it doesn't change the fact that they're human. When you feel unappreciated you don't play to the best of your abilities. Shortly after the trade, Cooper talked about how he's been different since putting a star on his helmet. "I feel like it did change me, as far as having that chip on my shoulder. Not that I wasn't passionate before, but playing with more passion, trying to intentionally have fun out there. It definitely has changed me, in terms of me going out there and just having fun with it," Cooper said. A change of scenery was just what the doctor ordered for Cooper and the Cowboys.

2. The other weapons around him

The Cowboys aren't just Amari Cooper or bust at the wide receiver position. Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb provide more challenges for defenses on a weekly basis. Gallup has firmly locked down the number two spot on the depth chart. It took a while for him to establish chemistry with Dak Prescott, as they would misfire on several big plays during the first half of the season. Nonetheless, by seasons end things started to pick up, and he finished with 33 receptions for 507 yards and 2 touchdowns. In the playoffs, he scored a touchdown in the Cowboys Wild Card win over Seattle. The next week against the Rams he performed well even in defeat, with 6 receptions for 119 yards. He's got speed, size, and versatility. Now with a full season and two games of playoff experience under his belt, I look for even more production from Gallup, as a possible breakout star.

Randall Cobb is a much-needed upgrade in the slot for the Cowboys. Unlike former receiver Cole Beasley, Cobb can line up inside or outside. Giving new Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore a bigger bag of tricks at his disposal. Now, he can lineup Cooper inside or outside and play with a plethora of different looks, keeping defenses off balance because of the uncertainty of how the Cowboys will attack through the air.

Then, of course, there's Ezekiel Elliott. The two-time rushing champion is the tone-setter on offense and dictates how defenses will attack. With Cooper being such a threat in the air you basically have to pick your poison. 8-9 man fronts against the run can make you vulnerable to play action down the field or quick slants with Cooper's exceptional route running. The more productive Elliott is the more honest it keeps opposing defenses, opening up more opportunities in the passing game. Averaging 101.2 yards per game for his career, second all-time to Hall of Famer Jim Brown, Elliott can make create even more opportunities for Cooper in 2019 with a full season of playing time together.

3. Motivation

Amari Cooper is currently looking to sign a long-term deal with the Cowboys. Preferably, both sides would like to get this deal done before the season starts considering he's in the last year of his rookie contract that is set to pay him 13.9 million in 2019. However, it isn't just a new deal that motivates Cooper heading into the new season.

"It's kind of a weird situation, just being that I've never been in this situation before, talking about a contract. But also, I'm under a fifth-year option, so I'm not too familiar with it. I really don't ask my agent many questions. I'm not really worried about it that much. I'm more focused on actually playing and really earning the respect and then the contract," Cooper said.

Being motivated by earning respect is a very mature approach from Cooper. Now, add that to the fact that I'm sure he wants to firmly put his name alongside Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr, and Michael Thomas as the best receivers in the game, you have a fully motivated number one option heading into the new season.

Amari Cooper has already made three pro bowls, but now there's another level for him to reach. In just nine games last year with the Cowboys he caught 53 passes for 725 yards and 6 touchdowns. Also, he caught another 13 on 18 targets in the playoffs for 171 yards and a score. He's in the right culture, he has a number of other weapons around him and he has multiple reasons to be motivated heading in the new season. With a full offseason of building chemistry with Dak Prescott, I see Cooper taking that leap to the All-Pro level in 2019.



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