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The Dallas Cowboys Have Very Few Positions of Need

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Geoff Swaim

After a deflating 9-7 season that felt like things went south every two weeks, it's hard to look into 2018 with optimistic eyes. Even still, Dallas Cowboys fans should really be optimistic about next year. The team that had a ton of needs just months ago, has made a tremendous job of filling up the roster with capable talent.

A solid free agency and a pretty outstanding Draft class will put the Dallas Cowboys in position to bounce back from 2017 and replicate the success they had in 2016. Despite being in a division featuring the defending Super Bowl champions, the Cowboys will have what it takes to fight for the NFC East Title.

The concerns that surrounded this football team have been very reduced since the free agency period began. On offense and on defense, the holes the team had felt for a brief moment pretty insurmountable, specially when Dez Bryant was expected to be released.

Now, wide receiver is a position that has Cowboys Nation feeling confident. Sure, Bryant's gone, but the WR room in Dallas is currently loaded and will feature a handful of players that promise to be productive under Dak Prescott's offense.

From the signing of Allen Huns to the third-round rookie Michael Gallup, the Cowboys have done their best to forget about Bryant's departure. With veterans like Cole Beasley on the roster and other young talents like Noah Brown and even late-round draftee Cedrick Wilson, the Cowboys WR group is in a pretty good place. Having said this, I wonder where Terrance Williams will fit. He could end up being a backup.

NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Select 1

Despite being one of the strongest units on the team, offensive guard went from being a need to a priority after the team let Jonathan Cooper walk in free agency. Perhaps the best pick in the Draft, at least from a value perspective, was Connor Williams. The Texas product was, in the eyes of many, a first-round talent who could play as a tackle or a guard.

After stealing him with the 50th overall selection, the Cowboys offensive line will return as one of the best in the league with arguably five first-round talent players.

The one position that should be a concern for the Dallas Cowboys on offense is tight end. With Jason Witten unexpectedly retiring, the team will have to move on from one of the most reliable players in NFL history to a young guy. Whether it'll be Blake Jarwin, Geoff Swaim, rookie Dalton Schultz or Rico Gathers, it's impossible to know.

The tight end battle will be fun to watch during the offseason, specially since these are promising yet unproved players.

There are veteran free agents on the market, such as Antonio Gates, Coby Fleener and Marcedes Lewis. If the front office feels like they need some help, they could always turn to one of these guys. On the other hand, if they trust their young talent, why bring a progress stopper?

From a defensive perspective, safety and the interior defensive line might be the bigger concerns.

They seem to be set at cornerback, with Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis coming off from very promising rookie seasons. With Byron Jones moving to cornerback full-time and new coordinator Kris Richard in town, I dare say CB will be a strength for Dallas.

Safety, though, feels like a big need. The Earl Thomas story-line might not be over yet, but at the end of the day, it'll be tough to get a deal done there.

Xavier Woods, Rams

It seems like the Cowboys will head into 2018 with Xavier Woods as a starting safety, which has Cowboys Nation excited. Woods was a fan-favorite prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft process and a guy many had high hopes for in his rookie season.

Woods has what it takes to develop into a capable starter. Kavon Frazier and Jeff Heath will also be fighting for the starter role during training camp. Last season, Heath started in the 15 games he played, so it's easy to think he has the edge on this battle.

As for the front seven, the Cowboys linebacker position remains a question mark because of Jaylon Smith's and Sean Lee's health issues. With both of them healthy and first-round pick Leighton Vander Esch on the field, big things await the Dallas Cowboys defense.

The defensive line counts with a pretty good group of talent, specially from a depth point of view. With David Irving and DeMarcus Lawrence coming off of career years, the question is whether or not they'll have enough supporting cast.

The defensive tackle room is loaded with talent. Irving has been able to show off his talent haunting opposing QBs and stopping the run. Maliek Collins has been a starter in 30 of his 32 games in the NFL, but still has to take that next step to make a bigger impact. Datone Jones showed plenty of flashes and could earn a more important role in 2018.

Not to mention unproven Brian Price and new Cowboy Jihad Ward.

Although not having a clear-cut starter, Rod Marinelli should have some fun rotating his talented DTs to own the trenches next season.

For the 2018 Dallas Cowboys, it'll be anything but an easy ride. However, the roster is actually pretty talented, they have what it takes to be an actual contender next season. The NFL offseason is underestimated by many fans, but it shouldn't be.

This year, the front office made America's Team one of the offseason winners and it'll show on the field next September. Hopefully, it's enough to get back in the playoffs.

Tell me what you think about "The Dallas Cowboys Have Very Few Positions of Need" 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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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Chuck Wright

    May 13, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    While we have loads of 3 Tech talent, we have nothing today at the 1 tech but bodies. Sorry, claiming we have “lots of talent at DT” is like trying to say all Linebackers or all DBs have/need similar skill sets. We are great at the 3, we suck at the 1 and I don’t get Rod’s steadfast refusal to ignore the position which could have the biggest single impact on the rest of the D.

    S also remains largely a ????? as does TE.

    But would agree, unlike 2 years ago, not a great many spots on this team for new guys.

  2. Chuck Wright

    May 13, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    PS< the idea that 9-7 is "deflating" is actually a good thing. The bar has been raised around here.

  3. Will

    May 14, 2018 at 8:39 am

    TE is actually set, I believe. We favor blocking TE’s who can move the chains in the short game. Swaim and Schultz are exactly that. Rico and Jarwin compete for the pass catcher, and we are good there. I’d really like to see a solid 1 tech DT added, but I’m fine if not. As for S, I may be in the minority here, but I’d prefer a mixture of X, Frazier, Heath, and Robinson/Kelly than a trade for ET. Either that or sign Tre Boston and call it done

  4. Randy Terhorst

    May 14, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    They should look at bringing JJ wilcox back,loved the way he played.

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Star Blog

Could Loaded FA Safety Market Drive Down Earl Thomas’ Value?

Brian Martin

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Could Loaded FA Safety Class Drive Down Earl Thomas' Price Tag?

It's no secret the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas share a mutual interest in one another. Thomas has publicly stated his desire to join America's Team and the Cowboys did their darndest to make that happen last offseason. Nothing ever materialized a year ago, but it's looking as if the stars have finally aligned and a union between the two could merely be just weeks away.

Surprisingly enough, the Dallas Cowboys may have dodged a bullet last year when the Seattle Seahawks refused to part ways with their All-Pro safety. Not only would they have had to surrender a high draft pick, but they would've also had to extend Thomas' contract. Fortunately, timing is everything and now the Cowboys might just have to do the latter.

A potential contract between the Cowboys and Thomas is of course what I want to dive in today. I'm not going to get into numbers right now, because it's nearly impossible to project any kind of contract for any safety this offseason, especially for the former Seahawk, Earl Thomas.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Right now, it's a little difficult to know who might have the advantage in contract negotiations, Earl Thomas or the Dallas Cowboys. A lot of times the one that has the leverage, however slight, is the one that gets the better of the deal. As surprising as it may be, the Cowboys might just have the advantage here and I'll tell you why.

First off, this year's market for free agent safeties is pretty stacked with starting caliber players. See below:

  • Earl Thomas
  • Landon Collins
  • Lamarcus Joyner
  • Tyrann Mathieu
  • Adrian Amos
  • Clayton Geathers
  • Ha-Ha Clinton Dix
  • Glover Quinn
  • Tre Boston
  • Kenny Vaccaro
  • George Iloka
  • Jimmie Ward
  • Adrian Phillips

Earl Thomas is obviously the headliner here amongst the free agent safeties, but having so many starting caliber players available could drive down Thomas' market value just a bit. This is especially true when you take into consideration the market for FA safeties just a year ago. It was almost a complete standstill last year, with only Kurt Coleman signing a three-year $16.5 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Not even the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu could get more than a one-year deal.

With all of these safeties available in free agency, we could be looking at another stingy market. This of course could be good or bad news for the Dallas Cowboys, especially as it pertains to Earl Thomas. Since he is the top FA safety available, everything could once again be at a standstill until he is signed.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Of course, we all know this will ultimately come down to determining Earl Thomas' market value. There is no denying he is still arguably the best free safety in the game today, but there are concerns about his age (30) and the two lower leg injuries he's sustained in the past three years.

Even with the loaded free agent market of starting caliber safeties and Thomas' age and recent injury history, he's still likely to receive a contract that earns him $10 million annually, give or take. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he gets another four-year deal worth $40 million, $25.7 million guaranteed, with a $9.5 million signing bonus like he signed with the Seahawks back in 2014.

The Cowboys of course would probably find a four-year $40 million deal for Earl Thomas acceptable. They would more than likely frontload the contract with a lot of protection in the details. They have the cap space to make this happen and still be able to sign their own, so money shouldn't be a problem.

Now, whether or not Thomas' market value may dip a little due to all of the above mentioned reasons will be something we will have to wait and find out. Regardless, I'd be a little shocked if Earl Thomas doesn't finish his career with the Dallas Cowboys.

Do you think Earl Thomas' market value will take a little hit this offseason?



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Star Blog

Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

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Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

What a difference a receiver makes, right? As Dallas fans, we know the impact of a player who can shake coverage, get open, and catch the ball. How was the season going before the Cowboys pulled the trigger for Amari Cooper in the deal with the Raiders? Cooper proved to be the lightning rod and a turning point in a season that was growing increasingly dismal. Dak Prescott and Cooper went together like peanut butter and jelly, while the Cowboys stormed to a division title and a postseason berth.

Now, imagine all of that times two… maybe even two and a half if Antonio Brown could be had from the Steelers. Scary right? We understand there’s only one ball to go around but that didn’t stop Kevin Durant from joining the Warriors, did it?

As of this writing, the best online sportsbooks like Intertops, are dealing Dallas as the seventh of 16 choices to win the NFC championship at odds of 12-1. Imagine how those odds would shrink if Brown wore a Cowboys uniform next season, giving Prescott the luxury of not one upper echelon wideout but that plus an elite receiver. Hut, hut, hut and a few clouds of smoke later the Cowboys would be moving the chains or celebrating in the endzone.

Brown and Cooper would be a devastating combination with Ezekiel Elliott coming out of the backfield. Brown was made for Dallas, it gives him an even grander stage than the one he shared with Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh.

Despite the fact that the 'Boys haven’t won a Super Bowl since Barry Switzer was roaming the sidelines in the mid-90s, America’s Team still resides in Dallas. But we need a game-changer and Brown is just such an athlete. But what do we give in return and will that cost be worth whatever productive years Brown has left after this one? Let’s not forget that the mercurial Miami native will be 31 when the season begins and men who make a living with their legs don’t get better at that age. But Brown is so good and so unique that, even if he drops half a click, he's still amongst the best in the game.

That level of talent is hard to replicate and it could be the missing piece which allows Dallas to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender next season and the year after.

However, up to this point, we’ve been very good at dreaming of a Brown to Dallas trade but haven’t quite worked out the details. It takes two to tango and if we expect to get the Steelers’ attention we need to give them something valuable in return. Dallas surrendered their first-round pick (27th) this season when they traded for Cooper so that’s no longer an asset.

Pittsburgh would be vying for a first-round pick (and likely more) for Brown's services but some have speculated Dallas would consider dealing rookie-standout Leighton Vander Esch.

Wait... what? We know, you’re clutching your pearls, and the words are stuck in your gasp. We get it. The kid was a home run this past season, leading the Dallas defense in tackles and earning a Pro Bowl invitation in his inaugural NFL season. But this would be a Faustian deal.

The Cowboys give up a player who is poised to be a stud for years to come for a playmaker in Brown that could render a Super Bowl in the immediate future. Brown's expiration date will surely turn his milk sour sooner rather than later, but in the here and now, Antonio Brown could be the bell cow who leads the Cowboys to the promised land before he’s put out to pasture.

Just something to think about...



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Star Blog

2018 In Review: CB Anthony Brown Bounces Back

Kevin Brady

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Anthony Brown's Resurgence A Great Sign for Cowboys Defense
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

To say it's been an up-and-down start to the career of young cornerback Anthony Brown would be an understatement.

As a sixth round pick in 2016, everything Brown contributed during his rookie season was a plus. Due to injury he was asked to step into a greater role as the season went on, and he performed well enough to make the front office comfortable allowing multiple veterans to walk for nothing in free agency the following Spring. Brown looked like a legitimate starting cornerback in the league, and when Dallas brought in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis during the next draft, the young secondary seemed set.

Then 2017 happened. And Anthony Brown struggled. Really struggled.

These struggles, coupled with the emergence of both Lewis and Awuzie during their own rookie seasons, made Brown's status heading into 2018 rather uncertain. Some wondered if they would trade him for a day three pick, others thought Brown could even end up being cut. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown were slated to compete for the nickel cornerback job in training camp, and as it turned out, all Brown needed was that one extra chance to compete.

Brown won the job outright during the preseason, and began 2018 as the starting nickel. A fan favorite, most thought Lewis would reclaim his rightful spot on the depth chart sooner or later, but Anthony Brown's play (and Kris Richard's preferences) kept Lewis on the bench for much of the season.

Simply put, Anthony Brown balled in 2018, and was the Cowboys' second best corner for most of the year. By the end of the season Chidobe Awuzie had regained form, but Brown and Byron Jones were the most consistently reliable corners on the roster all of 2018.

Brown tallied 44 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception in 2018, and finished third on the team in pass breakups with 8. As the slot corner Brown had an excellent season, especially for a former sixth round pick.

Now he enters a contract year, and with the Cowboys having so many guys to pay over the next two offseasons, he could find himself as an unrestricted free agent in 2020. And if he can keep up his play from last year moving forward, he could be in for a nice payday that Spring.



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