Nothing but a battle of laundry stands between now and Week 1. Overall, injuries have been reasonably kind to Dallas. Sean Lee got hurt, but that was somewhat expected. DeVonte Holloman's injury was less expected, but it wasn't a season-changer. Ready to return or close are Terrell McClain, Morris Claiborne, Henry Melton, and Anthony Spencer.
Dallas may be big players in the waiver wire market next week, if they don't trade for what they need first. However, it's a delicate decision because veterans are guaranteed a season's salary if they are on the 53 for Week 1. Teams don't like to pay stopgaps for 16 weeks unnecessarily, so that might bode well for rookie hopefuls.
So, here are my survivors after all the glitz, glamour, party busses, and compromising selfies that marked another white-knuckling Cowboys camp.
Quarterbacks (2): Tony Romo, Brandon Weeden
This team simply can't afford to keep Dustin Vaughn. I don't anticipate an issue getting him on the practice squad, but that risk must be taken. Watch teams like Denver to possibly steal him away and rat-hole him on their rosters, but I don't think so.
Running backs (4): DeMarco Murray, Lance Dunbar, Joseph Randle, Ryan Williams
I'm honestly not sure who's a better running back at this point, Murray or Williams. Clutts is gone, though I expect they'll re-sign him, or another fullback, sometime after Week 1. Randle (or perhaps Williams) may be trade bait for a defensive lineman or linebacker. Loaded at running back right now, but I think a dedicated fullback will ultimately be needed this season.
Cutting Clutts makes room for Newsome. I don't want to cut LaRon Byrd, either. One of the best camp groups of receivers we've ever seen in Dallas.
Tight ends (3): Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar, James Hanna
As a whole, this was a good camp for these quiet soldiers.
Weems' ongoing injury may have saved Jermey Parnell from Cowboy extinction. I still think the first backup tackle is Zack Martin because the depth is at guard, not tackle. Rumors persist that they may go eight here to make room for others at RB and WR, but that seems unlikely to me.
Defensive line (10): George Selvie, Anthony Spencer, Jeremy Mincey, Tyrone Crawford, Henry Melton, Terrell McClain, Nick Hayden, Davon Coleman, free agent, free agent
Here's where the meat and taters are on the decision plate. I dropped Ken Bishop because I think they'll find better on the waiver wire, and they can get him on the practice squad. Jeremy Mincey could be in trouble, too, and he'd better be glad DeMarcus Lawrence isn't available right now. In fact, Lawrence will probably be designated to the injured reserve list and return Week 8 because they need too much help now. Hayden should also be nervous because I suspect 2-4 players that are about to get cut from other teams are headed this way, either by trade (Dallas has RBs and WRs that can play), or by waiver claims. Trades reduce the risk of losing in a waiver wire battle with other teams in need.
Linebacker (6): Justin Durant, Kyle Wilber, Rolando McClain, Bruce Carter, Anthony Hitchens, Cameron Lawrence
Gone is Holloman, which created room for either Cameron Lawrence or Will Smith. I'm going with Lawrence. Again, watch the waiver wire here, too.
Cornerback (5): Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Sterling Moore, Terrance Mitchell, Tyler Patmon
Hello, Mr. Patmon. Not only did this guy arrive in camp, he's got to have the coaches thinking about moving him up to the fourth spot ahead of Moore. This has made life difficult for Mitchell and Webb, who could get axed for Ryan Williams' sake. In fact, I'm cutting Webb. Orlando Scandrick doesn't count now, but he'll return, which will mean a player cut at another position.
Safety (5): Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox, Jakar Hamilton, Ahmad Dixon, Jeff Heath
Standing pat here, but Dixon needs to learn that this isn't Rice they're playing, and that yes, you do have to change the way you play or you'll be suspended routinely like Brandon Meriweather in Washington.
Specialists (3): Dan Bailey, Chris Jones, L.P. Ladouceur
I doubt the Australian will take Jones' spot, though he's punted well.
Like most lists, mine will no doubt look silly by kickoff on September 7th. I don't care, I'm just ready for real football once again.
Cowboys en Español: El Futuro Incierto de David Irving
En una agencia libre muy callada de parte de los Dallas Cowboys, como es costumbre, lo más interesante hasta ahora se revuelve alrededor de un talento increíble en la línea defensiva: David Irving. El joven de la línea defensiva de Dallas recibió un tender de segunda ronda (con un costo de casi tres millones de dólares) de parte de los Cowboys, lo cual significa que vestirá la Estrella Solitaria un año más... ¿o no?
No, no es tan sencillo.
A diferencia de la etiqueta franquicia que recibió DeMarcus Lawrence hace unas semanas, un tender permite a un jugador recibir ofertas de otros equipos. Si Irving llega a recibir una oferta externa, sin embargo, los Cowboys tienen la oportunidad de igualarla.
Pero no sólo eso, sino que si no quieren igualar la oferta, pueden dejar ir al jugador y en cambio, el otro equipo tiene que compensar a los Cowboys con una selección de segunda ronda. Así como el tender de segunda ronda que se le otorgó a David Irving, hay tender de primera ronda o tender de "selección original."
Sin embargo, Irving no fue seleccionado en el NFL Draft, así que esta última opción hubiera tenido poco sentido.
Ahora, pensando en el 2018 y una temporada ya incierta, nos sentamos preguntando: ¿No valía la pena cubrir a Irving con un tender de primera ronda? Al final de cuentas, sólo hay aproximadamente un millón de diferencia entre ambos. Irving es un jugador lleno de talento, y podría llegar a estar entre los mejores en su posición próximamente.
Sin embargo, si somos honestos, es una buena decisión de la administración. Irving ha tenido sus cuantos problemas y quizá este tender ayude a definir su valor en el mercado. Si ningún equipo alrededor de la liga se atreve a ofrecerle un contrato, los Cowboys mejoran su posición en las negociaciones y quien sabe, quizá consigan un acuerdo más amigable para el equipo.
Además, si un equipo decide llevárselo... ¿qué tan malo sería?
Con el pick #19 en la primera ronda del Draft de la NFL, no están en una posición muy cómoda. Como bien algún jugador talentoso como el DT Vita Vea o el WR Calvin Ridley pueden caer a las manos de Stephen Jones, Will McClay y compañía, bien puede estar vacía la tabla.
Con jugadores como el S de Florida State Derwin James o el LB de Georgia Roquan Smith, deberían considerar realizar un trade para subir algunas selecciones y llevarse a uno de estos talentos que no estarán disponibles en el #19.
Con las selecciones globales 19, 50 y una segunda ronda extra que conseguirían por Irving, es fácil visualizar a este equipo dispuesto a hacer un movimiento así el día del Draft.
A pesar de una mala temporada en el 2017, los Dallas Cowboys son un equipo que están cerca de ser contendientes.
Cowboys Free Agency: FB Keith Smith Signing with Raiders
The Cowboys have lost an important role player from the offense as fullback Keith Smith is reportedly signing with the Oakland Raiders.
The #Raiders and FB Keith Smith have agreed to terms on a 2-year worth $4.2million, source said.
Smith, who has been with Dallas for four seasons, was the team's fullback the last two seasons. He started as a linebacker after going undrafted in 2014.
Whether on offense or defense, Keith has been a regular part of the special teams units. The Cowboys' previous special teams coach, Rich Bisaccia, just left this offseason to join the coaching staff in Oakland. That is a likely cause for Smith heading to the Raiders.
Dallas elected not to give Smith a restricted free agent tender, which made sense given his position. Even the lowest tender of $1.9 million would have been too rich for a part-time player.
Even with Keith gone, Dallas may not need to sign a new fullback. Backup RB Rod Smith has experience in that role. They could also use tight ends James Hanna or Geoff Swaim.
Fullback is obviously not the position it used to be in the days of Daryl Johnston, but there are still times you need that lead blocker out of the backfield. Given their reliance on the run game and the success that Ezekiel Elliott had with Keith Smith, Dallas will have to find a solid replacement plan.
Will Another Team Snag David Irving Away From Cowboys?
It was somewhat surprising to learn that the Dallas Cowboys only placed a second-round tender on David Irving. A first-round tender would have likely dissuaded any other team from signing him to a contract and giving up a first-round draft pick, but signing Irving to a contract and giving up a second-draft pick is much more plausible.
I can almost guarantee there are teams around the league right now who are discussing the pros and cons of trying to acquire David Irving. The Dallas Cowboys likely know this which means one of two things:
- The Cowboys are hoping someone sets David Irving's market value with the hopes of matching.
- The Cowboys are willing to part ways with Irving for a second-round draft pick.
There are teams out there who have more salary-cap space than the Dallas Cowboys who could easily sign him to a contract the Cowboys can't match. And, giving up a second-round draft pick for a dominating, yet inconsistent, defensive tackle is probably better than anyone they can draft.
It's not completely out of the realm of possibility Cowboys fans have seen the last of David Irving with a star on his helmet. But, it seems like a risk Dallas is willing to take, whether fans agree or not.
In 2017, David Irving recorded 22 tackles, seven quarterback sacks, six passes defensed, and one forced fumble. He did this after missing the first four games of the season due to a suspension and the last four due to a concussion. That's pretty impressive!
There is no denying Irving's impact when he's on the field, but it's all the other stuff that makes Dallas hesitant to commit fully to the 24-year-old DT.
I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I know what kind of person David Irving is in the locker room or off the field, but his past behavior and inconsistencies are concerning. Yes, he has immense upside, but that doesn't look as if it's enough for the Dallas Cowboys, at least not yet.
I think this ultimately comes down to the Cowboys not fully trusting David Irving just yet. Placing the second-round tender on him is more of a "prove it" kind of deal, if another team doesn't sign him away. The Cowboys probably want to see he has his head on straight and more consistency before fully committing. It's completely understandable.
It just doesn't seem as if David Irving is in the long-term plans for the Dallas Cowboys right now. I think they would be perfectly content receiving a second-round draft pick, but that decision might not sit well with a lot of Cowboys fans.
There is really no way of knowing if another NFL team will snag David Irving away, but I think the possibility of that happening is pretty high.
Will David Irving remain in Dallas in 2018?
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