John Elway is as a part of the Denver Broncos as the horse that serves as their mascot. Through his total tenure with the team he's taken them to the top of the mountain three different times, but his resume includes so much more than that. Among many other things, John Elway's mantle has the following decorations:
- Super Bowl XXXII Winner
- Super Bowl XXXIII Winner (after which he famously retired)
- Super Bowl XXXIII Most Valuable Player
- His #7 Jersey is retired by the Denver Broncos
- Member of the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame (Class of 1999)
- Member of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame (Class of 1999)
- Member of the College Football Hall of Fame (Class of 2000)
- Pro Football Hall of Famer (Class of 2004)
- After some experience with the Arena Football League's Colorado Crush (of which Elway was a co-owner) he decided to pursue the business side of football and was named General Manager of the Denver Broncos in 2011
- Super Bowl 50 Winning General Manager
Now I know that you're a smart cookie... so I know that you knew most of, if not all, of that before I took my time typing it out for you (I didn't even hear a thank you, but whatever).
What you might not have realized by now is that everything on that list up there... has all been accomplished since the Dallas Cowboys last won, or even appeared in for that matter, a Super Bowl/NFC Championship Game.
Think about that.
And I mean really think about it.
How sad did you just get?
Since the Dallas Cowboys last sniffed even the game before the big game John Elway has won two Super Bowls (as a quarterback), a Super Bowl MVP (as a quarterback), retired, been given tons of accolades, been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, decided to get into football operations, climbed the ladder in that avenue of his life to the point of the General Manager of an NFL team, and won a Super Bowl in that capacity.
I know this hurts, but it's important. We can't run from the truth.
The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most successful franchises in the history of the National Football League, but they haven't been for the last 20 seasons (which is 40% of such history).
If the Elway statistics aren't enough for you let me emphasize just how embarrassingly long it's been since some Cowboys glory.
Marvin Harrison was just elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Well you know what? Marvin was drafted in 1996 - the first Draft after the last bit of serious Cowboys success.
So that means that Harrison was drafted, played his whole career, won a Super Bowl of his own, retired, waited more than the five-year minimum, was elected to the Hall of Fame, and will be enshrined in Canton all since the days of the Dallas Dynasty.
When the Cowboys were last at the top of the mountain John Elway had zero Super Bowl rings (not to mention was still an NFL quarterback) and nobody had ever even heard of Marvin Harrison. These are facts.
There wasn't a whole big deal made about how the Broncos appearance in Super Bowl 50 tied the record for the most big game appearances in NFL History. Denver joined the likes of Dallas, Pittsburgh, and New England with the big ocho.
The Cowboys last appeared in a Super Bowl in Super Bowl XXX against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the culmination of the 1995 season. That game marked Dallas' 8th and Pittsburgh's 5th while the Broncos had 4 and the Patriots 1, respectively.
So those three teams that are now tied with the Cowboys in appearances? Since Super Bowl XXX all four have:
- Dallas - 0
- Pittsburgh - 3 (XL, XLIII, & XLV)
- Denver - 4 (XXXII, XXXIII, XLVIII, & 50)
- New England - 7 (XXXI, XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLII, XLVI, XLIX)
A lot of those (8/14) can be directly attributed to Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. But you know what? The last time Lombardi took a trip to D-Town nobody had ever heard of either of them. Now? They're considered "old" and "about to retire."
What is particularly astonishing about the other franchise's appearances is that there have been 20 seasons since the Cowboys were last in the Super Bowl and these appearances from the other three add up to 14.
They all play in the AFC which means that they have taken out each other on their way to the Super Bowl, meaning that it's not like they even took out the Cowboys.
These three teams have fought tooth and nail against one another to accomplish what they have while the Cowboys have had a road free from all of them and still have that big goose egg next to their name. I don't even think that "pathetic" is a strong enough word to describe that.
Cowboys haters like to say that we live in the past. I'm not saying that they're right, I'm saying that they have a point. Sure there are some recent days in Dallas that have been good, but we have to be honest with ourselves regarding the last 20 years.
If you want to take one positive out of all of this... it is a testament to the utter dominance of the Dallas Cowboys through the first 30 years of the Super Bowl era that they are still at the top of the list even considering everything that you just read. Teams have just caught up.
The 2016 Dallas Cowboys will hopefully be a good football team, but we desperately need some Super Bowl success. We had an absurdly large lead on the field and it's time to get it back.
Could Loaded FA Safety Market Drive Down Earl Thomas’ Value?
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.
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.
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?
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...
2018 In Review: CB Anthony Brown Bounces Back
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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