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What’s Left for Cowboys to Offer in Deal for Earl Thomas?

Sean Martin

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What's Left for Cowboys to Offer in Deal for Earl Thomas? 1

Earl Thomas' latest subtle reference to the Dallas Cowboys on Instagram was not so subtle. In fact, Monday's post was more inspired by Thomas' actions at AT&T Stadium back in December. The Seahawks week 16 win had just eliminated the Cowboys from playoff contention, as Thomas tracked down Dallas Head Coach Jason Garrett in the tunnel afterwards.

Thomas' Christmas Eve wish to the losing coach, who finished 9-7 last season? "Come get me," which is well out of both Garrett's and Thomas' reach. Within reach has been Thomas' social media accounts, which he's used to stir up his displeasure with the Seahawks entering the final year of his contract.

Already seeing four time Pro Bowl Safety Kam Chancellor announce the end of his career this offseason, the Seahawks are going through a transition they have every right to include Thomas in.

The Cowboys, and several other teams around the league that undoubtedly have interest in Thomas, could also help the Seahawks speed up their rebuild by offering a package of young talent or draft picks.

The Cowboys last known offer for Thomas came during the NFL Draft. As first-round talent Connor Williams out of Texas waited patiently at AT&T Stadium, the Cowboys made his dream of playing for America's Team come true instead of sending that 50th overall pick to Seattle.

With their new starting left guard in the fold, the Cowboys came back on the clock at 81st overall in the third round. Still in need of a wide receiver, the Cowboys stole Colorado State's Michael Gallup -- with a pick that the Seahawks reportedly turned down as compensation for Thomas.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlTn5c9lygu/?taken-by=earl

Now, the Cowboys are preparing for their 2018 training camp with both rookies Williams and Gallup expected to start and contribute right away. The Seahawks will be expecting the same from their veteran in Thomas, as his post above makes it clear he's looking for an extension from the team prior to showing up for camp.

Whether or not Earl actually passes on the money he's due to play this season prior to hitting the open market is a different story. It should be one of little concern to a Cowboys team with expiring contracts on Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence and other key players next offseason.

So what does the optimal (and rare) late-July trade for a star player look like for the Cowboys landing Thomas, and dealing with his contract situation afterwards? Here are a few scenarios that the team could see play out in training camp.

Confidence in Kris Richard Enough for Cowboys to Trade Young Secondary Piece?

Thomas' appeal as a member of the Cowboys goes far beyond his own interest in the team, his roots in Texas, or Dallas' old habit of bringing in premier talent at any cost.

The cost here for Thomas is whatever the Seahawks hold over the Cowboys head, relying on him being a starter in their secondary for the ninth consecutive season. The 13th overall pick at the 2010 draft could come the Cowboys way if they're willing to also help the Seahawks patented "Legion of Boom" secondary remain a strength of that team.

Is Kris Richard Actually Jason Garrett's Replacement, Not Rod Marinelli's?

The Cowboys already have a key member of this Super Bowl winning Seahawks defense, their Secondary Coach Kris Richard. Richard takes over as the Cowboys Passing Game Coordinator, setting expectations sky-high for young starters like Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Xavier Woods.

Letting Richard coach up this unit for a full year before the Cowboys part with anyone is a smart approach. Given the impact Thomas would have from the safety position in Dallas though, a spot the Cowboys currently lack a true difference maker at,  moving on from some depth at cornerback could get a deal done with the Seahawks.

Players like Lewis, Marquez White, and Duke Thomas were all used sparingly as backup players in the Cowboys OTAs and mini camp. Knowing what Lewis can give them still as an outside or slot cornerback, the Cowboys may see their strength at CB as enough to upgrade significantly at safety.

Offering the Seahawks an athletic defender like Byron Jones, the converted safety that's projected to start on the boundary at CB for Richard's secondary, could be the most mutual trade these two teams make.

The Seahawks need a lot more than just a cornerback for Thomas, and the Cowboys need a more fortified reason to move on from any secondary players before a deal like this gets done.

Thomas agreeing to an extension with the Cowboys or the team not being able to get a Lewis or Anthony Brown on the field in Oxnard would be one thing to look for if actual trade talks are going to rekindle between these clubs.

Can Connor Williams Follow in Zack Martin's Footsteps?

Future Draft Compensation, Riskier for the Seahawks or Cowboys?

Let's preface this look at the Cowboys draft capital by remembering how high the team themselves -- and not just draft scouts, analysts, and college coaches -- are on Connor Williams.

Holding the Cowboys rookie offensive lineman to the standards of Earl Thomas, with 25 career interceptions and 11 forced fumbles, is preposterous.

The certainty Williams may offer the Cowboys at LG could ultimately be the key to getting Thomas in the silver and blue however.

Also committing to swing tackle Cam Fleming and backup Guard Marcus Martin in free agency, the Cowboys offensive line is looking as deep and talented as ever.

The team would obviously like it to stay this way, especially after seeing Dak Prescott sacked 32 times last year. I wouldn't anticipate the Cowboys trading away anyone of value on their offensive line for Earl Thomas, despite how much a need this is for the Seahawks.

The Seahawks did spend a fifth round pick on Ohio State OT Jamarco Jones. It was the only investment the team made into their offensive line, doing so with their fourth and final pick of that round.

Just how much a future second-round pick would mean to the Seahawks is impossible to define. For the Cowboys, it currently means Connor Williams, Chidobe Awuzie, and Jaylon Smith. Their three most recent selections in this round should put a rest to the narrative that they consistently blow this pick by taking massive risks.

What's Left for Cowboys to Offer in Deal for Earl Thomas?

Thus, sending away any pick that Will McClay and the Cowboys can get their hands on is risky for the Cowboys. Being one they were willing to take back in April, the pressure remains on the Seahawks to trust their draft process and get compensation at the end of Thomas' career.

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Earl Thomas being traded to the Cowboys remains a story for Dallas because they are constantly the team expected to make a move like this. Few players have been as public about the team they want to join than Thomas bartering the Cowboys, and even fewer can believe that Jerry Jones has not gotten a deal done for him because of this yet.

With plenty still to offer and the 2018 season rapidly approaching, the Cowboys have time to wait this out -- so much so that Thomas could happily play for the Seahawks this season and become a free agent in 2019.

Enough waiting is going on throughout Cowboys Nation though. The Cowboys don't arrive in Oxnard until next Wednesday, with Thomas no closer to arriving then, later in training camp, or never.

Tell us what you think about "What’s Left for Cowboys to Offer in Deal for Earl Thomas?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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Dallas Cowboys

Predicting Dallas Cowboys Roster Locks, Pre-Training Camp Edition

Brian Martin

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Cowboys 2017 Roster Projection: Preseason Week 2

With the Dallas Cowboys training camp just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to draw attention to their current roster. From top to bottom, the Cowboys have one of the deepest rosters at their disposable heading into the 2019 season. But in order to get under the league mandated 53-man roster Dallas will have to release quite a few talented players.

With that in mind, I thought I'd take a shot at predicting which Dallas Cowboys players should be considered roster locks right now. I tried to narrow down to the players who I am the most confident in right now, not the ones who can eventually secure a roster spot at some point in training camp or preseason.

I should probably warn you right now… I tried to avoid any "pet cats", roster bubble guys, or players I would personally pound the table for. The players listed below are the ones I'm nearly 100% sure make the Dallas Cowboys final 2019 53-man roster.

Dallas Cowboys 35 Roster Locks

Position Player Player Player Player Player Player Player
QB Dak Prescott
RB Ezekiel Elliott Tony Pollard
FB Jamize Olawale
WR Amari Cooper Michael Gallup Randall Cobb
OL Tyron Smith Connor Williams Travis Frederick Zack Martin La'el Collins Cameron Fleming Connor McGovern
DE DeMarcus Lawrence Robert Quinn Dorrance Armstrong Tyrone Crawford
DT Antwaun Woods Maliek Collins Tryston Hill
LB Sean Lee Jaylon Smith Leighton Vander Esch Joe Thomas
CB Byron Jones Chidobe Awuzie Anthony Brown Jourdan Lewis
S Xavier Woods Jeff Heath George Iloka Donovan Wilson
ST Chris Jones L.P. Ladouceur

35 out of 53 may seem like a low number of Dallas Cowboys players who I believe have already locked up a roster spot, but with the depth this team has it's really not. There's no way of really knowing how many players the Cowboys will keep at each position, which makes predicting these roster locks that much more difficult. Regardless though, the 35 players listed above are the ones I am the most confident about.

Biggest Surprise Roster Locks

If you look over the 35 players who I believe have locked up a roster spot already, there's not a whole lot of surprises. I think the only player I would consider a surprise would be Safety Donovan Wilson. As a rookie, and a sixth-round pick at that, Wilson seems like a longshot to even make the final 53-man roster, but not if you look at the current the depth at the position. I believe all he has to do is beat out Kavon Frazier, which shouldn't be that difficult.

The only other player that could possibly be a surprise is Cornerback Jourdan Lewis. The only reason I mention him is because the Cowboys "supposedly" put him on the trade block last year. I think they've learned though he is someone who needs more playing time, which is why I have him listed above.

Biggest Surprise Roster Snubs

You may have noticed a few names who I snubbed as roster locks for the Dallas Cowboys, but which ones were the biggest surprises?

The first player you may have noticed missing was WR/RB Tavon Austin. He's a dynamic player when he can get the ball in space, especially in the return game, but in no way do I view him as a roster lock this year. Tony Pollard, the Cowboys third-round pick this year, is a similar player that could make Austin expendable.

The next player you may have noticed missing is C/OG Joe Looney. He filled in nicely for Travis Frederick last year and quite possibly saved the Cowboys 2018 season. His versatility to play along the OL could be important, but rookie C/OG Connor McGovern could fill that role as well. Despite that though, Looney still has a good chance to make the final 53-man roster.

The last player I think who might be a surprise is Defensive End Taco Charlton. He is entering the ever important Year 3 with the Dallas Cowboys, but despite being a former first-round pick he's no sure bet that to make the roster. The Cowboys have some talented depth at DE who could push Charlton off the roster.

Who would be your Dallas Cowboys roster locks ahead of training camp?



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Should Cowboys Consider Bringing Back Alex Tanney as Backup QB?

Jess Haynie

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Alex Tanney

If the Dallas Cowboys aren't happy about their quarterback depth by the end of preseason, they should be looking to add someone from other teams' roster cuts. One player that could become available is a former Cowboy, Alex Tanney, and he may be one of the best options they'll have.

Tanney is currently with the New York Giants and served as Eli Manning's backup last year. He's floated around the NFL since going undrafted in 2012, being part of eight different teams.

Alex's tenure in Dallas came in 2013 when the Cowboys signed him just before training camp. Tanney flashed his potential during the preseason but it wasn't enough to get him on the 53-man roster. Dallas kept just two QBs that year, Tony Romo and Kyle Orton, and signed Tanney to their practice squad.

In November of that season, the Cleveland Browns poached Alex and signed him to their roster. Then came a series of stops with other teams' practice squad before finally landing with the Tennessee Titans, where he got his first and only playing time in a regular season game.

In 2015, Tanney finished the Titans meaningless regular-season finale. He completed 10-of-14 passes for 99 yards and one touchdown.

Alex Tanney

New York Giants QB Alex Tanney

After spending last year with the Giants as the backup QB but never having to play, Tanney re-signed with New York for a two year deal this past March. But that was before the Giants spent their first-round pick on QB Daniel Jones

New York has kept three quarterbacks on the roster the last two years, but only kept two in 2016. With a clear top-two of Manning and Jones, and Daniel obviously their QB of the future, could they decide to let their other passers go at final cuts?

By only giving Tanney $75,000 in guaranteed money on his new contract, the Giants certainly left themselves the option of cutting him.

Alex Tanney now has seven years of NFL experience with multiple teams. He'll have just spent a full year and a second offseason with one of the Cowboys' division rivals, perhaps offering some insights into Pat Shurmur's system.

Ideally, the Cowboys will be content at quarterback if Cooper Rush or Mike White can earn their confidence over the next two months. But after reported struggles from both during mini-camps and OTAs, there is reason for concern.

This will all be moot, of course, if the Giants decide to keep Alex as a their third quarterback. But there is reason to think he could hit the open market, and if so he may be one of the few decent options that Dallas has to try and improve their QB depth.

In the end, Alex Tanney may not be a better option than Rush or White. But if the Cowboys find themselves desperate by September, he should at least be worth a second look.



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Saints WR Michael Thomas Will Drive Up Price for Cowboys’ Amari Cooper

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Saints WR Michael Thomas Will Drive Up Price for Amari Cooper

Since he became part of the Dallas Cowboys, Amari Cooper has proved himself worthy of a long-term contract extension. The offense saw a complete turnaround once the former Oakland Raider arrived, picking up way more first downs and moving the ball down the field. With a solid #1 wide receiver, Dak Prescott's game improved and with it, the rest of the offensive performance. At this point, most of Cowboys Nation agrees on how important Amari Cooper is for the Cowboys' future.

At only 25 years old, Cooper has an entire career ahead of him. He's young, yet experienced. The front office is aiming to make Dak Prescott the team's quarterback in the long-term and it only makes sense to give him such a strong weapon in the passing game.

However, if the Cowboys are to keep Cooper, they are to pay a price tag. An expensive one. And the more time they take to sign him, the more they'll have to pay. Of course, this is true in just about every position in the NFL. But when it comes to WR, there's a bit more urgency.

Michael Thomas, Saints

Both Julio Jones and Michael Thomas, two of the best in the game, are seeking long-term extensions. Now granted, these two players may be in different scenarios given their ages (Julio is 30, Michael is 26) and the fact that Jones still has two remaining years on his current contract. Even still, both are in the discussion for being the top receiver in the NFL. In other words, they could be asking to become the highest paid receivers in the league.

In fact, Michael Thomas is reportedly asking for $22M per year. To put it in perspective, Odell Beckham's contract with the Browns, which made him the top paid receiver, averages $18M annually. Thomas is absolutely great, but he's asking for too much money. Whether he'll get it or not remains to be seen.

Amari Cooper

As much as we love Amari Cooper, he isn't in the conversation for being the best wide receiver in the NFL like Thomas is. Despite that, he'll surely land among the highest-paid. For Cooper, it seems like the floor for his deal is Adam Thielen's contract with the Minnesota Vikings, which averages $16.2M per year. He isn't getting paid anything less than that.

The ceiling though, could drastically change. He's not going to become the top paid in the league, but he could be very close. The thing is, that number could change quickly. At the moment, Odell Beckham sits atop the NFL pass-catchers averaging 18 million. We can only guess, but that could lead to Cooper getting paid around $17M per year.

But if Michael Thomas or Julio Jones get their deals done before, that price could drastically go up. If Thomas gets what he wants (and it's a big if), the ceiling for Cooper's annual salary would have become $4M more expensive.

Hopefully, the Dallas Cowboys get a deal done quickly. Amari Cooper is a great player, and in less than a season he clicked with Dak Prescott, who's also waiting for payday. Right now, we can only be glad neither is threatening to hold out and both are excited for training camp.

Tell me what you think about "Saints WR Michael Thomas Will Drive Up Price for Cowboys’ Amari Cooper" 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!



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