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Where Have Cowboys Upgraded the Most This Offseason?

Brian Martin

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Where Have Cowboys Upgraded the Most This Offseason?

The Dallas Cowboys 2017 season didn't go as they had planned in large part due to unforeseen injuries to key players and unfortunate suspensions to others. These two things alone derailed what was supposed to be a big year for the Cowboys and would have an impact on their approach to the offseason.

Unfortunately, the Dallas Cowboys depth at several positions, or lack thereof, was exposed due to the two problem areas mentioned above. The organization definitely needed to make some changes if they wanted to become a better ball team in 2018, which is why the moves they made in both free agency and in the draft are so important.

It's a little too early to know exactly how these new faces will fit in, but I think the Dallas Cowboys did an excellent job of addressing some problem areas. With that in mind, I wanted to share with you exactly which positions I believed they upgraded the most this offseason.

Swing Tackle

Cameron Fleming

Dallas Cowboys OT Cameron Fleming

The Dallas Cowboys were dead set on upgrading the swing tackle position heading into the offseason and did just that by signing free agent Cameron Fleming. This could turn out to be the Cowboys most important move this offseason, especially with the concerns with Tyron Smith's ongoing back issues.

Tyron Smith has stated that his back is feeling better now than it has in years past, but the Cowboys now have a better insurance policy in place if worse comes to worse. Fleming can play on both the right or left side, something he did with the New England Patriots, which will please fans because I believe they have seen enough of Chaz Green.

Left Guard

Connor Williams

Dallas Cowboys LG Connor Williams

The left guard position was the weak link on the Cowboys offensive line last season and was in desperate need of upgrading. Dallas brought in free-agent Marcus Martin and re-signed Joe Looney to provide depth, but neither would probably be an upgrade.

Fortunately, the Dallas Cowboys ability to remain patient in the 2018 NFL Draft paid off in a big way in the second-round when Connor Williams fell right in the lap. Williams played left tackle at the University of Texas, but will be asked to kick inside to guard in the NFL. He will likely be the Cowboys LG in 2018, but also has the versatility to play LT as well.

Running Back

Rod Smith

Dallas Cowboys RB Rod Smith

The biggest upgrade to the Dallas Cowboys running back position is the fact Ezekiel Elliott has had an entire offseason without any problems or anything hanging over his head. He will be out to prove something in 2018 and I can't wait to see him run with a renewed energy, something that was lacking last season. Elliott of course will handle the majority of the workload, but the depth behind him looks to be much improved.

No offense to Alfred Morris, but Rod Smith clearly outperformed him last season, which is why he will be the RB2. Then, Bo Scarbrough provides another physical runner to the mix, but will likely earn his living on special teams to begin with. Don't forget about Tavon Austin's addition. He will become the change of pace/receiving RB and could really add some much-needed speed to the offense.

Wide Receiver

Michael Gallup

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

The Dallas Cowboys were focused on improving the wide receiver position after they drastically underperformed in 2017. They've certainly done their due diligence in trying to upgrade the position by investing in a couple of free agents and draft picks, but from the outside looking in it doesn't look like enough.

Personally, I believe the passing game will be much better in 2018. I really have high hopes for Michael Gallup, the Cowboys third-round draft pick. I believe Gallup will end up being the best WR on the roster by the end of the season. I also think Allen Hurns can adequately replace Dez Bryant's production. All in all, it may not look like the Cowboys have done enough, but I think they have upgraded the WR position.

Cornerback

Byron Jones

Dallas Cowboys CB Byron Jones

The Dallas Cowboys didn't add any new cornerbacks through free agency or the draft, but I still believe the position upgraded. Not only will rookies Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie be much more prepared in 2018, but Byron Jones' move to CB strengthens the position in my opinion.

A lot of fans have been down on Byron Jones since he was drafted in the first-round a few seasons ago, but I think he has been missed used during that time. I always thought Jones' best position was CB and I think he will prove that this year. And, when you have Anthony Brown, a former starter, as your fourth CB, your depth is pretty good.

Defensive End

Randy Gregory, Eagles

Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

DeMarcus Lawrence was a one-man wrecking crew in 2017 and I don't see any reason why he can't pick up where he left off in 2018. Fortunately, things could become much more easy for him this season due to the addition of Dorance Armstrong and a few reinforcements coming back from injuries and suspensions.

I really like what I've seen from Armstrong. He will be a good rotational piece as a rookie, but it's the return of Charles Tapper and Randy Gregory that could improve the pass rush the most. Both are talented players that have yet to live up to their abilities. And, that's not even mentioning Taco Charlton, who should be much improved after finishing his rookie season on a high note.

Where do you think the Dallas Cowboys upgraded the most?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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3 Comments
  • Nick Russo

    As usual, I strongly agree with your article. I especially appreciate the comments about rod smith and Charles tapper, as I feel they are much better than they sometimes get credit for. Smith had a chance to prove it last year, and tapper was getting a ton of pressure albeit in the two games he played. I agree with the Byron jones outlook as well and think having a trio of jones and chido outside with Lewis in the slot will be formidable. I really like what the front office has done with the roster. They have been able to re-tool and create a young talented roster without having to fully blow things up I.e Seattle.

  • Nicholas J Burrow

    If cowboys can sign McClain and get Gregory back, look out! With a rotation of Lawrence,Gregory, Taco, Armstrong, and Tapper; and Irving, Collions, McClain, Crawford, and Ward/Ealy/Jones….. Cowboys pressure issues will be their new strength.
    I would like to see the McClain signing, as well as signing Navarro Bowman, and a trade for Earl Thomas for a 2nd round.

  • EverybodyTalks

    The Offensive line is solid and has a good 2nd string.It’s almost like triple redundancy.
    RB looks scary with Olawale and the Austin additions. I didn’t even mention Rod, Bo and Zeke.
    WRs is a candy store. Gallup, Hurns, Wilson with Twill, Bease, Noah, Deonte – 1 to many and I feels like I forgot one.
    CB – all you have to know is they didn’t draft one.
    DE – so many my head hurts from the potential.
    In the movie JAWS, the sheriff said, “We’re gonna need a BIGGER boat!!”
    In Dallas, we are going to need a BIGGER roster!

    Brian, a great article that makes you stop and think….Keep ’em coming. Thanks!

Star Blog

Will DeMarcus Lawrence Be Franchise Tagged Again in 2019?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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DeMarcus Lawrence, Franchise Tags and Realities for Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY Sports

The deadline for extending players under the franchise tag has come and gone last Monday, in a day in which none of the remaining tagged players reached an agreement with their respective teams. That includes Dallas Cowboy Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence, who's set to earn $17M in 2018.

The front office and the 26-year old defensive end failed to agree to a new contract before the season's start, but we saw that coming. After all, there was never a point in which we had the classic "X player and his team are close to a new deal" headline.

All of this makes the future of the Cowboys' promising "War Daddy" very uncertain. What lies a head of the player that put on an impressive show in 2018?

Since 2017 was Lawrence's breakout year, racking up 14.5 sacks trough the season, we have leaned towards the narrative of last season being his only good one. His performance last season was impressive and clearly his best one yet, but we tend to overlook 2015.

In his sophomore season, the only other year in which he has played 16 games, he finished the campaign with eight sacks and 35 tackles (55 combined). Really, the idea of 2017 being his only good year is not as accurate as we might think.

That being said, I think it's more likely that we see another great year from him this upcoming season than seeing a disappointing one. This, of course, will end up being the main thing that determines his future in Dallas.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 1

Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence

The Dallas Cowboys front office really took a risk by tagging Lawrence this offseason. #90 was reportedly asking for an average of $17M per year in his long-term contract, which is Olivier Vernon kind of money.

So what if he puts a similar season or an even better one? Lawrence and his agent could end up asking for even more money. Perhaps in the 18 or 20 million dollars per year range. If that ends up being the case, the team will find itself in a tough position when trying to reach an agreement with its promising pass rusher.

Which leads us to the possibility of seeing the Cowboys franchise tagging Lawrence for the second consecutive season. Dallas will already be negotiating a contract extension with QB Dak Prescott, and things will get complicated. Even more if they decide to pursue a big-time free agent in March, such as Earl Thomas.

It would make sense, from a financial perspective, to hand the tag twice in consecutive years to D-Law. However, it shouldn't be the priority. If he plays like he did in 2017, the front office will be more than wise to extend him for good.

According to OverTheCap.com, the Cowboys will have approximately $50.6M. Seemingly, the team's cap woes will be over soon.

Fortunately, Lawrence didn't become a headache by threatening to holdout for offseason programs and even training camp. However, don't expect that to happen if he finds himself under the tag next year.

Careers in the NFL are short, so DeMarcus will surely want to get paid. If he keeps it up, he'll deserve it. As much as he deserves it, though, football is a cold business. If the Jones need to tag him, they will.

Do you think the Cowboys will franchise tag Lawrence in 2019?

Tell me what you think about "Will DeMarcus Lawrence Be Franchise Tagged Again in 2019?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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Star Blog

Without Looming Suspension, RB Ezekiel Elliott Should Shine In 2018

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys en Español: 3

NFL Films typically does a good job of exposing some truths around NFL teams. Whether through "Hard Knocks" or Amazon's new "All or Nothing" series, these documentaries do an excellent job of giving fans an inside look of their favorite teams.

If anything was revealed through the Cowboys' All or Nothing series on their 2017 season, it's that Ezekiel Elliott's suspension weighed heavy on his mind all year.

The Pro Bowl running back did not look, act, or play like himself while awaiting decision on his incoming suspension. And, once it was finally announced he would serve the six games, the entire team collapsed in Atlanta.

Despite the clear and detrimental effects Elliott's suspension had on the Cowboys' season, Zeke still put up more-than-respectable numbers; rushing for almost 1,000 yards and averaging a league leading 98.3 yards per game.

Now, Ezekiel Elliott enters a season with no doubts about his own availability. Scott Linehan gets to coach an offense that knows they will have their best player for the entire season barring major injury. And, Jason Garrett can lead his team without addressing questions about Elliott's future day in and day out.What Workload is Ezekiel Elliott Prepared for in 2018? 1

Of course, these effects aren't quantifiable. We can't sit here and say that without the pressure of court appearances and suspensions that Elliott will be worth "X" amount of more yards and "Y" more touchdowns.

But I do believe we can say, without question, that playing with a clear mind and without a looming suspension will breed the type of production we saw from Zeke his rookie year.

We can say that Elliott has had a weight lifted off his shoulders, and could be looking for revenge on a league he feels did him wrong.

And, for the Cowboys sake, I hope this is true. Because they are going to need Ezekiel Elliott to be even better than he ever has been if they hope to make a run at the Super Bowl in 2018.



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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: El Regreso de Randy Gregory

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Randy Gregory, Eagles
Eric Hartline / USA TODAY Sports

A sólo días de que los Dallas Cowboys aterricen en Oxnard, California para dar inicio a su training camp como todos los años, el equipo recibió excelentes noticias respecto a la selección de segunda ronda del 2015: Randy Gregory. Después de pasar todo el 2017 suspendido, el ala defensiva ha sido oficialmente reintegrado por la NFL.

Gregory, quien tuvo muchos problemas debido al uso de marihuana, ha pasado los últimos meses rehabilitándose para poder volver a vestir la estrella y volver al emparrillado. Los Cowboys, quienes siempre apoyaron a su joven jugador, sin duda estarán felices de verlo de vuelta en el equipo por motivos más allá que el football americano.

Sin duda alguna, antes de estar emocionados y felices por verlo en el campo intimidando a quarterbacks rivales, deberíamos estar alegres por el logro personal de Randy como un ser humano. Realmente hizo un esfuerzo consciente en un lugar en el que muchos se hubieran rendido y dejado sus sueños de ser parte de la NFL. Pero no lo hizo, y ahora, todos sus esfuerzos han valido la pena.

El siguiente paso en su lista por-hacer, es volver al campo y poco a poco, ganarse su puesto en el equipo y después, la titularidad. La última vez que vimos a Gregory en el campo, fue contra Philadelphia, en el final de temporada del 2016.

En este juego, Gregory mostró muchos destellos de lo que sería capaz de hacer semana tras semana en la liga y porque valió la pena nunca dejarlo ir, lo cual no hubiera tenido sentido hacer, dado que los Cowboys no les costaba nada (literalmente) mantenerlo en el equipo.

Sean Martin escribió un artículo recientemente en el que analiza este partido a fondo.

El potencial de Gregory es inmenso, suficiente incluso, para aventurarse a decir que se convertirá en el defensive end (ala defensiva) derecho antes de lo esperado. El reto más grande para el jugador de 25 años será regresar a una condición física óptima para la NFL.

Afortunadamente, a diferencia del 2016, Gregory no estará regresando a media temporada. Su llegada toma lugar justo a tiempo para el training camp, dándole tiempo para regresar a la forma en la que tiene que estar.

Una vez ahí, ¿qué tanto le tomará ganarse un rol más importante que el de Tyrone Crawford y Taco Charlton? A pesar de que prácticamente no lo hemos visto jugar en Dallas, sabemos el potencial que tiene para convertirse en un defensivo de suma importancia para los Cowboys.

Un año después de ver la mejor temporada en la carrera de DeMarcus Lawrence, los Cowboys tendrán el potencial de una estrella similar en el lado derecho de su línea defensiva. Gregory tiene una montaña que escalar para cumplir las expectativas de los aficionados, pero no será una sorpresa si lo logra.

Vaya, no olvidemos que si no fuera por sus problemas fuera del campo, hubiera sido seleccionado en el Top 10 del Draft del 2015. Tiene el potencial de conseguir diez sacks por temporada.

Con un poco de suerte, no nos equivocaremos en tenerle fe al jugador que ha tenido un gran viaje para llegar a este punto. El punto de ponerse el casco e ir a trabajar con su equipo.

Incluso si sólo llega a ser un jugador de rotación, sin duda será importante para el éxito del equipo. Entre DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving, Randy Gregory y el resto del talento que los Cowboys tienen en la línea defensiva, el equipo podría tener un frente de muy buena calidad.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: El Regreso de Randy Gregory" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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