Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

Which 5 Dallas Cowboys Will Shine in Their Contract Years?

John Williams

Published

on

Cowboys at Raiders: La'el Collins Faces Toughest Test Yet In Khalil Mack

Every year a number of players will enter a contract year looking to put together a good 16 game season to boost their resume ahead of free agency. For many of the players on the Dallas Cowboys, they will be seeing their first opportunity to hit free agency.

The premise of a contract year comes with some negative connotations. Players are often dinged for performance that occurs in a contract year but hasn't occurred at any other time in their career. However, in a what have you done for me lately league like the NFL, recent performance can change the perspective on a player.

Let's look at five Dallas Cowboys who will make themselves very marketable with a good year in 2019.

Note: For the purpose of this piece, we're assuming that Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper get long-term deals this offseason. Ezekiel Elliott is under contract for the 2020 offseason, so he doesn't apply.

La'el Collins, Offensive Tackle

The Dallas Cowboys offensive line continues to be a strength for the team as they head into the 2019 season and a big reason for that is the play they've gotten from Right Tackle La'el Collins. He hasn't been as good as his left tackle counterpart Tyron Smith, but Collins has been good. His ability to hold up against some of the better pass rushers in the league has been a pleasant surprise.

Collins, going into his fifth year in the league, has started 46 games, including 32 straight at right tackle for the Cowboys. Collins will only turn 26 this year and has a lot of years of good football left in him. Given that offensive lineman are at a premium in the NFL, Collins should expect a market for his services when he comes free after the 2019 season.

In 2019, Collins played the third most snaps at right tackle in the NFL. Pro Football Focus credited him with 46 pressures allowed and eight sacks, tied for fifth most at the tackle position.

Collins has a ton of experience, but could use a really good 2019 to solidify himself as one of the top free agents in 2020.

Anthony Brown, Cornerback

The Dallas Cowboys found a gem of a player in the sixth round of the 2016 draft. Next to Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, Anthony Brown was the best pick of that draft. Based on value for draft capital spent, only Prescott would be seen as more valuable.

Brown has been an excellent corner for the Cowboys. Primarily playing in the slot, but flexing to the outside when injuries arose. He's played with an edge for the secondary and has been equally good against the run as he's been in coverage.

Brown will likely remain the starter in nickel situations, but will see some competition from Jourdan Lewis and rookie Michael Jackson.

If Anthony Brown is able to put together another solid to good year, he should be able to find a team willing to give him a multi-year contract in the 2020 offseason, the Dallas Cowboys included. With Byron Jones coming during the 2020 offseason, it's possible that they could opt to keep Brown over Jones as Byron would likely demand a larger contract.

Maliek Collins

Dallas Cowboys DT Maliek Collins

Maliek Collins, Defensive Tackle

Just like Anthony Brown, Maliek Collins was a nice find in the 2016 NFL draft.

Selected in the third round that season, Collins finished with 27 total pressures and five sacks. Though the pressure numbers have stayed similar -- 30 in 2017 and 27 in 2018 -- the sack numbers have dropped off considerably -- two in 2017 and three in 2018.

Collins has been a valuable member of the Cowboys interior defensive line and has played some solid 3-tech defensive tackle for the team. He's had to slide over and play some 1-tech defensive tackle at times, like he did in 2017 when David Irving was the primary 3-tech.

Now, Collins has some competition in the form of rookie Trysten Hill. Hill was the highest interior defensive line selection since they took Marcus Spears to play 3-4 defensive end in the 2005 draft. Prior to Hill, the Cowboys hadn't spent a pick higher than a third on an interior defensive lineman.


This only increases the competition and the pressure for Collins heading into his contract year. He'll need a good training camp to keep up his role. Some luck with health would help, as injuries have prevented him from having a full offseason since being in the league.

If Collins can put together a similar season to his rookie year, he'll find himself with a market heading into free agency.

Randall Cobb, Wide Receiver

The Dallas Cowboys brought in Randall Cobb to be the team's heir apparent at slot receiver after Cole Beasley signed in Buffalo. Coming in on a one-year deal, Cobb has a lot to prove as he enters the later stages of his career.

After being a mainstay in the Green Bay Packers offense, Cobb was allowed to walk in free agency as injuries had caught up with the soon to be 29-year-old receiver.

Cobb has to prove he can stay healthy for a full season as he's only played 16 games once in his career. If he can stay healthy, he'll be a weapon for Dak Prescott and the offense. In five of his eight seasons, he's caught more than 60 passes and three times caught more than 79 passes. In two of those seasons where he didn't catch at least 60 passes, he played fewer than 10 games. The other one was his rookie season. He played 15 games that year, but only saw 31 targets in 2011.

Wide receivers have shown that they can maintain production through the latter part of their careers, but for Cobb to continue to get opportunities, he'll need to continue to have good health. In this offense where Dak Prescott loves to target the slot receiver, Cobb should have plenty of opportunities to prove he's still a valuable commodity in the NFL.

Byron Jones, Cornerback

Amidst all the contract talk surrounding Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and Ezekiel Elliott, it seems that Byron Jones might be the forgotten man in the Cowboys pay-day hierarchy. There hasn't been much talk of getting Jones an extension lately.

How the Cowboys handle Byron Jones could be similar to how they handled DeMarcus Lawrence. If you'll remember, after Lawrence had his break out year in 2017, the Dallas Cowboys opted to use the franchise tag on their elite edge rusher to make sure what he accomplished was repeatable.

Byron Jones finally experienced the breakout after finding a home at cornerback in Kris Richard's defense. The problem is, it only took him four years to find excellence. Most of that can be attributed to not having a home his first season and then playing out of position the following two when the Cowboys attempted to play him at safety.

Despite a lack of interceptions, Jones was one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL in 2018, but the Cowboys could be hedging their bets to see if he can do it again.

Jones is an incredible athlete with excellent coverage skills and if there's a weakness to his game, it's that he doesn't take the ball away. In Rod Marinelli's and Kris Richard's defenses, taking the ball away is of the utmost importance.

With a potentially big contract looming, Byron Jones may be forced to earn it in 2019 before getting paid in the 2020 offseason.

The Cowboys have a lot of contracts coming up at the end of this year that need to be taken care of, but these five are the most important contract years that will have the biggest impact on the success of the Dallas Cowboys.

Which Dallas Cowboys contract year player needs to have the best contract year?


Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

Advertisement
Comments

Dallas Cowboys

Inside The Numbers: Everything Points to Cowboys Win vs Dolphins

John Williams

Published

on

Tyron Smith, Byron Jones

On Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys (2-0) welcome the Miami Dolphins (0-2) to AT&T Stadium for week three of the NFL season. This game features two teams that are trending in vastly different directions. The Dallas Cowboys are one of the hottest teams to start the season and look to be positioning themselves for a run at the Super Bowl. The Miami Dolphins are heading the other direction as one of the worst teams in the NFL and positioning themselves for an opportunity to land the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft next spring.

While there are things the Dallas Cowboys can clean up, this game has the makings of a blowout at home against a Dolphins team that has allowed 102 points in their first two games.

The Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins have only played 14 times in the course of their history, with each winning seven of those contests. The Cowboys are 2-0 in the Jason Garrett era against the Dolphins with the last win coming in November of 2015.

That win in 2015 would be the last time that Tony Romo would start and win a game for the Dallas Cowboys. The next week against the Carolina Panthers, Romo would be lost for the season.

Though the NFL prides itself as an "any given Sunday" league because of the parity between teams, this is one of those games that has a Dallas Cowboys blowout win written all over it.

Points

With 66 points scored in two games, the Dallas Cowboys currently rank sixth in the NFL in points for. The top two teams in the league, the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots have each had a shot at the Dolphins. The Ravens scored 59 points in week one and the Patriots scored 43 in week two.

It stands to reason with Reshad Jones ruled out of Sunday's contest and Minkah Fitzpatrick now a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers that the Dallas Cowboys have a shot to score 40 points in this game. There's no reason to believe the Cowboys won't at least hit their 33 points per game average through the first two games of the season. Anything less than that would be the result of them taking their foot off the gas after generating a decent-sized lead.

On the flip side, the Dolphins have only scored 10 points in 2019. That was back in week one against the Ravens. In week two, they were shut out by the Patriots, which led to a change at the quarterback position. Josh Rosen will now be starting for the Dolphins, but their problems go beyond quarterback play, though it hasn't been good either.

Offensive Success Rate

The Miami Dolphins have run the fewest plays in the league and have the worst yards per play average in the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys average 7.6 yards per play, which is the best average in the league.

The Miami Dolphins have a league-worst offensive success rate of just 31%, per Sharp Football Stats. The league average success rate is 47%. Sharp Football Stats defines a successful play as one that gains at least "40% of yards-to-go on first down, 60% of yards-to-go on second down and 100% of yards-to-go on third or fourth down."

The Dallas Cowboys success rate of 57% is tied for first in the NFL through two weeks with the New England Patriots.

The Dolphins are going to have a really difficult time keeping up with the offensive efficiency of the Dallas Cowboys.

3 Stars from Dallas Cowboys Win over the Washington Redskins

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Devin Smith celebrates his touchdown against Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman (24) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Deep Passing

Going into week two, the Miami Dolphins have been very susceptible to the deep passing game. Now with 2018 first-round draft pick Minkah Fitzpatrick off to Pittsburgh in a trade earlier this week, the Dolphins secondary just became even more suspect. In the first two weeks of the season, the Miami Dolphins have allowed Lamar Jackson and Tom Brady to complete 5 of 7 passes beyond 20 yards downfield for 207 yards and three touchdowns.

In week one of the season, Lamar Jackson averaged 16.2 yards per attempt on 20 attempts. 16.2!!! That's an insane number. Tom Brady, in week two, only averaged 9.4 yards per attempt against the Dolphins. That's also a really good number but was only good for fourth in the NFL in week two.

Under Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore the Dallas Cowboys haven't been shy about taking shots down the field in the passing game. Through two weeks, Dak Prescott's completed six passes beyond 20 yards downfield and has an adjusted completion percentage of 87.5%. He's been incredibly accurate throwing the ball deep and should have opportunities for more big plays against the 0-2 Dolphins.


Running Game

Heading to week three, the Miami Dolphins have allowed the most rushing yards per game of any team in the NFL. Now some of that is due to getting behind really quickly and by a large number against the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots. Though they've allowed a lot of yards, they've also allowed the most first downs by rush in the NFL with 21.

This bodes extremely well for a Dallas Cowboys offense that was able to build big leads against the New York Giants and Washington Redskins over the first couple of weeks. Those big leads in the second half allowed Ezekiel Elliott and the offensive line to make their mark with the running game and grind out the clock.

Per Warren Sharp Football Stats, the Baltimore Ravens had a 54% rushing success rate against the Dolphins in week one. In week two, the New England Patriots had a rushing success rate of 60%. Both weeks were well above the average rushing success rate around the NFL.

Though the Dallas Cowboys rushing success rate is right at the league average of 47%, they're averaging 4.7 yards per carry and should see their success rate climb in week three against the Dolphins.

Cowboys' Defense Effective Despite Giving up Empty Yards

Sep 8, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) is hit by Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (90) during the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Pressure

Among quarterbacks with at least 20 dropbacks in 2019, both newly named starter Josh Rosen and former starter Ryan Fitzpatrick rank in the top six of the most frequently pressured quarterbacks in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. Their combined pressure rate of 44% would be the third most pressured in the NFL.

The 10 sacks between the two quarterbacks would tie for first in the NFL with Houston Texans Quarterback DeShaun Watson (who led the NFL in sacks last season.

Under pressure, Josh Rosen has a completion percentage of just 12.5% and he's thrown two interceptions. That's the worst completion percentage among quarterbacks with at least 20 dropbacks per PFF. Rosen has a passer rating of zero when pressured.

This doesn't bode well for the Miami Dolphins who will have to face DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn this week. An offensive line that has a lot of problems keeping the quarterback upright isn't going to be able to hold up against these two. If the Dolphins attempt to provide help on the edges, it will create opportunities for Maliek Collins and the rest of the interior defensive line.

This bodes well for a defense that has played well but hasn't looked like the dominant force many thought they'd be in the 2019 season. Facing the hapless Miami Dolphins, the Cowboys look like a team that's about to feast.

For the Dallas Cowboys, Dak Prescott has only been sacked one time.  He's getting the ball out much quicker in 2019 than he was in 2018. In 2019, Dak Prescott has the sixth-fastest time to attempt at 2.33 seconds per Pro Football Focus among quarterbacks with at least 25 dropbacks. In 2018, Prescott had the 10th slowest time at 2.66 seconds.  Per Pro Football Focus, Prescott is the least pressured quarterback in the NFL at this point of the season. He's only been pressured on 15.4% of his dropbacks.

Dak Prescott is making quicker decisions after the snap in 2019 because he has a greater understanding of what he's seeing before the snap. The Cowboys offense allows him to get a read of the defense with their use of pre-snap motion, which then allows Dak to know where he wants to go with the ball, once he's confirmed the coverage after the snap. This allows for Prescott to get rid of the ball much faster than he has in the past, which is why he's not getting pressured as much. Of course it helps that the offensive line is playing better to start the 2019 season than it was a year ago.

I don't see a way that the Miami Dolphins are going to be able to create enough consistent pressure to affect Prescott in the pocket. This week looks like another big game for Prescott and the passing offense.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The Dallas Cowboys will win this game. With the betting line set at 21 points, it would be a tremendous upset if the Cowboys didn't walk away with the W. Everything points to the Cowboys putting up their third double-digit win of the season and should be able to walk to another 30 point game for the offense. The Miami Dolphins are in tank mode and won't be able to put up much of a fight. When teams tank, it can kill morale and after trading two of their former first-round picks in Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick, it's obvious that the Dolphins are looking to the 2020 NFL Draft.

Prediction

The Dallas Cowboys win this game in a rout and the offensive stars continue their excellent start to the season. The defense gets a couple of takeaways and begins to hit their stride in the sack department with the return of Robert Quinn.

Dallas Cowboys 41 - Miami Dolphins 9


Continue Reading

Player News

Cowboys’ Trysten Hill to Make Regular Season Debut vs Dolphins?

John Williams

Published

on

Can DT Trysten Hill Best Maliek Collins' Rookie Stats From 2016?

A lot has been made of the Dallas Cowboys' decision to make 2019 second-round pick Trysten Hill inactive for the first two games of the regular season. With Taco Charlton also being inactive, people attempted to compare the two to make broad generalizations about Hill's present and future in the NFL. The problem is these two are vastly different players in different situations.

Speaking to 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Friday, Cowboys Vice President Stephen Jones talked about where Trysten Hill was in his development and ability. It sounds as if Hill is ready to make his regular-season debut for the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Trysten Hill will make his NFL debut Sunday vs. Miami. Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on @1053thefan: "He's ready to go. It's time for him to go. Rod's fired up about what he can bring to the table here. He's had a really good week of practice.

With Antwaun Woods and Tyrone Crawford likely out for this game, the Dallas Cowboys could use some help on the interior defensive line. Christian Covington and Maliek Collins are the only true defensive tackles set to be active for the Cowboys, which makes Hill's debut a foregone conclusion. With Crawford and Woods dealing with injuries Hill will have the opportunity to play a lot against a Miami Dolphins offensive line that has allowed 10 sacks in their first two games.

Crawford and Woods' absences means the Dallas Cowboys will have around 40-50 snaps to be distributed to the rest of the defensive line. Christian Covington will get the first shot to play the 1-technique defensive tackle. Kerry Hyder and Joe Jackson will get some of those Tyrone Crawford snaps since they can play both on the interior and on the edge like Crawford can.


There will be opportunities for Hill, especially if the Dallas Cowboys can get out to a big lead. If he's active, which all signs indicate he will be, then the Cowboys' coaching staff will use this game to get Hill as much experience as possible.

Trysten Hill is a player that Rod Marinelli and even Kris Richard are really excited about. They believe that he has what it takes to be an elite defensive tackle in the NFL, he just needs to refine certain aspects of his game. Hill has elite quickness and get off on the snap. He's very good at getting penetration and causing disruption in the backfield. He needs to work on his technique and playing with better leverage when engaged with blockers, but the tools and the effort are there for Marinelli to turn him into the dominant 3-technique defensive tackle that they've been looking for.

Facing the Miami Dolphins on Sunday will is an excellent opportunity for Trysten Hill to get some experience and earn opportunities to be on the gameday roster in the future.

Trysten Hill has the skills to be a force for the Dallas Cowboys. With the depth that the Cowboys have along the defensive line, it's not always possible to bring everyone you have to the gameday roster. With injuries and earned opportunities, the time has come for Trysten Hill to get an opportunity to show his skills in the regular season. That's a good thing for the Dallas Cowboys. Not so much for Josh Rosen and the Miami Dolphins.


Continue Reading

Game Notes

Could OC Kellen Moore Be More “Vanilla” Against Dolphins This Week?

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Kellen Moore, Jason Garrett, Dak Prescott

The Cowboys are sort of in a no-win situation this Sunday.

If they come out and dominate the openly tanking Miami Dolphins, they'll have done exactly what they should do. But, if they lose to this putrid roster or lose one of their key players to injury, then this week three game would be considered a disaster.

So how should the Cowboys approach the Miami Dolphins?

Something tells me that new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore may look more "basic" than usual this week. Heralded for his creativity over the first two games, Moore may not want to show too much against the lowly Dolphins. Especially if the Cowboys can simply impose their will, a la the 2016 offensive gameplan.

Running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard should expect a lot of inside and outside zone opportunities this week, with each having a chance to have their best individual performances of the season. Tight end Blake Jarwin and wide receiver Devin Smith could see a lot of opportunities through the air as well, as the Cowboys may want to avoid putting Amari Cooper in situations which could cause injury.


Kellen Moore may want to come out firing with Dak Prescott and this dynamic passing game at first to get a quick lead, and then look to shorten the game as much as possible with his running game.

Honestly, as much as Cowboys Nation may not like it, I wouldn't be shocked if Miami covered this lofty 23 point spread. Dallas could look to get up a couple touchdowns, then proceed to sit on the ball and just look to get out of the stadium alive. Especially considering that the schedule gets much more difficult in the weeks following this Miami game.

With key NFC matchups against the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, and Philadelphia Eagles looming large, health is the most important factor this week against the Dolphins.

Well, health and winning, of course.


Continue Reading
Cowboys News App - Sidebar Large Block



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending