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Which Dallas Cowboys Free Agents Will Be Back in 2019?

John Williams

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Has the Time Come to Bid Farewell to WR Cole Beasley?

The Dallas Cowboys have several important decisions to make this offseason as they approach free agency and the draft. Will they make a splash and be spenders this year with high priced players like Earl Thomas and Landon Collins available? Will they continue to go the conservative route and resign their own players and just get their toes wet in free agency?

The first question we have to answer as the Dallas Cowboys begin roster building is which of their expiring contracts will they look to bring back for the 2019 season and beyond?

Below are each of the Dallas Cowboys free agents heading into the offseason and a "confidence rating" describing how confident I am that they'll return to the Dallas Cowboys for 2019.

It's a 0 ✭’s means I don’t believe the player will be back. Five ✭’s means I’m locking them into the 2019 depth chart right now.

DeMarcus Lawrence, Defensive End

When Stephen Jones and Jason Garrett both say that getting a long-term deal done with DeMarcus Lawrence is a high priority, you can bet that they are going to do everything they can to get a long-term deal done with DeMarcus Lawrence.

The only question here is whether they'll have to use the franchise tag on Lawrence or not. Their hope is to get a contract done for Lawrence prior to the free agency period opening. They wouldn't want Lawrence to get to free agency where teams like the Indianapolis Colts -- with nearly twice as much cap space as the Cowboys -- could make Lawrence an offer he can't refuse to upgrade their pass rush.

This is where the franchise tag comes in. If they use it, they get to spend the Spring negotiating with their Pro Bowl defensive end. Lawrence proved last year that he's willing to play on the franchise tag and if they weren't able to come to a contract agreement, would likely do the same this year.

DeMarcus Lawrence is coming back.

Confidence Rating: ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Cole Beasley, Wide Receiver

I've gone back and forth on whether not Cole Beasley would return all season. Heading into the offseason, I wasn't very confident that Beasley returns because of what's gone on under Scott Linehan in 2018. Let's just say, I was more confident in his return Tuesday morning before reading Cole Beasley's accusations that the front office was dictating who got the football in the passing game. Cole Beasley was asked a question and in typical Cole Beasley form, he answered it. He further explained his comments on Wednesday when he said this:

Cole Beasley on Twitter

Some are misunderstanding my point. EVERY team's gameplan in pro sports is dictated by the front office. Big free agent additions, high draft picks, etc are going to get the most opps. And I'm not mad at that! Lol I just want to help my team win. All good players want the rock.

This makes much more sense than the Cowboys front office is telling the coaches who to get the ball too, though I still disagree. Amari Cooper operates in similar spots to Cole Beasley and with Dak Prescott's penchant for spreading the ball around, it means some games, one of their better receivers may not get the ball. See Amari Cooper for a couple games down the stretch.

Do I believe that Jerry Jones or Stephen Jones were telling the coaching staff where to focus in the passing game? No and neither should you. Do I believe that he was somewhat phased out of the offense? Yes. Even the casual fan could see that the Cowboys passing game didn't really look Beasley's way much through the first 58 minutes of games. When the Cowboys went hurry-up, which allowed Dak Prescott to manipulate the play call, Beasley was much more involved.

Before he made those comments on Twitter on Tuesday, I would have put the odds at a return at about 50/50. He wants more opportunity, and perhaps the new offensive coordinator can sell him on more opportunities in 2019.

Cole Beasley is still an excellent wide receiver, but he'll turn 30 in April and if past history suggests how the Cowboys will approach Beasley, then he won't be back.

They don't like to pay age.

Confidence Rating: ✭ ✭

Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver

Tavon Austin was the epitome of Much Ado About Nothing this season as he came in with a ton of hype but had a really hard time living up to it because of usage and injury.

Austin played only 115 snaps on offense and 26 snaps on special teams this season. That's less than Deonte Thompson who was only with the team for half the year.

Austin only played in 10 games this season and caught only eight passes on 13 targets. He did have two touchdowns and averaged 17.5 yards per reception, but the Cowboys never fully committed to using him in the offense and so his impact was limited.

On special teams, the coaching staff didn't trust him enough as the full time kick or punt returner. He showed what he's capable of in the playoffs when he hit a couple big returns against the Seattle Seahawks -- though one was called back by a penalty.

Confidence Rating: ✭ ✭

Geoff Swaim, Tight End

Geoff Swaim's 2018 season got off to a pretty good start as the starting tight end for the Dallas Cowboys. Sadly it ended with him going on IR and the two tight ends behind him, Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz emerged in his absence.

The Cowboys are looking toward the NFL draft with sites set on a deep tight end class that has a lot of really intriguing options in the top 100.

Swaim is a team favorite. A guy who will do what's asked in both the passing game and the running game. I can see a scenario where they bring him back to fill out their tight end room, if the money is right, and draft a player to develop.

As in everything in free agency, it depends on the money.

Confidence Rating: ✭ ✭

Cameron Fleming, Offensive Tackle

Cameron Fleming was an important offseason signing in 2018. After the debacle of 2017, highlighted by the Atlanta Falcons game where Dak Prescott took eight sacks, they needed to do something. Neither Chaz Green or Byron Bell could block anyone that day, which led to Dak Prescott not trusting his protection, even in the early part of this season.

The Cowboys had to shore up their depth at tackle in the event that Tyron Smith missed games, which he did. They should look to bring Fleming back on a one to two year deal to continue being the swing tackle. Fleming may want to go find a starting job and there will likely be options out there for him if he wants him, but I'd be going a bit above market value on a contract to bring him back as Tyron Smith has missed games in each of the last three seasons. Having a tackle who can play both sides of the offensive line and play with some effectiveness is important.

See Joe Looney.

Confidence Rating: ✭ ✭ ✭

David Irving, Defensive Tackle

I've long been an advocate for having David Irving a part of the Dallas Cowboys because he possesses elite traits as a 3-technique defensive tackle. The problem is that he was absent for much of the season, first because of a high ankle sprain he suffered after coming back from his suspension and then because of personal reasons.

Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones has long taken chances on troubled players who have ability, to give them an opportunity to turn their lives around and to this point. Whatever's going on in his personal life has kept him away from the team for the vast majority of this season, leaning many to question if David Irving even wants to play football.

Based on talent alone, I'd bring him back, but at a one year incentive laden contract.

Confidence Rating: ✭

Damien Wilson, Linebacker

Damien Wilson isn't the best linebacker in the world, but as a Strong side linebacker, he's pretty effective. He's good at setting the edge in the running game and offers some pass rushing ability as well.

Wilson was second among linebackers for the Dallas Cowboys with 4 total pressures and tied with Sean Lee for second at the position in sacks with one. Wilson isn't someone you want playing a major role in nickel or dime packages, but he brings something to the table on early downs and helps you on special teams.

If he wants to be back and the money's right, I would think the front office tries to bring him back. He's a good fourth or fifth linebacker for your squad and they like to resign their own guys, but they could also look to the draft to fill his role.

Confidence Rating: ✭ ✭

Rod Smith, Running Back

Running back Rod Smith isn't the most explosive number two running back in the NFL, but he's been a solid contributor who averaged 2.6 touches per game. He played a lot on special teams and that matters to the franchise.

I believe they look to draft a running back this offseason, but that shouldn't preclude them from resigning Smith. There are a lot of big names in the running back free agent market this season and so there may not be a lot of money or opportunity to find more of a role elsewhere.

Confidence Rating: ✭

Jamize Olawale, Full Back

Do the Dallas Cowboys even know how to use a full back. Jamize Olawale only played 10% of the snaps this season. The only players to play fewer than Olawale were; Noah Brown, Adam Redmond (reserve guard), Terrance Williams (injured reserve after week three), Darius Jackson (end of season practice squad call up), Lance Lenoir (end of season practice squad call up), Jourdan Lewis (defensive back), Cooper Rush (back up quarterback), and Brice Butler (only played three snaps before being released week 3).

This team doesn't value a full back and doesn't use one much either, therefore they shouldn't really have one. They can use Dalton Schultz in an h-back role that does some lead blocking for Elliott, or draft a tight end to fill that role.

I'm pretty confident in saying that the Cowboys won't be bringing Olawale back. He just finished a contract that was paying him $2 million a year. 0% chance they bring him back at that money and there's zero chance he he would want to come back to play 10% of the Cowboys snaps in 2019

Confidence Rating:

L.P. Ladouceur, Long Snapper

After DeMarcus Lawrence, what happens with L.P. Ladouceur is the most concerning free agent for me. The long-snapper has been with the Cowboys since 2005 and has snapped in 221 games for them. In all those years watching the team, I can't remember a bad snap.

Ladouceur will turn 38 in March, so the question, as it was last offseason is more about if he wants to keep playing or not. The Cowboys will want him back and if he wants to play, he'll do so with a star on his helmet. Eventually, every player runs out of steam for the grind of an NFL season.

Confidence Rating: ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Other Free Agents

Daniel Ross, Defensive Tackle

Defensive Tackle, Daniel Ross was effective on a limited basis for the Dallas Cowboys. He provided some penetration at the 1-technique defensive tackle position and finished the season with 14 tackles, one sack, three tackles for loss, ten total pressures, eight stops (according to Pro Football Focus) and seven quarterback hits.

For the Cowboys and Ross it will be about the money. They like him as a reserve defensive tackle.

Confidence Rating: ✭ ✭ ✭

Caraun Reid, Defensive Tackle

Caraun Reid had a similar season to Daniel Ross this offseason. Seldom used, but effective at times at stopping the run and generating pressure from the Dallas Cowboys interior. He finished the season with 10 tackles, 0.5 sacks, one tackle for loss, three quarterback hits, nine stops, and 10 total pressures.

Age will be a bigger factor heading into his contract negotiations as he'll turn 28 next November. If it were to come down to Ross or Reid, I believe they'd opt for the younger of the two, that being Ross.

Confidence Rating: ✭

Datone Jones, Defensive Tackle

Prior to being put on injured reserve in week four of the NFL Season, Datone Jones had only played in one game. He played five snaps against the Seattle Seahawks and didn't record a stat in that game. Datone Jones will be 29 in July and will likely be on his way out the door. The Cowboys will look to add a defensive tackle in the draft.

Confidence Rating: ✭

Justin March-Lillard, Linebacker

This team likes Justin March-Lillard and his ability to play both the middle and weak side spots at linebacker. He's a developmental project who could earn more of a role this season if the Dallas Cowboys resign him and the likelihood that Sean Lee will no longer be on the roster.

Confidence Rating: ✭ ✭ ✭

Marcus Martin, Guard

Marcus Martin is a developmental depth player for the Dallas Cowboys who had to be put on IR week one of this season. He's only 23, but with Connor Williams likely staking his claim at left guard, Patrick Ehringer back next season to add depth on the interior and Xavier Su'a Filo still under contract for the 2019 season, the Cowboys will likely move on from Marcus Martin this offseason.

Confidence Rating:

Darian Thompson, Safety

Darian Thompson was on the active roster for 10 games in 2018, but didn't record a single stat. He played only one snap on defense and 54 snaps on special teams. Safety is a high priority this offseason as they look to solidify their defense with either a big name free agent target or through the draft. Thompson will be moving on.

Confidence Rating:

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

A lot of decisions still have to be made as the Cowboys front office lays out their game plan for how they’ll improve the roster over the next five or six months. Like the NFL season is a grind, the offseason is as well. When it comes to the Dallas Cowboys, there will be no shortage of rumors, reports, and breaking news.

Stick around Inside The Star for all the latest in Dallas Cowboys news and analysis.



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3 Biggest Non-Divisional Games on the Dallas Cowboys 2019 Schedule

John Williams

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The Dallas Cowboys Are Legit Contenders

There hasn't been a repeat champion of the NFC East since the early 2000's when the Philadelphia Eagles won three in a row from 2002-2004. Unfortunately, history is already against the Dallas Cowboys repeating as division champions again in 2019. For the Cowboys to repeat as NFC East champs, they'll have to navigate a tough slate of opponents.

That's the reward of winning your division.

Though much can change in the next five months as the NFL prepares to play football games that matter in September, there are already key matchups for this young Dallas Cowboys team. We know the NFC East is always a difficult division to play in. The rivalries make for a lot of close games. The Cowboys have to play well in the division to have a shot at winning the division. But with the schedule they have, they'll have to win some contests that they probably shouldn't to stake their claim as Super Bowl contenders.

Divisional games are always important, but let's take a look at the three games outside the division that will have the greatest impact on the fortunes of the Dallas Cowboys 2019 season.

1. Week 4 - Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints

The Cowboys have an opportunity to get off to a hot start in the first quarter of the season with games at home against the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins, and a road game against the Washington Redskins. There's a legitimate chance for them to start the season 3-0.

Whatever momentum they do gain in the first three games of the season could all come to a screeching halt with a tough week four matchup in New Orleans.

New Orleans has been a tough place to play in the Sean Payton and Drew Brees eras. The Dallas Cowboys defense will have a tough test attempting to slow down the high scoring Saints offense two years in a row.

When the two teams met in 2018, the Dallas Cowboys defense completely dominated the Saints. On that day, they held the Saints to 176 total yards (111 passing and 65 rushing) and an amazing 3 for 11 on third downs. It was especially impressive because the Cowboys only had two sacks and one turnover in the game. The Saints just couldn't find a rhythm as the Cowboys came with a lot of energy and physicality. It was a defining moment for this young defense and gave us a picture of what they could possibly be.

If the Dallas Cowboys can find a way to win this game and potentially start the season 4-0, it would be huge for their playoff hopes.

On the flip side, if the Dallas Cowboys start the season 2-1, they could be going into New Orleans with the possibility of starting the season 2-2. The pressure would be incredible for the Cowboys the rest of the way with the slate of teams they have at the end of the season.

The Cowboys have to leave the first quarter of the season at worst 3-1 to have a shot at the playoffs in 2019.

2. Week 14 - Dallas Cowboys @ the Chicago Bears

The toughest part of the Dallas Cowboys schedule always comes around the Thanksgiving day game, and this season is no different. Starting with their week 12 game at the New England Patriots, the Cowboys will play three games in 12 days culminating with their week 14 game against the Chicago Bears.

The Bears, coming off an NFC North title in 2018, are similar to the Dallas Cowboys. They boast an incredible defense with one of the best pass rushers in the NFL and a young an improving offense.

Playing in Chicago is always a tough task, but doing so in December is a tall order. Doing so after going to New England, then playing at home, then going back on the road seems like an impossible task.

It's a game that will likely be a grind-it-out affair, as both teams want to run the ball and play defense. Depending on what happens in the previous two games, this could be a must-win to start the final quarter of the season.

3. Week 15 - Los Angeles Rams @ Dallas Cowboys

The rematch of the NFC Divisional round matchup is just another in a long line of important conference matchups for the Dallas Cowboys. It will be a very important game for the Cowboys because it will be a home game after their three games in 12 days stretch. They'll have to go to Foxboro and Chicago in a span of 12 days, which makes for tough travel.

Facing a Los Angeles Rams team that absolutely dominated the Dallas Cowboys defense is an opportunity for redemption, but will have huge implications on the playoff standings for the NFC.

The Cowboys and Rams could both be leading their divisions at this point in the season, which would make this game important for seeding. Or, they could be fighting for a wild card berth. Either way, a conference game this late in the season has huge consequences in the way the tie breakers shake out.

This one will carry an emotional importance as well.

The way the 2018 season ended for this club, especially on the defensive side of the ball, left a lot of players -- and fans -- with a bad taste in their mouths. It completely changed the way a lot of people view a defense that finished in the top 10 in most major defensive categories. The loss to the Rams was one of the worst defensive performances of the season and it came at the worst time of the season.

Not only was the defense bad, but the running game was terrible that day too. Ezekiel Elliott only managed 47 yards on 20 carries for one of the worst rushing performances of his career. It took a really good second half from Dak Prescott and the passing game to get the Cowboys within one score with a shot to get the ball back at the end of the game.

If the Cowboys can get revenge for that playoff loss, it would do a lot for the morale of this team heading into the final two weeks of the season.

These conference games will have huge implications for the Cowboys and their playoff hopes. Though the NFC East will have a bigger impact on their ability to win the division, how they fare in these three games will give us a better understanding of the legitimacy of their contender status. Each of these games is against the team that won the division the previous season. If they can go 2-1 against this quality of competition, then we'll know this is a team to be reckoned with heading into January.



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Dallas Cowboys 2019 Schedule: Reaction and Analysis

Jess Haynie

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Dak Prescott/Carson Wentz Is No Rivalry, And There's Only One Side To Blame

The full NFL 2019 regular season schedule was released last night. Here is my reaction to the Dallas Cowboys' schedule and analysis of how what I think it means for them next season.

Of course, a schedule can have a very different feel come September-December than it does in April. The teams don't change, but their circumstances can be wildly altered by the time they actually have to take the field.

Just ask the Cowboys' opponents from the 2015 season. Nobody was looking forward to playing that Dallas team coming off its 12-4 playoff run the year before. But all it took was a Tony Romo injury in the preseason to suddenly make the Cowboys a cupcake.

But for now, we can only react to what we know. Before we dive in, here's a quick reminder of the complete 2019 regular season schedule for the Dallas Cowboys.

    • Week 1: New York Giants @ Cowboys
    • Week 2: Cowboys @ Washington Redskins
    • Week 3: Miami Dolphins @ Cowboys 
    • Week 4: Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints (SNF)
    • Week 5: Green Bay Packers @ Cowboys
    • Week 6: Cowboys @ New York Jets
    • Week 7: Philadelphia Eagles @ Cowboys (SNF)
    • Week 8: BYE
    • Week 9: Cowboys @ New York Giants  (SNF)
    • Week 10: Minnesota Vikings @ Cowboys (MNF)
    • Week 11: Cowboys @ Detroit Lions
    • Week 12: Cowboys @ New England Patriots
    • Week 13: Buffalo Bills @ Cowboys (T'giving)
    • Week 14: Cowboys @ Chicago Bears (TNF)
    • Week 15: Los Angeles Rams @ Cowboys
    • Week 16: Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
    • Week 17: Washington Redskins @ Cowboys

We already knew this wasn't going to be an easy slate. The Cowboys won the NFC East last year, meaning they were guaranteed to play against four division winners this season; Bears, Patriots, Rams, and Saints. They also get the regular two games against the Eagles, who were a Wild Card team last year.

Let's just talk about those six games for a minute. New England is still New England; Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will ensure that it's one of the toughest games of the year, and especially on the road. The Patriots have won 12-straight home games going back to 2017.

The Bears and Rams are both rising teams that shouldn't suffer any drop off next year. Chicago QB Mitch Trubisky is entering his third year and LA's Jared Goff will be in his fourth season, but only third in Sean McVay's offense. Both have starting QBs with rookie contacts, which means having the resources to load up on talent elsewhere on the roster.

Much like the Patriots, the Saints still have their franchise QB and coach and should remain a top team. They will also be out for blood after the Cowboys humiliated them last season, as will their fans, and that could make for a very tough road game in New Orleans.

Then, of course, there are the Eagles.

Eagles vs Redskins Tonight; What Outcome is Best for Cowboys?

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

The NFC East appears to be a two-horse race in 2019. The Giants are arguably the worst team in the NFL right now and the Redskins are dealing with major QB problems. It should be Dallas and Philadelphia once again battling for the top spot.

The Cowboys and Eagles should both get some cushy wins against their fellow division opponents. It could come down to their games against each other, and so far Dallas has dominated Philly when Carson Wentz is playing QB. With Nick Foles gone, how will that impact the Eagles going forward?

As for the rest of the schedule, the only other game that seems easy on paper is against the Miami Dolphins. Teams like the Bills, Jets, and Lions could go either way. The Packers and Vikings should both be tough opponents.

The teams aside, the general layout of the schedule isn't bad. The Week 8 bye is nice for a break right in the middle of the season. Dallas only has to play back-to-back road games one time, Weeks 11 and 12 against the Lions and Patriots.

The first three games against the Giants, Redskins, and Dolphins give Dallas a great opportunity to start the year right and build momentum. They will definitely need to go into December with some cushion, because that stretch against the Bears, Rams, and Eagles could be very difficult.

Overall it's a solid schedule. It's got some tough spots because of the Cowboys' performance last year, but that means they were a good team then and they stand to be even better now. There's nothing here that prevents Dallas from building on the success of 2018 and making then an ever better season.



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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys 2019 Regular Season Schedule Announced

Mauricio Rodriguez

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys against Philadelphia

Although we're still months away from the 2019 NFL season, we finally know how the Dallas Cowboys' games will line up this year. The entire league schedule was just released. I know just how much you want to know who the Cowboys will be playing each week so don't let me keep you.

Here's the full 2019 Dallas Cowboys schedule and a few notes at the end. Enjoy!

  • Week 1: New York Giants @ Cowboys
    • Sun, Sep 8th, 3:25p
  • Week 2: Cowboys @ Washington Redskins
    • Sun, Sep 15th, 12:00p
  • Week 3: Miami Dolphins @ Cowboys 
    • Sun, Sep 22nd, 12:00p
  • Week 4: Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints
    • Sunday Night Football
    • Sep, 29th, 7:20p
  • Week 5: Green Bay Packers @ Cowboys
    • Sun, Oct 6th, 3:25p
  • Week 6: Cowboys @ New York Jets
    • Sun, Oct 13th, 3:25p
  • Week 7: Philadelphia Eagles @ Cowboys
    • Sun, Oct 20th, 7:20p
  • Week 8: Bye
  • Week 9: Cowboys @ New York Giants 
    • Monday Night Football
    • Mon, Nov 4th, 7:15p
  • Week 10: Minnesota Vikings @ Cowboys
    • Sun, Nov 10th, 7:20p
  • Week 11: Cowboys @ Detroit Lions
    • Sun, Nov 17th, 12:00p
  • Week 12: Cowboys @ New England Patriots
    • Sun, Nov 24th, 3:25p
  • Week 13: Buffalo Bills @ Cowboys
    • Thanksgiving Day
    • Thu, Nov 28th, 3:30p
  • Week 14: Cowboys @ Chicago Bears
    • Thursday Night Football
    • Thu, Dec 4th, 7:20p
  • Week 15: Los Angeles Rams @ Cowboys
    • Sun, Dec 15th, 3:25p
  • Week 16: Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
    • Sun, Dec 22nd, 3:25p
  • Week 17: Washington Redskins @ Cowboys
    • Sun, Dec 29th, 12:00p

A few notes and thoughts...

  • It feels like the Cowboys play the Giants on week 1 just about every year. In 2018 it was the Carolina Panthers, but now we're back to watching this divisional matchup early on.
  • I love that the Cowboys and Saints will matchup against each other on primetime on week 3. Last season's Thursday Night game between the two was one of the best games of the season.
  • Having a bye week right in the middle of the season is pretty ideal, and the Cowboys have been lucky in this regard lately. This time they'll rest on the eight week of the season.
  • Overall, this seems like a tougher calendar than last year's. This only makes sense given that the Cowboys are the current NFC East champions and are bound to face tougher opponents.
  • A particularly tough stretch might take place from week 12 to week 17. The Patriots, Bears and Rams will be on the list as well as two divisional rivals in the Eagles and Redskins.

Tell me what you think about "BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys 2019 Regular Season Schedule Announced" 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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