Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

Who Benefits the Most from Randy Gregory’s Cowboys Camp Absence?

Sean Martin



Cowboys Headlines - How Benson Mayowa Benefits from Randy Gregory's Training Camp Absence 1

Hey you! Yes, you, Inside The Star reader and presumed Dallas Cowboys fan. How many career NFL sacks do you have?

If you answered zero, then congratulations. You are only two career sacks behind the two Cowboys' defensive ends that we are about to talk about. (Note: If your answer was not zero, please book the next available flight to Oxnard, California and line up at DE for the Dallas Cowboys).

Cowboys Nation on Twitter

Tony Romo is only 9.5 sacks behind the current career sack leaders on the Cowboys roster.

The state of the Cowboys' pass rush is in complete dismay, with news dropping on Tuesday that the already-suspended Randy Gregory will miss training camp due to another series of failed drug tests that forced him to check into a rehab facility. Of course, these failed drug tests for Gregory will also lengthen the amount of games that his suspension will last, which could now be anywhere from 10-14 games.

While this news was certainly rattling, fans that were expecting a lot of production come week 5 from Randy Gregory were probably overly optimistic about this team's pass rush entering 2016. Even with all the camp reps that Gregory could have been getting, the second year player would best be treated as a rookie defensive end come his return to the field, and rookie defensive ends don't burst onto the scene to terrorize quarterbacks.

Now, even those summer training camp snaps against the best offensive line in football are gone for Gregory, and Benson Mayowa will benefit the most. Mayowa was the team's answer this off season to this glaring need at defensive end that has existed for far too long, being signed to a three year deal that was not matched by the Oakland Raiders.

At first glance, teams do not let quality young pass rushers slip away like the Raiders did here, but Mayowa actually started his career in Seattle - being waived after just two games. An unproven player stuck behind a solid starter, with all the physical abilities and tools to become an impact player, is exactly what the Cowboys needed to deliver to Rod Marinelli - the defensive coordinator that gets the best out of every pass rusher - and Mayowa is exactly that.

Under DC Rod Marinelli, the Cowboys defense has become known for its rotation along the defensive line. The term "starter" has become a relative role, as waves of pass rushers throw different looks at opposing offenses throughout the game. While this will certainly continue to some extent in 2016, the first shot at the right defensive end position is going to go to the 25 year old Benson Mayowa.

The potential rotational depth backing up Mayowa on the right side certainly isn't stunning, as the likes of Charles Tapper and Jack Crawford could see the most chances behind him. Benson Mayowa, in his first training camp with the Dallas Cowboys, is now going to get a golden opportunity to get incredibly valuable reps against the likes of Tyron Smith and the rest of Dallas' offensive line.

The Dallas Cowboys knew they could offer Benson Mayowa the chance he had yet to be given in the National Football League, but they certainly didn't expect to not be able to work with Randy Gregory this summer. Instead, they'll work with Mayowa, who should be ready to put his head down and get to work on each and every snap.

If Mayowa is unable to prove with this expanded role throughout camp that he can be relied on to any extent as a pass rusher for this defense, he is going to be forced to watch the Cowboys look outside the current roster for help at defensive end. In just the first year of his first long-term contract, this would certainly catch the attention of and hopefully motivate Mayowa into becoming even more productive for the Cowboys during the season.

The Dallas Cowboys are preparing to enter a season in which they have Super Bowl aspirations, while simultaneously relying on Benson Mayowa to put pressure on the opposition's quarterback...and there might not be a whole lot wrong with it.

Do you think Benson Mayowa can take advantage of his opportunity with the Cowboys during training camp? Share your expectations for the newly-signed DE by commenting below or emailing

Tell us what you think about "Who Benefits the Most from Randy Gregory’s Cowboys Camp Absence?" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Pleasant NJ, no we're not how you think we are. Host of "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL.

Player News

Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson

Jess Haynie



Deonte Thompson

The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.

Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.

Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.

Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.

For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.

Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys: How “Position-Flex” Has Handcuffed The 2015 Draft Class

Kevin Brady



Byron Jones

Over the last few years the Dallas Cowboys have placed a high level of importance on "position flex." They've drafted Swiss-Army knife players which could be moved around to different positions on the field.

By drafting players like Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Woods last year, as well as Byron Jones in 2015, the Cowboys have tried to find these versatile players who can be used in multiple ways.

While this seems great on paper, this strategy has handcuffed the majority of their 2015 Draft Class, and is a key reason why the Cowboys seem to be in such a tough spot.

Byron Jones

The Cowboys' first round pick in 2015, Byron Jones, quickly became a favorite of mine during his rookie season. Incredibly athletic, long, and skilled in coverage, Jones was able to be both a fantastic cover cornerback and a solid middle-of-the-field safety due to his range.

Due to both injuries to his teammates, and Jones' own versatility, the Cowboys coaching staff couldn't keep Jones in just one spot. Once they discovered how great he was in man coverage against tight ends, they became enamored with trying to play him in the box.

Once in the box, Jones' struggles as a run defender were highlighted, and both the organization and the fans soured on him quickly.

Now it is rumored that Byron Jones will be moving back to cornerback full time. And while I do hope this is the case, the fact that he is in year four, and the Cowboys haven't been able to find their first round pick a permanent home is a huge indictment on their ability to evaluate and develop talent.

Chaz Green

Okay, hear me out.

The former third round pick of the 2015 Draft was brought in to be the swing tackle for the Cowboys his rookie year. Mainly due to injuries, Green did not see the field for much of his first two seasons. When he did fill in for Tyron Smith at left tackle in 2016, however, Green was very effective.

Of course, Chaz Green's last appearance with the Cowboys was ugly, giving up a plethora of sacks against the Atlanta Falcons. But Dallas might've made their own bed with Green during the beginning of the 2017 season, when they attempted to move him to left guard full time.

Instead of getting the increased work at tackle, and continuing to work as the swing tackle for the team in case of injury, Dallas started Green at left guard early on in the year. He struggled trying to move positions, and looked even worse when trying to move back to tackle.

Once again, the position flex bit the Cowboys right in the backside.

La'el Collins

It's 2018 and we are still talking about what position to play La'el Collins on the offensive line. And that is solely on the coaching staff and front office, not Collins.

Collins was brought in as an undrafted free agent in 2015, but was widely regarded as a first round pick heading into that draft. Though he started at left tackle at LSU, Dallas shifted Collins inside to left guard in 2015. After taking over for Ronald Leary as the starter, Collins produced highlight blocks week after week.

Injuries shortened his 2016 campaign, but heading into 2017 the Cowboys decided to shift him back out to right tackle. Despite some early struggles, Collins progressed nicely throughout the year and became a solid starting right tackle. Plus, he has the upside to become one of the top right tackles in the league.

Instead, it is now being rumored the Cowboys might move him back to guard for 2018. And with that news, I continue to pull my hair out over the position-flex decisions this coaching staff and front office like to make.

If the Cowboys want to get the most out of each draft class, and effectively develop their talent, they need to let those players actually develop, rather than move them around each season. Hopefully they now understand this, and allow both Byron Jones and La'el Collins to reach their full potential.

Continue Reading

Player News

Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

Sean Martin



Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.

The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.

Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.

A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.

Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

Continue Reading

Reader Survey

Want to help make Inside The Star better?

We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.

> Take the survey now

Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).

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