ESPN.com NFC East blogger Matt Mosley said in an entry yesterday that the Cowboys made the right decision in drafting Ware over Merriman.
Of course being a Cowboys fan I agree with his assessment, but the only way to truly find out is to simply break down the numbers.
Shawne Merriman, better known as “Lights Out,” was drafted by the Chargers out of Maryland 5 years ago. So far he has amassed an impressive total of 39.5 sacks, his career high coming in 2006 when he notched 17.
That was also the same year that Merriman tested positive for steroids and missed four games, dashing any hopes of breaking the all time sack record.
Delving deeper into Merriman’s stats, in 2007 he had an imposing six sacks in the month of December. If you can recall, that’s the year that the Chargers went to the AFC Championship to face the Patriots.
Shawne had an ok showing in the playoffs that season where he totaled 13 tackles and one sack. However he did have a game or two where he had four or five tackles where he wasn’t really noticeable.
Within the AFC, Merriman does his best work against the Kansas City Chiefs where he sacked their main signal caller four times and had 16 tackles in 2007.
Shawne missed all of last season with a knee injury, which will probably take him at least a season and a half to fully recover from. Will his sack totals decrease due to lack of burst off the line?
Shawne has never had over 70 tackles in a season, so will his tackle total suffer as well?
At first look it seems as if the Chargers were right in their choice. Merriman has a motor that never quits and gives 110% on the field.
However there is a cloud of deceit around his true abilities. Did the steroids contribute to the 17 sacks or was it just pure strength and skill?
Moving on to DeMarcus Ware.
He was drafted the same year as Merriman out of Troy in southeast Alabama.
Ware had his best statistical output last year as he had 20 sacks, 84 tackles, and 6 forced fumbles. He also had 84 tackles in 2004 coupled with 14 sacks.
Ware has more career sacks than Shawne with 53. But to Ware’s advantage, Merriman was injured all of last season.
DeMarcus seems to do his best work against the Giants of New York. Last season he had 12 tackles, 4 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles.
Ware also remains consistent as the game progresses. Like Merriman he has 6 sacks in the fourth quarter, but Ware has more tackles than Shawne during the final period amassing 17.
Another situational stat shows that Ware has 3 sacks on 3rd and long, forcing the team opposing into an obvious 4th and long situation.
Merriman on the other hand had no sacks and only 1 tackle on 3rd and long in 2007.
Comparing these two players is like appraising the abilities of Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. The thing about Jordan and Johnson is that there is one player that is better than the other. You know the one with 6 championship rings?
Well, that’s kind of like Ware and Merriman without any rings between the two.
Over and above Ware just seems to be the better overall player. He tackles, shows up in crucial situations, and had 20 sacks through an injury riddled season.
Both players will prove to be great by the end of their career. But at this moment in time, who would you choose? The player with the knee injury or the guy with 20 sacks?
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Cowboys WR Deonte Thompson Benefits Most From Terrance Williams Issue
The fallout from Cowboys Receiver Terrance Williams' arrest yesterday remains to be seen. Whether or not it costs him a roster spot is hard to say, but a suspension is likely. Whatever the case, veteran Deonte Thompson stands to be the biggest beneficiary of Terrance's issues.
Signed last March to a minimal one-year, $1.8 million contract, Thompson is a 29-year-old late bloomer who only last season got some notice in Buffalo. Given the limitations of the Bills' passing game with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, Dallas clearly hopes that Deonte could do more with a more traditional offense and passer.
The Cowboys acquisition of Thompson was quickly overshadowed after they picked up Allen Hurns just a few weeks later. Deonte was actually signed just a couple of days after Hurns' release from Jacksonville, so it's fair to question if Dallas would have even signed him if they'd already picked up Hurns.
Even with Dez Bryant's release, the depth chart still didn't look good for Thompson. He was clearly behind Hurns and Cole Beasley and was likely battling with Terrance Williams for targets. Once the team drafted Michael Gallup in the third round, things looked even worse for the veteran.
But now, if Williams is going to miss time or be gone completely, Deonte Thompson could find himself with a big role to start the year.
While Gallup is exciting, he's also a rookie. Thompson has been a starter the last few years and played in a few different systems. Dallas may lean on his experience early if Terrance is gone either temporarily or permanently.
One reason the Cowboys brought Deonte in was for speed, and that value doesn't change regardless of who else is on the roster. Essentially, Thompson is the new Brice Butler; intriguing qualities but just no consistent production at other stops.
If Deonte can do more with what Dallas throws him than Butler did, he might carve out a steady role. Brice always seemed to follow up his big plays with blunders, never gaining any real momentum during his time as a Cowboy.
Before Williams' arrest, there was a legitimate question as to whether or not Thompson would even make the 2018 roster. If younger prospects like Noah Brown and Lance Lenoir made noise, perhaps Dallas would've just let the 29-year-old walk.
But with Terrance's availability now the big question, Thompson's experience becomes vastly more important. It could mean a big early role in 2018.
Depending on what he does with his opportunity, Deonte Thompson could've gone from an offseason afterthought to a major part of the team's success.
Is Terrance Williams Roster Spot Safe with Dallas Cowboys?
This will hardly be the last article written about the wide receivers of the Dallas Cowboys entering the 2018 season. However, we can only hope it's the last off-field incident that will factor into the difficult decisions the Cowboys will make on their final depth chart at WR. Yesterday, veteran Wide Receiver Terrance Williams was arrested for public intoxication after leaving the scene of a crash involving his Lamborghini.
Cowboys WR Terrance Williams released a statement on his recent arrest detailing several facets of the incident: "I have always been an upstanding citizen and handled the situation the best way I know how.
Details concerning the severity of the incidents that led to Williams arrest remain somewhat unclear. His on-field production certainly has not been though, putting himself in an expendable position by failing to catch a touchdown in 2017 and only going for over 100 yards once.
Handling this Terrance Williams situation in whatever the "right way" is will be yet another critical decision the Cowboys make under Head Coach Jason Garrett. A team that has clearly valued continuity under Garrett, there is precedent for the Cowboys keeping a now-troubled player like Williams if the void he'd leave behind is too large.
It is widely believed that this is a Cowboys coaching staff working to keep their jobs in 2018. Losing Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and Terrance Williams in one offseason may very well be too much.
Already dealing with a broken foot that expects to keep Terrance Williams out of football activities until training camp though, it is becoming increasingly easier for Williams to become forgotten about in new WR Coach Sanjay Lal's room.
New additions to this unit include FA signings Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson, along with rookies Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson. Joined by the likes of KD Cannon, Lance Lenoir, and Malik Earl, all of these receivers are going to stake their claims for a spot on the Dallas Cowboys before Williams even catches another pass from Dak Prescott.
Once perceived to be fighting for positions below Hurns, Williams, and Cole Beasley as locks on the final 53 man roster, Williams' arrest is the epitome of "next man up" in Dallas. Even if Williams remains with the team in 2018 - as cutting him would only make moral sense for the Cowboys, not financial - his days as a starting receiver may very well be numbered.
As mentioned, this won't be the first look we have at the status of the Cowboys receivers. I'm already on record having high expectations for Michael Gallup, and believe Cedrick Wilson was one of the steals of the draft for the Cowboys in the sixth round. The unproven nature of this pass catching unit (through to TE with rookie Dalton Schultz) is going to make for fascinating training camp battles, competing for spots in an offense that could still be one of the league's best.
Terrance Williams Arrest: Salary Cap Impact if Released
The news of Cowboys Wide Receiver Terrance Williams' arrest yesterday sent a shockwave through an otherwise quiet mid-May news cycle. Many fans are wondering what the team might do, and what effect the decision could have on Dallas' salary cap.
Unfortunately, moving on from Terrance won't bring the team any cap relief. But given their current cap space and where we are in the offseason, the Cowboys should have the freedom to cut the receiver if they choose to.
Depending on who you ask (OverTheCap, Spotrac), the Cowboys have somewhere between $5-$9 million in current cap room. If they release Williams before June 1st, his cap hit accelerates from $4.75 million to $7.25 million in dead money. That means he counts $2.5 million more off the team than on it.
If Terrance is cut on June 1st on later, the 2018 dead money is $4.75 million for a net-zero wash. That extra $2.5 million counts against 2019.
While that may sound cost-prohibitive on the surface, you have to remember where we are in the offseason. May is very different from March when you're talking about cap space.
Free agency is essentially over. The Cowboys don't need to worry too much about their 2018 cap room at this point, so they can absorb Williams' dead money if they want to cut him loose.
Martin's 2018 cap hit is currently around $9 million. Once he signs his new long-term deal, which is almost sure to come before training camp, that number should go down significantly. Dallas can do an immediate Year One restructure and potentially create around $6 million in cap space.
That alone would facilitate cutting Terrance Williams, but then they also have the hopeful new deal for Lawrence. The $17 million that Lawrence currently counts as a franchised player will go way down with a long-term contract. If Dallas can get that done, they may not have to touch Martin's deal.
The point here is that while cutting Williams is not a financially beneficial move, the money shouldn't stop the Cowboys if they don't want him around anymore.
If Terrance has proven anything during his five years in Dallas, it's that he doesn't have the talent to step into a primary role. With new arrival Allen Hurns and Cole Beasley both showing they can produce at a high level at times, plus exciting rookie Michael Gallup now in the mix, the Cowboys' season hardly relies on Williams' presence.
Of course, the Cowboys have a history of sticking by their guys during times of personal problems. Josh Brent did way worse than Terrance and remained supported by the organization.
But each situation and player are different, and the coaches may have already soured on Williams after a lackluster 2017. They may have only kept him because of those cap numbers we discussed before.
Terrance's latest dropped ball may have been the final straw, though. If so, the salary cap shouldn't stop Dallas from cutting him.
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