The Cowboys will be busy this offseason trying to retool their roster and get back into the playoffs. Tough decisions lie ahead, and one of them involves veteran Cornerback Orlando Scandrick. At this point, it's hard to say if he'll return to Dallas in 2018.
After drafting Anthony Brown, Chidobe Awuzie, and Jourdan Lewis over the last two years, the Cowboys have a nice trio of young corners. Scandrick turns 31 next month, and while still a veteran leader in the locker room, he was already losing ground to the youth movement last season.
Along with age, Orlando has had issues staying healthy. He missed five games in 2017, and four in 2016. His missed time is actually part of why Anthony Brown -- a sixth-round pick in 2016 -- was able to ascend so quickly with an unexpected amount of playing time.
The decision to part ways with Orlando Scandrick would be easier if his contract offered more incentive, but the cap relief isn't as much as you might think.
Much like we discussed last week with Tyrone Crawford's deal, Scandrick's contract was restructured in the past to free up cap space. That pushed guaranteed money into later years and thus makes it less profitable to cut Scandrick now.
That said, there's still some cap relief to be had.
If Dallas cuts Scandrick outright, they will get back about $1.4 million from his $5.3-million cap hit in 2018. If they make him a June-1st cut, the cap relief increases to $3 million and pushes $1.6 million of dead money into 2019. Dallas may look at those modest savings and decide it's better to just keep Scandrick around one more year for veteran depth and leadership. In 2019, they can cut him outright for $4 million in cap space, with only a $1.6-million penalty.
Another factor here is the arrival of Kris Richard as the new defensive backs coach.
Coming from Seattle, Richard is bringing a very specific philosophy and pedigree when it comes to the secondary. He may not value a veteran like Scandrick if he's looking to incorporate new methods and styles into the Cowboys' cornerbacks.
What's more, there's talk of Byron Jones moving back to corner after an underwhelming season at safety. He fits the physical mold of the corners Kris Richard liked with the Seahawks. That would almost certainly push Orlando Scandrick out the door.
Right now things don't look good for Scandrick's return in 2018, but we've seen before that the Cowboys hold on to veterans for an extra year or two, despite expectations. Will that prove true in Orlando's case, or will changes to the coaching staff and roster, plus the team's desperation to get back into the postseason, leave him the odd man out?
Taco Charlton Isn’t Going Anywhere After Strong Preseason Week 3
Dallas Cowboys Defensive End Taco Charlton might be turning things around. The former first round draft pick didn't have a great couple of seasons to start his career off, which forced him to be in a battle to earn a spot on the Cowboys 53-man roster this offseason. Three weeks into the preseason, it looks like he's a lock to make the team. In a "Dress Rehearsal" game that went great for the Cowboys, Charlton's performance was among the best players.
A couple of weeks ago, I discussed how the Cowboys' younger defensive ends could force the team to move on from Taco. From Dorance Armstrong to Jalen Jelks, there's a handful of promising players that were participating in a positional battle that one way or another, included Taco Charlton.
However, the Michigan product showed up to play versus the Los Angeles Rams with two passes batted down. Despite making such plays, we still hadn't seen much from him in the pass rush department.
That changed against the Houston Texans last Saturday when he managed to get two sacks (one strip-sack), two forced fumbles and a recovery. This was undoubtedly Taco's best game in his career. He still has a lot to prove, but it was definitely good to see him have a "breakout" preseason game.
With such performance, it doesn't seem like he'll be going anywhere in 2019. Charlton won't be a starter for this team, but he could become a very important rotational piece for Rod Marinelli's defense. He has a great opportunity to find playing time during the first two weeks of the season before Robert Quinn returns from suspension.
One unfortunate note was that in his best game yet, Taco went out injured twice (ankle). The first time he went back to the field to get some more but had to walk off the field for a second time. Hopefully, he's able to play next Thursday but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't after having a breakout game versus the Texans.
Taco Charlton still has a very long way to justify being a first-round pick, but his play against Houston was a start. It will be very interesting to see how he plays in the 2019 regular season. He'll have to fight for playing time and he'll have to make every snap count to turn his career around.
Cowboys’ Taryn Christion Gets Time at QB; More Coming?
Last night was the first time we've seen Taryn Christion, the Dallas Cowboys' fourth quarterback on the current depth chart, actually playing the position in preseason. Could we see more of Christion at QB in this Thursday's finale, and at what point should Mike White be worried?
Signed just a few days before training camp began, Christion has been tried at running back, receiver, and various special teams units while the Cowboys were in Oxnard. But last week he started getting more time at quarterback, and last night's win over the Houston Texans saw him playing a few drives at QB to close the game out.
Sure, Taryn came in fourth behind White in the rotation. But that Dallas thought to give him reps in that game, the critical dress rehearsal game, is telling.
Jason Garrett doesn't get cute with rotations and playing time. He's old school, and there's meaning in every decision he makes about when and how guys get time in preseason.
Ironically, the decision came following Mike White's best preseason game this year. He went 6-of-9 for 56 yards and a touchdown, plus avoided any sacks or turnovers.
Rather than let White keep building on that, though, Dallas pulled him for Taryn Christion in the 4th quarter. It seemed as if the Cowboys were determined to get him some time at QB.
An even better showcase will come this Thursday night. The Cowboys host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the final preseason game; we know Dak Prescott won't be playing, and the team may even protect Cooper Rush with limited time on the field.
Dallas likely intends to give Christion some significant playing time on Thursday. And to help make that easier, they played him last night to get some of those butterflies out of his system.
No, Taryn Christion probably isn't going to make the 53-man roster. Neither is Mike White, for that matter. It feels like the battle for the number-three QB is more about the practice squad now.
But whatever the case, the battle seems to be heating up. Dallas appears more invested in Christion now as a quarterback than at any other point since he arrived; some added intrigue for Thursday's final preseason game.
HOU 0, DAL 34: Defense Dominates in Dress Rehearsal Game
The Dallas Cowboys couldn't have scripted a better result in tonight's dress rehearsal game against the Houston Texans. All three phases of the game made big plays as they dominated 34 to 0.
The night belonged to the defense as they terrorized Houston's starters and reserves along the offensive line with 8 sacks. Taco Charlton, a former first-round pick turned outcast was the star of the night with 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. In my opinion, if there were any doubts about him making the roster he put them to bed tonight.
Kerry Hyder showed once again why he's one of the smartest free-agent signings of 2019. After being a lost man in the 3-4 defensive scheme with his former team the Lions, he's done a really good job applying pressure even though he hadn't recorded any sacks in the first two preseason games. However, tonight he recorded 2 sacks and reminded everyone of the player who had 8 sacks in 2016.
The young guys weren't to be left out in this defensive clinic. Dorance Armstrong, Trysten Hill, Daniel Wise, and Joe Jackson all had half sacks. Rookie Safety Donovan Wilson had one of the plays of the night with a beautiful interception as he tapped both feet before heading out of bounds. Cornerback C.J. Goodwin, who will probably make the roster on his special teams ability, got in on the interception party himself high pointing a contested pass.
Dak Prescott was only 2 for 5 (11 for 14 in the preseason) but managed to escape what looked like a sure sack and roll to his left and threw a rope to Michael Gallup for a touchdown. The two have shown a lot of growth and chemistry during training camp, something that was missing at times in 2018.
Wide Receiver Devin Smith had 6 receptions for 79 yards while Cedrick Wilson snagged 3 passes on 4 targets. Both receivers are fighting for the final roster spots in the receiver group which they'll have to continue to do next week against the Buccaneers.
Tight End Marcus Lucas had a very solid game with 4 catches for 50 yards. He will definitely be a player to watch in the final preseason game before final cuts are made. Cooper Rush went 15 for 25 and further solidified his position as the primary backup to Prescott. Mike White was also solid going 6 for 9 and tossing a touchdown.
Special teams got in on the action themselves when Linebacker Joe Thomas recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown.
Now the Cowboys have only one more preseason game before the 2019 season begins. All that's left now is figuring out the last few roster spots and staying as healthy as possible. September 8th is right around the corner.
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Zeke Holdout: Remember, Owners Agreed to Renegotiating Contracts
Dallas Cowboys7 days ago
Michael Gallup Showing WR1 Talent in Amari Cooper’s Absence
Player News3 days ago
REPORT: Signs Point to Elliott, Cowboys Finalizing Contract Extension
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
5 Dallas Cowboys Backups Who Have Earned More Playing Time
Player News3 days ago
Report: Cowboys Offer Ezekiel Elliott a Contract to Make him the NFL’s Second Highest-Paid RB
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Dallas Cowboys Defensive Line Looking Absolutely Stacked
Dallas Cowboys6 days ago
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Roster Projection: Preseason Week 3
Game Notes2 weeks ago
3 Studs and Duds From Dallas Cowboys Preseason Week 1 Matchup