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Who Will Replace DT Stephen Paea?



Who Will Fill Stephen Paea's Role At Defensive Tackle? 3

In the last few days a lot of news has been swarming around the Dallas Cowboys. Whether it's Jerry Jones' comments on the anthem, Nolan Carroll getting cut, or Ezekiel Elliott's ruling coming from the court, there has been plenty to talk about with the Cowboys. One thing I didn't mention, from yesterday, is the announced retirement of Defensive Tackle Stephen Paea.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

Cowboys' DT Stephen Paea told Dallas coaches today that he is retiring, per source.

Paea was one of the Cowboys' biggest free agent signings from a need point of view. After Terrell McClain signed with the division rival, Washington Redskins early in free agency, the Cowboys were left with no answer at the one-technique position.

Stephen Paea was supposed to be that guy. Unfortunately for him and the team things didn't work out.

In four games with the Cowboys, Paea had four starts under his belt. In those starts he racked up four total tackles. Paea obviously wasn't as productive as the Cowboys had hoped for and that was primarily due to a knee injury that eventually led to his retirement.

With Stephen Paea's retirement the Cowboys have a big hole in their defensive line at the one-technique spot.

Internal DT options for the Cowboys:

  1. David Irving
  2. Lewis Neal (Practice Squad)
  3. Richard Ash (Practice Squad)

Who Will Fill Stephen Paea's Role At Defensive Tackle?

David Irving played a majority of his snaps at the one-technique position last Sunday versus the Green Bay Packers.

While he did have a productive game disrupting the pass, the Packers gunning game seemingly had its way with the Dallas Cowboys front seven.

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Who Will Fill Stephen Paea's Role At Defensive Tackle? 1

Lewis Neal is currently on the Cowboys' practice squad and had one of the better training camps and preseason of anyone along the team's defensive line.

Neal is really a three-technique, and an undersized one at that (6-foot-0, 298lbs).

The rookie from LSU is primarily known for his ability to rush the QB and get into the backfield on a consistent basis. What he needs to do at one-tech is eat up double teams and keep offensive linemen from getting to the second level. That's something we haven't seen him do much.

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Who Will Fill Stephen Paea's Role At Defensive Tackle? 2

Richard Ash may be the least flashy player, but could potentially be the best man for the job. Ash, at 6-foot-3, 320lbs is a monstrous body in the middle of the defensive line. He does an excellent job of eating double teams and holding his ground at the point of attack.

Ash isn't a flashy player and likely will never see the stat sheet, but he will allow others to have success.

Now when we look at what this defensive line has done so far in the 2017 season, it's clear that they've exceeded most people's expectations when rushing the passer. Through five weeks, the Cowboys are currently sixth in the league in sacks and have the NFL's sack leader in DeMarcus Lawrence.

What they haven't done very well the last few weeks is stop the run, and that's where Stephen Paea will be missed most.

When you look at our three options to take over, Richard Ash makes the most sense. But Lewis Neal will probably help you out in other aspects of the game. It's a tough decision and it's really a 50/50 chance on which decision the team will make, but if it we're me I'd go with Lewis Neal.

The Cowboys have Brian Price to be a space eater, which is exactly what Richard Ash is. They also have David Irving and Maliek Collins who can play one-technique when asked. I think Lewis Neal would upgrade this defensive line in both the run game and the passing game.

Lewis Neal is much more explosive than Brian Price and will probably spend more time in the backfield. Using both Price and Neal at the one-technique will give the Cowboys a fresh set of legs and a different skill set for different parts of the game.

Who do you think is the best fit to fill Stephen Paea's role?

Born in 1995, loved Football but more importantly the Dallas Cowboys since day one. Living in Redskins Country flying the Blue and Silver flag as high as possible. Covering the Dallas Cowboys for and Catch me on twitter @ConnorNFLDraft!

  • Jonathan Young

    Lewis Neil and Marquez White both needs to be brought up from the practice squad. Trade T.Will, J. Heath & A. Morris to who ever will take them for draft picks.

  • Michael Bragunier

    I would like to see the Cowboys switch Jarron Jones back to DT. He was very good and is a big tall player. I bet he would do good under Marinelli. If not bring back Cedric Thornton.

  • Michael Bragunier

    The Cowboys are only going to go as far as the young defense take them.

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!

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Dallas Cowboys

Terrance Williams Contract Creates 2018 Job Security

Jess Haynie



Cowboys Headlines - Breaking Down Terrance Williams' Game-Ending Decision 1
Louis DeLuca/Dallas Morning News

There's been a lot of talk about what the Dallas Cowboys will do at the receiver position this offseason. While there's a great divide on what the team should do with Dez Bryant, there's a fairly unanimous opinion that Dallas should find an upgrade over Terrance Williams. No matter where he ends up on the depth chart, though, Williams' contract should keep him on the roster in 2018.

Last offseason, Terrance signed a four-year, $17 million deal to stay in Dallas. Because we are now just in the second year of that deal, it is cost prohibitive against the salary cap to release or trade him.

Williams is scheduled to count $4.75 million against the 2018 cap. If Dallas were to cut him, it would accelerate his remaining guaranteed money and create $7.25 million in dead money this year. He would cost more against the cap off the roster than on it.

Even the June-1st provision doesn't help. Williams' dead money in 2018 drops to $4.75 million, which is a net zero against his existing cap hit. It would also push $2.5 million of dead money to 2019. There's no benefit there, and you lose an experienced player who knows your system.

Did Terrance Williams' Big Game Quiet His Doubters?

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

If the Cowboys do like their WR depth enough to want to move on from Terrance, one option is to try to trade him. A trade would lower the cap penalty to $3.75 million and save $1 million. If he's traded after June 1st, it would save $3.5 million against this year's cap.

Of course, it takes two to tango in this scenario. Williams hasn't scored a touchdown since 2016 and has never proven he can take on a significant role in an offense. He was serviceable when Dez Bryant and Jason Witten commanded more attention, but he's a low-end WR2 at best and many teams likely wouldn't want him in their top 2-3 receivers.

Perhaps something could happen during training camps or preseason, when injuries may make other teams desperate. Then again, something could happen in Dallas that makes them less willing to part with Terrance.

As it stands, it seems unlikely that Terrance Williams won't be a Cowboy in 2018. And really, that's not bad thing.

Even if he gets pushed down the depth chart, Terrance would be a good insurance policy against injuries or any other issues that could happen between now and September. $4.75 million is more than you'd like to pay your fourth WR but it's a one-year problem.

If the Cowboys do add more WR talent this offseason, there is a trickle-down effect that strengthens the entire club. Williams, with his experience, is an upgrade over Brice Butler as the fourth receiver.

Therefore, unless circumstances both here and elsewhere allow Dallas to find a trade partner, Terrance Williams should be back next year.

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Player News

Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders

Jess Haynie



Jamize Olawale, Raiders

Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.

To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.

In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.

Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.

Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.

Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.

Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.

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