Connect with us

Star Blog

Will Rod Smith be Ezekiel Elliott’s Primary Backup in 2018?

Brian Martin



Sean's Scout: RB Rod Smith Proving Valuable Offensive Threat

It's not always easy for undrafted free agents to work their way into a prominent role in the NFL, but that could be exactly what Rod Smith did with the Dallas Cowboys in 2017. He performed so well that he could now find himself in contention to be Ezekiel Elliott's primary backup in 2018, but will that be the case?

The all-important third season in the NFL is typically when teams find out exactly what they have in certain players. The 2017 season was Rod Smith's third year in the league and after scratching and clawing his way through his first two seasons, he seemed to finally blossom.

For Rod Smith, it all started in organized team activities (OTA's) and training camp practices. He started to string together several days of practice where he was catching the attention of the Cowboys coaching staff. He did so well in fact, he was given the opportunity to prove himself in preseason.

That was exactly the opportunity he was waiting for, and he seized the moment.

Rod Smith

Dallas Cowboys RB Rod Smith

With the opportunity in hand, Rod Smith averaged 4.5 yards per carry in preseason and rushed for a total of 130 yards on 29 carries. He also added seven receptions for 57 receiving yards through the air. He did all this while still maintaining his role on special teams.

The Dallas Cowboys obviously saw enough of him to not only keep him on the 53-man roster, but activate him the entire season over Darren McFadden, a proven veteran.

The way some players perform in training camp and preseason doesn't always translate to when the games actually mean something in the regular season, but that wasn't the case for Rod Smith. The majority of the season he was third on the depth chart behind Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris, but opportunity would knock again for him when Elliott was slapped with a six-game suspension.

The Cowboys first went with Alfred Morris to handle the lions share of the carries in the running game, but they sprinkled in a little bit of Rod Smith along the way. Smith ended up looking like the better of the two and was rewarded by receiving more playing time.

Rod Smith

Dallas Cowboys RB Rod Smith

The Cowboys seemed to like the versatility Rod Smith brought to the offense over the more proven and steady veteran Alfred Morris. He continued to receive more and more playing time as a result, and didn't disappoint with his performance.

He ended up averaging 4.2 yards per carry and rushed for 232 yards on 55 attempts and scored four touchdowns. Through the air, he hauled in 19 receptions for 202 yards and scored one touchdown. He did all this in mostly a backup role and only started one game in 2017.

With Ezekiel Elliott now expected to return as the main ballcarrier for the Cowboys and Alfred Morris becoming a free agent, Rod Smith has another opportunity in front of him to become the RB2 in 2018.

I think he is more than capable of handling the backup responsibilities. But, the Dallas Cowboys could very well look for someone who could provide a different skill set or be an upgrade through the draft or free agency.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Cowboys add another RB to create competition with Rod Smith to become the primary backup to Zeke. But, I'm not going to bet against #45 as the RB2 next season. Are you?

Do you think Rod Smith will be Ezekiel Elliott's primary backup in 2018?

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.



  1. Travis Diggs

    January 31, 2018 at 7:46 am

    It really took the coaching staff all year to realize he was better than Alfred Morris. He definitely should be Zeke’s primary back up, not saying we shouldn’t draft a rb for depth but Rod Smith should definitely have a bigger role next season

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      January 31, 2018 at 9:19 am

      Travis, I agree that Rod Smith deserves the chance to be the RB2. But, if I’m the Cowboys, I’m going to try to draft or sign someone who can compete for the job. I just don’t know if I’m comfortable enough with Smith taking over if something were to happen to Zeke.

    • Nick Russo

      February 2, 2018 at 9:39 am

      I agree Travis. I think that Smith has all the tools and talent to be the backup to Zeke, and that he should have a bigger and more defined role as we go into next season. I don’t think it would hurt to add a “Dunbar like” scat back but also don’t think it should be high on the priority list given some of the other needs we have to address.

    • Tamzombren Lauderdale

      February 13, 2018 at 5:31 pm

      I agree, I cant believe they waited til the end of the yr 2 give him a shot !

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      April 25, 2018 at 9:28 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Star Blog

Could Loaded FA Safety Market Drive Down Earl Thomas’ Value?

Brian Martin



Could Loaded FA Safety Class Drive Down Earl Thomas' Price Tag?

It's no secret the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas share a mutual interest in one another. Thomas has publicly stated his desire to join America's Team and the Cowboys did their darndest to make that happen last offseason. Nothing ever materialized a year ago, but it's looking as if the stars have finally aligned and a union between the two could merely be just weeks away.

Surprisingly enough, the Dallas Cowboys may have dodged a bullet last year when the Seattle Seahawks refused to part ways with their All-Pro safety. Not only would they have had to surrender a high draft pick, but they would've also had to extend Thomas' contract. Fortunately, timing is everything and now the Cowboys might just have to do the latter.

A potential contract between the Cowboys and Thomas is of course what I want to dive in today. I'm not going to get into numbers right now, because it's nearly impossible to project any kind of contract for any safety this offseason, especially for the former Seahawk, Earl Thomas.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Right now, it's a little difficult to know who might have the advantage in contract negotiations, Earl Thomas or the Dallas Cowboys. A lot of times the one that has the leverage, however slight, is the one that gets the better of the deal. As surprising as it may be, the Cowboys might just have the advantage here and I'll tell you why.

First off, this year's market for free agent safeties is pretty stacked with starting caliber players. See below:

  • Earl Thomas
  • Landon Collins
  • Lamarcus Joyner
  • Tyrann Mathieu
  • Adrian Amos
  • Clayton Geathers
  • Ha-Ha Clinton Dix
  • Glover Quinn
  • Tre Boston
  • Kenny Vaccaro
  • George Iloka
  • Jimmie Ward
  • Adrian Phillips

Earl Thomas is obviously the headliner here amongst the free agent safeties, but having so many starting caliber players available could drive down Thomas' market value just a bit. This is especially true when you take into consideration the market for FA safeties just a year ago. It was almost a complete standstill last year, with only Kurt Coleman signing a three-year $16.5 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Not even the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu could get more than a one-year deal.

With all of these safeties available in free agency, we could be looking at another stingy market. This of course could be good or bad news for the Dallas Cowboys, especially as it pertains to Earl Thomas. Since he is the top FA safety available, everything could once again be at a standstill until he is signed.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Of course, we all know this will ultimately come down to determining Earl Thomas' market value. There is no denying he is still arguably the best free safety in the game today, but there are concerns about his age (30) and the two lower leg injuries he's sustained in the past three years.

Even with the loaded free agent market of starting caliber safeties and Thomas' age and recent injury history, he's still likely to receive a contract that earns him $10 million annually, give or take. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he gets another four-year deal worth $40 million, $25.7 million guaranteed, with a $9.5 million signing bonus like he signed with the Seahawks back in 2014.

The Cowboys of course would probably find a four-year $40 million deal for Earl Thomas acceptable. They would more than likely frontload the contract with a lot of protection in the details. They have the cap space to make this happen and still be able to sign their own, so money shouldn't be a problem.

Now, whether or not Thomas' market value may dip a little due to all of the above mentioned reasons will be something we will have to wait and find out. Regardless, I'd be a little shocked if Earl Thomas doesn't finish his career with the Dallas Cowboys.

Do you think Earl Thomas' market value will take a little hit this offseason?

Continue Reading

Star Blog

Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors



Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

What a difference a receiver makes, right? As Dallas fans, we know the impact of a player who can shake coverage, get open, and catch the ball. How was the season going before the Cowboys pulled the trigger for Amari Cooper in the deal with the Raiders? Cooper proved to be the lightning rod and a turning point in a season that was growing increasingly dismal. Dak Prescott and Cooper went together like peanut butter and jelly, while the Cowboys stormed to a division title and a postseason berth.

Now, imagine all of that times two… maybe even two and a half if Antonio Brown could be had from the Steelers. Scary right? We understand there’s only one ball to go around but that didn’t stop Kevin Durant from joining the Warriors, did it?

As of this writing, the best online sportsbooks like Intertops, are dealing Dallas as the seventh of 16 choices to win the NFC championship at odds of 12-1. Imagine how those odds would shrink if Brown wore a Cowboys uniform next season, giving Prescott the luxury of not one upper echelon wideout but that plus an elite receiver. Hut, hut, hut and a few clouds of smoke later the Cowboys would be moving the chains or celebrating in the endzone.

Brown and Cooper would be a devastating combination with Ezekiel Elliott coming out of the backfield. Brown was made for Dallas, it gives him an even grander stage than the one he shared with Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh.

Despite the fact that the 'Boys haven’t won a Super Bowl since Barry Switzer was roaming the sidelines in the mid-90s, America’s Team still resides in Dallas. But we need a game-changer and Brown is just such an athlete. But what do we give in return and will that cost be worth whatever productive years Brown has left after this one? Let’s not forget that the mercurial Miami native will be 31 when the season begins and men who make a living with their legs don’t get better at that age. But Brown is so good and so unique that, even if he drops half a click, he's still amongst the best in the game.

That level of talent is hard to replicate and it could be the missing piece which allows Dallas to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender next season and the year after.

However, up to this point, we’ve been very good at dreaming of a Brown to Dallas trade but haven’t quite worked out the details. It takes two to tango and if we expect to get the Steelers’ attention we need to give them something valuable in return. Dallas surrendered their first-round pick (27th) this season when they traded for Cooper so that’s no longer an asset.

Pittsburgh would be vying for a first-round pick (and likely more) for Brown's services but some have speculated Dallas would consider dealing rookie-standout Leighton Vander Esch.

Wait... what? We know, you’re clutching your pearls, and the words are stuck in your gasp. We get it. The kid was a home run this past season, leading the Dallas defense in tackles and earning a Pro Bowl invitation in his inaugural NFL season. But this would be a Faustian deal.

The Cowboys give up a player who is poised to be a stud for years to come for a playmaker in Brown that could render a Super Bowl in the immediate future. Brown's expiration date will surely turn his milk sour sooner rather than later, but in the here and now, Antonio Brown could be the bell cow who leads the Cowboys to the promised land before he’s put out to pasture.

Just something to think about...

Continue Reading

Star Blog

2018 In Review: CB Anthony Brown Bounces Back

Kevin Brady



Anthony Brown's Resurgence A Great Sign for Cowboys Defense
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

To say it's been an up-and-down start to the career of young cornerback Anthony Brown would be an understatement.

As a sixth round pick in 2016, everything Brown contributed during his rookie season was a plus. Due to injury he was asked to step into a greater role as the season went on, and he performed well enough to make the front office comfortable allowing multiple veterans to walk for nothing in free agency the following Spring. Brown looked like a legitimate starting cornerback in the league, and when Dallas brought in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis during the next draft, the young secondary seemed set.

Then 2017 happened. And Anthony Brown struggled. Really struggled.

These struggles, coupled with the emergence of both Lewis and Awuzie during their own rookie seasons, made Brown's status heading into 2018 rather uncertain. Some wondered if they would trade him for a day three pick, others thought Brown could even end up being cut. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown were slated to compete for the nickel cornerback job in training camp, and as it turned out, all Brown needed was that one extra chance to compete.

Brown won the job outright during the preseason, and began 2018 as the starting nickel. A fan favorite, most thought Lewis would reclaim his rightful spot on the depth chart sooner or later, but Anthony Brown's play (and Kris Richard's preferences) kept Lewis on the bench for much of the season.

Simply put, Anthony Brown balled in 2018, and was the Cowboys' second best corner for most of the year. By the end of the season Chidobe Awuzie had regained form, but Brown and Byron Jones were the most consistently reliable corners on the roster all of 2018.

Brown tallied 44 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception in 2018, and finished third on the team in pass breakups with 8. As the slot corner Brown had an excellent season, especially for a former sixth round pick.

Now he enters a contract year, and with the Cowboys having so many guys to pay over the next two offseasons, he could find himself as an unrestricted free agent in 2020. And if he can keep up his play from last year moving forward, he could be in for a nice payday that Spring.

Continue Reading

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