The Dallas Cowboys miraculous 2016 season pretty much caught just about everyone off guard in regards to the surprise turnaround they have made after finishing 4-12 last season. Nobody could have possibly predicted that they would end up with less losses (3) than they had wins (4) in one years time span.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on what side of the spectrum you're on, that turnaround has not only probably cost the Cowboys Tony Romo's services next season, but it could also cost them their offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan.
You see, Scott Linehan's name may be a short list for a lot of these teams that are looking for a new head coach.
It shouldn't come too much of a surprise when you think about it. Linehan's offense has been one of the best in the NFL since joining the Dallas Cowboys and his work this year with rookie QB Dak Prescott has simply been outstanding.
Linehan has a track record of helping young quarterbacks reach their potential, having previously helped Matthew Stafford when he entered the league with the Detroit Lions. This is why I believe he could possibly be a highly sought after head coaching candidate.
Instead of evaluating the head-coaching positions for just Scott Linehan, I decided to take a look to see which team would be the best for Linehan and Tony Romo to continue to work together because I think they could end up being a packaged deal, at least I hope so.
The NFL coaching vacancies are a gambit of desirability. There is everything from Super Bowl contenders to the bottom feeders. Below I have ranked them from what I believe is the worst to best situation.
San Francisco 49ers
There is absolutely nothing to like about the situation that the San Francisco 49ers have themselves in. They do have the #2 overall pick in this year's draft, but the amount of dysfunction in the organization makes this job less than desirable.
The 49ers last two head coaches didn't last more than a season and they are also looking for a new general manager. There is absolutely zero stability from top to bottom, which doesn't bode well for Scott Linehan and Tony Romo continuing their careers together in the Bay Area.
Overall, I think the chances of Linehan and Romo continuing their working relationship with the 49ers is extremely thin at best. The 49ers need a miracle worker!
San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers are kind of like the Philadelphia Eagles this year in their own respective divisions. Both teams will be watching from home while nearly every other team in their division play in the playoffs.
The uncertainty surrounding the Chargers makes them just a little bit more desirable than the San Francisco 49ers, but not by much.
The Chargers team is full of aging players and the uncertainty surrounding where they will play in the future might mean the next head coach might want to live out of boxes until something is made official.
Philip Rivers automatically negates the need for Tony Romo, but that didn't necessarily mean that Scott Linehan would take his name out of the hat to become the next head coach.
Honestly, I think Linehan is in a better situation in Dallas, which means this move for both Tony Romo and Linehan is pretty unlikely.
Okay, finally a team that makes a little bit of sense for both Scott Linehan and Tony Romo. However, Buffalo may decide that they will stick with Anthony Lynn, but nothing has been made official just yet.
I don't believe the Buffalo Bills are as bad as their record suggests. They have playmakers on both sides of ball to work with, especially on offense.
Scott Linehan and Tony Romo could do wonders with offensive weapons like Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy, but it looks to me like the Bills could possibly be thinking about getting younger and starting a rebuild.
I don't think Linehan or Romo would like to join a team that is even remotely considering starting to rebuild, because that would likely mean that they would be trading away some of their better players and starting from scratch. So, I think we can scratch the Buffalo Bills off the list.
The Jacksonville Jaguars were thought to be a team set to break out in 2016, but nothing ever materialized which led to Gus Bradley's departure and the fourth overall pick in the upcoming draft.
This could be a really intriguing opportunity for Scott Linehan. The Jaguars have a solid roster and quite a few young players to build around. Of course, Linehan's experience working with young QB's could possibly help Blake Bortles finally reach his potential.
Unfortunately with Bortles in place, it is unlikely that Linehan would bring Tony Romo in, but then again Romo could help with Bortles development.
If Scott Linehan is offered the head coaching job with the Jaguars, it is an opportunity that he might not be up to pass up. The AFC South division is one of the worst divisions in the NFL and could be up for grabs in 2017.
Overall, Linehan might not be able to pass up an opportunity with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it is highly unlikely Tony Romo joins him.
Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams spent their first overall draft pick on a quarterback Jared Goff in last year's draft, so that automatically rules out Romo and Linehan continuing their relationship in LA. However, this could be an intriguing head-coaching opportunity for Linehan.
Again, Linehan's experience working with young QB's can be a huge benefit to the LA Rams and most importantly Goff. Goff has the tools necessary to succeed, but needs the coaching to hopefully reach his potential.
There is a lot to like about the Rams and with the right head coach, they could take a huge step in the right detection, becoming competitive once again.
With players like Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald, Tavon Austin, and even Kenny Britt, there are plenty of offensive weapons that Linehan would have at his disposal. It would be interesting to see if he could do with the Rams what he has been able to do with the Cowboys.
There should be a number of coaches lining up for this job, which makes me believe that Scott Linehan would jump at the chance to become the LA Rams next head coach.
To be completely honest, I think this would be the ideal situation for both Scott Linehan and Tony Romo. The Denver Broncos have the most complete roster out of all of these teams and if not for the quarterback play this season, they likely would have made the playoffs.
I think I would go as far as saying if Romo joins the Broncos, they would likely be the Super Bowl favorites in 2017.
This is the one team where I believe Romo has a better chance of playing for then Scott Linehan does coaching.
I think Romo would be ecstatic to join the Broncos. Denver has arguably one of the best, if not the best defense in the entire NFL. They also have just enough offensive weapons to keep Romo happy and make things difficult for their opponents.
I could honestly see John Elway and the Denver Broncos being interested in bringing in Tony Romo, but ultimately it will come down to what type of compensation Jerry Jones is looking for in return. If the asking price isn't too steep, I think there is a good chance Tony Romo is in a Broncos uniform next season.
I would love to see Scott Linehan become the next a coach of the Denver Broncos, but not more than I would like to see Tony Romo get a chance to be their next starting QB. Ideally, I wouldn't mind seeing Linehan and Romo be a Bronco in 2017.
What do you think?
Please feel free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.
Could Loaded FA Safety Market Drive Down Earl Thomas’ Value?
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.
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.
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?
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...
2018 In Review: CB Anthony Brown Bounces Back
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.
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