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Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?

It's not uncommon for Dallas Cowboys fans to zero in on certain in hopes that they will bring their talents to . In fact, just about any “big name” player to hit the open market is often linked to the Cowboys in some way or another. That was the case when the decided to move on from Tyrann Mathieu.

Once Tyrann Mathieu became available, Cowboys fans immediately wanted to see him with a star on his helmet. But, despite the fans petitioning, the Cowboys brass seemed to show almost zero interest in the former Cardinal.

The decision to not pursue Tyrann Mathieu certainly didn't sit well with a lot of , but I think it was the right decision.

Despite Mathieu's perceived talents and youth (he's just 25), the Cowboys weren't interested in paying the price to bring him to Dallas, especially since they already have a similar player on their roster.

Xavier Woods
Dallas Cowboys DB Xavier Woods

It may sound crazy, but I think the real reason the Dallas Cowboys didn't show much interest in Tyrann Mathieu is because of Xavier Woods.

I honestly believe Xavier Woods and Tyrann Mathieu have a similar skill set. Both players are little undersized to be a full-time in the NFL, but each of them have the versatility to play several different roles in the .

Mathieu may have been listed as a safety on the Arizona Cardinals roster, and now the , but the truth is he played mostly out of the nickel/slot in his professional and collegiate career. That is where he is at his best, and the same can be said about Xavier Woods.

As a rookie, Xavier Woods showed his versatility with the Dallas Cowboys by playing a variety of different roles in the secondary. His versatility was one of the reasons the Cowboys decided to up in last year's draft to acquire his services.

His name might not carry the same kind of weight as Tyrann Mathieu right now around the league or amongst NFL fans, but I don't think Xavier Woods is that much of a drop off talent wise.

Xavier Woods
Dallas Cowboys DB Xavier Woods (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Personally, I believe Mathieu is starting to decline a little as a player. I think injuries are starting to take a toll on his play, although it may be minimal. I actually prefer Xavier Woods' upside, especially when you take into account the difference in salaries between the two.

Surprisingly enough, Xavier Woods might just have been more productive in 2017 then Mathieu. Woods started just four games and finished the season with 42 tackles, three passes defensed, and one interception. Mathieu on the other hand started all 16 games and accumulated 78 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, and two interceptions.

As you can see, Xavier Woods was almost just as productive as Mathieu in nearly a third of the playing time. What's even more impressive about this is that Woods accomplish this as a rookie.

Of course, all of this is speculation, but I for one am not all that upset the Dallas Cowboys missed out on Tyrann Mathieu. I'm willing to bet on Xavier Woods being able to do everything Mathieu can and at a fraction of the cost.

Were the Cowboys right not to pursue Tyrann Mathieu?

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Written by Brian Martin

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.

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Nick Russo

As usual, I’m going to agree with you here Brian. Given how tight our cap is already going after Mathieu just didn’t make sense. I really like our young secondary and the potential they have if they can remain healthy. What you said about Woods’ position flexibility I agree with, but I wonder what’s your take on how these guys will be utilized with Jones making the move back to corner. To me, I would think that you play chido and Jones on the outside with Lewis in the slot and woods and Frazier/heath (pre draft) at the safety’s. Curious to see if you agree with that or if you think that Woods belongs in the slot with Lewis.

Brian Martin

I really don’t have any idea how they’re going to deploy players in their secondary in 2018. I think they can get really creative with their coverages and mix-and-match personnel depending on the situation.

Michael White

I agree with both you and Brian. I understand the frustrations of cowboy nation when it comes to free agency..but i also remember the cap hell we went through in the Barry Switzer thru Dave Campo era along with horrible drafting..The Quincy Carters, Shante Carvers, Ebenezer Ekuban, the Joey Galloway trade…the list is extensive..I don’t wanna go through that again..I’m going out on a limb and stating that X-Woods might be worth passing on Earl Thomas. Good sound coaching and a scheme that takes advantage of his skills set is the reason i say that and i believe we have that in place already..Honestly I’m excited about what we have. Let’s just continue to excel in our draft and pick FA who might be sleepers on other teams…we might not hit homeruns on all of them, but that cost wil be minimal as compared to the dead money we used to pay for by bringing in these so called premium FA and them not panning out..

Brian Martin

Having Xavier Woods on the roster would keep me from going after type Tyrann Mathieu, but not Earl Thomas. Thomas is a difference making free safety. I’m all for the Cowboys trying to acquire him, but I’m glad they’re not giving in to the Seahawks demands. Hopefully their asking price will come down.

Tim Hargrave

Anthony Brown will be our 4th corner and everything else is exactly like you said and I think they will get another safety in the draft plus alot of people don’t remember Duke Thomas that was playing pretty good before he got hurt and we have that other guy from FSU that we got out of the 6th round last year that was on our practice squad im telling u we will be a top 10 secondary and maybe even a top 5 next year

Travis Diggs

So i guess were going to justify every free agent we miss out on to make cowboys fans get off the ledge. We’ve clearly lost free agency again for the 5th year running, what should get my hopes up as a fan for the upcoming season, not this

Brian Martin

Honestly, there wasn’t really a free agent out there I thought the Cowboys should seriously pursue. There are still a lot of things that can happen to make this year’s team better between now and the start of the season, but I understand you were skepticism. All we can do is sit back and hope things improve.

Larry Murray

I am very glad we lost free agency, because that’s not where you’re supposed to be building your team.

James Johnson

If there was any FA I felt was a good pursuit, it may have been Dontari Poe to play the 1 tech, allowing Malik Collins to go back to rotating in at the 3 tech whet he is better suited. However, there are good options in the draft for a 1 tech DT at a fraction of the cost, so I think the “disciplined” approach is good. Other than that, a solid OG or OT, which they’ve been looking at. We were burned in the early 2000s with splash FA moves. I tend to agree with this take. Let the other teams blow their cap wad and keep getting better through the draft and keeping the players we know we most need down the road.

Brian Martin

I like Dontari Poe, but never really thought of him as a realistic FA option for the Cowboys. I thought he would be out of their price range, which seems to be the case. I think someone like Bennie Logan is someone to keep an eye on.

James Johnson

I agree. If Vita Veia or Da’Ron Payne were available in the draft, Logan may not even be necessary. A lot could happen. Logan wouldn’t be a bad guy to have, though.

Brian Martin

I think they will try to bring in another DT through free agency and maybe draft one as well. They definitely need depth at the 1-tech.

Will

You can get a fat assed, space eating DT through the draft a LOT cheaper than Poe or Logan

Brian Martin

This is a pretty good DT draft class. I think the Cowboys draft one at some point, but I’d still like to find a veteran FA.

Will

I’d wait until camp cuts. There’s always a vet or 3 that get cut during camp, and one of those will probably be better and cheaper than who’s out there now, and a mute point entirely if Payne, Vea, or Bryan is drafted

Brian Martin

It’s a risk to wait that long, but I get your point. And, I kinda doubt the Cowboys draft a DT in the first few rounds. They just haven’t shown that they value the position very highly in the past.

Sly

Having a game changer at every level is what makes your defense elite. We finally have a pretty good pass rush on the Dline, we have a healthy Sean Lee at the linebacker position, and Earl Thomas would have been a great addition to our safety and cornerback core. Thomas would be invaluable as a mentor for the younger guys. You can’t win Super bowls without veterans on D and we have zero in the secondary. They can only get younger in the draft. The time to win is now. If they sign Thomas we can concentrate on offense in the draft.

Brian Martin

I agree Earl Thomas would be a great addition, but I’m not willing to give up what the Seahawks are asking and then have to sign him to a contract extension. I would much rather have Tre Boston. He excelled in Gus Bradley’s defense last season with the Chargers, which will be similar to how Kris Richard will use his players in the secondary.

Sly

Ok, I’m on board. Just checked out his stats and saw a highlight video and he’s only 25. This is why you’re the expert and I will stay in my lane…lol Whatever they do, I think they have to get one vet in with those youngsters, though.

Brian Martin

Sly, I’m no expert, just a Cowboys fan who has a platform to voice my opinion.

Will

ET was NEVER going to be a Cowboy. This was a pipedream from the start. The Cowboys secondary needs to stay going young. Awuzie, Jourdan, and Woods with hopefully Armani Watts added in this draft is exactly what we need

Prenze Hampton

Mathieu signed with Hou for 7 mil.. Thats change. We gonna keep being adverage while teams like Philly and Giants loading up to beat us yet again. I like thr young corners etc. But we need to win now.. Dak contract coming up.. Zeke coming and if we dont win by then we are fucked. We gonna lose alot of key guys in order to keep them.

Will

I’ve suffered since the fall after our glorious 90’s run, young man. What you’re asking them to do is EXACTLY what got us into cap hell in the first place. Patience is the key here. We are building through the draft and SMALL free agency bids. Dak and Zeke will get theirs, we have a brand new, roughly 6 season window here. Enjoy the ride, and bide your time

Brian Martin

I agree with the win now mentality, but I don’t think Mathieu is a difference maker. I honestly think he is a little overrated. He really doesn’t have a true position in mostly place out of the nickel/slot. The Cowboys are ready have several defensive backs to play that role.

Reggie Boutte

Why is Tyrone Crawford still on my team? Someone please tell me. He’s the worst and his contract is not helping either.

Brian Martin

Tyrone Crawford is a good player, but unfortunately the Cowboys paid him like a great player. This will likely be his last year in Dallas. And I completely agree with you about the OC. I was really hoping he would be replaced after last seasons deplorable playcalling.

Reggie Boutte

Exactly. The RPO looks awesome when it works out. But bad example being the RPO vs Seattle. 1st down at the 3, just run Zeke please. When can we get a good screen? The last one I remember was when Zeke broke vs The Steelers. The Saints call a successful screen just about every possession. Where are the pick plays or crossing routes. The Patriots do it all the time. What about a new formation? Where are the bunches or motion? I’m so tired of the 11formation. Creativity please. instead of just lining up and saying were better. That’s dumb.

Brian Martin

I think there is still a possibility Earl Thomas becomes a Cowboy, but it will take the Seahawks coming down on their asking price. The closer we get to the draft, the more the asking price may go down. I’m not going to hold my breath or anything, but I still think it’s a possibility.

elindio42

I don’t think Dallas can afford him even if Seattle cuts him. He will want too much money.

Brian Martin

Seattle isn’t going to cut Earl Thomas. And, if you look around the league at what these FA safeties are receiving contract twice on the open market, then the Cowboys can afford Thomas. They wouldn’t be discussing a possible trade for him otherwise.

Will

There were no FA’s that were worth the asking price this off-season from the first wave. I’m glad the Cowboys are being careful with the cap. Bring in guys like Fleming, Hunter, maybe Tre Boston. Keep the youth movement going

Brian Martin

Will, I agree. I’m really glad the Cowboys failed in their attempt to sign Sammy Watkins. There are still some available FAs who can come in and help this team going forward.

Will

Exactly. Tre Boston, Cam Fleming, Bowman if it’s a cheap deal, Martin, and Inman, then call it an off-season till the draft and next round of cuts

Brian Martin

I’d be on board with the Cowboys signing all of those players mentioned except Inman. I don’t think they need a veteran WR.

Will

Not so much to play WR, but as a special teams replacement for the departed K. Smith

Brian Martin

I’d rather find another LB or another defensive player to take over Keith Smith’s special-teams role. At least they are used to tackling.

Will

Inman is a surprisingly good special teamer, reminds me of the WR the Patriots had who was there just to play ST for years, can’t recall his name

Brian Martin

I don’t disagree about Inman as a ST player, I just rather have someone who would be more likely to contribute in other areas.

Brian Martin
Brian Martin
Brian Martin
Prenze Hampton

Who says some bullshit like this? Mathieu declining at 25? Xavier and Mathieu comparison at this point makes no sense AT ALL. One is a pro bowler and was one of the best players in all of college football. Returned punts and got a national title. One is a ball hawk and creates turnovers.. Something my Cowboys haven’t been able to do. Just becuz they be similar in stature doesnt mean there the same player or even close.

Brian Martin

Mathieu and Woods are similar players. They both play the nickel/slot role on defense, which is why the Cowboys didn’t show any interest in the former Cardinal. And, I can honestly care less what Mathieu did in college. He’s not the same player he once was, and I think injuries are the reason why.

Nicholas Succarotte

Hey Brian while i agree with not going back to the days of not long ago and signing every big name exspensive free agent, what has me concerned and frustrated is while not only are we not signing any good frer agents we lost some key players so right now we are weaker then last year, while the eagles, vikings,rams and teams that were better then us already are getting a lot stronger through free agency. And to make it even worse, without signing free agents for years now we are still in cap hell with no money and our roster isnt as good as it needs be to really compete.SO PLEASE, tell me something to give me hope and see some light.

Will

We have a lot of picks, and the 2nd tier of FA’s are where we need to find gems. We don’t have as many holes as some people think

Brian Martin

The Cowboys are continuing to draft well and build the roster the right way. They will plug some holes with some affordable FAs and be just fine. It’s a frustrating process, but it’s working.

Larry Murray

Who have we lost that you’re worried about?

Nicholas Succarotte

Its not necessarily who we lost, just the fact all top nfc teams already had a better roster and team then us, teams like eagles,rams and vikings, and this off season they all got better and some of them a lot better from signing big time free agents, while alls we have done is lost a handful of players amd some of them starters, so that means there rosters got better Nd ours got a little worse and created more holes we need to fill, and the fact that were in just as bad of cap hell as when we were signing big name free agents every year, and remember we stil have our qb and rb on rookie deals, so were going to be even way worse off when we have to give dak 100million and pay zeke top rb money, i just dont think our roster as is should have us pretty much dead broke, and the teams that are better then us all got better while we got a little weaker with more holes

Larry Murray

That is a fallacy. None of these rosters are more talented than ours. We had a 5 game span where we were missing 3 to 5 blue chippers. None of the teams mentioned dealt with that. Yet we were still 1 game out of the postseason. you’re imagining a gap. The eagles prove we have a championship roster

Larry Murray

There’s an article that proved we went through a 3 game span with the most blue chip players inactive in NFL History

Nicholas Succarotte

Lol if you know football you know its not a fallacy thats why they all had better records and will all be projected to do better then us next year, we have 1 really good def lineman, we have no big names in the secondary, we have 1 big time linebacker but hes always hurt, then on offense we have 3 great lineman, a great rb, and we still have to find out more on our qb, and with dez having 3 down years we dont have any big time good recievers, our tightend is coming to the end of his career, and we have no depth anywhere so tell me how are rosters are as good as the rams,vikings or eagles?

Nicholas Succarotte

And you have that backwards buddy the eagles proved we are still several pieces away from a championship, because they lost more players to injury then us, including there left tackle, there best linebacker and there best and most important player there qb carson wentz and they kept rolling, unlike us because we dont have a deep roster and dont have good backups or enough good starters to deal with any good players getting hurt

Andrew Forh

I strongly disagree with you. T Mathieu is a better safety and better football player than Xavier Woods at this point in his career. I’m sick and tired of this team devaluing the presence of reliable veterans. You don’t having a guy like T Mathieu on your roster could benefit the entire DB group. Experience player who has been to a NFC conference unlike every player on the team? Or guy who was immature in college but got his act together and has been a model citizen since entering the league couldn’t help out guys like zeke or Gregory?!? Dallas drop the ball on T Mathieu. Instead of assuming what his price was they should have made an offer. I’m suppose to believe woods who can’t beat B Jones or J Heath is going to be a ball hawking safety… stop it just stop it.

Brian Martin

Tyrann Mathieu isn’t a ball hawking safety though. If you watch his career at LSU and with the Cardinals, you will notice that he is playing out of the slot/nickel. The Cowboys already have several players who can fill that role, which is why there wasn’t an interest in Mathieu. I know you will disagree, but I think he is a little bit overrated.

Albert Smith

Initially I wondered what was going on but I feel like Woods is more than capable, the money was the main thing as well as trying to give all these youngsters their fair share.

EverybodyTalks

The numbers don’t lie. Xavier was thrown in the fire. He did a very good job and this article is a compliment to his ability.

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