3 potential salary cap casualties the Cowboys should target in free agency, including the crown jewel – John Owning, SportsDay
Come for the detailed breakdown on potential free agent defensive tackle Gerald McCoy; stay for the detailed breakdowns on Travis Davenport and Matt Bryant.
If released, McCoy would be an outstanding fit with the Cowboys. Despite the fact he will be 31 when the 2019 season begins, McCoy’s skill set matches up perfectly with what Dallas looks for in an under tackle (3-technique defensive tackle).
gerald mccoy’s first step is still lightning quick. i also have no idea who #77 for jacksonville is & cam robinson looks lost as hell lmao pic.twitter.com/W59i0zCpTd
— charles mcdonald (lakers 28-29) (@FourVerts) August 18, 2017
McCoy possesses one of the most electric get-offs in the league (though it has waned a tad since his early 20s) and it has allowed him to be one of the most consistently disruptive defensive tackles in football. McCoy buoys his get-off with refined hand technique and footwork, making him one of the toughest defenders to block one-on-one.
In a widely anticipated move the Cowboys chose to let veteran receiver Terrance Williams become a free agent, declining his 2019 contract option.
The Dallas Cowboys have declined to pick up the option on Terrance Williams‘ contract for 2019, which will make the wide receiver a free agent on March 14, according to sources.
Williams was set to make $3.5 million in 2019 as part of the four-year, $17 million deal he signed in 2017. By declining the option, the Cowboys will save $2.25 million in cap space.
Williams had a forgettable 2018, catching just two passes for 18 yards in three games before being inactive for a game and ultimately placed on injured reserve for the season with a foot injury. He suffered a broken foot last winter, was held out of most of the offseason program and was limited for a time during training camp, and never appeared 100 percent. He also served a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, stemming from an offseason arrest.
2019 franchise tag candidates and predictions for all 32 NFL teams – Staff, ESPN.com
The ESPN staff looks at each NFL team and identifies potential franchise tag targets. Not surprisingly, DeMarcus Lawrence is the most notable target.
The Cowboys want to avoid putting the tag on Lawrence for a second year. He made $17.1 million in 2018 on the tag and would make $20.5 million in 2019. The Cowboys wanted to see if Lawrence could repeat his production from 2017 and he did, putting up 10.5 sacks with 39 quarterback pressures and earning a second Pro Bowl nod. A year ago, there seemed to be little hope a long-term deal could be done. This year, there seems be a little more optimism, even with a tight window to negotiate. If the Cowboys use the tag on Lawrence again, they run the risk of him not showing for the offseason program, minicamp, training camp and potentially regular-season games.
Prediction: The Cowboys know it will be costly, but ultimately a contract should be finalized, and they won’t use the tag.
Next Step: The Future For Cowboys’ Young TEs? – Rob Phillips, DallasCowboys.com
Over at the mothership the staff there continues reviewing the team’s roster.
Blake Jarwin had never scored a touchdown in his two-year career. Dec. 30 at the Giants, he joined Billy Joe DuPree (1973) as only the second tight end in Cowboys history with three touchdown catches in a single game. That breakout performance in the regular-season finale propelled Jarwin, a part-time 53-man roster member in 2017, to the team lead in catches among tight ends (27) in 2018. Jarwin might have the highest ceiling of any tight end on the roster from a pure receiver standpoint. The next step would appear to be improving his consistency finishing plays as a receiver and rounding out his game as a functional blocker.
Star Evaluation: How Will Armstrong Develop? – David Helman, DallasCowboys.com
Also, at the mothership, a look at a player who could be a difference-maker on the team’s defensive line.
Armstrong is the classic “rising sophomore” to watch in 2019. He was solid, although not spectacular in a limited role as a rookie. Now, he has a chance to take another step in his development. These are the type of progressions that can take rosters to another level. You can’t understate how big it would be for the Cowboys if Armstrong, a Day 3 draft pick, develops into a real-deal difference maker at one of the most important positions in the game. For reference, think of the good Trey Flowers, pick No. 101 for New England in 2015, has done for the Patriots in recent years. Simply stated, it’s hard to find consistent sack production outside of the first two rounds of the NFL draft. If the Cowboys can get that from Armstrong, it’d take their defense to another level. Obviously, whether or not he can take that step is the question we’ll be asking heading into training camp.
Cowboys screwed up Lawrence contract situation, can it be fixed? – K.D. Drummond, CowboysWire.com
Making the case that the Cowboys botched the DeMarcus Lawrence situation by not extending him last season.
The Cowboys have had over a month to negotiate with Lawrence, and publicly haven’t come up with anything resembling momentum towards a long-term deal. That isn’t to say it won’t happen but the front office, led by owner and general manager Jerry Jones, is on record proclaiming deadlines make deals.
There are three important deadlines when it comes to Lawrence’s future with the team; the one by when they must franchise tag him, the one where if they don’t tag him other teams can begin to negotiate with him, and finally if they do tag him, the one that closes the window on working out a long-term deal before the next offseason.
On Tuesday, the tag window opens.
It closes on March 5, the first of the three deadlines for Dallas and Lawrence.As Lawrence was tagged last year without a longer deal being reached, Dallas was forbidden from negotiating with him after July 15.
Four Downs: NFC East – Bryan Knowles, Football Outsiders
Each year the Football Outsiders crew evaluates each NFL team’s position group to identify the group needing an upgrade. For years they’ve been saying the Cowboys’ secondary needs help…. and they come to the same conclusion this year. Jeff Heath fans should look away.
Jeff Heath can not tackle. We noted last year in this space that Heath had more missed tackles (11) than defeats (six). The problem got worse in 2018, as Heath’s 22 broken tackles were the second-most allowed in the league. Heath just isn’t a starting-caliber strong safety; he’s a quality special teams player who has been promoted beyond his skill set. Bringing in a new safety — either strong or free, as Woods would do just fine moving into the strong safety position — would help a defense that ranked 19th or worse when covering tight ends, running backs, or third wideouts. In addition, cornerback Chidobe Awuzie finished 81st out of 85 qualified cornerbacks in success rate. Replacing either Heath or Awuzie, or preferably both, would help a defense that hasn’t finished in the top 10 against the pass since 2007.
Ten quarterbacks worth pursuing via trade/free agency/NFL draft – David Carr, NFL.com
Whether through the draft, free agency or the trade market, there are quarterbacks available for teams willing to wade into those risky waters. Could Dallas be looking for an upgrade at the backup QB position? One possible target:
Robert Griffin III, free agent
RG3 is a true journeyman after going from the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year to clipboard-holding backup to a guy who could compete for a starting job. I saw some promising things from him this past season in Baltimore. His physical ability hasn’t dropped off — he had an on-the-money throw, albeit incomplete, on fourth-and-22 against the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 14 — and he’s a much smarter player than he was several years ago. Everything that I’ve seen out of him, including helping Lamar Jackson through his rookie season based on all accounts, shows me that he’s in the right mindset and still has real upside eight years into his career.
Identifying Every NFL Team’s Dream Draft Target – Gary Davenport, Bleacher Report
In an exercise of fantasy, Davenport imagines the draft going exactly the way every team needs to get their best player.
And a draft-day slide from Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson would be ideal and then some for the Dallas Cowboys, who have a glaring need at the position and don’t have a pick until Round 2 after they traded for wide receiver Amari Cooper last year.
The 6’5″, 250-pound Hockenson surprised some people when he declared for the draft after his redshirt sophomore season, but he’s the most well-rounded prospect at his position in the class.
In addition to the ability to stretch defenses as a receiver, Hockenson is also an accomplished blocker—traits that would no doubt appeal to a Dallas team that’s long looked for a viable Jason Witten replacement.
Cowboys have no intention of keeping DT David Irving at this time – David Moore, SportsDay
In another move that should suprise no one it appears the Cowboys are finally willing to move on from talented but enigmatic defensive tackle David Irving.
David Irving’s sometimes productive and often chaotic time with the Cowboys is near an end.
The defensive tackle becomes a free agent next month, and a source said the club has no intention of keeping him. While that could change – the Cowboys traditionally employ an open door policy even when that door appears slammed shut from the outside – it’s hard to envision a scenario why it would.
Irving played in just two games last season. He was on the field for 56 snaps, recording one sack and two quarterback pressures. His last appearance came in a game against Washington on Oct. 21.
A high-ankle sprain hindered Irving in the final two months of the season. He was not as aggressive with his rehab as club officials wanted and only sporadically appeared at The Star in the closing weeks of the season after receiving a second opinion.