The Dallas Cowboys only have one game left on this glorious 2015 schedule. Once the season ends, we will all put on our forward face and look ahead at all the great things that will be coming our way. After all, there are some good things looming. The Cowboys will get some nice new toys with great draft spots in April. Tony Romo stands a great chance to play in more games in 2016 than he did this season. And all the young guys on the roster will be more experienced. What's not to like about all that?
Here are just a few things that have been on my mind heading into the final week of the season.
How costly would it be to beat Washington on Sunday?
Anytime the Cowboys beat the Redskins is going to make for a good day, right? And sweeping them would be even more enjoyable. The Redskins will end the year as division champs, but the Cowboys could send them a little memo to not get too comfortable at the head of the class as Dallas will try to take back what is rightfully theirs in 2016.
But then there's that whole draft positioning situation. As the Cool One put together in this great write-up, the Cowboys currently sit with the number four pick, but could still move around depending on what happens in the final week. Should the Cowboys beat the Redskins, they could slide down to the number eight pick. Such a drop can significantly change the level of talent that is available when they are on the clock. There should be some pretty delicious eats sitting at the four spot.
Regardless of how great it feels to beat the Redskins, it's going to be hard pressed to wake up on Monday morning and feel any better than how you'd feel picking at four rather than eight.
If you got the fourth overall pick, what direction would you go?
After being caught with their pants down in the backup quarterback department, it doesn't take a genius to figure out the Cowboys are going to be a little more diligent in bringing in a more serviceable QB to play behind the geriatric Tony Romo next season. And since they'll have a top draft pick, they could take a stab at one of the top collegiate QBs in the draft. How often do you get a chance to do that?
But is that the right way to go? The Cowboys should also have the choice of an elite defensive player as well. The team has history of going after the best player on their board regardless of need and with such a high pick, it's a foregone conclusion that there's going to be someone there they love. Of course, then you have Jerry Jones who wanted Johnny Manziel so bad that they had to chase him around the war room like Luther from Coach in order to not send in his card in 2014. You have to figure he's going to want a franchise quarterback bad...real bad.
Which cornerback do you want, Carr or Claiborne?
Like any offseason, the Cowboys will have some tough decisions to make regarding the players they decide to keep. Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne haven't been the most popular players since they joined the team in 2012 with high expectations. Both have underperformed in relation to their investment price you'd think the Cowboys will jump on board with the first opportunity they have to cut their losses. For Morris Claiborne, that time could be now. His rookie contract expires after this season and he'll be off the books. But in a small twist of events, the 2015 season has provided some flashes of good play from Mo. Some better health has played a role as well as he's played in 11 games this season, which is more than his previous two seasons combined. And there were points in the season where he was asked to cover the toughest receiver on the field and held his own. Claiborne isn't the bad corner some (like myself) once believed he was. He could be someone worth keeping if the Cowboys can get him for a good price. And while he was disgruntled last year after Jason Garrett took away his starting job, he appears to like it in Dallas. That's a pretty good sign when coaches are hard on you and you still want to stick around.
Morris Claiborne: I'd rather continue playing for the Cowboys than get a fresh start with a new team https://t.co/fpC38EWcoa— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) December 30, 2015
Then there's Carr. The Cowboys have found themselves in a pickle when it comes to his contract. Between his dead money hit and the lack of other resources at corner, he's held all the leverage. But both of these things are changing. His dead money hit is shrinking and the Cowboys now have Byron Jones on the roster. Plus, Orlando Scandrick should be back in the mix next season as he returns from a season-ending knee injury he suffered in training camp. The Cowboys no longer have themselves pushed in a corner on the Carr situation. In fact, keeping him around is going to cost the team a $13.8 million cap hit versus the $7.4 million dead money hit if they cut him. It doesn't seem likely that the Cowboys would keep him around any longer unless some type of contract restructure takes place.
Carr has one valuable trait though and that is he's very dependable when it comes to his health.
So, what would you do with these guys? Is there one that you'd rather keep over the other or would you say good riddance to both?
Get the Duck outta here!
Speaking of good riddance, Chip Kelly is out in Philadelphia. I have mixed feelings about this. As a student of Oregon State University, it brings me great pleasure to see a former Duck fall on his face. As a Cowboys fan, I actually love the remodeling job he's done in Philadelphia and was hoping it would continue.
Personally, I think people were too hard on Chip. Besides bringing in the wrong players, conjuring up schemes that don't fit those said players, and having his players quit on him - he's been fantastic.
Chip Kelly didn't believe in time of possession and apparently, neither did Eagles owner. Chip gone after 3 seasons— Babe Laufenberg (@BabeLaufenberg) December 30, 2015
Congrats to the Redskins
In my world of football, I despise everything about the NFC East. I loathe Odell Beckham Jr., I embrace the dumpster fire that is the Philadelphia Eagles, and it mades me feel warm inside to think about what RG3 cost the Redskins. But putting those feelings aside for a brief moment, I want to applaud the job that Jay Gruden has done with the Redskins this season. It takes a lot of courage to sit your ridiculously large investment, franchise quarterback and roll with some other guy. The gamble has paid off as Kirk Cousins' been playing magnificent down the stretch.
Good job, Washington. Good luck with your one and only playoff game and have fun playing Arizona and Carolina next season.