Cowboys new coaching staff is almost complete; which hire will be most important? - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys
There have been several coaching changes this offseason as the team looks for ways to improve in many areas. Which move will have the biggest impact? Our own Dave Halprin discusses the changes.
The Cowboys obviously were not happy with the play of the offensive line in 2017, even though overall the unit was still quality, they did not play up to their lofty standards. One has to wonder how much the debacle of Chaz Green and the inability to field a quality backup tackle played into the decision to make a change from Frank Pollack to Paul Alexander. Was Pollack just coasting on what was already in place from Bill Callahan? The Cowboys have an identity on offense, and that is an offensive line that can control a game. They didn’t see that as much in 2017.
Cowboys coaching staff changes: pic.twitter.com/9SNhBi68Fg— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) February 14, 2018
Three intriguing new faces that should help Cowboys improve in 2018 - Jon Machota, SportsDay
While the Cowboys didn't make an changes to the bigger coaching positions, they've added a lot of experience in some of the position coach changes. Jon Machota explains...
Are you optimistic that some of the new coaches might add some extra or new dimensions to a team that had opposing teams calling their offensive plays last year based on the line up and the down?
Jon Machota: Most intriguing for me are defensive backs coach Kris Richard, wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal and offensive line coach Paul Alexander. All three have significant NFL experience. It's not a secret that the Seahawks have had one of the best defensive backfields for the last seven years. Richard was a big part of that. Now, he doesn't have Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, but he does have a young group that he could quickly impact in a positive way. Seattle has been known for being aggressive on the back end. The Cowboys have been the opposite. Dallas ranks 27th in the NFL in interceptions since 2013. The Cowboys were 24th last season, 27th in 2016 and tied for 31st in 2015. It's clear the Cowboys didn't get very good production out of their wide receivers last season. A change in WR coach could end up being a good thing for the group. Lal has been coaching the position in the NFL for the last nine seasons. This could be the most talented group he has worked with. The offensive line is already one of the best in the league. Alexander doesn't need to adjust much. He has spent the last 23 seasons coaching the Bengals' offensive line. He'll obviously have some new wrinkles to add and some valuable suggestions on how to improve the running game. His addition could be huge not only for the line but also Ezekiel Elliott.
Is the Dallas Cowboys offensive scheme too simplistic? - Steven Mullenax, The Landry Hat
The term "too predictable" has been thrown out a lot as it pertains to Scott Linehan and the Cowboys offensive play-calling. It seems obvious to the innocent bystander, but is that really the way it is? Steven Mullenax wants you to ponder this little tidbit of information first before coming to a conclusion...
And if you believe the Cowboys are too predictable in their playcalling, their third down percentage should be one of the worst in the NFL. Last season, Dallas ranked fifth in the NFL in that catergory by converting 42.9% of their third down opportunists. This is when being predictable should have hurt the Cowboys the most! Instead, Dallas had one of the league’s top third down conversion rates.
Cowboys Offseason Plan Part I - Taking Care Of Their Own - Joey Ickes, Fan Rag Sports
BTB alum Joey Ickes provides his offseason plan for the Cowboys. Joey has never been one to shy away from his disputatious takes and comes at us by identifying fan favorite Cole Beasley as a possible cap casualty.
He is a nifty weapon who was Dak Prescott’s security blanket in the quarterback’s outstanding rookie season of 2016. However, whether due to injury or defensive adjustments, Beasley wasn’t nearly as effective in 2017 as the prior season, and with a ready-made replacement on board in Ryan Switzer who fills multiple roles for the team and is more diverse as a downfield threat from the slot, Beasley could be seen as expendable.
When you add the fact that the Cowboys have significant cap commitments to outside receivers Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams, the only place they can reduce their overall spending at receiver is to release Beasley. This opens the door for a potential free-agent acquisition or early draft pick at wide receiver who could upgrade the passing game as a whole, without compromising the slot role due to the presence of Switzer.
Releasing Beasley saves the Cowboys $3.25M against the 2018 cap without any impact on future years.
Cowboys Offseason Plan Part II - Improving The Roster - Joey Ickes, Fan Rag Sports
After freeing up a bunch of cap space in part one of his offseason plan, Joey now goes to work with making some big moves, including the trade everyone wants to happen.
I would be on the phone with Seattle general manager John Schneider, working to make a deal to acquire Thomas. If the Seahawks aren’t eager to risk a holdout from Thomas, but aren’t willing to give him the multi-year contract he’s seeking, perhaps he can be had for a Day 3 pick, or a combination of a Day 3 pick this year with an added conditional pick in the 2019 draft. That would allow the Seahawks to benefit from the added cap flexibility, while accelerating any compensatory pick value they might receive from losing Thomas as a free agent from 2020 into the 2018 and perhaps 2019 drafts.
Here is what Earl Thomas’ new contract could look like:
What They Need to Accomplish this Offseason - Scott Sauer, Sport DFW
Many fans thirst for it, but few fans have their thirst quenched when it comes to the Cowboys making big moves in free agency. Scott Sauer provides his offseason plans, including shaking things up a bit.
Objective #1: Be more aggressive in Free Agency
The free agency period begins on March 14th. This year, the Cowboys should take note of what the Eagles have done and been more aggressive in the free agent market.
I’m not saying they should start handing out 5-year $100 million dollar contracts, but the very passive low-risk, low-reward strategy has not been paying dividends. Players like Danny Amendola or Kenny Vaccaro could be signed to reasonable deals and make an impact on the field.
Five moves each NFC team should make in 2018 NFL offseason for trades, free agency, cuts - Bill Barnwell, ESPN
Bill Barnwell from ESPN provides his list for the top moves the Cowboys should make this offseason, including giving their All Pro wide receiver an ultimatum.
3. Force Dez Bryant to take a pay cut or release the 29-year-old. While the Cowboys aren't in an onerous cap situation after moving on from Tony Romo (who will still cost Dallas $8.9 million in dead money this year), there's a huge gap between Bryant's $16.5 million cap hit and his recent production. While you might have blamed injuries for middling seasons from Bryant in 2015 and 2016, he played all 16 games this season and wasn't able to consistently change games. His 69-838-6 line wasn't dissimilar to the 65-810-5 line posted by Jermaine Kearse, who was essentially a throw-in for the Jets in the Sheldon Richardson trade.
Forget releasing Dez Bryant, the Cowboys should extend him to help with other moves - Danny Phantom, Blogging The Boys
But then, I go the other way with this offering up a far less popular way to approach it.
There are a couple reasons why an extension for Bryant would be good for Dallas. First off, he’s not as terrible as many people are trying to make him. In fact, he’s still a very good receiver. Because of all the noise being made about his inflated cap hit relative to his production on the field, his stock is low right now. If the Cowboys believe he’s still a great receiver, they might be able to get him locked up for a few more years at a decent price.
Borrowing money from the future isn’t always the wisest thing to do, but opening up some cap space would actually give the team some leverage when it comes to a couple other big deals expected to go down this offseason.
And here is an example of what the new deal would look like:
If the Cowboys aren’t sold on Dez, they could look to the draft to find their future star wide receiver.
NFL Draft prospect to know: Cedrick Wilson, WR, Boise State - Cole Patterson, Blogging The Boys
There are an assortment of names buzzing around the water cooler when it comes to potential wide receiver draft targets. But one name we haven't heard much about is Boise State's Cedrick Wilson, who is featured in Cole Patterson's latest draft profile.
Cedrick Wilson could be an intriguing and ideal day three selection for the Dallas Cowboys. He has the frame, the history of production, and the overall talent to grow into a quality NFL receiver in the right scheme. He would give the Cowboys a big-bodied deep threat to open up the run game for Ezekiel Elliott and other elements for the offense. With the questions surrounding Dez Bryant, the uncertainty with Terrance Williams, and with Cole Beasley entering the final season of his contract, grabbing a solid target like Wilson — PFF’s third-highest graded receiver in the 2018 NFL Draft class -- in the middle of the draft would be ideal for the Cowboys.
Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson hauled in his fair share of deep passes this past season pic.twitter.com/xlPcLevRd0— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 7, 2018
5-Rd 2018 mock draft brings Cowboys Legion of Boom, Witten heir - K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire
The most talented player in the draft whose name comes up as a potential slider to the Cowboys is Florida State's Derwin James. While it's wishful thinking to land the super-talented safety, K.D. makes a play for him with move-up trade scenario in his latest five-round mock.
Kris Richard gets his new Kam Chancellor. James is a superb athlete, who has played at every level of the Seminoles defense, including edge rusher. He’d be a strong safety for the Cowboys, capable of playing in coverage or coming down into the box. Standing 6-foot-3, weighing 211 pounds, James is the enforcer Dallas needs in their back seven to take the next step in becoming a championship-level defense.
While the elite safety in the draft may not slide all the way to the Cowboys, there’s a chance one of the stud 1-tech defensive tackles makes it to 19.
If Vita Vea is somehow available at 19 (I doubt that he will be) the Cowboys should forget all of their ‘we can find a nose tackle anywhere’ thoughts and sprint to the podium to submit their pick. He has a first-round grade.
It’s reasonable to consider Payne around the area that the Cowboys are picking. I include him because he’s my second-best nose tackle in this draft. I have a second-round grade on him. Whether either of them ends up a Cowboy or not, it’s imperative we all let the team know the fat athlete is one of the most glorious things in all of sport, and we’re in the market for a good one. I mean, who wouldn’t want a nose tackle who can also do this?
Dallas Cowboys Draft 2018: Five edge rushers and where to get them - Michael Sisemore, Blogging The Boys
While the defensive end position isn't garnering as much interest from fans as it typically does come draft time, that doesn't mean the position is off the table. The Cowboys have three picks in the fourth round and could take a flyer on someone with upside, like this sleeper edge rusher mentioned in Michael Sisemore's latest draft write-up.
Kemoko Turay, 6’4, 252 lbs, Rutgers (Brugler: 81st, 7th OLB)
Some draftniks are higher on him but that may be due to the fact this class is just not that great for edge rushing talent. Turay is a long athlete with freakish abilities that has shown improvement in every season but he’s got a long way ahead. His extremely long limbs will attract teams as he can knife through linemen and bring down the ball carrier. The issue with Turay is that 7.5 of his 15.5 career sacks came in his freshman year. He has the raw talent and traits that could transform him into a star but he has to prove that his durability problems in college are behind him.