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Cowboys news: Another bye week purchase as Cowboys trade for DL Michael Bennett

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Cowboys make a last-minute trade with Patriots for DL Michael Bennett.

NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Sources -- Patriots trade DE Michael Bennett to Cowboys ahead of Tuesday's deadline - Todd Archer - ESPN
The Patriots are trading DE Michael Bennett to the Cowboys for a 2021 seventh-round pick that can improve to a sixth-round pick.

The Cowboys put defensive end Tyrone Crawford on injured reserve last week with a hip issue that required surgery. Second-year defensive end Dorance Armstrong did not play a week ago because of a stinger but he was on the practice field this week. Robert Quinn suffered from rib muscle spasms that knocked him out of the second half of the win over the Eagles, but Garrett said the team anticipates he’ll be able to practice when they return from the bye week.

In addition to the Patriots, Bennett has played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009 to 2012), Seattle Seahawks (2013 to 2017) and Philadelphia Eagles (2018) over his career.

Patriots trade Michael Bennett to Cowboys – Michael David Smith - ProFootballTalk
Maybe he's not the "right kind of Patriot" but maybe Michael Bennett could be the "right kind of Cowboy."

The Patriots traded Bennett to the Cowboys today. According to ESPN, The Patriots will get either a 2021 sixth-round pick or a 2021 seventh-round pick, depending on whether Bennett meets certain conditions.

In other words, the Patriots basically gave Bennett away. It’s likely that they wanted to get rid of him but didn’t want to cut him because that could have allowed him to sign with another AFC playoff contender. Trading him to the NFC may have been a higher priority than maximizing the return they could get in a trade.

Patriots trading defensive player Michael Bennett to Cowboys - WCVB
Frustrated with his role in New England’s league-leading defense, Michael Bennett was very unhappy.

The move comes after Michael Bennett serving a one-game suspension for what he said was a "philosophical disagreement."

Bennett saw his playing time diminish throughout the season.

Speaking with reporters in the locker room Wednesday, Bennett said he didn’t have any big takeaways from the suspension.

”I didn’t take away nothing,” he said. “I got suspended, lost money. What am I supposed to take away from that? There is no love lost. It’s just what it is.”

Dallas Cowboys trade for Michael Bennett from New England Patriots - Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz - USA Today
The Cowboys are hoping that Bennett will be a good fit in their rotation.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Bennett was acquired by the Patriots in March but had seen his role on the team dwindle as the season progressed. He participated in just 11 defensive snaps in the Patriots’ Week 6 win over the New York Giants. Bennett has recorded 5 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks so far this season.

In Dallas, Bennett likely will serve as a backup to defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn while also contributing on the inside during sub packages. He could also help fill in for Tyrone Crawford, who was placed on injured reserve with a hip ailment.

Bennett will be reunited with Cowboys defensive passing game coordinator Kris Richard after the two worked together on the Seattle Seahawks. Richard served as defensive coordinator from 2015-17, the three years in which Bennett was selected to the Pro Bowl.


Barnwell's NFL trade grades: Why the Cowboys get the first 'A' - Bill Barnwell, ESPN
Barnwell likes the move for the Cowboys.

Patriots grade: C

Cowboys grade: A

The Patriots are now the third team to trade him away for what would appear to be pennies on the dollar since the 2018 offseason. There's certainly a huge disconnect between his on-field production and his trade value, and three of the league's most well-regarded organizations -- the Seahawks, Eagles and Patriots -- have now moved on from him across the past 19 months.

For the Cowboys, though, this is absolutely a risk worth taking. They're only on the hook for about $1.8 million in base salary over the remainder of 2019, with $8.25 million in unguaranteed compensation left on his deal in 2020. Dallas ranks 22nd in pressure rate through seven weeks, so adding Bennett offers the defense a much-needed boost behind DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn.

With Tyrone Crawford now on injured reserve, I suspect you'll see coordinator Rod Marinelli use Bennett on the interior on passing downs to get Dallas' three best pass-rushers on the field at the same time. The Cowboys might also grow tired of Bennett, but the possible reward here greatly outweighs the modest risk.

Michael Bennett trade grade: Cowboys give up little to add high-upside depth - Jeff Kerr, CBSSports.com
Kerr explains likes the trade and explains that the Cowboys added a proven situational pass rusher as they make their run at the NFC East title.

Cowboys Trade Grade: A-

Patriots Trade Grade: C+

The Cowboys can't be upset with this deal, especially since they are most likely giving up just a seventh-round pick (in 2021 no less) for a three-time Pro Bowl defensive end that thrives in a 4-3 scheme. Bennett last was in the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018 and had his best season in years as a situational pass rusher in a 4-3 scheme. Bennett was one of the NFL's most productive edge rushers in the second half of the 2018 season, finishing with 68 pressures, 37 hurries and 22 stops in just 716 snaps (after 70 pressures, 44 hurries and 32 stops in 931 snaps in 2017 with the Seattle Seahawks).

This is what the Cowboys are getting in Bennett, an edge rusher that can line up on the right side of the line that can rotate inside. He's a huge upgrade over Tyrone Crawford, who previously had that role. Bennett can line up opposite of DeMarcus Lawrence and free him up with one-on-one matchups on the left side while giving Robert Quinn a breather. Cowboys defensive line coach Kris Richard, who worked with Bennett with the Seahawks, could also put Bennett, Quinn, and Lawrence on the field at the same time, making the Cowboys' third-down pass rush one of the best in the game. In the past, Bennett has also found success rushing the passer while lined up on the inside at defensive tackle -- keep an eye on this.

Philadelphia Eagles: Letting Dallas trade for Michael Bennett is the worst - Matty Breisch, Section 215
This Eagles fan is quite upset about the trade.

What? Why? Whyyyyyyyyy?

As fans in the 215 saw first-hand last weekend, Dallas already has a solid pass rush both from the inside and out, making Bennett, a Texas A&M alum, the ultimate low-risk, high-reward acquisition.

But in Philly, Bennett could have been everything.

While it’s no secret that the Eagles’ pass rush hasn’t been the same since Bennett migrated north to Boston, things have gotten downright ugly as players like Chris Long, and Joe Ostman, and Jackson, and Jernigan, and Ridgeway, and Spence started dropping like flies. Had Roseman instead opted to reacquire Bennett from the Patriots, one would have to assumably he would have slotted in as the team’s starting defensive tackle in Week 8 alongside Cox, and would finally get the 80-plus percent of the defensive snaps he’s craved since leaving Seattle.

I mean, Roseman could have literally handed Belichick back the very same fifth-round pick they received from New England in the first place, in a move that would have both outbid Dallas and made things “even” – as if the trade had never happened in the first place.

It feels like an absolutely crushing blow to watch a formerly productive player with 716 snaps in Jim Schwartz’s scheme make a division rival better mere days after the worst loss of the Doug Pederson-era.

That’s just the worst.


With Dak Prescott, “The Light Switch Is Always On” - David Helman - DallasCowboys.com
With the bye week upon him, Dak Prescott isn't looking for rest, he's looking for practice reps and improvement.

“We’re trying to give him days off. He won’t take them,” Jon Kitna said on Thursday. “There’s times where -- coming back from the Jets game, Wednesday, I knew he was beat up and sore and hurting. But the dude just wants to work every day. He wants that immediate feedback.”

Like most of his teammates, Prescott took the week off from his media session. But it was interesting visiting with Kitna for the first time since training camp, as the first-year NFL coach has had an up close view of Prescott’s best statistical start to this point in his career.

“The good thing about Dak is you come back in on Mondays and the first thing he wants to do is look at the plays that weren’t right,” Kitna said. “His mental toughness, his resiliency is off the charts. I think he’s playing at a high level, and I think our team is continuing to come to where he’s at, honestly – mentally and physically.”

Dak Prescott is moving the sticks like no other QB in the NFL -One.Cool.Customer - Blogging The Boys
First-down percentage can tell you which QBs are moving the sticks and which QBs aren’t. And we tell you which QB is which.

The title of the post already gave it away; Dak Prescott’s 40.3% leads all NFL QBs. Nobody in the NFL moves the sticks better than Dak Prescott (and the Cowboys offense).

And here’s the kicker:

When Dak Prescott has a first-down percentage of 30% or higher, the Cowboys are 35-6.

When Dak Prescott has a first-down percentage below 30%, the Cowboys are 1-13.

What this means is that 1D% accurately correlates with Dak Prescott’s QB record in a stunning 48 out of 55 games. When Dak moves the sticks, the Cowboys win. When he doesn’t, they lose. The Cowboys fancy themselves a running team, and there may be all sorts of intangibles associated with being a physical, run-heavy team, but they live and die by the passing game - running-game truthers and 30-carry auto-win apologists notwithstanding.

3 things that went right and 3 things that wrong for the Cowboys heading into the bye week - Calvin Watkins, Dallas Morning News

A quick review of the season so far, with things that have gone wrong, and things that have gone right... like Amari Cooper.

Amari Cooper: It’s been a year since the Cowboys traded a first-round pick to the Raiders for Cooper. Was it worth it? After 16 games, Cooper has a 72.2% catch rate and is averaging 10.7 yards per target in his time with Dallas. Those are career-high numbers. For the basic numbers, Cooper has 91 catches for 1,346 yards with 11 touchdowns after 16 games with the Cowboys. Think the Raiders miss that? Cooper has turned into the No. 1 wideout the Cowboys missed after letting Dez Bryant go a few years ago. Cooper doesn’t need to beat defenses with deep routes, he just dazzles them with a variety of routes from different spots on the field that are so difficult to contain.

What are the most interesting games left on the Cowboys schedule after the bye week?- Kristi Scales - SportsdayDFW
Kristi Scales looks at the most interesting games left this season after the Cowboys' bye week.

2. @ New England Patriots, November 24 (Week 12): They’re the defending Super Bowl champions (which is redundant in New England). And due to the NFL’s formula for regular season schedules, it’s an opponent/venue you visit only once every eight years.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Patriots are THE most successful team in the NFL and it’s going to be our last chance to see the Cowboys play Brady on his home turf in a regular season game.

Here’s how Cowboys fans are feeling this week.