As the offseason starts to really ramp up with the Super Bowl out of the way, it’s the point in the year where teams start looking at how much cap space they’ll have to work with. The Cowboys, like many other teams in the league, are getting a nice padding from cap savings that are rolling over from the 2018 season.
What does this mean for the Cowboys, specifically?
Well, considering they’ll also roll over approximately $11.7 million in savings from 2018 -- according to the NFLPA -- it means they’re projected available cap will have a floor of just under $47.4 million, and a ceiling of just over $51 million. Their rollover is the highest of any NFC East team and the second-most in the conference, behind only the San Francisco 49ers, who enjoy a boulderesque $35 million.
Still, that’s a lot of scratch for a Cowboys’ team that usually carries a much smaller cushion, and it all comes not a moment too soon. The new figure will also include the expiration of nearly $17 million in dead money, stemming from the now-released Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, helping to free up dollars for needed contract extensions and free agency signings -- the latter now being much less of a need for next season, but still a thing.
With Kellen Moore taking over as the new offensive coordinator in Dallas, many are wondering what, if any, scheme changes the second-year coach will bring. Not much is known given how new Moore is to this, but it seems as if Dak Prescott will have a more prominent role in trying to fashion this offense around him.
One of the major criticisms of Linehan was his seeming inability to build a gameplan that was formulated to Dak Prescott’s strengths. Whatever was the cause of that, one way to remedy it is to allow Prescott a bigger voice in the offense. Given that Prescott and Moore were players together at one point, and given that Moore lacks an entrenched way of doing things, Prescott should get more say.
[Prescott] also recognizes this new arrangement should give him an even stronger voice.
“It’s just something that when you do it you’ve got to be really convicted about what you’re doing and know exactly,’’ Prescott said. “You’re going in there to say, ‘Coach, I want this because it’s great against this look and that look.’
A lot of people paid attention to the decision to promote Kellen Moore to offensive coordinator, but the move created a void at quarterbacks coach. Now another former Cowboys backup quarterback, Jon Kitna, will fill that role, and he has an opportunity to drastically improve Dak Prescott.
Kitna played in the NFL for 16 seasons and started 124 games. He wasn’t a phenomenal athlete, but he was a charismatic dude who figured out how to maximize his talent. He has a good offensive mind according to those who have worked closely with him and he’s a technician when it comes to the position.
He’ll make sure Dak’s footwork is pristine and that will help his accuracy and his other throwing mechanics. If he helps make Dak a more consistent passer, then he’s worth whatever the Cowboys are paying him.
The Cowboys haven’t even gotten to training camp for the 2019 season, but head coach Jason Garrett is already on the hot seat after Jerry and Stephen Jones declined to give the coach an extension, meaning he’ll be coaching 2019 on the final year of his contract. As such, rumors on a replacement have already popped up, and none is bigger than Sean Payton.
523 miles. That’s all that separates the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and AT&T Stadium. The trip could be done under an eight-hour car drive. 523 miles.
Before we get into the possibility of the Cowboys landing in the Payton sweepstakes in 2020, we have to review where the ‘Boys are at in 2019. So far, the Cowboys are committed to Kellen Moore as the offensive coordinator and Jon Kitna is on board as the quarterbacks coach. Head coach Jason Garrett was retained, but his contract was not extended either.
Terrance Williams was once a fairly productive wide receiver in Dallas, but he’s seen his production and usage drop considerably in the last few seasons. A foot injury and DUI trouble this past summer kept him out of football entirely. Williams is under contract through 2020, but that might not save him.
The next and easily more viable out for the Cowboys will come once the new league year opens in March, when the dead money hit drops to $2.5 million and their cap savings buoys to $2.25 million, if they tag him as a pre-June 1 release. They would gain even more by making him a post-June 1 cut, bottoming out the dead money at $1.25 million with a $3.5 million savings, making for a very attractive trigger they could decide to pull instead. They have hefty salary cap space going into 2019, but they also have a laundry list of stars they’ll need to either lock in or begin talks with, and the added cushion provided by releasing Williams is a no-brainer.
The team doesn’t need his production but does want his recoupable money, and with Cooper in the fold, Gallup coming on strong and several other options coming their way in the spring -- eating a $5.25 million cap hit on a player who seems checked out and offers little production is a no-go.
If you watched the Super Bowl and stayed awake through it all, you probably remember the comical NFL 100 commercial that featured a litany of NFL stars, both past and present, turning a gala dinner into a full on scrum. There were several Cowboys legends in the commercial, but Troy Aikman was noticeably missing, and he explained why on Tuesday.
“Well, that’s my own doing, because I was asked to do it,” Aikman said of his absence from the ad, ”and they sent me the [storyboards] on it as to what they had in mind. Nobody really knew exactly how they were gonna pull it all together, but we knew that it was a black-tie event, big dinner party, and then a football game breaks out. I, for some reason -- I’m not sure, I was just telling my wife -- I don’t know why I thought that the commercial was not gonna air for another year, for some reason that was in my head.
”But they shot that commercial the Monday after the Cowboys played the Rams in the divisional game [on a Saturday], and so for me to be in that commercial, I was gonna have to stay in Los Angeles another 48 hours, and I just wanted to get home. I didn’t want to be gone, I didn’t want to be on the road for another couple of days after I’d already been on the road for a few days leading up to that game, and so I made the decision not to do the spot and then when it aired, then I realized it was for this year’s Super Bowl and it was very well done.
Geoff Swaim missed the latter half of the 2018 season with an injury, but prior to that he was starting to emerge as the star tight end for the Cowboys as they looked to replace Jason Witten. As it turns out, Pro Football Focus graded Swaim very well in his half season.