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Cowboys News: NFL will officially expand playoffs in 2020

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Plus more news on America’s Team.

Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

NFL team owners vote to expand playoffs by two teams - Dallas Morning News Staff

One of the more interesting changes under the new CBA was giving NFL owners the option to expand the playoff field to seven teams per conference, a decision which became official on Tuesday.

This is the first expansion of the playoffs since 1990, when the NFL went from 10 to 12 postseason entrants. Three games each are set for Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 9-10 — pending the NFL schedule going forward as planned; that schedule should be released in April.

CBS will broadcast one additional wild-card game on Jan. 10 at approximately 4:40 p.m. EST. The game will also be available via live stream on CBS All Access. A separately produced telecast of the game will air on Nickelodeon tailored for a younger audience.

NBC, its new streaming service Peacock and Spanish-language Telemundo will broadcast an additional game on Jan. 10 at approximately 8:15 p.m. EST.

NFL Expanded Playoffs Now would’ve Been No Help to Decade of Cowboys - Mike Fisher, Cowboy Maven

With the NFL voting to officially expand the playoffs to include two more teams, fan bases everywhere are excited that their team’s odds of making the playoffs just went up. But for the Cowboys, history indicates that may not actually be the case.

With an increase to 14 playoff teams, nearly 44 percent of the teams in the league will make the playoffs. It will also greatly increase the number of teams with sub-.500 records to keep playing hard, because they’re now more likely to remain in contention longer.

All of which brings us to the Cowboys. Notably, not in any of the last 10 seasons would the Cowboys have benefitted from being “the seventh-best team” in the conference. That’s right: even had the NFL expanded to 14 playoff teams a decade ago, Dallas’ number of playoff entries would not have changed a bit.

It’s fun and encouraging to look at this NFL change as, “The Cowboys’ chances of making the NFC Playoffs will increase by 10 percent!’’ But in reality, every team’s chances increase by 10 percent ... and Dallas’ 10-year history gives no indication that the Cowboys have been good enough to take advantage.

Todd McShay’s mock draft fits Cowboys’ needs, but is the order right? - Todd Archer, ESPN

Todd McShay’s most recent mock draft had the Cowboys taking Florida cornerback CJ Henderson in the first round and Michigan defensive end Josh Uche in the second round. Both picks fill a need for Dallas, but is it the best path to take given the other options?

I always like to check who was selected later in these mock drafts and see if there are better fits. At Nos. 18 and 19 went safeties Xavier McKinney and Antoine Winfield Jr. to the Dolphins and Las Vegas Raiders, respectively. Safety remains a Dallas need even with the addition of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on a one-year deal.

Then at No. 27 went LSU pass-rusher K’Lavon Chaisson. McShay called him the second-best edge rusher in the draft behind Ohio State’s Chase Young. Chaisson, a season removed from a serious knee injury, had 6.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss for the national champions.

Now think about what the Cowboys have and have not done in free agency with pass-rushers. Robert Quinn and his team-best 11.5 sacks left for Chicago. Dallas has added interior players Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe, but has a hole at right defensive end opposite DeMarcus Lawrence. Tyrone Crawford is a solid, versatile player whom the Cowboys should keep, but he is coming off surgeries to both hips. Randy Gregory might be reinstated and his return would help.

2020 Cowboys free agency: Mike McCarthy influence being felt early in his first offseason with Dallas - Patrik Walker, CBS Sports

There’s a general perception around the Cowboys that the front office - primarily Jerry and Stephen Jones - run the show entirely, with the head coach having little to no input. That theory is being tested already, as Mike McCarthy’s arrival has brought in a new approach to the way certain team operations are handled.

McCarthy rubber-stamped the future of Prescott in Dallas expeditiously and often, and even if McCarthy and the Cowboys make no other splashy signings this offseason outside of the former NFL Rookie of the Year and two-time Pro Bowl quarterback, what he’s done in only two weeks of free agency already eclipses any excitement Garrett ever enjoyed in his nine seasons with the club.

McCarthy has shown he values the safety position, the interior defensive line and a playmaking tight end more than Garrett ever did, and it’s one reason why players like McCoy are calling their respective signing a “dream come true” while Clinton-Dix labels it “the opportunity of a lifetime”.

What McCarthy brings to Dallas isn’t just experience but a plan that’s a year in the making, and one the Joneses are drooling to see unfold before them. And thus far, be it his construction of an impressive coaching staff and/or what he’s convinced them to grant him in free agency, the excitement in Dallas is still subject to the test of time, but it’s justified for now.

Up next comes the 2020 NFL Draft, and the team has already promised things “will be a bit different” to get McCarthy the pieces he needs to win games. There’s a new sheriff in town in Dallas, and the governor, the mayor, and the city council are all letting him establish new law.

Top 5 areas the Dallas Cowboys still need to address this offseason - Jon Machota, The Athletic

The Cowboys re-signed their two biggest players, Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, and shored up their defensive line with the additions of Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe. But Dallas still has a few areas they need to take care of before the offseason is over.

There were hopes inside The Star that the Cowboys could re-sign Quinn, who led the team in sacks last year with 11.5, his second-highest total in nine NFL seasons. But Dallas was never going to come close to the five-year, $70 million deal that Quinn, 29, signed with Chicago. His absence leaves a huge hole at right defensive end.

Regardless of whether Mike McCarthy ultimately keeps the team in a 4-3 base front or switches to a 3-4, the Cowboys need help rushing the passer from the right side of the field opposite of DeMarcus Lawrence. Dorance Armstrong and Joe Jackson are still under contract. They have combined for 2.5 career sacks.

Randy Gregory is in the process of trying to get reinstated after being suspended all of last season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. His return would help, but the Cowboys still need more help rushing the passer.

Will Cowboys Stick w/ Clayton Thorson as Developmental QB, or Draft Another? - Jess Hayie, Inside the Star

Dak Prescott is going to be the starting quarterback in 2020 and there’s no question about that. But who will be his backup? Clayton Thorson might have a shot after spending most of last year on the practice squad.

A key factor here will be McCarthy, whose coaching roots and professional resume have centered around the quarterback position. What does he think of Clayton Thorson’s potential, and what might he think of some of the prospects in the class of 2020? Another issue will be the current contract statuses at the QB position. As of now, neither Dak Prescott or Cooper Rush are signed beyond 2020.

Dak is currently looking at a year on the franchise tag and Rush got a one-year deal as a restricted free agent. If a long-term deal with Prescott isn’t reached by the draft, could the Cowboys be more concerned about putting an insurance measure in place?

No, I don’t think they’d spend anything above a third-round pick even with Prescott and Rush on their one-year deals. But if someone is there late Friday night or early Saturday that McCarthy thinks has potential, the team may defer to their new head coach and let him have his guy to groom.

Again, Clayton Thorson could be that guy. He’s barely had a chance to show his stuff in the NFL and definitely not with the Cowboys. Dallas may want to give him at least one full offseason before drafting someone who would almost assuredly take Thorson’s spot on the roster or practice squad.

BTB Podcast

How did Blake Jarwin become the player and athlete that he is today? We caught up with Oklahoma State Tight Ends/Cowboy Backs Coach Jason McEndoo to find out.

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