Bleacher Report goes through every NFL team looking for a surprise starter. Who did they choose for Dallas?
Dallas Cowboys: Aldon Smith
Aldon Smith was well on his way to becoming one of the NFL’s greatest pass-rushers after registering 33.5 sacks through his first two seasons. But he has been arrested multiple times for driving under the influence and has faced domestic violence and weapons charges as well, and he hasn’t played since 2015. It’s easy to forget how good Smith was. The 2011 seventh overall pick previously ranked top-five all-time in sacks per game, per NFL GameDay. The NFL conditionally reinstated the 30-year-old in May. If he returns anywhere close to form, the Cowboys would definitely receive a pass-rush boost.
“I feel great,” Smith told SiriusXM NFL Radio (h/t Inside the Star’s Matthew Lenix). “I feel young. I feel [like I’m in] my 20s. I feel fresh. So I’m good on that. My weight’s good. I’m a little heavier, but it’s all muscle and I’ve been carrying it long enough and I move well, if not better. I mean, I’m healthy.”
Most likely to least likely: Running through 10 Dallas Cowboys-related scenarios - Jon Machota, The Athletic
Are the Cowboys going to trade for Jamal Adams? Will Jerry Jones put Jimmy Johnson in the ring of honor? Will the Cowboys win the Super Bowl? Jon Machota from The Athletic runs down 10 different scenarios and which of them is more likely to happen, including the dreaded possibility...
5.) There’s no NFL season. The worst-case scenario. Maybe this should be higher. There is just so much uncertainty, especially considering that teams haven’t even started practicing. There will be a lot of adjusting on the fly, but there remains hope that some type of season will be played.
And then there’s this one, which has a much better sound to it...
10.) The Cowboys reach the Super Bowl. This is the most unlikely scenario because so much would have to go right for it to happen. First, the NFL would have to have a full season and playoffs. Second, the team and new coaching staff would have to fit together perfectly. Third, there would need to be some excellent breaks both on the field and in the health department. It’s a league of great parity, so it’s possible. But it just seems like a lot to expect from a group of new coaches trying to make changes while navigating through a pandemic.
High expectations, unyielding family demands couldn’t stop Cowboys Tyron Smith from greatness - Staff, Cowboys Wire
The Cowboys front office feels like a genius for the La’el Collins extension, but it’s the contract to their other tackle that is the biggest bargain of all.
Smith signed an eight-year extension worth $109 million total in July 2014 that made him the highest-paid lineman in the league. That extension, which was added onto two remaining years, essentially made Smith a Cowboy for life. There was a clear amount of hometown discount provided to the club; Smith left tons of money on the table by agreeing to a deal at then-market value for such a length of time. It was widely derided by outside observers.
Exploring a world without Amari Cooper, including what the Cowboys could do with all that extra cash lying around.
Everson Griffen or Jadevon Clowney anyone? Maybe CB Logan Ryan? All three would arguably be upgrades over what Dallas currently has on the roster. Without Cooper’s hefty contract on the books, anyone of these players could’ve been more plausible.
Trading for a certain safety from New York would be a lot more realistic as well. That money they could’ve possibly saved from not extending Amari Cooper could’ve been used to trade and sign Jamal Adams long-term. But with Cooper already locked up and the unknown of the 2021 salary-cap, it’s going to be a difficult trade to complete now.
Film room: 3 free agents who could still improve the Cowboys’ roster, including this immovable object at nose tackle - John Owning, Dallas Morning News
While Jadeveon Clowney is high on a lot of people’s wish list, John Owning mentions a much cheaper option as he identifies three free agents who could help improve this Cowboys roster.
Cam Wake, EDGE
While Griffen is the preferred edge defender here to replace Robert Quinn, Cam Wake is a cheaper option who could make a positive impact as a situational rusher. Although Wake is 38 years old coming off a hamstring injury that landed him on injured reserve in November, he still has enough juice to be an effective pass rusher, as evidenced by his 31 total pressures in just nine games last season.
Even in an injury-shortened 2019, Wake was one of the league’s most efficient pass rushers, finishing seventh among all edge defenders in pass-rush productivity (9.9), which measures pressure created on a per-snap basis with weighting toward sacks. Wake had a higher PRP than stalwarts like Von Miller (9.8), Nick Bosa (9.7), J.J. Watt (9.7) and Myles Garrett (9.7).
I only have eyes (and felt) for you: ranking the NFL’s best and worst mascots - Rhiannon Walker, The Athletic
How did the Cowboys mascot rank? Well, just like they finished last year - right in the middle of the pack. Maybe his name should be Even-Steven.
16. Dallas Cowboys Mascot: Rowdy
Thoughts: Rowdy looks like Woody’s cousin from Toy Story, just more athletic. He’s to the point and matches the Cowboys’ whole embodiment. I’d also like his name to be something like Tex or at least something more Texan than Rowdy.
Is it a coincidence that the year Rowdy showed up is the same year the Cowboys 24-year Super Bowl drought began? Let’s hope so.
Philadelphia Eagles: Why experts are saying Dallas has a better roster - Geoffrey Knox, Inside the Iggles
An Eagles blog decides that maybe the Cowboys did have a better offseason than Philadelphia.
All offseason, we’ve been treated to stories of how Dallas’ offseason was miles ahead of the one the Eagles turned in. Everyone from NFL.com to the aforementioned ESPN has, at some point, chimed in with their opinion on who’s ahead of the game in what everyone believes is a two-team race for divisional superiority.
Philly addressed many of their needs during the most recent free-agency period by trading for and extending Darius Slay and signing the likes of Jatavis Brown, Javon Hargrave, and Nickell Robey-Coleman. Dallas signed Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe, and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
The draft is where Philly seemed to lose ground as the Cowboys snatched CeeDee Lamb to keep their rivals from getting him and added Trevon Diggs in the second round of the most recent selection meeting. Philly took Jalen Reagor in Round 1 (not a bad move), but the headscratcher came in Round 2.
A team that’s set a quarterback and at the backup quarterback position took a third-string signal-caller when guys who took care of more pressing needs were still on the board and available (A. J. Epenesa, J. K. Dobbins, Josh Uche, and Kristian Fulton). There’s no reason to cry over spilled milk and what’s done is done, but Philly made a huge error in judgment this past April.
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