FRISCO - The suddenly crowded tight ends room in Cleveland has budding star David Njoku demanding a trade from the Browns, per new agent Drew Rosenhaus.
“It is in David’s best interest to find a new team at this time,” Rosenhaus told ESPN.
But the Dallas Cowboys having expressed interest as a “potential suitor’’ for the 23-year-old Njoku? That much, according to two CowboysSI.com sources inside The Star, is fiction.
“That,’’ one source told us as the Friday news broke, “sounds like an agent creation.’’
Added a second source: “Nope. No interest.’’
Rosenhaus, of course, is one of the best in the business in terms of stirring up attention for clients. And whispering to a prominent media outlet — whether it’s ESPN or Cleveland.com — about a connection with the Cowboys is an outstanding way to “stir things up.’’
Dallas just made a commitment to a young tight end in which it believes in Blake Jarwin. The Cowboys also signed blocking tight end Blake Bell, formerly a part-time starter with the Chiefs, and also have recent draftee Dalton Schultz on the roster. None of that means Njoku, a former first-round pick, might not represent an upgrade. And as he’s scheduled to make $2.6 million this year and a little over $6 million in 2021—the price (in terms of salary) is not outrageous.
Three defensive players not named Jamal Adams that the Cowboys should add - David Howman, Blogging the Boys
There’s still plenty of time to add to the roster.
S Reshad Jones
The Cowboys are likely going to be rolling out Xavier Woods and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix as their two starting safeties, but they probably know it’s not a bad idea to have three starting-caliber safeties. Otherwise they wouldn’t be interested in Adams.
But since an Adams trade seems unlikely, Dallas can still “settle” for another accomplished safety in Reshad Jones. A ten-year veteran, Jones has spent the entirety of his career with the Dolphins thus far, but after missing 12 games with an injury last year and a general trend towards younger players, Miami opted to release him.
Jones has had an impressive career, as the only player from the 2010 Dolphins team to have stuck around through the 2019 season. He put together Pro Bowl seasons in both 2015 and 2017 and has accumulated 21 picks, three forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries, 10.5 sacks, and six defensive touchdowns throughout his career.
Jones played free safety for the first seven years of his career, but declining production resulted in a move to more of a box safety role. As a result, he played so well that he was named to his second Pro Bowl. Jones followed it up with another productive year in 2018, where he allowed a 56.1% completion rate, 66.7 passer rating, and just two touchdowns in coverage.
Jones struggled early on in the 2019 season, as did the rest of a Dolphins squad adjusting to a radically new coaching staff. He suffered a season-ending injury after four games, but the longtime team captain can still contribute in 2020. Alongside Woods and Clinton-Dix, Jones could take on a rotational role in the secondary, either functioning in the box as a run stopper (Jones has posted 100+ tackles in three separate seasons) or playing deep while one of the other two gets deployed as a pass rusher.
Mike McCarthy faces uniquely long list of challenges to start first season as Cowboys head coach - Calvin Watkins, DMN
How did new head coaches do the last time an offseason was interrupted?
In 2011, the NFL didn’t have an offseason program because of a 130-day labor dispute. The lockout ended in July, and teams rushed to camp. There were eight new NFL coaches then, including Jason Garrett in Dallas. Only two of those eight teams, Denver and San Francisco, made the postseason.
Three teams, Carolina, Denver and Minnesota finished below .500. Dallas and Oakland went 8-8 with Tennessee going 9-7.
So how did McCarthy’s Packers do?
Well, the Packers were the defending champions, having won Super Bowl XLV, the previous season. McCarthy’s team went 15-1, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers was named the league’s MVP. But the Packers lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants in the NFC Divisional Round.
McCarthy is an experienced coach with a title on his resume. He has a veteran club returning, and that’s valuable.
McCarthy is in the same situation as everybody else in the NFL, just waiting for a 2020 season of uncertainty.
“I am excited because this is probably going to be the most experienced team that I’ve coached, so we’ll rely on that,” he said. “I think if we were going to push to one side or the other we’d definitely push on the side of the volume because of our veteran experience.”
Do-or-die seasons for these three defenders.
Trysten Hill, DT
Defensive tackle Trysten Hill was the Cowboys’ top selection in 2019. Selected in the second round, 58th overall, out of UCF, the 22-year old underwhelmed during his rookie season. Hill played in just seven games after being a healthy scratch most of his first year, recording a total of five tackles and two quarterback hits in only 121 defensive snaps.
With his biggest champion, former defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, now in Las Vegas, and the signings of free-agent defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe this offseason, Hill could be in danger of becoming a final cut casualty. Yet, his high/recent draft status and potential ceiling combined with the possibility of an expanded roster due to COVID-19 will likely save him for another season. Yet, there likely isn’t a player on the team with more to prove then Trysten Hill.
Will the linebackers stay healthy in 2020?
I have been reading a lot about concerns with this defense, but no real focus on the linebacking corps. If all are healthy, obviously a good group. But we all know that won’t be the case. Sean Lee, other than last year, hasn’t played a full season in quite some time and has missed significant playing time. LVE is coming back from a serious injury. Despite the optimistic outlook for his recovery, there is a big risk he will not play a full season and will miss playing time. In general, there is always injury risk in this game. But with only a few below par backups, and not to mention a 2019 performance where we saw five winning teams run all over them, why isn’t there greater attention to this group? – MARK KRONICK / WESTON, CT
Nick: I was agreeing with most of what you wrote in your question, except for the part about “below par backups.” I don’t agree with that statement because if they’re backups, they aren’t really below par. To have Joe Thomas, Justin March and Luke Gifford as your backups isn’t that bad of a setup in my mind. And considering they are backing up a group that have all made the Pro Bowl at some point in their careers, I think it’s a pretty good group. Yes, there are injury concerns but when you’re paying these big contracts to Zeke, Tyron, Zack, Amari, D-Law, Jaylon and at some point, Dak, you can’t just have every position in the best shape possible. All that being considered, I think linebacker is in good shape. Yes, they could’ve added a linebacker in the draft, but it didn’t work out. But watch out for Francis Bernard – a rookie from Utah. He might turn some heads.
Gerald McCoy speaks on the Cowboys culture.
Gerald McCoy has been very vocal about how he never felt comfortable in the Carolina Panthers’ defense in 2019, but he doesn’t believe that will be an issue with the Dallas Cowboys. The veteran defensive tackle told Shannon Gross of the team’s official site how he views himself fitting in with the Cowboys.
“I talked to the coaches a little bit,” McCoy said. “[The scheme] fits me. Everything they want to do is everything I love to do — get up the field, disrupt the passer, get in the backfield and make plays. That’s what I love to do and that’s what they’re going to allow me to do.”
After spending nine seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, McCoy joined the Panthers ahead of the 2019 season. In his lone season with Carolina, McCoy notched five sacks, 13 quarterback hits, and seven tackles for loss. His five sacks last season was the lowest mark of his career since 2012.