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Cowboys news: Looking at Xavier Woods and the Dallas defensive backfield

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NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Can Xavier Woods take A Step Forward in Final Year of Contract? - John Williams, Inside The Star

There have been rumors that the Cowboys have their eye on Jamal Adams, but there is a safety already on the roster that needs to emerge this year.

With more blitzes comes more pressure. More pressure leads to rushed throws. Rushed or hurried throws lead to mistakes. And that is where Xavier Woods can capitalize.

Although many in Cowboys Nation are clamoring for the Cowboys to make a significant splash at the safety position, it just seems that the Cowboys are content with seeing where Xavier Woods can go from here. Xavier Woods has an opportunity to build on a solid 2019 season and potentially earn a long-term contract form the Dallas Cowboys if things go well in Mike Nolan’s defense.

There have been high hopes for Woods since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft and he’s shown flashes of good to great safety play. Can 2020 be the year he puts all together and takes a step into stardom? The Dallas Cowboys certainly think so.

How does the Dallas Cowboys secondary rank in the NFC East? - Tyrone Starr, The Landry Hat

There are questions in the Cowboys secondary, but where does the unit rank within the division?

The 2020 Dallas Cowboys secondary has undergone yet another reconstruction. Gone is Pro Bowl cornerback Byron Jones along with safeties Jeff Heath and Kavon Frazier. In their place are veterans Clinton-Dix and Worley.

Clinton-Dix represents an upgrade at safety but Jones will be much tougher to replace. Dallas is hoping that Diggs, a second-round selection in this year’s draft, can do the job. He’ll get the first opportunity to do so with extended playing time for Lewis who played well despite being in the previous regime’s doghouse last year.

The Dallas Cowboys are also hoping that Awuzie regains his confidence and upgrades his play from a dismal 2019. His performance this season is a huge key to the success of this defense.

Of course, there is also the constantly swirling rumors of possibly trading for Jets All-Pro safety Jamal Adams which seems largely pie-in-the-sky at this point. Without that acquisition, the third-place spot within the division seems more than fair.

3 Trades We’d Like To See This Month - Alexis Mansanarez, The Draft Network

Many, even non-Cowboys supporters, are wanting to see Jamal Adams play for America’s Team.

JAMAL ADAMS TO THE DALLAS COWBOYS

Jamal Adams wants out of New York. The Jets safety has expressed his interest in playing for another team in the 2020 season with eight in mind. The Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, and Seahawks are Adams’ top options, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also made Adams’ shortlist, per ESPN’s Field Yates. Adams has often been linked to the Cowboys, who were reportedly going after the two-time Pro Bowl player last season.

The Cowboys were highly interested in Adams, who’s from Lewisville, Texas, prior to the trade deadline in October. Dallas was in communication with New York and Adams wanted a trade to happen. When it didn’t, and Adams finished the season with the Jets, he felt betrayed, according to the ESPN report. Now, Adams, fresh off an All-Pro season, can likely set his sights on a new home. The Jets have commented on his trade request but it’s hard to envision they’ll keep him around while nearly both of his feet are out the door.

Adams missed two games in 2019 with an ankle injury but still finished the season with a career-best 6.5 sacks and his first career pick-six. He has turned himself into a premier defensive back after getting selected sixth overall in the 2017 draft.

The only problem ahead of an Adams homecoming would be the Cowboys’ cap space. Dallas is trying to pay Dak Prescott and may not be able to pay a top-end contract to Adams, whose market value is $14.7 million annually, placing him above the Chicago BearsEddie Jackson and Tennessee TitansKevin Byard as the highest-paid safety. What can Dallas realistically give New York in a trade? It could start with mid-round draft picks—the Cowboys are projected to have two in each of the 2021 third and fourth rounds—and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

Ezekiel Elliott: Fantasy Outlook 2020 - Athlon Sports

What is Zeke’s fantasy value for the 2020 season? Athlon Sports examines.

Elliott saw a big drop in both targets and target share last season, despite Dallas attempting its most passes in any of Elliott’s four seasons. Drafting CeeDee Lamb in the first round won’t help that, but this looks like a still-ascending offense overall. Elliott has logged 133 more carries than anyone else in the league since arriving, and he remains the clear rushing workhorse despite Tony Pollard’s flashes as a 2019 rookie.

...

Season Projections for 2020

280 carries, 1,261 yards, 10 rushing TDs; 50 receptions, 384 yards, 2 receiving TDs

Dallas Cowboys: David Njoku trade makes very little sense - Adithya Prabakaran, SportDFW

Reports have suggested that the Cowboys may be interested in making a move for 2017 first-round pick David Njoku; however, that may not be a wise move to make.

With the Cowboys drafting CeeDee Lamb in the first round, the percentage of 11 personnel looks will likely hover around the same number as last season. In fact, there might be an increase in 21 personnel (2 RB, 1 TE) looks hopefully with the increased integration of Tony Pollard into the offense.

All of this to say, signing Blake Jarwin to an extension only to not play him seems like a good way to frustrate a player who shows ample potential in the receiving game and has been waiting for his shot at first-team reps for more than a year.

Not only would this be a bad move from a personnel standpoint, but financially this makes very little sense as well. If the team were to trade for Njoku, his fifth-year-option would trigger, which means the team would owe him six million dollars in the 2021 season.

Playing Njoku as the premier Y TE might not make this a bad decision, but with the expectation that he doesn’t garner TE1 snaps, that means the Cowboys will be committing eleven million dollars for their TE1 and TE2 for both of them to be on the field together ten percent of all snaps.

Cowboys 1st & 10: Jerry’s Evolution, ‘Redtails’ & Size Matters - Mike Fisher, Cowboys Maven

It will be interesting to see how rosters are constructed in 2020 and what happens if there is a season.

Want some numbers that demonstrate how up-in-the-air the 2020 NFL season truly is as a result of COVID-19-caused tumult? The league can’t even decide whether the threat of the coronavirus should cause teams to carry fewer roster members ... or more roster members.

Here’s the most conventional (and most public thought): The NFLPA has proposed that each team slice its training camp roster members from the usual 90 down to 80. And we get it; yeah, it’s fewer jobs (a strange thing for a union to propose, but these are strange times) but the idea would include players working in “shifts’’ at camp - fewer players, smaller groups, and in theory, fewer illnesses.

But we’ve discussed with some NFL officials an alternate idea: What if teams had their usual 90 guys ... and kept them ... all season long?

Our concept: 60 players on the active roster. “Secluded’’ as much as possible in their groups. A semi-traditional “practice squad’’ of, say, 15 more players. And they, too, are “secluded.’’

And then a third group, “Practice Squad 2.0.’’ These 15 players don’t even necessarily enter The Star. They work separately. And yes, “secluded,’’ to be called upon when the (inevitable?) emergency rises and a handful of players get sick at the same time.

Just how many players are currently on the Cowboys roster? - Tom Ryle, BTB

Along those same lines, our own Tom Ryle looked at how many players are currently on the team’s unofficial roster.

We still are likely going to have to wait to see if this is the direction the team is going. But it may indicate that Dallas, and perhaps other teams, are already preparing for what may be a foregone conclusion. It is entirely plausible that the league and the teams have already discussed this and are just waiting to make things official.

This may not be the end of things, as 75 is also being bandied about as the eventual number. That would mean at least five more players are on borrowed time with the Cowboys if the current rosters are to be believed. And the staff probably knows exactly who they would be, as well as who might go to make room for Smith and Woods, as well as Randy Gregory if the commissioner ever makes a favorable decision on him.

Mostly, it shows just how real the changes and adjustments being forced on the NFL are. The football world is going to be very different, and more unwelcome developments could come.

Hard as Steele: UDFA’s journey to Cowboys roster daunting not impossible - Tony Thompson, Cowboys Wire

Cowboys Wire took a look at an undrafted free agent lineman looking to make the team.

According to Rivals.com, Steele was a three-star recruit who drew limited interest from college programs. He wound up at in-state Texas Tech, one of three schools who made him an offer. After red-shirting his freshman year, he became entrenched as a lynchpin along the Red Raiders’ offensive line. He missed just two starts due to injury at the start of his senior season, interrupting an iron-man streak of 37 games.

The imitable Dane Brugler had Steele graded as a 7th-round prospect and ranked as the 21st best offensive tackle in the 2020 NFL draft, and summarized the player thusly.

...

On one hand, the loss of an offseason program truly hurts his chances, but the thought teams may go much younger in an effort to carve out as much carryover cap space into 2021 as possible so mid-level guys don’t have to get the ax if the cap space shrinks.

Steele’s chances of making the roster are slim, but nothing’s forged until the pads come on.

BTB Podcast

As last weekend started it was reported that the Cowboys “might” have “some” interest in Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku. We discuss on The Ocho.

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