The NFL has seen different players decide to not play this season with the concerns regarding COVID-19. On Sunday, we saw the Cowboys be impacted.
Fullback Jamize Olawale is the third Cowboys player opting out of the 2020 season.
Opt-outs are an option for NFL players this season as part of an adjustment to the league’s collective bargaining agreement during the nation’s COVID-19 crisis.
Olawale will be placed on the Reserve/Opt-Out list and receive a stipend for 2020 with his contract rolling to next year. There are two opt-out categories: voluntary and higher-risk. If a player is in the high-risk category, they receive a $350,000 stipend and credit for an accrued season. In the voluntary category, it’s a $150,000 stipend and no accrued season.
Cowboys cornerback Maurice Canady and undrafted rookie receiver Stephen Guidry have also opted out for 2020. The league has yet to set an official opt-out deadline for players, according to reports.
You can keep tabs on every player that has decided to opt out over at The Athletic.
As part of the agreement between the NFL and NFL Players Association reached late last week to begin playing during the coronavirus pandemic, players have been given the choice to opt out of the 2020 season. The NFL and NFLPA are working to finalize a deadline for players to give written notice of their decision; the deadline is expected to be within the next six days.
Players who choose to opt-out will fall into two categories, according to a memo sent to teams:
Higher Risk: Players who are deemed to be at higher risk for developing severe complications from COVID-19 can opt out and receive a $350,000 stipend. To qualify for this higher risk group, players must have had a previously confirmed diagnosis for one (or more) of 15 risk factors listed by the Centers for Disease Control, including cancer, sickle cell disease, Type 2 diabetes, asthma, hypertension, liver disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and serious heart conditions, among others.
Voluntary / Non-High Risk: Players who played in 2019 or are drafted rookies in 2020 and choose to opt out will receive a $150,000 stipend that will be considered a salary advance and will count against the team’s 2020 salary cap. Undrafted rookies can opt out, but they are not eligible for the $150,000 stipend.
DeMarcus Lawrence Expected to Play as Opt-Out Deadline Approaches - Mauricio Rodriguez, Inside The Star
On the flip side, the expectation is that DeMarcus Lawrence will be playing for the Cowboys this fall.
Although the deadline remains unclear, Dallas Cowboys fans have spent some time worrying about Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence‘s status. When players used their social media accounts to speak on the NFL’s lack of protocols a couple of weeks ago, Lawrence let his concerns be known.
This should translate into a huge sigh of relief for Cowboys fans. Lawrence, a premium edge rusher, is the best player on the team’s defense, despite his sacks decreasing in 2019. He still found a way to create pressure for opposing quarterbacks and excelled in run defense.
Of course, as we’ve learned during this pandemic, anything can change at any given second. The NFL is doing its best to play a full season this year while they’re learning from Major League Baseball as they deal with various COVID-19 issues after starting their season in late July.
Why the Cowboys front office could be the real hero behind this Dak Prescott contract dilemma - DannyPhantom, BTB
Stephen Jones has been portrayed as a “villain’, but Danny writes that he may actually be a hero.
In essence, this makes the front office the real heroes. Dak and his representatives are only worried about Dak. And rightfully so, it’s not their job to manage the salary cap. Prescott has earned it and he has every right to get everything he’s owed. But the Cowboys front office is also within their right to make the best decision that is going to help this team long term.
For example, the team has signed their star offensive linemen to six-year (or eight-years in the case of Tyron Smith) deals which has proved very beneficial to the team. With players they know are going to be a good for many years to come, these longer deals allow them more freedom in providing restructures, thus freeing up cap space whenever they need it. That’s huge.
When this is all said and one, the Cowboys are undoubtedly going to end up paying more for Prescott. On the surface, that seems like bad business. However, constructing a deal that allows them to wisely move money around is what is going to give this Dak-lead team it’s greatest chance of success, and Stephen knows that.
Examining how long Dak will remain in Big D.
So far, this strategy has worked out remarkably well in Prescott’s favor. Even without a long-term deal, Prescott is set to earn over $31 million in 2020 playing on the franchise tag. If a new deal cannot be agreed upon the year after, that number will just to $37.5 million in 2021 under a second franchise tag. That’s a nice come-up from the $2.7 million, TOTAL, he made under his rookie contract.
Still, the presence of a long-term deal would go a long way towards easing the minds of the sane fan who knows what the Dallas Cowboys have in their current quarterback. Another thing that would help to lessen the worry regarding the future state of the most important position on the field would be avoiding talk of Prescott being disgruntled in any way.
Ultimately, the future of Prescott in Dallas should not be a difficult decision for the Joneses. All it should take for them to want to make Prescott a Cowboy for life is the following list of names that followed Troy Aikman and preceded Romo:
Randall Cunningham, Anthony Wright, Clint Stoerner, Quincy Carter, Ryan Leaf, Chad Hutchinson, Vinny Testaverde, Drew Henson, Drew Bledsoe.
No one wants to re-live that nightmare. Having Prescott around for another decade-plus would delay that anxiety very nicely.
Speaking of the QB position in Dallas, the Cowboys have a pretty solid backup behind Prescott.
Now, Dalton serves as a pretty solid contingency plan for new Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy. Considering the 2020 season is taking place during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the expectation is that teams will carry extra quarterbacks on the roster just in case their starter were to contract COVID-19. So, if Dak Prescott were to go down, Dalton would start under center behind Dallas’ monstrous offensive line.
Cowboys fans have to feel pretty confident in the team’s roster construction this season. They’re the favorites to win it all on paper, but that’s been the case for Dallas for so many years now, and they’ve yet to capitalize. Who knows, maybe Dalton is the guy to bring Dallas to their first Super Bowl since 1996. Probably not, but we can’t rule it out, considering how weird 2020 has been.
After years of ignoring the middle of the defensive line, it is easy to get a little excited about the potential of this year’s crop.
The Cowboys wasted no time once the free agency period kicked off by adding veterans Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe, who played alongside each other last season with the Carolina Panthers, as the team’s new anchors at the 1-tech and 3-tech. McCoy has been one of the more productive defensive tackles since he entered the league in 2010. He registered at least five sacks in each of the last eight seasons. It hasn’t taken long for him to get excited about the new defensive scheme in Dallas, as he expressed about a month ago.
At nearly 350 pounds, Poe is a mountain of a man with surprising speed and quickness. Not only can he plug running lanes but he can also get after the quarterback. His four sacks last season were the most since his last Pro Bowl campaign in 2014 and the third time he reached that total since 2013, and he did so in just 11 games. Currently, Poe is on the Active/PUP list as he continues to rehab from offseason quadriceps surgery. He’ll be immediately be taken off the list once he passes a physical, and with the Cowboys first padded practice not slated until mid-August, that should be an issue.
Neville Gallimore was the third piece in the Cowboys offseason overhaul of the defensive interior when he was selected in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. His power, speed, and relentless pursuit make him an ideal fit in a rotation with McCoy and Poe. Also, he can be moved around with his ability to play both the 1-tech and 3-tech, which is music to the ears of new Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan who will implement a hybrid scheme with three and four-man fronts.
Tyrone Crawford = secret weapon?
Dallas Cowboys: DL Tyrone Crawford
Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence gets a lot of recognition for leading the Dallas Cowboys pass rush. However, one could argue that versatile defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford is just as valuable to the defensive front.
Capable of playing both end and tackle, Crawford is impactful virtually every time he is on the field. Unfortunately, he was limited to just four games last season by a hip injury. Two seasons ago, however, he appeared in 15 games and produced 34 tackles, 5.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
While Crawford may not produce eye-popping numbers in 2020, his pending return should help provide some flexibility and reliability along Dallas’ defensive front.
This week could feel the most like training camp in terms of the ones we’ve experienced so far, but what exactly would that even feel like? We discuss on The Ocho.
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