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Cowboys news: Proposed trades and proposed free agents, the fun season is almost here

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens: Trade possibilities for Orlando Brown Jr. - Billy Kosko, Ebony Bird

Orlando Brown anyone?

The current Dallas Cowboys left tackle, Tyron Smith, is getting up there in age. Not only that, but he hasn’t played a full season since 2015, according to Pro Football Reference. After signing Dak Prescott to a massive $160 million deal, I imagine the Cowboys want to protect his blindside.

What is Orlando Brown Jr.’s trade value? The Ravens Wire projects Brown Jr.’s value to likely be a combination of a first and third-round pick. Is that something the Dallas Cowboys are willing to give up to protect their quarterback? Considering the Cowboys announced that they were awarded four NFL compensatory picks, I would say yes.

What would this trade look like?

I don’t see the Dallas Cowboys giving up the number 10 overall pick of the NFL draft for Orlando Brown Jr. They have other needs. However, I could very well see them giving up one or two of their compensatory picks and a player.

The Ravens would benefit from adding another wide receiver. Why not send Orlando Brown Jr. to the Dallas Cowboys for Michael Gallup plus third and fourth-round draft picks. The Cowboys have a compensatory pick in both rounds that they could give up. Gallup would spice up the trade for the Ravens. Having Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb on the roster already means the Cowboys could afford to do this.

The best part? According to Over the Cap, Michael Gallup is on the last year of his rookie contract at a low $2.6 million cap hit. That means the Ravens get a potential number one receiver or a number two at $2.6 million.

Safety Keanu Neal to Cowboys makes a lot of free agency sense to a lot of people - Lorenzo Almanza, Cowboys Wire

Could Dan Quinn’s defense add a familiar face in Keanu Neal?

After creating some much-needed cap space with the signing of Dak Prescott and restructuring of several contracts, the Dallas Cowboys must shift their attention elsewhere, as they look to improve upon a depleted defense from last season. One position group that must be addressed more than any other is the secondary.

Last season Dallas struggled to do the basics of football: cover, tackle and force turnovers. Looking at the 2020 defensive rankings, the team remained in the bottom ten of passing yards allowed and converted a mere 10 interceptions. Help is needed and a former player of Dan Quinn might just fit into Dallas’ plans. Former Falcons’ safety Keanu Neal could be the missing link.

In a recent simulated offseason scenario, Sports Illustrated predicted that Neal would wind up signing with Dallas. They also had Dallas selecting Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater, Miami DE Quincy Roche, UCLA DT Osa Odighizuwa and North Carolina Central CB Bryan Mills in the first three rounds.

Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report added on to the fire that Dallas should consider Neal.

The former first-round pick hasn’t lived up to expectations in Atlanta, but there’s reason to believe his best football could still be in front of him.

That’s because a lot of the 25-year-old’s struggles have come because of injuries. After amassing 222 total tackles, 14 passes defended and eight forced fumbles in his first two seasons, he missed large portions of his next two seasons with an Achilles injury and an ACL tear.

That’s a red flag, but it’s one that could also point toward his potential to improve. Neal came back healthy last season and had 100 tackles in 15 games with nine tackles for a loss. Given another year of recovery and health, he could be even better over the next few seasons.

The Florida product is at his best playing a traditional strong safety role.

Even After Restructures, Dallas Cowboys Should Consider Tackle in the First Round - John Williams, Inside The Star

Will the Cowboys go tackle in the first?

The Dallas Cowboys cleared up salary cap space the other day by restructuring the contracts of offensive tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins. Both players missed all or nearly all of the 2020 season with injuries and brought the question of drafting an offensive tackle with a premium pick to the forefront in 2021.

Yesterday, fellow Staff Writer Brian Martin here at wrote a piece crossing offensive tackle off the list of potential directions the Dallas Cowboys could go with the 10th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Brian makes a great point that the Cowboys must feel really good about the health of their tackles as they head into draft season. However, given the issues the Cowboys have had along the offensive line, it wouldn’t be wise for the Cowboys to ignore the offensive line.

Yes, when healthy, Tyron Smith and La’el Collins are one of the better tackle tandems in the NFL, but that “when healthy” caveat is being used far too often when describing the Cowboys offensive line situation. Throw in the back issues that have cropped up with Zack Martin over the last couple of years and you have an aging offensive line with injuries in areas of the body that are extremely vital to an offensive lineman’s performance.

Tyron’s neck is going to be involved in every snap. As is his back. As is La’el’s hips. As is Zack’s back. Ignoring offensive line solely because you restructured these contracts and have a good feeling that these players will be able to see the end of their contracts isn’t a wise plan.

Remember, when drafting you aren’t simply looking at the coming season, but are drafting with two or three years in mind. Like in the 2017 NFL Draft. Sure, the Cowboys needed an infusion of secondary talent when they drafted Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Xavier Woods. At the same time, the Cowboys saw that Byron Jones and Jeff Heath would have contracts expiring after the 2019 season as well. They would need players to help bridge the gap and provide some insurance if they lost those players in free agency, which they did.

NFL Draft: Will Longhorns Measure Up For Cowboys? - Matt Galatzan, Longhorns Country

Will any former-Longhorns land in Dallas?

Ossai, of course, blew away the scouts throughout the day with his impressive athletic numbers, including a 41.5-inch vertical leap, and a 4.63 40-yard dash. Ossai was the first player to put up those types of numbers since Steelers standout Bud Dupree in 2015.

Ehlinger, who had a chance to play for a rare fifth year with the Longhorns thanks to the COVID-19 revisions in college football’s eligibility rules this past season, by all accounts had an excellent workout in front of the scouts, most specifically in his passing drills.

Ehlinger of course, finished his career with the Longhorns near the top of every major passing list, finishing second in school history in completions, passing yards, total offense, and total touchdowns, completing 923-1,476 passes for 11,436 yards and 94 touchdowns to just 27 interceptions. He also ran for 1,907 yards and scored 33 touchdowns on 554 carries.

Ehlinger also holds the school record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a season with 16 scores in 2018 and holds a Big 12 record for most consecutive passing attempts without an interception with 308.

The Westlake product also led the Longhorns to four consecutive bowl games, and four consecutive bowl wins under center, making him the only quarterback in school history to do so.

Eagles, on the other hand, chose to skip his final two years of eligibility, despite being projected between the sixth-round and going undrafted. Last season, Eagles had just 28 catches for 469 yards and five touchdowns, following 32 catches for 522 yards and six scores in 2019.

Defense again figures to be focus for Cowboys in free agency - USA Today

Defensive heavy free agency approach? Yes please!


UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: QB Andy Dalton, DE Aldon Smith, S Xavier Woods, CB Chidobe Awuzie, CB Jourdan Lewis, LB Sean Lee, T Cameron Erving, C/G Joe Looney, DL Tyrone Crawford, WR Noah Brown, TE Blake Bell, DL Eli Ankou, LB Justin March, LB Joe Thomas, CB C.J. Goodwin, LS L.P. Ladouceur.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: DL Antwaun Woods, WR Cedrick Wilson, WR Malik Turner, OL Greg Senat.

NEEDS: The long-term deal for quarterback Dak Prescott leaves the Dallas Cowboys needing to rework some contracts to make room for free agents. Defense figures to be the focus for the likely bargain hunters. They’re hoping for better success than last year when several free agents didn’t work out because of injuries or poor performance. Dallas is losing depth at linebacker and cornerback. Safety is an issue again, just as it has been for years. If Aldon Smith isn’t re-signed, the defensive line will need help inside and out.

Mailbag: How Active Will Dallas Be In Free Agency? - Nick Eatman,

Will the Cowboys change their free agency approach?

With this upcoming free agency cycle, it seems like there will be a ton of talent. Do you think Dallas will put a certain priority on players who have already become free agents, like safety Kenny Vaccaro, or do you think they will stick to the second and third wave theory they usually work with? — TONY SMALLS / GLENDALE, AZ

Nick: Is there a fourth wave? I think that’s maybe where the Cowboys are going to be. Honestly, we know how this team operates in free agency and I don’t think anything will change this year. I’m not sure it could’ve changed had they wanted to take a different approach. The available free-agent dollars just aren’t there. I think you’ll some re-signings with their own free agents. Maybe getting Jourdan Lewis back could be the biggest splash. Who knows, maybe there’s a surprise or two. But history has suggested not to get too excited about the Cowboys being active.

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