The Greg Zuerlein situation is one that the Cowboys need to figure out.
The Good: When Zuerlein really needed to make kicks, he was able to. That’s the good part of his season and really his entire career. Zuerlein has been a clutch kicker with plenty of big kicks. In 2022, he drilled a 56-yarder to beat the Chargers on the road in Week 2. He also hit a 49-yarder in the rain in New England to force overtime in an eventual win. Zuerlein hit a 45-yard field goal in the final seconds to force overtime against the Raiders on Thanksgiving, although Las Vegas won the game with its own field goal. Zuerlein also made a 48-yard kick in the final two minutes in Tampa Bay in Week 1 to give the Cowboys the lead, only to see Tom Brady drive down the field for the win.
The Bad: Plain and simple, Zuerlein struggled with extra points. He missed six throughout the season, to lead the NFL. Among the top 25 kickers last season, the average extra-point misses by kicker is 1.8, with five of them making every single extra point. But Zuerlein’s six misses were problematic and somewhat odd, considering he was 15-of-16 on field goals from 30-39. Overall, Zuerlein missed six field goals, and half of those were over 50 yards out. But the six extra-point misses added up, especially later in the season.
Contract Consideration: Zuerlein still has another year on his contract, which is actually the same salary and cap charge as 2021. His $2.25 million base salary is the majority of his $2.8 million cap hit. If the Cowboys were to release him, they’d save his $2.25 million off the books. Zuerlein currently ranks 17th in the NFL in average salary per year.
NFL will not investigate Dallas Cowboys after voyeurism settlement with cheerleaders - Clarence Hill Jr, Star Telegram
The latest update on a low moment for the Dallas Cowboys organization.
The NFL has no plans to investigate the Dallas Cowboys in the wake of voyeurism allegations made against a former team vice president and a $2.4 million settlement to four members of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said this was “a club matter” and it would not be looked into further by the NFL.
With the offseason in full swing there seemingly will be a bunch of free agents discussed and linked to the Cowboys.
The Dallas Cowboys haven’t been shy about going to the Atlanta Falcons’ well for defensive players. Dan Quinn, Dallas’ current defensive coordinator and Atlanta’s previous head coach, has a relationship with that Falcons roster.
Last year, Quinn moved two former defensive starters from Atlanta and plugged them into the starting lineup in Dallas. Those two players, Damontae Kazee and Keanu Neal, didn’t exactly light the world on fire but they played big roles for a low price and helped the Dallas Cowboys defense make one of the biggest single-season improvements in the league last year.
When word broke this week another former Falcon has been released, it was hard not to think of how he’d fit on the Dallas Cowboys. As a former double-digit sacker (11.5 sacks in 2019) Dante Fowler has been an impact player in the past. Could Dan Quinn get him to be an impact player again?
Would Dante Fowler Jr be a good addition on this Dallas Cowboys defense?
Dante Fowler Jr, the former No. 3 overall pick of Jacksonville, wasn’t a great player for Dan Quinn’s Falcons. After gathering over 11 sacks and 35 pressures in his last season in LA, he combined for just 7.5 sacks and 37 pressures the next two seasons in Atlanta. His missed tackle percentage also dropped from a career best 12.1% in 2019, to 25.8 and 16.3 respectively.
With the likes of Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson currently free agents, the Cowboys wide receiver room could look a lot different next year.
How Can The Lost Production Be Replaced?
We’ve already established that there are a lot of moving parts at play here. Two of the top four receivers are slated for free agency, and the second-leading receiver from last season is mired in speculation about an uncertain future.
It’s hard to predict what’s coming with certainty, but it feels likely that the Cowboys will be in need of a receiver this offseason – potentially several of them.
Free agency will be the first part of that. The Cowboys don’t make their strategy a secret. They’ll target a few of their own priority free agents to bring back on new deals, then they’ll seek to fill the gaps in their roster with affordable free agents. The idea is to address the roster sufficiently enough to keep them from reaching in the draft.
Signing free agents might be easier said than done, though. Spotrac.com projects that Michael Gallup could a salary as large as $11-12 million per year, while Cedrick Wilson might be worth $6 million or more per year.
Given the Cowboys’ track record with free agency spending, their options if they get outbid for Gallup or Wilson would likely be between players with injury concerns or limited starting experience.
This year’s NFL draft class could offer more in the way of firepower. The early consensus seems to be that this year’s crop of receivers is missing a seminal talent like Ja’Marr Chase, but it’s got plenty of depth.
At the top of the crop, there are at least five prospects with first-round potential – the Ohio State duo of Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, Alabama’s Jameson Williams, Arkansas’ Treylon Burks and USC’s Drake London.
The Cowboys have more than a few positions that could use some added help, however here listed are three that the Cowboys should feel good about.
Based on the analysis in that article and other considerations, here are the three roster positions where I see Dallas having the most strength already before the 2022 offseason.
Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush
You can debate all day about Prescott’s elite status, contract, championship-worthiness, and other issues. And trust me, most of our readers and followers do.
However, you can’t deny that Dak and Cooper Rush give the Cowboys a solid starter and backup combination for 2022. Their presence allows Dallas to focus on improving on other parts of the team and not, like last year, having QB dominate much of the offseason talk.
Prescott has led the Cowboys to the playoffs three times in six years and put up some of the best numbers in the NFL during his career thus far. He has his own weaknesses, as most do, but he’s proven that he can be dynamic and even dominant when the rest of the offense is in synch.
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