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Cowboys news: Offseason report card; team gets Jayron Kearse under contract

The Cowboys will be asking a lot, as always, from the players they retained in free agency.

Dallas Cowboys v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Cowboys’ Early Report Card for Most Impactful Offseason Decisions - Kristopher Knox, Bleacher Report

The Cowboys have made plenty of moves this offseason that are up for debate.

The Cowboys traded Cooper to the Cleveland Browns for a 2022 fifth-round pick and a swapping of 2022 sixth-round picks. That’s not a huge haul, and head coach Mike McCarthy admitted that it was tough to do.

“That was a difficult, difficult decision,” McCarthy said, per David Moore of the Dallas Morning News.

Still, it may have been a choice the Cowboys had to make. They seemed intent on clearing Cooper’s salary and were reportedly going to cut Cooper if he couldn’t be traded.

In early March, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Dallas was “likely” to release Cooper before the start of the new league year.

On one hand, the Cowboys were fortunate to get something in return for a player they weren’t going to keep anyway. On the other, they could have done a much better job of keeping their intentions quiet and maximizing Cooper’s trade value.

Dallas Cowboys re-sign top tackler Jayron Kearse to two-year contract - ESPN

The Cowboys got a deal done with an important free agent.

Safety Jayron Kearse has agreed to terms with the Dallas Cowboys on a two-year contract, the team announced Monday.

Financial terms were not disclosed but the deal is worth $10 million, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Kearse, 28, started 15 of the 16 games he appeared in for the Cowboys last season, playing a key role in their turnaround from the worst defense in team history (473 points allowed) to respectability.

Signed to a one-year deal worth a little more than $1 million, not much was made of Kearse’s addition to the Cowboys’ roster last March. He finished the season as the defense’s leading tackler with 101 stops.

3 reasons Cowboys should start Tony Pollard over Ezekiel Elliott in 2022 - Brandon Martinez, The Landry Hat

The Cowboys find themselves in their current cap situation thanks in large part to Ezekiel Elliott’s contract, but is he even the best running back on the roster anymore?

2. Ability to Break Tackles

This may come as a surprise to some as Elliott was always known as a guy who would not go down without a fight. However, last season, that was not the case. Elliott broke a mere 19 tackles all season, while Pollard broke 27 in over 100 fewer carries. Elliott didn’t show the speed and elusiveness last season to make defenders miss, while it was seen as one of Pollard’s greatest strengths.

Yards after contact is also a great way of telling a running back’s story. Elliott averaged about 2.7 yards after contact per carry last season. Pollard averaged almost a whole yard more at 3.6 yards after contact per carry. While this may not seem like much, it adds up. Just the one-yard per carry difference over the course of 100 carries is a whole football field’s worth.

While Elliott has a stronger and bulkier frame than Pollard, Elliott tends to go down at the first defender. Pollard has the speed and elusiveness to make defenders miss and breakaway in between blocks. He isn’t the strongest guy, but he still shows the fight and grittiness to fight for every yard, which is very valuable in a game where every yard counts.

Can Dorance Armstrong Be Cowboys’ Next Randy Gregory? - Timm Hamm, CowboysSI.com

The Cowboys have an internal option to replace Randy Gregory in Dorance Armstrong, along with one of their two current outside free agents in Dante Fowler.

Armstrong, whose new deal keeps him in Dallas for two years at $13 million, was a fourth-round selection of the Cowboys in 2018. He’s been solid, played well, and improved each season as a pro. In 2021 he finished with five sacks

Due to a Gregory injury, Armstrong saw an increased role last season. He started five games; Gregory only six. Armstrong had fewer quarterback hurries and sacks on 80 more snaps than Gregory, but overall his numbers match up well. One of the biggest stats when comparing the two could be age, with Armstrong five years younger.

Armstrong had 23 quarterback hurries to Gregory’s 25, and five sacks to Gregory’s six. But Armstrong figured things out late in the season, recording a sack in each of Dallas’ last four games.

This could’ve been just a hot streak for Armstrong, or it could be more. It could be a glimpse into the future. A future where Armstrong is starting every game opposite Demarcus Lawrence as the two grow into a feared sack duo, just as we all expected the Gregory-Lawrence combination to be.

2022 NFL Mock Draft: David Ojabo falls to Cowboys, Aidan Hutchinson moves to No. 1 in 3-round mock - Randy Gurzi, NFL Spin Zone

The Cowboys taking the injured player this high seems unlikely.

24. Dallas Cowboys: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

One of the rising stars in this draft suffered a terrible injury as David Ojabo tore his Achilles during Michigan’s pro day. With the news that he could be out for six months or longer, some teams might be afraid to use a first-round pick on him, instead going with a player they think can be nearly as productive without missing any time.

As for the Dallas Cowboys, they can afford to take a bit of a risk on Ojabo. Currently, they have DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, and Dante Fowler at defensive end. Lawrence is a Pro Bowler whereas Armstrong is coming off his best season as a pro and Fowler has shown flashes in the past.

That means the three of them could share the load until Ojabo is 100 percent, and once he’s up to speed, they could have a dangerous starting duo with him and Lawrence.

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