NFL Player Awards Odds: Rookies of the Year, Offensive and Defensive POY, MVP - Brad Gagnon, Bleacher Report
Dan Quinn finally gets to unleash Micah Parsons for his season debut against the Giants on Sunday night.
Defensive Player of the Year
Dallas Cowboys edge Micah Parsons +500
Cleveland Browns edge Myles Garrett +800
Pittsburgh Steelers edge T.J. Watt +850
San Francisco 49ers edge Nick Bosa +1200
New York Jets CB Sauce Gardner +1600
Once dominated by J.J. Watt and then Aaron Donald, four different players have won this award in the last four seasons. Parsons was last year’s runner-up, but he’s on the rise and the two other players who received more than 10 percent of the vote share—Nick Bosa and Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones—are currently dealing with contract disputes.
Even if Parsons doesn’t break the sack record this season, their pass rush and ability to get takeaways is regarded as one of the best in the league.
10. Dallas Cowboys
ESPN FPI’s chances to win NFC East: 33%
Chances to make the playoffs: 68%
Projected wins: 9.5
Strength of schedule: 11th hardest
What the Cowboys do the best?
Rattle the quarterback and take the ball away. These two things go hand in hand. With Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, Dante Fowler Jr. and Sam Williams, the Cowboys are deep with pressure players. Last year, the Cowboys finished tied for third in sacks with 54 and led the league in takeaways with 33. They will look to be the first team since the 1972-74 Pittsburgh Steelers to lead the league in takeaways for three straight years. The addition of Stephon Gilmore, a former Defensive Player of the Year, to complement Trevon Diggs, who has 17 interceptions in three years, makes the Cowboys even more formidable in the secondary. — Todd Archer
What is the Cowboys’ biggest weakness?
Offensive line depth. And this isn’t a Cowboys-only deal. It’s leaguewide. Beyond their five starters, they do not have experienced depth. Left tackle Tyron Smith has played in 17 of a possible 50 regular-season games with Mike McCarthy as coach. Right tackle Terence Steele is coming back from a major knee injury. If the Cowboys lose one or more of their starters — and history says they will for at least a few games — then they will be tested and perhaps forced to rework their offensive plan. — Archer
Bold prediction for 2023: Parsons will break the single-season sack record. Sure, he’s never had more than 13.5 sacks in a season. But he’s also never not led the league in pass rush win rate. With his exceptional skill and good corner play behind him, I think this could be the year for Parsons’ sack number to explode. — Walder
Unlike ESPN, CBS likes the Cowboys for the NFC East, and throws an MVP to Dallas in the process.
NFC East bold prediction: Dak Prescott wins NFL MVP.
With CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks both in the fold, Dak Prescott finally has two top receivers who can both put up big numbers and if you combine that with the fact that the Cowboys running game is a giant question mark this year with Tony Pollard coming off a serious injury, I think we could see a career year from Dak. The bold part here is that I’m picking Dak to win MVP even though he’s coming off a year where he became the first player in NFL history to lead the league in interceptions in a season where he missed at least five games.
Last year, I picked the Eagles to win the division and although I think they’ll once again be good, I’m rolling with the Cowboys this year. That being said, don’t send me any hate mail just yet Eagles fans, because I do have your team advancing to the NFC title game for the second straight year where they lose to the... you know what, I’m not going to say. You’re going to have to keep reading to find out.
King predicts heartbreak for the Cowboys.
1. San Francisco (13-4).
2. Philadelphia (12-5). Best roster in football, 1 to 53. That matters a lot in a 17-game season.
3. Detroit (10-7).
4. Atlanta (9-8).
5. Dallas (11-6). Feels like a huge year for the future of Dak Prescott, and maybe Mike McCarthy.
6. Seattle (10-7).
7. Green Bay (10-7).
Wild card: Philadelphia over Green Bay, Detroit over Seattle, Dallas over Atlanta.
Divisional: Dallas over San Francisco, Philadelphia over Detroit.
NFC Championship at Philadelphia: Philadelphia 23, Dallas 16.
The Cowboys offensive line depth could already be tested against the Giants, with Tyler Smith slated to start at left guard.
Cowboys starting left guard and second year player Tyler Smith exited practice with an apparent injury.
The newest report from Dallas Morning News reporter Michael Gehlken is that it is believed to be a hamstring injury.
He did walk off on his own power, so that’s encouraging.
Currently considered minor, it does raise questions as to what this offensive line would look like should any of the starters miss time with injury.
The Cowboys are counting on their safeties a lot this season, but the room could look a lot different beyond 2023.
Is there still room for Kearse beyond 2023?
When the Cowboys re-signed both Wilson and Hooker to high-dollar multiyear contracts this offseason, Kearse’s future fell into doubt. Would Dallas be willing to invest significantly in three safeties after years of avoiding investment in even one?
Wilson, playing on a three-year contract that runs through 2025, and Hooker, playing on a four-year deal that runs through 2026, are locked and loaded for the foreseeable future.
Dallas has already uncharacteristically committed financially to the safety position and would be hard-pressed to justify additional funds long-term, even if they frequently play with three safety personnel packages.
Instead of giving Kearse the multiyear extension he reportedly wanted, the Cowboys guaranteed Kearse’s $4 mllion base salary in 2023. This compromise indicates they value the 29-year-old safety now, but may not see a future for him in Dallas beyond the 2023 season.
As discussed earlier, Kearse plays a special brand of safety for Quinn’s defense. He’s not the traditional secondary player many think of when they hear the word “safety,” but rather he’s a box player who plays in the traffic and near the line of scrimmage.
The Cowboys have a handful of young players on their roster who appear to be cheaper alternatives to Kearse. Markquese Bell and Israel Mukuamu are two young safeties the Cowboys have been developing who could be replacement options down the road.
3 pending 2024 free agents Cowboys fans should worry about losing - Brandon Martinez, The Landry Hat
Tony Pollard is the clear RB1 in Dallas this year, but playing on the franchise tag to prove he’s the long term answer.
3. RB Tony Pollard
One of the greatest weapons this Dallas offense had last season was franchise-tagged and is expected to have an even bigger role in 2023. Star running back Tony Pollard was a big topic of discussion going into this offseason for a few reasons.
He put up great numbers. He had almost 1400 yards from scrimmage, scored 12 touchdowns, and was third amongst running backs in yards per attempt with 5.2. He was a huge spark to the offense and was arguably the most explosive playmaker on the team.
Then, a fractured fibula and high ankle sprain suffered in the divisional loss to the San Francisco 49ers really made things interesting. Would the team really want to invest big money in running back coming off of a major injury? The last time they paid a running back top-tier money, it didn’t go so well. If the front office learned anything from the Ezekiel Elliott era, then Pollard could very much so be out after this year.
Luckily, they get a chance to see how Pollard does this year before making that decision, but the outlook looks grim when it comes to getting something long-term done with him if he expects anything more than what he’s getting paid this year.
A veteran linebacker to backup Leighton Vander Esch and Damone Clark would be a welcome sight for the Cowboys at any point this season.
LB Christian Kirksey
Technically, linebacker Christian Kirksey isn’t a free agent. He was released by the Houston Texans as part of their cut down to 53 players, but he landed on the Buffalo Bills practice squad.
“I want to be part of a winning culture, so I’m hungry and ready to help out wherever I can,” Kirksey said, per Paul Hamilton of WGR 550.
Kirksey can be signed off of Buffalo’s practice squad and onto an active roster, and Dallas should make a push to show that it can provide the veteran defender a winning culture too.
Over the past two seasons, Kirskey was a dependable full-time starter in Houston. He played 97 percent of the defensive snaps in 2022, and he finished with an impressive 124 tackles, three sacks, five passes defended and a fumble recovery.
Adding Kirksey would be a great move for a Dallas defense that was inconsistent against the run in 2022. Rookie third-round pick DeMarvion Overshown was expected to contribute at the second level, but a preseason ACL tear will have him eyeing 2024 instead.
Kirksey could help fill the void created by Overshown’s injury, and he should be available at a reasonable price.
Contract Offer: Two Years, $8 Million
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