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Dallas Cowboys Free Agency Recap

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Dallas Cowboys Free Agency Recap

The Dallas Cowboys are hoping to build on last year’s dominant, 13-3 campaign. Hopefully this season will feature a couple of playoff wins, and maybe, just maybe, a NFC championship appearance.

The formula for success has been discovered in Dallas. They will continue to “pound the hell” out of opponents with Ezekiel Elliot and let Dak Prescott explore the skies with beautiful, play action bombs to Dez Bryant. At least you’d think that’s the plan.

The Cowboys have established a nearly flawless blueprint to pile on wins with, or so it seems.

Several players who had heavy contributions to last years success are no longer with the team. Contrary to that, several players who were not in Dallas last season, now call themselves Cowboys.

I will identify key departures and arrivals, and help portray the significance of all of them.

Kellen Moore, Quarterback

This is a quiet re-signing, that to me, is very important to the continued success of Dak Prescott. Moore is described by offensive coordinator Scott Linehan as a true student of the game. Linehan coached Moore while the two were together in Detroit.

The fact that Moore was extended is a true testament to how important it is for a coach to be familiar with his quarterback. Knowing the system will  most likely land you a job in today’s point-happy NFL.

Last season, Dak explained to Cowboy reporters the importance of relationships with all of the quarterbacks on the team. What he had to say about Moore jumped off the screen to me. “[He’s] a genius behind the scenes, who doesn’t get enough credit for what he does helping me out and helping this offense out. … He’s an offensive coordinator in his own mind,” said Dak.

Terrance Williams, Brice Butler, Jason Witten, WR/TE

Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys seem to be all in on building on last years foundation. The resigning of virtually the every pass catcher tells me that Dallas believes this group of guys are Super Bowl material.

I love the idea of a full off-season with Dak being the clear starter, along with this group of guys. Williams and Witten both received four year extensions, while Butler received a one-year deal. Alongside Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley, the boys are again loaded on the offensive side of the ball.

David Irving, DT/DE

David Irving was able to show flashes this past season that would make you think he can be a top-10 player at his position. Irving was embarrassing guys this season, most noticeably the entire Tampa Bayvoffensive line. If you’ve never seen a kid dominant other little kids in a peewee game or something, check out the film from Irving against Tampa. It didn’t seem fair.

However, Irving’s stand out game was on week six. He earned himself NFL Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance against the Green Bay Packers, after recording one sack, and forcing three fumbles in a 30-16 win.

The man is 6’7″, and is just starting to grow into his football body. Irving’s development this offseason is one of the key headlines for the Dallas Cowboys heading into the summer.

Jonathan Cooper & Byron Bell, OG/OT

Anytime you can add a former top-10 pick to a well established offensive line, the potential can be eye-popping. That is what the Cowboys are hoping in regards to Jonathan Cooper. Cooper was drafted seventh overall by the Arizona Cardinals out of the University of North Carolina.

On the field performance has been less than ideal. After short stints with the New England Patriots and the Cleveland Browns, Cooper is hoping to make the best out what may be his last opportunity in the NFL. However, I am very optimistic about what the Cowboys can get out of Cooper. I am a firm believer that talent maximizes itself around other talent. In other words I believe the greatness of the Dallas Cowboys offensive line will benefit Jonathan Cooper, immensely.

In the case of Byron Bell, I really do not get how the Cowboys get to keep adding depth to arguably the best offensive line in NFL history. Byron Bell is no bum, folks. He has started in 72 games over the past five seasons. After a stellar 2014 season, Bell received a contract with the Tennessee Titans, where he started all 16 games for the first time in his career.  He went on to dislocate his ankle and miss the entire season. Bell is already being called the potential replacement for retired Doug Free.

Now, the key departures.

Terrell McClain, DT

The Cowboys saw a workhorse on the defensive side of the ball sign with the their rival down in Washington. Yeah, those guys.

Rob Marinelli loved this guy. The 28-year-old veteran out of the University of South Florida was basically the personality and heart of their defensive line. McClain outplayed free agent acquisition Cedric Thorton and took the starting position during training camp. From there, the rest was history.

His performance on the field earned him a contract that the Dallas Cowboys simply could not afford.

Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr, & J.J. Wilcox; CB/Safety

The trio of depression have all found new homes. Morris Claiborne may have been the worst draft decision made by the Cowboys in the past 8 years. The physical and athletic traits that were displayed during his final season at LSU never showed up in the NFL.

Claiborne, who was very injury prone throughout his early career was a flower the Cowboys were always waiting to bloom. He has had decent seasons, with the strongest being last. However, analyst were talking Deion Sanders type of ability when discussing Claiborne as the prospect before the draft,

Dallas drank a lot of that lemonade. Claiborne hopes to revive that promise with the New York Jets this upcoming season.

Brandon Carr, in my opinion, was the veteran every defensive back group needs to have. He was just too overpaid for my liking.

I always thought that Jerry Jones was spiteful about losing out on Nnamdi Asomugha during the colossal bid-off during the 2011 offseason. After that, I believe he felt the need to over-pay a bit for a corner who never really impacted his defense.

Hopefully, for Carr the Baltimore Ravens will be the fit he desires.

J.J. Wilcox, who showed that he was a liability in coverage, has taken his talents to the Tampa Buccaneers. While coverage was not a strength of Wilcox’s game, he resembled a human wrecking ball, and excelled in run support. I like the move for both Tampa and Wilcox.

All in all, I look at these departures as a positive. Like a new beginning, if you will. Given that many scouts have about 17 defensive backs going in the first three rounds, the Dallas Cowboys will look to start fresh.

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