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linchao
linchao Jun 3 '19
The Dallas Cowboys will have over $50 million in cap space this offseason and what a great feeling that is. Gone are the days when Cowboys fans had to sweat it out as the front office attempted to finagle their way out of “cap hell.” They now have some money to spend that will allow them to retain their own talented players like the soon-to-be rich DeMarcus Lawrence. Of course Youth Demarcus Lawrence Jersey , it’s taken a while for the team to get to this point. It’s required some good drafting that keeps young starters playing on cheap rookie deals. But it’s also required some tough business decisions that have sent some fan favorites packing.In the offseason of 2017, the Cowboys parted ways with Tony Romo after 13 seasons. Romo became the team’s all-time leader in yards and touchdown passes, but after a great rookie season from Dak Prescott, the team decided to go with the young arm. Then, during the offeason last year, the Cowboys released Dez Bryant after eight seasons. He was the team’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions.These moves hurt many fans from an emotional standpoint, but they were very important business decisions. The Cowboys are now able to use the Dez money for a player like Amari Cooper who is younger and more fundamentally sound. And these types of decisions will continue because, as Romo himself said, “football is a meritocracy.” As younger, more talented players show up, these once prized veterans just aren’t as valuable anymore.This leads us to the new crop of potential cap-casualties. As the team prepares for the 2019 season, decisions have to be made to determine which players are worthy keeping around and which players should be released in a cost-cutting move. Here are four players who could save the Cowboys some cap space in 2019 if they are released:SEAN LEEFor years fans have had to grimace whenever the veteran defensive leader wasn’t on the field. It’s usually meant bad news for the defense. But that appears to be a thing of the past thanks to a revamped linebacker tandem of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. Even a healthy Lee will now serve as a backup to Van Jaylon. Smith played 95% of the defensive snaps and Vander Esch played 77%. Lee only saw 21% of the reps.Lee has never played a full 16 game season. Ever. In the nine years he’s been in the league, Lee has missed a total of 51 games. That’s more than three full seasons. He’ll be 33-years-old when the new season starts so healing up isn’t going to get any easier. Keeping Lee healthy is a daunting task that the Cowboys can’t seem to pull off regularly.Paying out his $7 million base salary would be risky enough if you were left wondering if he could make it through the season healthy, but then how much is the team really gaining when he’s available? He’s not going to be stealing snaps from Smith and LVE, so would it really make sense to pay that kind of money for a backup linebacker?Some might argue that the front office will throw Lee some love; keep him under contract; and just take advantage of his on-field coaching and leadership skills. That’s not out of the question. But the Joneses have already been generous to Lee. He’s made over $42 million throughout his career. They simply cannot justify keeping Lee on the roster for a cost of $7 million against the cap. We all love Lee, but let’s be smart about this.Prediction: Lee takes a pay cut or retires and becomes part of the Cowboys coaching staff.TYRONE CRAWFORDFans have been waiting for this moment a long time - the year when it’s financially feasible to release Tyrone Crawford. After years of being stuck underwater with this contract, the team could choose to part ways with their veteran defensive lineman and save about $6 million of cap space.The problem is, things have changed when it comes to Crawford. Sure, it’s easier to get out from under his contract since the dead money hit is much lower now, but do they really want to move away from Crawford? He’s actually been a valuable part of this defense in recent years. Crawford played in 62% of the defensive snaps this year which is more than any other defensive lineman not named DeMarcus Lawrence. Part of the reason he’s gotten so much action is that he can play inside and outside. This allows him to play the edge on early downs, saving Randy Gregory for more of the pass rushing situations. And when it comes to pass rushing, Crawford can just slide inside, partnering with Maliek Collins and allow Antwaun Woods to come out of the game. His flexibility allows the Cowboys to arrange the defensive line so they can put their four most effective linemen out there during any given circumstance.Not only is he one of the more respected leaders in the clubhouse and a utility knife type of player, he’s also very durable. Despite dealing with nagging injuries throughout his career, Crawford has only missed four games in six NFL seasons. Even when he was carted off the field in what looked like a serious injury in the game against Tampa Bay, he was back a couple weeks later for the playoffs.Everyone loves him but that alone won’t save him a spot on the roster, but let’s face it - he’s still producing. He’s 29-years-old so it might be a little early to cut him loose. Next offseason, the Cowboys may revisit his situation as he would be a $8 M savings for 2020 Demarcus Lawrence Jersey Stitched , but even then, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them hang on to him. Prediction: It’s funny since this is the first year the Cowboys have a potential out from his contract, but Crawford sticks around. ALLEN HURNSThe signing of Allen Hurns last offseason was supposed to be step one of the wide receiver rebuild of 2018. But things didn’t turn out the way they were hoping with the former Jacksonville star. He only caught 20 passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns. He never had a single game where he reached 75 yards receiving.While Hurns might have been plan A, the Cowboys finally struck gold when they traded for Amari Cooper midseason. Before Cooper arrived, Hurns was averaging 43 snaps per game, but that number dropped to 17 per game after the trade.While Hurns is a high-character guy and his teammates love him, his role on the team doesn’t come close to justify spending $5 million of cap space on him. With Cooper the lead dog and rookie Michael Gallup having a strong first season, the Cowboys have a nice start towards building up their receiving group. Even with Cole Beasley’s future in Dallas in limbo, it’s hard seeing them retain Hurns for that price.Prediction: Released. The Cowboys intentionally configured his contract to give them this out if things didn’t work out. Smart move.TERRANCE WILLIAMSWhen Terrance Williams scored 13 touchdowns over his first two seasons with the team, it looked like the Cowboys had finally found their deep threat complement for their passing attack. And after finishing out a solid rookie contract, Williams was re-signed for what appeared to be team friendly deal.But then Williams disappeared. He managed to have over 500 yards receiving in 2017, but never found the end zone once. And this past season, he wouldn’t find the end zone either as he only played in three games this season. A foot injury and a suspension shelved Williams for the season and it sure looks as if his time in Dallas is over. But is it?Prediction: The Cowboys don’t save very much by cutting him. He might make it past the initial cuts as the team re-evaluates their wide receiver situation after free agency and the draft, but TWilly will have to prove his worth if he’s going to make the 2019 roster. Welcome to the NFL, Baker Mayfield.And welcome back to the league, Andrew Luck.While the opening preseason game for most teams carries little intrigue as players from the back end of the roster try to strut their stuff, several story lines will be worth following Thursday night.Start in the New Jersey Meadowlands and in Seattle.Top overall draft pick Mayfield will see some action against the Giants, who have their own prized rookie in second overall selection Saquon Barkley. The Browns might not be counting on too much from Mayfield early on as veteran Tyrod Taylor is Cleveland's starter, but New York expects a huge boost for its offense from the Penn State running back.On the other coast, the Colts plan for their recently luckless quarterback to take some snaps against the Seahawks. Luck hurt the right shoulder in September 2015 against Tennessee, missed two games, then returned to make four more starts before sustaining a season-ending lacerated kidney. He played through shoulder pain in 2016, then had surgery that sidelined him for all of last season.It's been roughly 600 days between starts for the Colts star.Elsewhere on the first full night of preseason games, it's Carolina at Buffalo, Chicago at Cincinnati, New Orleans at Jacksonville, Tampa Bay at Miami, Pittsburgh at Philadelphia Youth Jason Witten Jersey , the Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore, Washington at New England, Tennessee at Green Bay, Houston at Kansas City, and Dallas at San Francisco.What to look for Thursday night around the league:BAKER AND BARKLEYBrimming with optimism coming off a 0-16 season, Cleveland's plan is to have Mayfield sit and learn as a rookie behind Taylor, who will start at MetLife Stadium and play one or two series before giving way to Mayfield, who is expected to play two quarters."When you get the energy level up, you've got to be able to execute, so that's why I'm excited about Thursday as well," Mayfield said. "You get people hyped up, you actually get some contact in and you can focus in and do your job when there are distractions around."New Giants coach Pat Shurmur, who led the Browns in 2011-12, hasn't indicated how much Barkley will play."I am hoping I am good to go for that game," Barkley said. "I am more than capable to playing now. I am just happy inside to play in my first NFL game. Hopefully I can maximize every rep."LUCKY COLTSLuck is expected to play most of the first quarter, likely one or two series playing in a revamped offense with an overhauled offensive line."I'll be excited and a little nervous," Luck said. "There were one or two moments where I wondered if, 'Am I ever going to be able to do this again?'"Seattle is also revamped. The names Sherman, Avril, Bennett and Chancellor that used to don the backs of jerseys are no longer around. It'll be the first look at an overhauled defense where the big questions center on the secondary — star safety Earl Thomas is holding out — and what kind of pass rush can be generated.VRABEL'S DEBUTMike Vrabel says he really hasn't spent much time thinking of any pregame speech in his debut as Titans coach."Never really got a great motivational speech as a professional athlete," Vrabel said. "Just had a job to do, was prepared, knew the game plan and went out and played."Another man with Patriots ties, cornerback Malcolm Butler, plays his first game for Tennessee. He most memorably was benched on defense for the Super Bowl in February even as New England's secondary was torn apart by Philadelphia.A season-ending knee injury to Packers inside linebacker Jake Ryan left a hole in the run defense. Third-round pick Oren Burks will get the first chance at replacing Ryan in the base defense.FLORIDA MATCHUPMiami's eyes will be on Ryan Tannehill, who like Luck sat out last season when injured. He'll make a brief appearance against Tampa Bay, which won't have top draftee DT Vita Vea (calf injury).PENNSYLVANIA MATCHUPTwo teams with Super Bowl possibilities, though the regulars barely will get on the field.Pittsburgh Jason Witten Jersey Stitched , of course, is without outstanding running back Le'Veon Bell, who is holding out. All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown and QB Ben Roethlisberger will sit.With Carson Wentz still not cleared for contact and Nick Foles, the Super Bowl MVP, sidelined by muscle spasms in his shoulder and neck, third-year pro QB Nate Sudfeld starts.CALIFORNIA MATCHUPNo, the Cowboys don't call California home. They do spend a few weeks there in the summer, and now they'll visit the 49ers.Dallas is searching for leadership with tight end Jason Witten gone to ESPN and WR Dez Bryant cut.San Francisco's Jimmy Garoppolo, 7-0 as a starter in his four-year career, will be taking his first snaps in a game since signing a five-year, $137.5 million contract. He's looked good during training camp.POUNDING THE ROCKNew Orleans and Jacksonville expect to get a brief look at their revamped ground games.Saints running back Terrance West is trying to prove he's the guy to fill in for Pro Bowl starter Mark Ingram, who will serve a four-game suspension to start the regular season.Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette dropped more than 15 pounds since the start of last season and will have a retooled line with All-Pro left guard Andrew Norwell."I feel healthier," said Fournette, down to 223 pounds thanks partly to 50 push-ups a night. "I want to be great. That is my weight I felt best in college."SECOND OUTINGChicago already has played, using backups and losing the Hall of Fame game to Baltimore. This visit to Cincinnati, though, is the first chance to see Mitchell Trubisky operate the new offense of coach Matt Nagy in game conditions. The Trubisky to Allen Robinson connection started to show up more in practice this week.Cincinnati overhauled its porous line, bringing in veteran tackles Cordy Glenn and Bobby Hart and drafting center Billy Price in the first round.WATCH WHAT YOU SAYBills starting receiver Kelvin Benjamin will face his former team for the first time since asking the Panthers to trade him in October. Benjamin was reprimanded by coach Sean McDermott on Sunday for questioning why Carolina drafted him and criticizing Panthers quarterback Cam Newton's accuracy.Newton will play about 10 snaps in his first action under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner.MAHOMES' TURNWhen Kansas City traded starting QB Alex Smith to Washington, the job was handed to 2017 first-rounder Patrick Mahomes. He'll get his first turn as the Chiefs' No. 1 quarterback against Houston."We are going to try to win. That is the first thing coach (Andy) Reid said when we were game planning for this week is he doesn't like losing," Mahomes said. "We're going to do whatever it takes."PRACTICE, THEN PLAYJoe Flacco makes his preseason debut for Baltimore after watching three other quarterbacks run the offense against Chicago. Flacco will likely be paired with a new flock of receivers that includes John Brown, Willie Snead, Michael Crabtree and first-round draft pick Hayden Hurst. The Rams will be playing their first preseason game following a pair of joint practices with the Ravens earlier this week.WHO GETS THE BALL?The Redskins' running back competition will be front and center at the Patriots. Second-round pick Derrius Guice will get an opportunity to show he can be No. 1, with third-down back Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley seeing action. The likes of Samaje Perine, Byron Marshall and Kapri Bibbs figure to compete for a roster spot.New England WR Julian Edelman made several rounds of apologies when his four-game suspension was handed down by the NFL for violating the league's policy on performance enhancers. He plans to use what's left of training camp to make sure his surgically repaired knee will be ready when he returns. Edelman missed the entire 2017 season with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament.
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