After eight weeks of the NFL season, there is no secret that some teams are completely done with just about half of a schedule to go. One of those teams is, of course, the Dallas Cowboys; after a loss this past Sunday night to the Philadelphia Eagles, the team is heading nowhere fast due to many reasons with some in their control and some not. Third-string QB Ben Dinucci made his NFL debut last night and it was a performance to forget; however, he is the least of the team’s problems and it all starts at the top with Jerry Jones. It’s easy to blame Jerry Jones for this or his son Stephen, and those are the only people who should be at full blame here. Either way, it’s time to move forward and get this dreadful season over with.
The trade deadline is tomorrow November 3rd at 4 pm; the Cowboys should be open to moving almost anyone on this roster outside of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. Zeke is on an expensive contract right now where he is getting paid about 15 million dollars a year; and by looking at his production from last year and this year, the contract is looking worse as each game goes by. Some of this is Zeke’s fault for sure; after all, his total yardage has gone down every single year since his rookie season. It’s obviously difficult to be the best running back year in and year out with the tole they take on their body every week, but the money and production are just not adding up.
Another factor in this is the total change of the offensive line. This past offseason, center Travis Frederick retired and this was because of health concerns after battling injury after injury for most of his career; you can’t blame him for doing that at all, but the impact it had on this unit is very visible. Left tackle Tyron Smith is out for the year along with right tackle La’el Collins; in their prime, these are arguably two of the top 5 tackles in the entire league. Losing them for the season would permanently damage any team’s chances, but especially this team.
I believe Zeke deserves one more year to prove his contract worth on this team and then go from there. Dak will be back next season and from the looks of this team without him, I would be very unpleasantly surprised if he doesn’t have a brand new contract with him as well.
As for the rest of the team, no one should really be safe here. I believe they need to start with moving star receiver Amari Cooper. He is getting paid around 20 million dollars a year, near the top of the league in wide receiver compensation. If you watch every game as I do, is he worth that money? The answer is probably no.
This doesn’t mean he isn’t a game-changer or a star, but they need to pay the right people. If they decide to move him by tomorrow, they could get a second-rounder or even a first-rounder back for him from a contending team, like Green Bay or Baltimore. They still have rookie CeeDee Lamb and third-year receiver Michael Gallup, who has proven to be one of the best receivers in one on one coverage in the league. This is more than enough talent on the offensive side to get the job done next year, despite losing Cooper, who is just taking up so much of the salary cap.
The real issues are on the defensive side of the ball. It’s pretty safe to say that this is the worst defensive unit in my 14 years of watching football and quite frankly, it’s not even close! Demarcus Lawrence and Jalyon Smith are on pretty expensive contracts, which means the Cowboys should be looking to move them in the next 24 hours! Underperformed would be a huge understatement to what those players and this entire unit have done; again, a contending team would take them this year as apart of a playoff run, and the Cowboys could get a good amount of draft picks back for them. The team and maybe the players need a fresh start somewhere else at this point.
The team should be looking to move anyone on that defensive unit outside of three players:
- DB Trevon Diggs
- DE Aldon Smith
- LB Leighton Vander-Esch
Rookie Trevon Diggs as he has been immediately placed into the CB 1 role in his first year. He may look like he’s struggling, but in reality, he’s keeping this HIGH SCHOOL level secondary some-what intact. Another player is 31-year-old Aldon Smith; as most of you know, he was out of the league for quite some time due to off the field issues. He has been very productive this year and can generate any of the little pass-rushing ability this team has left. The third player is linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. He has dealt with many injury problems, but when he is on the field, he can produce at a very high level. He is also one of the only players where you can visibly see his effort, which goes a long way on a struggling team like this. Just like Sean Lee, he has dealt with injuries but his pride for the team is not in question; can’t say that about most of the players in this group.
To conclude, this team needs a total reboot and the deadline coming up gives them a good chance to move out some heavy contracts to get some good draft capital back. With the Jones brothers running the show still, nothing will surprise me at this point, but to get back on the right track and not waste the prime years of Dak and others, this team has no choice but to rebuild starting with the draft. The offensive line and any position on defense should be on this team’s radar. We will know in the next 24 hours or so whether or not they decide to make a move.