Dallas Cowboys Offseason Grade

Dallas Cowboys
Walker Basham
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Re-Signings/Options

Ezekiel Elliott

RB Ezekiel Elliott – I mean, this is a no brainer. The next question is will they give him a big contract, given they have a lot of guys they have to pay. Make the most out of his last cheap year.

Grade: A+

Impact: 9/10

DeMarcus LAwrence

DE Demarcus Lawrence– So the Cowboys locked up DeMarcus Lawrence for 5 years, 105 million dollars. Not a bad payday if you can get it! This deal includes 65 million dollars guaranteed, and pays him the most money ever for a defensive player in the first year of his contract. A 2 year pro bowler with 2 consecutive double digit sack seasons, the Cowboys killed it by locking him up long term. With Lawrence, Smith and Vander Esch the Cowboys have a young defensive core that could terrorize the NFC East for years to come.

Grade: A

Impact: 9/10

L.P. Ladouceur

LS LP Ladouceur – Ladouceur has been one of the most consistent players for the cowboys, signing a one year deal worth 1.03 million dollars. This is a good deal for one of the best long snappers in the game.

Grade: A

Impact: 4/10

Joe Thomas

LB Joe Thomas – A solid backup that was versatile enough to backup either linebacker spot, Thomas is likely going to be the primary backup for the Cowboys at that position. At 1.75 million dollars, this is a solid deal for a utility backup.

Grade: B+

Impact: 3/10

Joe Looney

C Joe Looney – Looney was thrust in the starting lineup this season due to Travis Frederick’s absence. While playing, he acquitted himself well. He projects to be a solid utility backup on the interior this season. At 1 million dollars, this is a great deal for a Swiss Army knife.

Grade: A

Impact 4/10

Allen Hurns

WR Allen Hurns – Hurns, who suffered a gruesome leg injury last year, surprisingly had his option picked up by the Cowboys this offseason. At 4 million dollars, it is a hefty price for a guy that was already being phased out of their offense. However, according to a report by cowboyswire.com, the Cowboys are looking to restructure his deal for this year. Because this is incomplete, I am going to hold off on the grade and impact number.

Grade: N/A

Impact: N/A

Daniel Ross

DT Daniel Ross– While not the most important player on Dallas’ defensive line, Ross is a rising depth player. At just one year and 645,000 dollars, this is a team friendly deal for a player that could become an important rotational piece on Dallas’ Defensive Line.

Grade: A-

Impact: 4/10

Justin March-Lillard

LB Justin March-Lillard and S Darian Thompson– 2 one year deals worth 720,000 is a good price for a pair of the Cowboys’ special teams core. While these aren’t the sexiest deals, they help the Cowboys on Special Teams and give them some depth at linebacker and Safety.

Grade: B+

Impact: 3/10

Players Lost in Free Agency/Suspension

Cole Beasley

WR Cole Beasley – The Cowboys let Beasley walk and signed Randall Cobb. This seems like a push to me, but anytime you lose a guy that’s been with a franchise for a long time it hurts.

Impact: 4/10

Randy Gregory

DE Randy Gregory – If you follow me on twitter, you know where I stand on the NFL’s marijuana policy. It’s ridiculous. It will likely be renegotiated in 2020, and Gregory could be back then. I also appreciate the Cowboys supporting Gregory through this. He’s a talented dude, and he deserves to be back on the field.

Impact: 7/10

David Irving

DL David Irving – Similar situation. Irving is in the right here, let the players smoke weed instead of pop pills. Unfortunately, the Cowboys are losing a talented player for the foreseeable future.

Impact: 7/10

Free Agency

Jason Witten

TE Jason Witten (Out of Retirement) – After a disastrous Monday Night Football stint, Witten has come out of retirement for the Cowboys. While Witten is old, he should provide Dak Prescott with a reliable safety blanket. Since this is Witten’s decision and not the cowboys, I will not assign this a grade

Grade: N/A

Impact: 5/10

Shakir Soto

DT Shakir Soto – Another AAF player to the NFL (for those that don’t know, I loved the AAF)! Soto was an important piece for the San Diego Fleet, racking up four sacks in eight games. Soto has never made an NFL roster, and the ceiling for him is likely a practice squad player/depth guy, but (almost) a whole year of starting in a developmental league could have done him some good. At just 1 year and 495,000 dollars, this is a signing that is extremely low risk for possible depth.

Grade: B+

Impact: 2/10

George Iloka

S George Iloka – While the Dallas fanbase probably wanted a sexier signing like Eric Berry or Earl Thomas, Iloka is a much better value at one year 1.02 million dollars. This is yet another low risk, high reward signing that fills a need for the Cowboys. Iloka isn’t a ballhawk over the middle of the field, but he rarely gets beat deep and is a sure tackler. The Cowboys gained a solid starter, but that’s about as high as Iloka’s upside goes.

Grade: B+

Impact: 7/10

Kerry Hyder Jr.

DE Kerry Hyder – After a productive 2016 with 8.5 sacks, Hyder fell out of favor in Detroit due to an injury in 2017 and a scheme change in 2018. Hyder will have a chance to earn the starting job due to Randy Gregory’s suspension, and at worst is a depth player. At just 1 year and 700,000 dollars, this could be a great value signing for Dallas.

Grade: B+

Impact: 5/10

Randall Cobb

WR Randall Cobb – While Cobb was once an exciting slot receiver, injuries and declining performance has diminished his effectiveness over the last couple years. Though his play declined a bit in Green Bay, a fresh start may be just what Cobb needs. He could end up being a great second option for Dak Prescott and complement to Amari Cooper. Even if he doesn’t pan out, he is on a very team friendly deal at just 1 year at 5 million dollars. I am willing to call this a low risk, high reward deal for Dallas.

Grade: A

Impact: 7/10

Trade(s)

Robert Quinn

Cowboys get: DE Robert Quinn

Dolphins get: 2020 6th round pick

Quinn is coming off two quietly solid years with 8.5 sacks with Los Angeles and 6.5 with Miami. To secure that kind of production for a 6th round pick is great, even if Quinn will be 29 this year. Great trade for the Cowboys, and if he doesn’t produce they can let him walk in 2020. Quinn could easily end up starting for the Boys this season, and with Lawrence attracting double teams he could end up being even more productive.

Grade: A

Impact: 8/10

Draft Picks

Trysten Hill

Pick 2.58 – DT Trysten Hill, Central Florida – This was a reach in my opinion. I don’t think Hill is a bad player, and think he could develop into a very good one, but he is too raw for a second round pick for my liking. However, if there was one DT I would bet on significantly improving in the NFL due to coaching, it would be Hill. While this was a round or 2 too early for me, I actually don’t dislike the pick. If this was in the fourth it would be a home run.

Grade: C

Impact: 5/10

Connor McGovern

Pick 3.90 IOL Connor McGovern, Penn State – The Cowboys have been laser focused on building their line through the draft. Smith, Frederick, and Martin were all first round picks, and Connor Williams was a second. McGovern is a future starter at guard and an immediate depth player. Good value.

Grade: A

Impact: 4/10

Tony Pollard

Pick 4.128 RB Tony Pollard, Memphis – Get this man the ball in space! He can return kicks and make explosive plays out of the backfield. One area he struggled in was drops, which could limit his effectiveness in the Cowboys offense. Kellen Moore is supposed to be a creative guy, so this pick could end up being a home run if he figures out a way to get the ball to Pollard in space. (note: I am higher on Pollard than most people).

Grade: B+

Impact: 5/10

Michael Jackson

Pick 5.158 CB Michael Jackson, Miami– XOne word for this pick: Steal. Cowboys DB coach Kris Richard loves big corners, and Jackson fits the bill at 6’1” 205 lbs. While he is now primarily a Press corner and has surprisingly good ball skills. He plays aggressively at the LOS and is a good tackler. If Byron Jones leaves in free agency next year, Jackson could be the replacement.

Grade: A

Impact: 4/10

Joe Jackson

Pick 5.165 DE Joe Jackson, Miami – Two Jacksons from Miami in 7 picks! Joe Jackson transitioned from a speed rusher to a power rusher by adding thirty pounds during his time in Coral Gables, and he may be best served shedding some of that. Good run defender that can set the edge, but his pass rushing needs some work.

Grade: B

Impact: 3/10

Donovan Wilson

Pick 6.213 S Donovan Wilson Texas A&M – I’m going to be honest, I had never even heard on Donovan Wilson before the draft. I really don’t know much about him, but from what I’ve read it looks like he projects as a special teams player. For this reason, I believe it would be wildly unfair to assign him a grade or impact.

Mike Weber

Pick 7.218 RB Mike Weber Jr, Ohio State – Weber’s 40 yard dash was in the 81st percentile for running backs, so he’s got great straight line speed. I anticipate him coming in on third downs to be a weapon in the passing game. He could be a nice home run hitting complement to Zeke.

Grade: B

Impact: 5/10

Jalen Jelks

Pick 7.241 EDGE Jalen Jelks, Oregon – Jelks is definitely a project. He isn’t the most refined edge, but if he develops he could end up being a nice backup on the defensive line.

Grade: C

Impact: 1/10

Overall

Jerry Jones

I think the Cowboys had a solid offseason. They resigned their franchise Defensive End in DeMarcus Lawrence and locked up Zeke for a fifth year. These were vital to the future of the franchise. Their draft was fine in my opinion, but when you add in Amari Cooper, it looks a hell of a lot better. I really like what they did in free agency and the Quinn trade.

Overall Grade: B+