In an effort to change results, I have to credit the Cowboys for a minor shakeup of personnel on the defensive side of the ball this week. We shall see if it makes a difference or not but at least they are trying to change culture. They had to send the message that status quo was not acceptable. They moved on from 3 guys, all for different reasons, but when you add up the amount of money that gets flushed with these transactions, one has to consider a disconnect here between evaluations and their forecasted role on this team.
A couple quick points before I dive into the guys who they sent over the wall. After studying film this week on the Cowboys, one guy in particular needs to be lauded. #54 LB Jaylon Smith was criticized for a lack of effort on a particular play or two on social media over the last week or so (me included). I am here to say that Jaylon has played very hard and that narrative can be erased in my opinion. The tape shows passion, recklessness and plenty of effort that resulted in production. His excellent football instincts are going to make him part of the solution in Big-D, not part of the problem. Now if they can get leader and veteran LB Sean Lee back to 100% that would make a big difference as well. In my opinion, he’s the glue that has not been replaced in his absence. Here is how I see the other 3 exit moves.
DE Everson Griffin was traded to the Detroit Lions for a conditional 2021 6th round pick. Regardless of the conditions of this deal, this player should be a productive good addition for the Lions. He was basically the 3rd edge rusher in sub packages for the Cowboys. He was still playing hard, has quickness and ability to get up-field and showed a nice array of pass rush moves in his short stint with the Cowboys. He uses his hands well to keep himself free and to get off blocks like the seasoned vet that he is. I am somewhat surprised Seattle did not get in on this deal and offer more to acquire him. In my opinion, he’s a better 1 on1 pass rusher than Carlos Dunlap who the Seahawks acquired from the Bengals this week and Seattle could use a couple guys on the edges to upgrade their feeble pass rush. There may be stuff behind the scenes that I don’t see with regard to Griffin, (character-wise?), that motivated the Cowboys to get rid of him, but on tape- he’s still effective and productive as a pass rusher. I think the Lions multi front package on defense will be a good fit for his skill set.
DN Dontari Poe was released outright by the Cowboys. When you look at the tape that he put on his resume in 2020 it won’t help him get another gig, anytime soon. I’m shocked they waited this long to pull the trigger. He was overweight and out of shape and showed no ability to make a play at all. He lacks range, quickness and any skill set that you could foresee improving during this season. To think that the Cowboys were paying 4 million for that is a shame and some bad evaluating by somebody. There were many plays where he didn’t move out of his own shadow and frankly, it was embarrassing. My guess is, he’s done with football.
DC Daryl Worley was also released because the Cowboys are expecting the return of two incumbent corners next week. On tape Worley was beaten numerous times, gave up a couple TD’s in the Giants game alone and my guess is may have had a roll in the questioning of the coaches’ schemes that went public a couple weeks back. He was paid 3 million on a 1 year deal and his deal is fully guaranteed because he is a vested vet. He will be looking for his 4th team in 5 years and probably becomes a minimum salary guy to any team that’s interested. Not surprised there were no takers on the trade front.
More trade talk coming as we approach the deadline here and on my podcast w @SandoNFL for the Athletic which airs on Tuesdays, weekly outside the pay platform for the Athletic. Keep in mind, even though the trade deadline is next Tuesday teams are looking to deal sooner than later because of the COVID-19 protocols that are in place. This is big because it gives the acquiring team and the player an extra game to participate in.