The Cowboys saw the return of their starting quarterback yesterday, but lost a first-teamer on defense during yesterday’s win over the Lions. Slot corner Jourdan Lewissuffered a Lisfranc injury, and has undergone season-ending surgery, per ESPN’s Todd Archer (Twitter link).
Lewis suffered the injury on the play in which he recorded his first interception of the campaign. It marks an end to his sixth season in the league, all of which have been spent in Dallas, and a significant blow to the Cowboys’ secondary. 2022 had been the third consecutive season – and fourth overall – in which Lewis logged a starter’s workload, with 79% overall snap share.
The 27-year-old had also dealt with a hamstring issue during the preseason, but was able to recover in time for Week 1. In six-plus contests this year, Lewis notched 26 tackles, one sack and one pass deflection to go along with the interception. Expectations were high for him after he set new career-highs in picks (three) and PBUs (11) last season.
Instead, this injury could leave the former fourth-rounder’s Cowboys future in question. Lewis is under contract for one more season after he inked a three-year deal last March. He is due $4.5MM in salary in 2023, but has a scheduled cap hit of over $6.1MM. Since no guaranteed compensation remains on his pact, the Cowboys would save $5MM by releasing him in the offseason – something they could consider doing, depending on his recovery progress.
With Lewis sidelined, fifth-round rookie DaRon Blandis expected to take on the starter’s role in his place. The Fresno State product has played in all seven games this season, but yesterday marked only the second time in which he saw any snaps on defense. The first was the team’s Week 4 win over the Commanders; if Bland can replicate his performance from that day (during which he notched an interception) throughout the remainder of the season, the loss of Lewis would be cushioned for Dallas’ strong pass defense.
As a result of the injury, Lewis will miss the remainder of training camp and the Cowboys’ two remaining preseason games. His timetable beyond that point is unclear; head coach Mike McCarthy said that more will be known only after he begins the rehab process. McCarthy did add, however, that “the immediate goal is to get him [back] for Week 1.’
Lewis, 26, has regained the role he had as a rookie in 2017 over the past two years, with snap percentages in the 70s. He had a career-year last campaign with three interceptions, 11 pass deflections and 61 total tackles – further proving the three-year extension he signed last March to be worthwhile. Missing any significant time in the regular season would, of course, be a major blow to the Cowboys’ secondary, which played a large role in the team’s surprising success on defense last season.
As Watkins notes, Dallas has a few options to replace Lewis in the short-term. Outside corner Anthony Browncould move inside, which would elevate Kelvin Joseph (who last month was cleared of all wrongdoing in association with a shooting investigation) to a starting position on the perimeter. Alternatively, the Cowboys could turn to fifth-round rookie DaRon Blandin the slot, which would leave Brown and Trevon Diggson the outside.
The Cowboys’ two remaining preseason games could shed light on their plan to fill in for Lewis if doing so proves necessary in September. In the meantime, the progress he makes with respect to recovery will be worth watching.
The Cowboys are bringing back cornerback Jourdan Lewis, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter). Lewis’ new contract will be for three years and and is worth up to $16.5MM, including $8MM in guarantees.
Lewis started a career-high 13 games in 2020 after struggling a bit for playing time with Kris Richard in charge of the DBs from 2018-19. However, that doesn’t mean that he performed well, as he graded out as one of the worst corners in the league according to Pro Football Focus’ metrics. He was frequently beaten by opposing receivers, and some believe that the Cowboys would do well to shift him over to safety.
After all, he has demonstrated solid ball skills and playmaking ability, with four interceptions, four fumble recoveries, six sacks, and a defensive score over his four-year career. And the one area in which PFF considered him an above-average performer was pass rushing.
Whether or not Dallas serious entertains the notion of changing Lewis’ position remains to be seen, but obviously the club has seen enough upside to keep him around for another several seasons. After losing Chidobe Awuzie to the Bengals, the Cowboys made sure to keep another homegrown DB from the 2017 draft in the building.
September 12th, 2020 at 2:19pm CST by Sam Robinson
Brandon Carr‘s unusual status on a practice squad changed Saturday. The Cowboys will promote him in advance of their Week 1 game against the Rams, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News tweets.
The Cowboys brought back their former five-year cornerback starter days ago and will make him part of their 55-man game-day roster. The 2020 CBA allows for two practice squad players to be promoted to the active roster without a corresponding roster move each week. Teams can have 48 players active on game days this season, up from 46.
Carr will rejoin a Cowboys roster that lost its top corner from the past two seasons — Byron Jones — but the 12-year veteran may well see his 12-year start streak snapped. Since being selected in the fifth round in 2008, Carr has started all 192 games in which he has played for the Chiefs, Cowboys and Ravens.
The Ravens did not pick up Carr’s 2020 option, sending the iron-man defender back to free agency. Carr could fill multiple roles for Dallas. He saw time at safety with Baltimore last season. The Cowboys released Ha Ha Clinton-Dix last week, leaving their safety position again uncertain going into a season.
September 4th, 2020 at 2:46pm CST by Zachary Links
The Cowboys will place linebacker Sean Lee on injured reserve to start the year, according to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are expected to park at least a few more players on IR thanks to a slew of training camp injuries.
This is, unfortunately, familiar territory for Lee. The veteran saw his 2014 season completely wiped out by a torn ACL tear and played in just 18 total games between 2017 and 2018. Still, the Cowboys know what he’s capable of doing when healthy, having employed him since 2010.
Lee did manage to stay on the field for much of 2019 and he closed out the year on a high note. After tallying double-digit tackles in two of his final five games, including a 17-stop showing in their Week 16 game against the Eagles, the Cowboys re-upped him on a one-year, $4.5MM deal. All in all, Lee finished out with 86 stops, one interception, one sack, and four passes defensed as he filled in for Leighton Vander Esch.
Lucky Whitehead was unfortunately waived by the Cowboys following a case of mistaken identity, but the receiver/special-teamer had run afoul of club rules before, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link). Whitehead had been accused of being “flighty with the truth,” and was “unaccountable” with the Dallas’ coaching staff. Last year, for instance, Whitehead reportedly slept through a Saturday walkthrough and was left home for a game against the Giants. While Whitehead certainly could have had his issues off the field, it’s also possible the Cowboys are leaking negative information on Whitehead given that it was their lack of follow-up that resulted in Whitehead’s release.
Here’s more on Whitehead and the rest of the Cowboys’ roster:
The NFLPA is conducting an investigation into Whitehead’s ouster and before it decides whether to take further action, as Ed Werder tweets. Whitehead, for his part, is understandably angry about how the situation played out, writes Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “Let’s not sugarcoat anything,” Whitehead said. “I was pretty much being called a liar.” Now on waivers, Whitehead can be claimed by any of the other 31 NFL teams between now and tomorrow.
A Michigan jury has found Cowboys third-round corner Jourdan Lewis not guilty on both domestic violence and assault/battery counts, reports Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. Viewed as one of the top slot cornerback prospects in this year’s draft, Lewis fell to the 92nd overall selection following an alleged March altercation with his girlfriend. Now cleared, Lewis should be able to report to camp and compete for sub package snaps.
As part of his two-year, $15.4MM extension, offensive lineman La’el Collins will receive a $4MM signing bonus and $9.5MM fully guaranteed overall, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Collins will earn base salaries of $1MM and $4.5MM in 2017 and 2018, respectively. In 2019, Collins’ base salary is $6MM, but can increase to $8.5MM if he plays at least 85% of Dallas’ offensive snaps in each of the next two campaigns, per Archer.
Dallas defensive end David Irving offered an explanation for his four-game PED suspension today, blaming the ban on a “hidden ingredient” in a workout drink, per Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. “I started taking it after the season when you’re not working out with the team, you know, something to get my a– in the gym,” said Irving. “It’s funny, I thought I was hitting a second puberty.” Irving, 23, appeared in 15 games for Dallas last season and developed into a serviceable pass rusher, especially near the end of the year. All told, he managed four sacks and 17 tackles while grading as the league’s No. 29 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus
Offensive lineman Byron Bell earned his second $150K bonus of the offseason by making weight on the first day of Cowboys training camp, reports Archer. Bell scored the same weight bonus when minicamp began, and will collect a third bonus during the first week of the regular season. Signed to a one-year deal in March, Bell will also earn a $1MM base salary, a $250K signing bonus, and $300K in per-game roster bonuses. The 28-year-old is in contention to serve as the top reserve lineman on one of the league’s best front fives.
In an effort to find out what the Patriots have in much-ballyhooed No. 2 quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Mike Giardi of CSNNE.com spoke with three scouts (two AFC, one NFC), an ex-Pats player and an NFC front office executive. The former Patriot offered effusive praise of the 25-year-old Garoppolo, saying of Tom Brady‘s backup: “I played against him every day in practice. He’s all that. He can make all the throws. He can process all the information. He is a gamer. He can slow it down. He can spin it. I’m going tell you this, if he had gotten traded to Cleveland, they’re a borderline playoff team. I really believe that.”
One of the AFC scouts was similarly kind to Garoppolo in his assessment, noting: “I absolutely loved the kid coming out of college. When we interviewed him, [it was obvious] he’s got those qualities you want in a QB, as a leader. I begged our guys to take him at the end of the first round. That’s how good I thought he was then. He’s a hell of a lot better now.” Garoppolo ended up going in the second round of the 2014 draft, and though he hasn’t played much since, the scout believes he’s a franchise QB in waiting and contends that it’s “genius” that the Patriots have refused to trade him.
With Brady showing no signs of slowing down even as he enters his age-40 campaign, Garoppolo probably won’t see the much field this year. Garoppolo’s contract will expire thereafter, which will make his situation an extremely compelling one to watch when the Patriots’ season concludes in either January or February. The Pats probably aren’t going to let the impending free agent leave, as head coach Bill Belichick“thinks he’s got the next great one,” according to the other AFC scout.
More from around the NFL:
In addition to detailingSteelers running back Le’Veon Bell‘s long-term asking price Wednesday on NFL Network, former teammate Ike Taylor said there’s a “strong possibility” Bell will hold out of training camp, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Given that Bell hasn’t signed his $12.1MM tender as the Steelers’ franchise player, he’s under no obligation to report and wouldn’t face any punishment by staying away. Bell could therefore take a cue from Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who was unhappy with his franchise designation last year and didn’t show up until the end of August.
Taylor noted Wednesday that Bell wants money that reflects his production as both a superstar runner and a No. 2 receiver. Bell confirmed as much Thursday, telling Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com that he’s seeking a contract well in excess of Bills RB LeSean McCoy‘s league-high amount. “I make plays in the passing game, blocking, doing everything,” said Bell. “I’m arguably the top running back in the NFL and the No. 2 receiver on the Steelers, even though I play running back. Their career receiving total vs. mine, they don’t have more yards than me.” Prior to this past Monday’s deadline to sign franchise players to long-term deals, the Steelers did attempt to ink Bell to a deal worth more than McCoy’s five-year, $40MM-plus pact. Their five-year, $60MM proposal didn’t get it done, though.
Cowboys third-round pick Jourdan Lewis‘ career is off to an inauspicious start. Lewis, the 92nd overall selection, will go to trial in Michigan next week for a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, reports Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today. That will keep Lewis out for the early portion of training camp, for which Cowboys rookies reported on Wednesday. Lewis’ charge stems from a March altercation with his live-in girlfriend, who told police that he put his “his hands around her neck.” The player pleaded not guilty, but he was unable to reach a settlement with prosecutors at a pre-trial hearing on Thursday, according to Jones.
Tony Romo continues to vacillate between “done” and “very likely done.” The retired quarterback and current CBS analyst declared last week that he’s through playing football, but now he seems to be leaving the door open ever so slightly for a return. As a guest Thursday on the Ben & Skin show on 105.3 The Fan, Romo said he’s “99.9 percent done” (Twitter link via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News). The 37-year-old made a similar remark in April, after which a report surfaced stating that teams expect him to make a comeback. While Romo’s career probably is over, a significant preseason injury to a team’s starting QB could change the calculus. It did last summer for Romo, then with the Cowboys, as he broke a bone in his back in August and was unable to reclaim his starting job from super rookie Dak Prescott when he returned midway through the season.