Friday, March 21, 2014
Chat leftovers: Chris Johnson? No
By Todd Archer
IRVING, Texas -- We had more than 140 questions in Wednesday's Dallas Cowboys chat and it's impossible to answer all of them, so we're going to feature a weekly chat leftovers post to answer some of the best questions I missed the other day.
Who doesn't love leftovers?
In this segment we'll touch on Chris Johnson coming to the Cowboys, draft value, Joseph Randle and if this team is just hanging on until a complete rebuild.
Away we go:
Bo (Dallas): There were rumors of Chris Johnson coming to Dallas. Any update on that?
Archer: This isn't happening. The Cowboys don't want to assume the contract and if free agency has told us anything they don't want to acquire descending players and frankly that's what Johnson is these days. He's just not a fit, unless he wants to come in at the veteran minimum. And that's not happening either. The Cowboys will ride with DeMarco Murray. He seemed to turn a corner in the second half of the season and ended up getting added to the Pro Bowl. Murray is a better fit for this running game and for this salary cap. He's still on his rookie deal. The question the Cowboys will have is what to do with Murray in the future. Do they lock him up long-term? The only way I see that happening is if it is on a team-friendly deal. With the way the running back market is going, these backs better realize every deal going forward everywhere is going to be team friendly.
Daryl (Jersey): Why don't the Cowboys like 1-technique in the first round?
Archer: It's about value. A one technique typically plays only in rushing situations. The NFL is turning into a passing league and the stout-run defender is just not as valued these days. Third down is the money down. Teams want players who can affect the quarterback and stay on the field for all three downs, especially those they take in the first round. The Cowboys passed on Sharrif Floyd last year with the 18th pick because they did not view him as an elite pass-rusher. Their feeling then -- and now -- is that you can find a run-plugging defensive tackle later in the draft or even in free agency. Nick Hayden wasn't bad (and, yes I'm aware of Pro Football Focus' grade) and they gave little money to Terrell McClain in free agency.
Preston (North Little Rock): Do you think Joseph Randle is the answer at backup running back? With the offseason emphasis being on a better running game in 2014, do they look to draft another RB in this year's draft?
Archer: I like Randle even if his numbers as a rookie were less than stellar. He had a lot of carries when the Cowboys were trying to put a game away and defenses stacked the line. He had a lot of work when the line wasn't playing as well as it did later in the year. Is he great? Is he a game changer? I don't know, but I think he can handle the job if something happened to Murray. The Cowboys also like Lance Dunbar as a change of pace back and appeared to find him a role on Thanksgiving vs. the Oakland Raiders before he got hurt. I'd never say never on drafting a running back, but if they do I think it happens on the third day of the draft.
Brian (Ft. Worth, Texas): It feels like the Cowboys team of the late 90s with Aikman hanging on and the team trading for Galloway. Do you get that sense that the team is barely hanging on to its window to win with Romo?
Archer: I wrote about this the other day when the debate was whether the Cowboys are rebuilding or not. I don't think they are rebuilding. I think they are re-tooling. The only starters over 30 are Tony Romo, Jason Witten and Doug Free. DeMarcus Ware is gone. So is Jason Hatcher. So is Miles Austin. The core of this team is now Tyron Smith, Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, Murray and those guys. The Cowboys have to find more of those guys to maximize what they have left in Romo and Witten. Maybe I'm too much of an optimist, but the Cowboys can win the NFC East. They'll need a lot of things to go right for them, but I don't see the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins and New York Giants pulling away from them.