Cowboys Rumors

Xavier Woods Out 3-4 Weeks

  • Projected to be one of the Cowboys‘ starting safeties, Xavier Woods will be out between three and four weeks because of a hamstring injury, Calvin Watkins of The Athletic tweets. Dallas has been linked to Earl Thomas throughout 2018 and is now examining recently released George Iloka. The Cowboys selected Woods in the sixth round last year and deployed him in four games as a starter.

Cowboys Considering George Iloka

The Bengals’ surprising decision to part ways with longtime safety starter George Iloka may end up helping an NFC team that’s thin at this position.

Iloka’s on the Cowboys’ radar, with Calvin Watkins of The Athletic tweeting internal discussions are taking place about Dallas bringing in the 28-year-old defender. The Cowboys are discussing the position as a whole and aren’t too far along on a possible Iloka pursuit, but the now-ex-Bengal’s name has surfaced, per Watkins.

Dallas may not have starter Xavier Woods for its Week 1 game, Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets. Woods strained a hamstring against the Bengals on Saturday, and the team received a firsthand look at Iloka’s most recent work. The Cowboys also lost fellow safety Jameill Showers to a torn ACL, further limiting the Cowboys at a position at which most believe they were already understaffed.

The Cowboys view Iloka as a strong safety, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. They’ve been connected to one of this generation’s best free safeties for months, but nothing’s transpired on the Earl Thomas-to-Dallas front recently. Former UDFA Jeff Heath is stationed at the strong safety spot for now. No known discussions have taken place about moving Byron Jones back to safety.

Iloka started throughout the three most recent Bengals playoff seasons, re-signed with the team in 2016 and started the past two seasons. The former fifth-round pick is entering his seventh NFL season and figures to land somewhere soon, this offseason’s odd safety free agency developments notwithstanding.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Notes: Martin, Showers, WRs

  • Zack Martin went down on Saturday night during the Cowboys‘ second preseason game, but the news is expected to be positive for the All-Pro guard. Martin likely suffered a hyper-extended left knee, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com, who adds Martin is expected to undergo an MRI on Sunday. Speaking to reporters last night, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Martin’s knee issue was not expected to be “problematic,” according to Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. However, given his injury, Dallas could hold out Martin from game action until the regular season begins.
  • While Martin is likely to escape a serious injury, Cowboys safety Jameill Showers wasn’t so lucky. Showers is believed to have suffered a torn ACL, tweets Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News, and will have an MRI on Sunday to confirm. After entering the league as a quarterback in 2015, Showers transferred to defensive back, and has spent much of the past three seasons on Dallas’ practice squad. While he was far from a roster lock, Showers’ injury will further deplete the Cowboys’ defensive depth.
  • The Cowboys need to add another receiver, opines Calvin Watkins of The Athletic (Twitter link). Dallas added free agent Allen Hurns and draft pick Michael Gallup to its receiving corps this offseason, but the position group as a whole hasn’t been overly impressive through two preseason games. While Watkins points to back-of-the-roster pass-catchers such as Noah Brown and Deonte Thompson as candidates for increased playing time, the Cowboys could conceivably look at free agents including Jeremy Maclin, Dontrelle Inman, or Brandon Coleman.

Brent Celek Leaning Towards Retirement

Eagles free agent tight end Brent Celek tells 97.5 The Fanatic that he’s leaning towards retirement (audio link). Celek didn’t quite say that it’s Eagles-or-bust if he were to play, but it was heavily suggested. 

I think I’m leaning more toward retirement,” Celek said. “I’ve had a few offers, but none of them are worth leaving a city that I have been in for eleven years where I won the Super Bowl in my final year. It wouldn’t feel right to put another uniform on.

Celek was overshadowed a bit in Philadelphia last year with Zach Ertz and Trey Burton ahead of him on the depth chart, but he appeared in all 16 games for the Eagles. He has been remarkably durable over the course of his career, missing just one game since entering the league in 2007.

Once upon a time, Celek was a major part of the Eagles’ passing attack. He nearly hit 1,000 receiving yards in 2009 and he averaged 59 catches for 744 yards and 4+ TDs between 2009 and 2012. In recent years, he’s been used more for blocking purposes. He has just 27 grabs for 285 yards over the last two seasons. In theory, the Eagles could circle back to him now that Burton is out of the picture, but they could just as easily forge ahead with their current group, which includes second-round pick Dallas Goedert and free agent pickup Richard Rodgers.

If Celek does return, it sounds like it will be with the Eagles. But, no matter what, he says there’s one team he’d never play for.

Hell no,” Celek said when asked about the possibility of heading to Dallas. “Do you think I would play for the Cowboys? Philly is my home. If they offered me 10MM, I still wouldn’t go.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/15/18

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

  • Signed: FB Sam Rogers
  • Waived/Injured: FB Zach Olstad

Carolina Panthers

Dallas Cowboys

  • Signed: WR Dres Anderson
  • Released: DE Joby Saint Fleur

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Activate Maliek Collins From PUP

  • The Cowboys received some good news today. Howard Balzer tweets that Maliek Collins has passed his physical and been activated from the physically unable to perform list. The 23-year-old has undergone a pair of surgeries over the past four months to repair a fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot. With several weeks to go before the end of the preseason, the Cowboys are confident Collins can return for the start of the regular season. “He’s just progressing,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said earlier this week (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “He’s done a really good job with his rehab, and we’re taking him day-by-day, we’ll see if he’s available at some point to come practice here in the next week or so.” Collins finished last season with 22 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
  • The Cowboys worked out a number of players today (via Jon Machota of the Dallas News on Twitter): receiver Darren Carrington, offensive linemen Jacob Alsadek and Daronte Bouldin, and safeties Dominick Sanders, Ryan Murphy, and Deron Washington. The team ended up signing Alsadek and Carrington later in the day.

    [SOURCE LINK]

Cowboys Place OL Marcus Martin On IR

Marcus Martin has landed on the injured reserve. After injuring his toe during the Cowboys preseason opener, the team placed the offensive lineman on the IR today, reports ESPN’s Todd Archer. The Cowboys have also waived/injured wideout Marchie Murdock, and they’ve signed lineman Jacob Alsadek and receiver Darren Carrington to fill the open roster spots.

The former 49ers starter was planning on returning to football for the first time since 2016, and the Cowboys were hoping they’d have a reliable backup guard and center. Unfortunately, Martin injured his toe on Thursday night, and the injury will require surgery. The lineman was ultimately diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right big toe.

With Martin out of the lineup, key reserve Joe Looney will now be tasked with a larger role behind projected starters Zack MartinTravis Frederick and Connor Williams. The team will also be giving a look at Alsadek, who went undrafted out of Arizona in this year’s draft.

Murdock, a former standout at Iowa State, joined the Cowboys shortly after going undrafted. The team will be replacing him with the six-foot-two, 199-pound Carrington, who split his collegiate career between Oregon and Utah.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys’ Marcus Martin Tears Toe Ligament

A former multiyear 49ers starter, Marcus Martin hasn’t played since the 2016 season. But the Cowboys signed the offensive lineman in hopes he could commandeer one of their backup jobs.

Those plans may not come to fruition. The veteran interior lineman suffered a toe injury during Dallas’ preseason opener Thursday night, and ESPN.com’s Todd Archer reports Martin will require surgery. And it could sideline him for a while.

Martin did not suffer a toe fracture, per Calvin Watkins of The Athletic (on Twitter), but instead tore a ligament in his right big toe, per Archer. La’el Collins suffered a similar injury in 2016 and spent the final three months of the season on IR.

The Cowboys believed Martin could serve as a backup interior lineman behind Zack Martin, Travis Frederick and Connor Williams, per Archer, but this certainly alters those plans. Joe Looney still resides as a key Cowboys backup, and his role now becomes more important after this setback. Martin, 24, was no lock to make the team, but this affects Dallas’ depth.

The former 2014 third-round pick finished the 2016 season on the 49ers’ IR before being waived a few months later. Marcus Martin signed with the Cowboys in March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

David Irving Won’t Lose Free Agent Status

In a case similar to that of Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, Cowboys defensive tackle David Irving will not see his 2019 free agent status affected by his absence from training camp, a source tells Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News.

Irving needed to report to Dallas’ camp 30 days prior to the start of the regular season in order to preserve his unrestricted free agent status next offseason. But because Irving, who is skipping camp to work on personal issues, has an agreement in place with the Cowboys, his contract will not toll, meaning he can hit the open market in the spring.

A former undrafted free agent, Irving hit restricted free agency this past offseason, and ultimately re-signed with the Cowboys on a second-round tender, which will pay him $2.9MM for the 2018 campaign. He’ll only earn a prorated portion of that total, however, as he’s suspended for the first four games of the season after violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

In 2017, Irving served another suspension (eight games for performance-enhancing drugs), but was effective in his half-season of play. In 338 defensive snaps, Irving managed seven sacks and graded as the league’s No. 23 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.