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Cowboys are done for 2018, but should Redskins fans be nervous for 2019?


Cowboys are done for 2018, but should Redskins fans be nervous for 2019?

The Cowboys season ended Saturday night in Los Angeles after a divisional playoff round loss to the Rams, but looking at next season, Dallas looks like a dangerous squad.

Could this Cowboys bunch be the first to win the NFC East in consecutive seasons sine 2004? Certainly the Giants, Eagles and Redskins will have a lot to say about that, but Dallas seems to be set up well for next year, even if the money looks dicey in 2020 and beyond. 

Offensively, Jerry Jones made a bold move in the middle of the 2018 campaign by trading for wide receiver Amari Cooper. Dallas gave up a first-round pick to the Raiders for Cooper, and while it was panned at the time, it looks strong now. 

In just 11 games with the Cowboys, Cooper established himself as a real deep threat and game-changer for QB Dak Prescott. And the team went 8-3 once Cooper arrived.

In 2019, Prescott, Cooper and running back Ezekiel Elliott will be in the final year of their contracts. Dallas retains a fifth-year option for 2020 on Elliott, but with Cooper and Prescott, it's pay up or face free agency. Franchise and transition tags could be in play too. 

On defense, the Cowboys will be focused on getting a deal done with pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence. That's no sure thing, and Lawrence already played the 2018 season on a $17 million franchise tag. Dallas seems unlikely to pay the mandatory increase to tag Lawrence again, especially as the team must work on deals for Elliott, Cooper and Prescott. 

The good news for a surging Cowboys defense is that young linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith are on rookie deals. Veteran linebacker Sean Lee seems like a salary cap casualty, but that would require Dallas making the logical and not emotional decision. 

There's not much good news for Redskins fans here. 

Before the trade to acquire Cooper, Dallas was a one-dimensional offense. After the Cooper trade, Dallas became dangerous. The defense was good before and after the trade.

In the NFC East, Dallas could easily be expected to win the division in 2019. And that's before the team makes a draft pick or spends any of its more than $50 million available under the salary cap for next season. Some of that cap room could be swallowed up by deals for Prescott or Cooper. 

It's also worth nothing that for many teams, paying $25 million or more per year to a quarterback becomes a losing proposition. Rookie deals are incredibly important for NFL clubs, especially at the league's most important position. What will that mean for the Cowboys and Prescott?

But for Redskins fans, it was probably hard to watch the Dallas loss Saturday night and think the Cowboys would not be a factor in 2019 in the NFC East.

In fact, if fans are being honest, this Cowboys team has the foundation of something that could be quite difficult for Washington to overcome. 


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Amidst Jags controversy, Landon Collins goes full Suge Knight to recruit Jalen Ramsey to Redskins

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Amidst Jags controversy, Landon Collins goes full Suge Knight to recruit Jalen Ramsey to Redskins

Even during this relatively quiet period of the NFL calendar, there's still plenty of controversy around the league.

Take Jacksonville for example, where Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey has been firing back at executive vice president Tom Coughlin for saying he wants every player to attend the team's voluntary offseason workouts. Ramsey, as you may have already guessed, has elected to skip these workouts. 

Seeing an opportunity, new Redskins safety Landon Collins invited Ramsey to Washington via Twitter, going into full Suge Knight "Come to Death Row" mode to make his pitch. 

Ramsey seemed quite amused by the prospect, but also didn't seem totally opposed to the idea of teaming up with Collins in D.C. 

While it's unlikely Washington trades for Ramsey, nothing's stopping you from firing up the NFL Roster Builder and putting the two-time Pro Bowler in burgundy and gold, Redskins fans! 


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Redskins fans shouldn't hate the idea of Daniel Jones at No. 15 as much as they seem to


Redskins fans shouldn't hate the idea of Daniel Jones at No. 15 as much as they seem to

For some reason — whether it's because they like another quarterback better, or because his college numbers don't exactly pop, or because he went to college at Duke — a ton of Redskins fans really don't like the idea of their team drafting Daniel Jones 15th overall.

In fact, its gotten to the point where some have even changed their handle on Twitter to names that reflect their anti-Jones stance. 

In a Mock Draft Special on NBC Sports Washington's MyTeams app, though, Charley Casserly has the Redskins taking Jones at pick No. 15. Now, before you punt your phone or spike your laptop, hear Casserly out on what there is to like about Jones. 

"He's the most pro-ready quarterback in this year's draft," the former GM explained. "Why do I say that? Vision and anticipation. Vision is the ability to see the field and go in a progression from one to two to three in the receivers. Anticipation — see the blitz coming, get it to the hot receiver, get the ball out before the receiver makes his break. He's very good at both of those things."

What Jones doesn't have, such as a top arm, is something you can see right away in workouts and on tape. But his strengths, such as his ability to find the right read or throw a wideout open, aren't as simple to notice.

Perhaps that's why 'Skins fans are so against him — because you have to do more projecting when it comes to his future as opposed to someone like Kyler Murray or Dwayne Haskins, guys with tons of college success and tape that will wow you.

Jay Gruden has mentioned this offseason how, if Washington does grab a QB, he expects that player to come in early and compete. They can't be treated like a minor leaguer, someone who can slowly work their way up to a place where they're ready for Sundays. 

According to Casserly at least, Jones won't need much grooming. Maybe that catches Gruden's eye.

In his mock, the analyst slotted the Duke product to the Redskins instead of Missouri's Drew Lock due to, among other things, Lock not being as accurate. Other players the Burgundy and Gold could've selected but didn't were Brian Burns, Clelin Ferrell and DK Metcalf.

In the end, Casserly kept lauding Jones' readiness. In addition to his athleticism, Casserly expects Jones to come into the league and make a difference early with his eyes and his mind.

"Super smart guy," he said. "He's a natural at that stuff. That's not natural. That's stuff you have to learn."