Dallas Cowboys With Plenty of Holes to Fill: NFL Betting

Jason Lake

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 7:22 PM GMT

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 7:22 PM GMT

They were profitable against the NFL odds in 2013, but this could be the year that the Dallas Cowboys finally implode. They’ve got more work to do this offseason that any other team in the league.

Jason’s final record on his final NFL picks for 2013-14:

49-41-2 ATS (+7.7 units)

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

16-20-1 Totals (–5.6 units)

Total units won: +2.81

ROI: +2.15%

You can pay now, or you can pay later. For the Dallas Cowboys, “later” is already at their doorstep. Jerry Jones has spent a lot of money trying to get his Cowboys back to the Super Bowl, back-loading those contracts to stay under the NFL salary cap, and what did it get him? Three consecutive 8-8 seasons. Now’s he’s $20-25 million over the cap for 2014.

Call the wah-mbulance. The Cowboys may have transformed from America’s Team to America’s Joke, but they actually beat the NFL betting lines last year at 9-7 ATS. And it’s not like Jones is going to run out of money anytime soon. Dallas is going to have to really, really screw things up this offseason to become a truly bad franchise. Then again, Al Davis didn’t ruin the Oakland Raiders overnight.

Ware and Tear 

First up, a very tough decision: Whether or not to dump DE DeMarcus Ware (six sacks). But it’s only a tough decision in the sense that it has to be made, and it’s going to hurt. The former seven-time Pro Bowler was one of the very best players in the league, but the last two seasons have been marred by injuries, and Ware turns 32 this summer. He’s also due to make $12.25 million in base salary in 2014. Ware will have to go.

Dallas will almost certainly have to let Pro Bowl DT Jason Hatcher (11 sacks) test free agency, as well. He also turns 32 this summer and is expecting a major pay hike after delivering excellent returns as a third-round pick in the 2006 Draft. And DE Anthony Spencer could be lucky to get a one-year deal after undergoing microfracture surgery in October. Fixing this mess is Job No. 1 for Jones and new defensive co-ordinator Rod Marinelli.

Since there’s no room under the cap, anything the Cowboys get this offseason will have to come from the draft – which is where Jones could use some help in his decision-making. Dallas has the No. 16 or No. 17 pick in this year’s draft, depending on the results of a coin flip later this week between the Cowboys and the 8-8 Baltimore Ravens. Notre Dame DE Stephon Tuitt has popped up in some mock drafts, but more recent projections are looking at Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

I Have Needs 

Interesting. Dallas does need some help for safety Barry Church, and this secondary hasn’t been very good for a while now. Clinton-Dix has solid coverage skills and an excellent work ethic – he’s a great pick at No. 16 or 17. So why him and not a lineman? Well, there’s a gap between the top DL prospects like Jadeveon Clowney and the players available in the middle of the first round. Dallas might have to trade down to fill that position.

The Cowboys might also want to grab another offensive lineman to go along with last year’s first-round selection, center Travis Frederick. He helped stabilize what was a really bad offensive line, especially with the injuries they suffered in 2012, but Dallas could still use someone like Notre Dame OT Zack Martin in either run or pass protection. 

Speaking of which, QB Tony Romo (96.7 passer rating) had surgery for a herniated disk in December. He’s on track to begin offseason workouts, but the Cowboys need a Plan B, and they’re not too keen on Kyle Orton (85.3 passer rating) as the answer. Praying for Romo’s health appears to be the No. 1 option for the Cowboys this summer.
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