The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most recognizable sports teams in the world, but success has been elusive for them in recent years. They last won the Super Bowl in 1995, haven’t won a road playoff game since the 1992 season, and haven’t progressed to the NFC championship game since that victorious ‘95 season. In Madden 19 success doesn’t feel that far away, they have young talent on offense, a strong offensive line to protect them, and a defense spotted with playmakers.
The Cowboys roster has a solid 84 rating on Madden 19, fueled by a strong 89 rated offense and supported by an 83 rated defense. They have some very talented players and big-contract stars that can lead you to glory, but this roster is also one full of holes and without much depth at all. The team lacks productivity in certain key areas too, and is not rich in cap space to sign free agents…
Dallas Cowboys Salary Cap
The Cowboys start the 2018 preseason with $48.1 million in cap space. This will increase when you cut 9 players to make the 53-man regular season roster. 22 players can be cut without incurring any penalty. While you don’t want to cut the likes of DeMarcus Lawrence, Tavon Austin can go immediately and save you $5 million that you can put toward a big free agent signing or trading for talent. However, before you ear-mark the cap space for additions you should take a look at the players you are going to need to pay.
Dallas Cowboys Impending Free Agents
There are 21 impending free agents on Dallas’ roster. While many are easily replaceable there are some that you will simply have to keep. The primary job here is keeping DeMarcus Lawrence. The defensive end has a 91 overall rating and is Dallas’ best pass rusher by a wide margin. He will come at a big cost, so you should start negotiating with him as soon as possible and lock him down for years to come.
Along with Lawrence, defensive tackle David Irving and wide receiver Cole Beasley should be retained if possible, while players like Geoff Swaim and Antwaun Woods are also candidates for a new contract.
That’s not all the forward-planning you need to make though. After season 2 there are several vital pieces reaching free agency. Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Randy Gregory, Jaylon Smith, and Amari Cooper all need a new contract soon, which means some tough decisions will have to be made and any big free agent signing after season 1 will come at the cost of one, if not more, of these players.
Dallas Cowboys Roster Needs
Dallas are set at a few positions. Four of the starting offensive line have four years or more left on their contracts, and three of them are truly world-class players. While a second back to ease the load on Elliott would be nice, he can be a dominant force and carry your offense. Wide receiver is a bit thin but rookie Michael Gallup has shown promise and has a 79 overall rating along with a quick development trait.
The real holes are on defense, where DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving could use some more help on the defensive line. The Cowboys look very good at linebacker thanks to rookie Leighton Vander Esch, but Sean Lee is injury prone and 32 years old now. The biggest glaring need is in the secondary though, where there is a derth of talent.
Byron Jones is a terrific athlete and while he’s listed at cornerback he is well-suited to free safety too. However, he is the only star. Chidobe Awuzie and Anthony Brown offer little at corner, and the current safety pairing of Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods leaves a lot to be desired.
This is where you should invest any cap savings you make in season 1. The likes of Jason McCourty, Ronald Darby, and Jason Verrett could all hit free agency and would improve your cornerback options. While you should target the best player in the draft, reaching slightly for a defensive back is not a bad strategy either.
Offensively, Dak Prescott could use another weapon, especially at tight end. Geoff Swaim is nice, but you can improve on him and two-TE formations can be tough to stop on Madden 19. If you choose not to retain Cole Beasley then you will definitely need to invest in another wide receiver because Amari Cooper cannot shoulder the load himself.
The Cowboys roster is not too far away from being a title-challenger if you can keep hold of Lawrence, improve the secondary, and support Prescott. Dak is not a superb quarterback in Madden 19, but he can run and is accurate enough to move the ball consistently. Paired with a strong offensive line and a terrific running back the Cowboys offense should be able to score with most opponents and prop up the poor secondary in season 1.