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Flozell Adams and Ken Hamlin Out of Big D: The Ramifications

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In an effort to make the new site go live as quickly as possible, we glossed over the release of Flozell Adams and Ken Hamlin.  It is now time to more deeply explore the consequences of this decision.

Of course, the first question that comes to mind is ‘why?’  Why would Dallas, in an uncapped year, cut two veteran starters whose backups are questionable at best?

The biggest problem we have with this decision is the timing.  With neither player set to receive a roster bonus before the draft, why not wait?  The Cowboys may have put themselves in a rather difficult spot.  They have shown their hand and, should they not have a backup plan, it may be awfully easy for teams to predict their draft day intentions.

Nonetheless, we have broken down below what we believe the organization may have been thinking.

Scenario #1

The first possible answer is that the Cowboys are supremely confident in this year’s draft class.  Perhaps they are relying on selecting two game-changing rookies in the first two rounds, one at left tackle and the other at free safety.

The problem with that logic is the top-tier players at both positions have a ridiculously high chance of being taken by the 27th selection.  Offensive tackles Russell Okung, Trent Williams, Bryan Bulaga, Anthony Davis, Bruce Campbell, and Charles Brown are all projected to be early-to-mid first-rounders.  Meanwhile, the only safeties we consider ‘elite,’ Eric Berry and Earl Thomas, figure to be long gone by the time Dallas is on the clock.

Further, not only the tackle and safety spots are affected by the release of Adams and Hamlin.  Don’t forget that Alan Ball, a FS/CB, is more likely to take over at free safety.  In fact, as of today Dallas’ starting free safety would be either Ball or second-year man Michael Hamlin.  Not exactly Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu back there.

Ball’s probable departure from the dime cornerback position leaves the Cowboys with just three serviceable players at that position (albeit three very talented ones).  As much as Dallas is now in search of impact players at left tackle and free safety, a first round selection of a play-making cornerback/returner is not out of the question (hello, Kyle Wilson).

Nonetheless, relying on the draft to supply starters at two extremely critical positions is a head-turning decision.

Scenario #2

The second possibility is that the Cowboys are simply more confident in both the offensive tackle and free safety positions than fans.  The club is known to love Doug Free (we aren’t as head-over-heels for Free), and Jerry Jones has stated that he could transition to left tackle.

However, that would leave second-year tackle Robert Brewster as the primary backup to both tackle spots.  While the drop-off from Adams to Free may not be that great, Dallas better pray for no injures, as the decrease in proven talent and experience from Free to Brewster is enormous.

In many ways, the Cowboys’ situation at offensive tackle is much like that at running back.  Free, like Tashard Choice, could probably start a lot of places.  Let go of Choice, though, and you are left one injury away from having Marion Barber as the sole experienced RB.  With Adams gone, the same is true of Doug Free and Marc Colombo at tackle.  Even a first-rounder lacks the necessary experience to make an immediate impact, meaning Free is probably better suited as an excellent swing tackle.

At free safety, Alan Ball played fairly well last season (although we still only gave him a ‘C+’ overall grade).  Perhaps the organization is more confident in Ball’s abilities than us, or maybe they truly see something special in Michael Hamlin.  Either way, both current options are a downgrade, at least for now, from Ken Hamlin.

Scenario #3

The higher-ups within the Cowboys’ organization are not dumb.  As much as this move may come to a shock to some of us, be confident in knowing that the team ultimately has a plan.  There was undoubtedly a rhyme and a reason to this decision.

In an earlier post, we hinted that the Cowboys may have something up their sleeve.  The more we think about it, the more that idea makes sense.

Thus, the third and final scenario involves the Cowboys making a big-time move in free agency either before or during the draft.  In a previous Mailbag, we discussed the possibility of the team signing Ravens LT Jared Gaither.  That path just became a whole lot more believable.

The Ravens placed a first round tender on Gaither, but there are rumors circulating that they may accept less for him.  While the Cowboys’ 59th overall selection is probably too little, perhaps a package such as a second and a fourth-rounder might do the trick.  That would leave the squad with their first round pick to grab a play-making free safety like USF’s Nate Allen.

There is also an outside chance that the Cowboys could sign Rams’ restricted free agent free safety O.J. Atogwe.  Atogwe is the ball-hawk this team needs, snatching 15 picks in the last three years.  He also can be signed without giving up a draft pick.  Still, we would rate the likelihood of this happening as lower than the Gaither scenario.

Conclusions

Like “The Blonde Side” blogger Amber Leigh hinted at in her last post, we don’t always have to agree with what the Cowboys do, but we should always support them.  As ambiguous as this move feels at the time, we can at least feel some relief in knowing that there was a motive behind it.

Consequently, we believe yet another breaking news story is just over the horizon.  Whether it is the signing of Gaither or a big draft day trade, be prepared to hear in the near future that your Cowboys have made yet another big splash.

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14 Responses to Flozell Adams and Ken Hamlin Out of Big D: The Ramifications

  1. john coleman says:

    Wow and Wow! Man I’m at the beach. Come in and fire up the laptop and I’m shocked. I know, this is an April fools joke a day late. You guys know how to fire up a new website.

  2. Haha you know this is unfortunately for real, right John?

  3. Super Steve says:

    Does this make dallas a player in the darren sharper sweepstakes?

    we all know how well he played last year and it would give allan ball another year or two to sit and learn from one of the best

    Props on the new website design, i love the site, you guys rock!!!

  4. Hey Steve,
    Still probably not. Sharper played great last year, but it was probably a bit more than a team could expect from him this season. He over-achieved, and I doubt the Cowboys would replace Hamlin with an aging player.

    That isn’t to say Sharper isn’t talented, but just that he isn’t what the Cowboys are looking for at this moment. I would expect the Cowboys to open the year with either Ball, M. Hamlin, or a rookie starting at free safety. The only possible FA signing there in my opinion would be Atogwe.

    Thanks for the feedback on the new site layout. If there’s anything you want to see added or changed, let me know!

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  6. Tyrone Biggums says:

    Good assessment. I think everyone is forgetting that Leonard Davis played LT for Arizona before being traded to Big D. I think the Boys are looking at Pouncey or Iupati (Pouncey is a better pick due to his ability to play G or C). One of them will probably fall to 27. If not, one of the top 5 tackles will fall. Next year, we can address whatever O line spot didn’t get attention this year.

    As far a S, that needs to be the 2nd round pick. Ball and Hamlin would probably as good a Ken Hamlin in pass protection (if not better) but might not be able to be the secondary QB that Ken was. Nevertheless, it is time to move on. I think Jerry will pick up at least 1 FS (Sharper or Otogwe) for 1 year as an insurance policy.

    Overall, it’s a big money savings to cut both of them.

  7. Thanks TB. You are right about Davis playing tackle, but don’t forget he was an average one at best. He is a dominant guard, so that switch isn’t something the Cowboys will force, but rather something to be used in an emergency.

    Surprised to hear you say Pouncey is a better selection than Iupati. I agree completely, but most people do not. I hope you are right about one of them or a top five tackle falling, but I’m not 100% convinced it will happen.

    Good insights on the FS spot. Hamlin really was a secondary QB, and the Cowboys might miss that. Hopefully whoever is there makes up for it with better athleticism. Atogwe would really be a good fit.

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  10. john coleman says:

    Seriously, I was hoping it was a April fools joke. I did say HOPING! The front office and coaches must know something we do not. They must feel pretty good about Ball,M.Hamlin, and Free. Maybe, a draft prospect really impressed or look out. Look out being some blockbuster deal. I really hope this was not a JJ on his own thing. I hope Stephen,Wade, Hudson, and Dave were in on this. I’m still stuck on WOW! Silly season has officially started. I believe in addition by subtraction, like last season. Usually it involves problem players. Were there any problems behind the scenes? Was this finances? Or do we really think we are better without them?

  11. I can’t imagine how anyone could think the Cowboys are better off without Adams and Hamlin, but perhaps they truly did. Even though they struggled last season, the current starters at both LT and FS are not nearly as good as Flo and Hamlin, so Dallas has a lot of work to do right now.

    I really believe something is in the works. Keep wishing for Gaither. He is worth the investment.

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  13. Omar says:

    I would disagree that Adams played poorly…when he doesn’t jump the snap he’s great. He shut out Jared Allen before he got hurt and shut down Trent Cole two weeks in a row and played well against Justin Tuck. This isn’t a player they should look to get rid of, granted men that are 6’7 330 pounds don’t age well, but he at least had one more year left of being worth his salary.

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