3 Players Dallas Should Have Kept, 3 They Should Have Cut
At NBC, I listed three players I would have kept in Big D:
LB Brandon Magee
Magee was among the NFL’s league leaders in preseason tackles, taking down the ball-carrier 20 times in just 102 snaps. That 19.6 percent tackle rate is remarkable, albeit in a limited sample; it was nearly twice that of Cowboys sixth-round rookie linebacker DeVonte Holloman. Magee didn’t make any splash plays like Holloman, but he was consistently around the football.
I’m so surprised that the Cowboys cut Magee because they decided to keep and trade for multiple veteran linebackers. There might be some uncertainty surrounding Magee, but that doesn’t make him risky. There’s a difference between those two traits—a difference it seems like the Cowboys still can’t recognize. Why not retain just one of Justin Durant and Ernie Sims, then pair Magee with Holloman as young outside backers with upside?
And three I would have cut:
S Danny McCray
McCray got some time with the starting defense last year because of injuries, and he looked exactly like we thought he’d look. McCray was picked on all year, getting targeted 42 times in only 658 snaps—a really high rate for a safety. He gave up a 71.4 percent completion rate, 12.2 YPA, and a 118.5 passer rating on those throws. Yikes.
My main issue with keeping McCray is that it was obviously done for special teams reasons. It’s popular to argue that special teams is “one-third of the game,” but it isn’t. It’s right around 10 percent of the game, and a highly volatile 10 percent at that. Special teams is obviously important, but the results are influenced more heavily by randomness than offensive or defensive play. In keeping a player around solely for special teams reasons, the Cowboys are just losing a spot for a young player who could potentially work his way into the starting lineup—where his play would really matter.