The Dallas Cowboys caused the biggest roster wave of the young 2021 season when they announced the release of linebacker Jaylon Smith on Tuesday evening. Smith has been an integral part of the Dallas defense for the last four years but his play had eroded to the point people wondered why it took so long. While the timing of a Week 5 release was odd, and several questions that needed answers were asked, it wasn’t shocking to anyone paying attention to his play or the composition of the Cowboys’ roster.
That composition brings to light a new quandary. Less than 24 hours after the Cowboys announced their surprise-timing release, the New England Patriots joined the fray in releasing two-time All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore of course has been on the radar of Cowboys’ fans for a long time. His future availability has been written about on this site numerous times, and now it becomes a reality. But instead of having to trade for him, teams can now open their wallets to bring him into their fold. Should the Cowboys be one of those teams to pursue him? Here’s a look at the pros and cons of such an overture.
The Cowboys have moved away from a heavy zone concept and are running man coverage in over 60% of their snaps this year. Diggs is shadowing opposing team’s No. 1 receiver, but when teams are able to employ numerous top-level threats, the other receivers have been able to eat. Look at how Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and Mike Williams terrorized the DBs in the first two weeks of the season, or how the Panthers’ passing attack scored in rapid fire in the fourth quarter when Diggs went out in Week 4.