Dallas Cowboys looking to change culture, release two starters

By Vincent Frank
Oct 4, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Dontari Poe (95) kneels during the national anthem before the game against the Cleveland Browns at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday traded Pro Bowl defensive end Everson Griffen to the Detroit Lions for pennies on the dollar. This comes with the Cowboys at 2-5 on the season and in the midst of a disastrous stretch. It now also includes the Cowboys moving on from a couple veterans.

Dallas Cowboys release Daryl Worley and Dontari Poe

  • In his fifth NFL season, Worley has started four games at cornerback for Dallas this year. He’s recorded 14 tackles and just one pass defended. The West Virginia product signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Cowboys in April.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Cowboys, check out #DallasCowboys rumors, rankings, and news here.

  • As for Dontari Poe, the two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle started all seven games for the team before being released. He’s a former top-11 pick of the Kansas City Chiefs back. Poe had inked a two-year, $8.5 million contract with the Cowboys in March.

These two moves are pretty darn shocking given the financial complexities that come with them for the Cowboys. The two releases create a $6 million dead cap hit for Dallas. This is a clear indication that they were made with the intention of changing the culture.

Dallas’ defense has been historically bad this season

The Cowboys head into their Week 8 contest with the division-leading Philadelphia Eagles giving up an average of 34.7 points per game. That would rank as the second-worst mark in NFL history behind the 1966 New York Giants.

By moving on from Griffen, Worley and Poe, Dallas’ brass is making it clear that no veteran is safe right now.

Related: NFL Week 8 schedule, predictions

Will the team make more trades?

Jets Quinnen Williams during NFL game against the Jaguars
Oct 27, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (95) looks on prior to the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Jets at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

That’s now the biggest question. Having now moved on from three of their 11 starters on the defensive side of the ball, Dallas has thinned out an already weak unit. Perhaps, owner Jerry Jones and Co. look for upgrades leading up to the Nov. 3 NFL trade deadline.

For example, Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is said to be on the trade block. It also wouldn’t be a surprise if veteran cornerbacks Bradley Roby and Stephon Gilmore were moved. As for Gilmore, the cost of acquiring him in terms of draft picks and salary might be too high for Dallas right now

Related: Cowboys looking for a QB?

Drama in Dallas?

All of this comes on the heels of embattled Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy calling out hand-picked defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. It also comes with multiple unnamed Cowboys players taking to the media to blast the team’s coaching staff.

Obviously, a change in culture is needed in Dallas right now. Just don’t tell that to Mr. Jones. As for the remainder of the NFL season, what happens over the next few days will tell us a lot moving forward.

Cowboys schedule and playoff hopes

  • Week 8: Cowboys at Eagles
  • Week 9: Steelers at Cowboys
  • Week 11: Cowboys at Vikings
  • Week 12: Washington Football Team at Cowboys
  • Week 13: Cowboys at Ravens
  • Week 14: Cowboys at Bengals
  • Week 15: 49ers at Cowboys
  • Week 16: Eagles at Cowboys
  • Week 17: Cowboys at Giants

As you can see, Dallas has five games remaining against teams that made the playoffs a season ago. That includes a bad one-win Vikings squad.

Related: NFL Power Rankings – Ranking each team for NFL Playoffs.

However, Dallas’ Week 9 matchup comes against an undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers. They missed the playoffs a season ago due to the injury to Ben Roethlisberger.

With all of this said, this squad only one half game behind Philadelphia. Perhaps, these moves will be just the tonic the team needs. Time will tell on that front.