Dallas Cowboys Starter Opts Out of 2020 Season

Jamize Olawale

Getty Jamize Olawale

Dallas Cowboys starting fullback Jamize Olawale is opting out of the 2020 NFL season under the league’s COVID-19 policy, the team announced Sunday.

Olawale, whose contract will toll into 2021, becomes the third Cowboys player to skip the upcoming campaign, joining veteran cornerback Maurice Canady and rookie wide receiver Stephen Guidry.

Voluntary opt-outs are entitled to a $150,000 stipend. High-risk opt-outs will receive $350,000 as well as credit toward an accrued season.

Olawale joined Dallas in 2012 as an undrafted free agent before spending six seasons (2012-17) with the Raiders. His second Cowboys stint began in 2018. The former North Texas standout will never be confused for an offensive dynamo, having totaled just 55 career rushing attempts (206 yards, four touchdowns) and 41 receptions (438 yards, three TDs).

But he’s been instrumental to Elliott’s success, helping spring the two-time NFL rushing champion to consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. The Cowboys’ ground attack finished fifth in 2019, averaging 134.6 yards per game. Olawale, who logged 118 snaps, was held off the stat sheet — despite making all 16 appearances — save for two receiving targets.

Olawale, 31, inked a three-year, $5.4 million extension with the club in March 2019. The agreement included a potential out this offseason; it was essentially a one-year deal worth $2.9 million, with $2.8 million guaranteed at signing.

The Cowboys exercised Olawale’s 2020 contract option in March. He was due to count $1.7 million against the salary cap.

Follow the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!

FB Replacement

Dallas has only one other lead blocker on the offseason roster: rookie Sewo Olonilua, signed in April as an undrafted free agent. The team didn’t foresee Olonilua in a starting role, but here we are.

Olonilua, listed as a running back, was a four-year contributor for TCU who tallied 1,624 yards and 18 touchdowns on 348 carries (4.7 YPC) and 18 touchdowns. At 6-foot-3, 232 pounds, he added 60 receptions for 383 yards and one score.

An early-down specialist, Olonilua boasts enough athleticism to hang around at the next level; Pro Football Network’s Andrew DiCecco compared him to star Jets RB Le’Veon Bell “in that he shares the same innate patience at the line of scrimmage.”

“Often thought of as strictly a power runner, Olonilua has some finesse to his game; his ability to elude defenders and cut on a dime as he plots to turn the corner is truly something to behold,” DiCecco said.

It’s possible, instead of thrusting Olonilua into the job, the Cowboys target a veteran to replace Olawale — if they decide to roster a FB. New head coach Mike McCarthy has traditionally preferred pass-happy play-calling, though McCarthy admitted earlier this offseason that Ezekiel Elliott, the league’s second-highest-paid RB, is “going to get the football” in 2020.

Cowboys CB  Contracts COVID-19

Cowboys cornerback Saivion Smith tested positive for the coronavirus Friday and was moved to the reserve/COVID-19 list, the team announced. Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News reported Smith is asymptomatic and will not be allowed into the team facility for at least one week.

Smith is the second Dallas player sent to the COVID-19 list, created to house those infected or those who came into close contact with an infected person. On July 27, one day before training camp opened, rookie wide receiver Jon’Vea Johnson was placed on the list.

READ NEXT: Cowboys Release Veteran Kicker, Crown 2020 Starter

Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments