Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cowboys reportedly talking to Boller

By Tom Orsborn

That's Kyle Boller as in the Baltimore Ravens backup who sat out last season because of a rotator cuff injury.

According to various reports, the Cowboys have had preliminary contact with his agent, Justin Schulman. Boller is an unrestricted free agent.

Over four seasons, the 27-year-old Boller has completed 56.9 percent of his passes for 7,846 yards, 45 touchdowns and 44 interceptions. He's been sacked a whopping 102 times.

The Cowboys are in the market for a backup QB after they released 40-year-old Brad Johnson on Thursday. Third-stringer Brooks Bollinger is a free agent.

Boller's only full season as a starter was 2004. In 16 games, he connected on 55.6 of his passes for 2,559 yards, 13 TDs and 11 interceptions. He was sacked a career-high 35 times.

Little-known fact about the California alumnus: He's the Ravens' franchise leader for passing yards.

Lions vs. Cowboys: Roy Williams compares brain trusts


No Super Bowl this year, but Roy Williams got to go to Disney World anyway.

The Dallas Cowboys/former Lions receiver is one of the jocks attending ESPN the Weekend in the Magic Kingdom.

Williams, wearing his usual green Texas Longhorns cap, was interviewed this morning by ESPN2 “First Take” host Jay Crawford, who asked what it’s like playing for Cowboys czar Jerry Jones as compared to former Lions GM Matt Millen.

“It’s a lot different,” Williams said.

No kidding.

“Like you said," Williams continued, "Jerry’s a lot more involved in everything, and Matt really wasn’t involved in everything, but two great GMs. Mr. Ford, really didn’t see him much.

“It’s a tough situation in Detroit. One day they’re going to get it turned around, and maybe they can be next year’s Arizona Cardinals.”

Hmm. If Millen had been more involved, would that really have been a good thing?

Crawford also pointed out that Williams is on the cover of the Lions’ 2009 calendar you see at your local mall kiosk: “Apparently they didn’t get the memo that you’re not on the team anymore. How does something like that happen?”

“It’s Detroit,” Williams said. “That’s Detroit.”

Williams was also asked:

His gut feeling on whether Terrell Owens will be back with Dallas: “I don’t know if I’m allowed to answer that question.”

What the “E” stands for in Roy E. Williams, which teammates use because of safety Roy L. Williams: “Excellent.”

That might sound a tad conceited, but I’d lie too if my middle name was Eugene.

DMN Blog: Montrae Holland To Stay With Cowboys After Receiving Roster Bonus

On a day when they lost one backup offensive lineman, Joe Berger, in free agency to Miami, the Cowboys paid a $500,000 roster bonus to another, Montrae Holland, today, all but assuring his return for the 2009 season.

Holland is scheduled to count $2 million against the cap this year and will make a $1.4 million base salary. He also has a $100,000 workout bonus and $250,000 in incentives. With Holland and Cory Procter receiving the second-round tender worth $1.545 million, the Cowboys have depth on the interior of their line. 'Boys haven't contacted Ray Lewis

Lewis doesn't have any other suitors other than Baltimore right now. Dallas didn't come after him as many had speculated, and Rex Ryan and his Jets didn't, either, opting to sign his fellow Ravens free-agent linebacker Bart Scott to a six-year, $48 million deal that reportedly includes about $22 million in guarantees.

DMN Blog: Shawn Springs let go

by Calvin Watkins

Redskins cut veteran corner Shawn Springs today.

Springs battled injuries the last few years but played one of his better games in the first meeting with the Cowboys last season.

If the Cowboys release Roy Williams or trade him, and move Anthony Henry to safety, is Springs a nice stop gap until either Orlando Scandrick and Mike Jenkins are ready to take over?

I'd rather go with the young kids at corner over Springs.

DMN Blog: Cowboys talking to Kyle Boller

by Calvin Watkins

The Cowboys have talked with the agent of free agent quarterback Kyle Boller.

But the talks are very preliminary.

The Cowboys are in the market for a backup quarterback when they released Brad Johnson yesterday.

Dallas' other backup, Brooks Bollinger, is a free agent.
Jerry Jones is interested in a veteran as a backup and Boller appears to be a good fit. However, Boller didn't play last season because of a rotator cuff injury. But his agent, Justin Schulman, said Boller is healthy.

Friday, February 27, 2009

ESPN Mosley: 'Boys don't have a strong interest in Ray Lewis

Posted by's Matt Mosley

The Baltimore Sun's Web site is reporting the Ravens are close to reaching a deal with linebacker Bart Scott, which might suggest the club is preparing to part ways with future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis. According to Mike Preston, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti (my former boss) was irritated by the fact that Lewis kept talking about the Jets and Cowboys. I still think Lewis was simply trying to create some leverage, but he may have hurt himself in the end.

A Cowboys source told me Thursday morning that the team doesn't have a strong interest in Lewis. Of course, that could change a few minutes after midnight. But as of this minute, I don't think the Cowboys will make a strong play for Lewis. They're too worried about signing linebacker DeMarcus Ware to a long-term contract.

Could Lewis end up with his old defensive coordinator Mike Nolan in Denver? That's the latest buzz I'm hearing. Stay tuned for much, much more on the free-agent front.

QB Kyle Boller is scheduled to visit Cowboys?

Ravens, Brown far apart on deal
Offensive lineman appears headed elsewhere after contract talks stall
By Jamison Hensley |

TIDBIT: Boller is scheduled to visit the Dallas Cowboys, where he could become Tony Romo's backup.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Projected 2009 NFL Salary Cap Space for Each Team

Source: Ask The

For the sake of this installment, we have designated teams that are less than $5M under the cap in RED. These are teams that have little money to sign free agents and may need to make cuts or restructure salaries in order to sign all of their draft picks. Teams in BLACK, which are between $5M and $20M under the cap, are teams that look to be in pretty good shape in terms of adding more veterans and signing all of their rookies without having to take drastic measures. Teams in GREEN are teams that are well under the cap and should have plenty of room to sign free agents and rookies.

With the latest extension to the CBA, the 2009 salary cap is approximately $127,000,000 which represents a nice increase over last year's $116.7 M figure. (Note that the cap was "just" $85.5 M in 2005, the final season prior to the CBA's extension and $102 M in 2006 after the CBA extension.)

Keep in mind that these numbers remain tentative -- and are changing on a daily basis. These "unofficial" figures are approximate as of January 23, 2009 and were compiled courtesy of the NFLPA and other various media sources. These numbers include the cap adjustements for LTBE incentives that were never achieved last season and have been credited against the 2009 cap. Note that the teams that appear to be over the cap had pending contracts in the works at the time of this complilation that would likely have freed the necessary cap space. After all, we know that the league would not allow a team to sign a player to a contract that would put them over the salary cap!

Projected 2009 NFL Salary Cap Space for Each Team

Rank Team $ Under the Cap
1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers $46000000
2 Arizona Cardinals $45000000
3 Denver Broncos $38000000
4 Kansas City Chiefs $37000000
5 Tennessee Titans $35000000
6 Miami Dolphins $32000000
7 Buffalo Bills $31000000
8 Detroit Lions $30000000
9 San Francisco 49ers $30000000
10 Houston Texans $29000000
11 Philadelphia Eagles $29000000
12 Cincinnati Bengals $26000000
13 New England Patriots $25000000
14 Minnesota Vikings $24000000
15 Atlanta Falcons $24000000
16 Pittsburgh Steelers $23000000
17 Baltimore Ravens $23000000
18 Chicago Bears $23000000
19 Green Bay Packers $22000000
20 Cleveland Browns $21000000
21 Jacksonville Jaguars $20000000
22 San Diego Chargers $18000000
23 NY Giants $15000000
24 Dallas Cowboys $14000000
25 Carolina Panthers $13000000
26 Seattle Seahawks $13000000
27 St. Louis Rams $12000000
28 Oakland Raiders $8000000
29 Indianapolis Colts $6000000
30 Washington Redskins $1000000
31 New Orleans Saints $-1000000
32 NY Jets $-3000000

Projected 2009 Salary Cap Figures for the Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys are 12.3 Million under the cap per CNNSI.

Former Superbowl Qb wants to back-up Tony

Posted by jellis at 2/26/2009 2:55 PM CST on
No, it's not Kurt Warner, who is also scheduled to become a free agent at 11 p.m. (CST) tonight. The Super Bowl XLI quarterback who says he would be interested in backing up Tony Romo is Rex Grossman, recently released by Chicago.

Grossman will hit the open market in a little less than eight hours. Grossman said he would like the chance to compete for a starting job, but seemed to realize he may not get that opportunity after compiling a career passer rating of 70.2 in six seasons with the Bears.

The former Florida Gator told Sirius NFL Radio that carrying the Cowboys clipboard would be an ideal situation.

"Obviously my goal is to go to a place to compete but if that doesn’t happen I would think that if I’m going to be a backup (Dallas) would be the place I’d want to go," Grossman said. "Obviously Tony Romo is the starter there. I would not be able to compete for the starting job there. My role would be to come in and back up. And if something were to happen to Tony there’s no better offensive situation to be in in the league. They’ve got all the talent at running back, tight end, wide receiver, offensive line, coordinator.

"They’ve got everything in place that you’d want. Good weather, new stadium. I’m sure they are going to cover it if it is windy or cold. So that would be the ideal situation to back up. There may be a few others, I’m not sure, but that would be intriguing if I’m in a situation where I have to back up."

Today the Cowboys released Brad Johnson, who had been the team's No. 2 quarterback for the better part of the last two years.

Cowboys Waive 17-Year Veteran QB Brad Johnson

Nick Eatman - Email Staff Writer
February 26, 2009 2:39 PM

IRVING, Texas - The Cowboys will indeed have a new backup quarterback to spell Tony Romo next season.

As expected, the team released veteran Brad Johnson on Thursday, a move that saves the team nearly $2 million in cap space.

The 40-year-old Johnson has played 17 pro seasons, including the last two in Dallas. But this very well could be the end of his career. The market for Johnson, even as a backup, might be limited considering his performance in three starts last season when he subbed for an injured Romo.

When a fractured pinkie on his right throwing hand prevented Romo from playing in mid-season, Johnson was less than stellar. The Cowboys went 1-2 in that stretch, which included an embarrassing 34-14 loss to the Rams, who finished just 2-14 last year.

In three games, Johnson had a 50.5 quarterback rating, passing for 427 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions in three games.

In fact, Johnson was replaced by Brooks Bollinger in the second half against the Giants on Nov. 2. Bollinger, an unrestricted free agent, could get re-signed by the Cowboys and compete for the No. 2 spot.

Earlier this week at the scouting combine, owner Jerry Jones said adding another quarterback in the off-season is a "real priority," but said the Cowboys might not rely on signing a veteran.

"Not necessarily. A veteran may be too much of a veteran," said Jones, who reiterated the importance of the Cowboys' 1-2 record in Romo's absence. "It could have meant that much to us to have won one of those game that we didn't win when we didn't have Tony. We were lucky to have won the one we did without Tony, frankly. We have to have improvement there."

With nine draft picks and the possibility of receiving two more compensatory picks, the Cowboys should have plenty of chances to draft a quarterback, possibly somewhere in the middle rounds. The Cowboys have four picks total in the fourth and fifth round.

As for Johnson, his future remains unclear. The Cowboys were his fourth different team, although he did have two stints in Minnesota, where he started his career as a backup in 1994 but eventually became a starter for the Vikings. After five seasons in Minnesota, Johnson signed with the Redskins in 1999 and played two years before ending up in Tampa Bay, where he helped the Bucs win Super Bowl XXXVII.

A two-time Pro Bowler, Johnson currently ranks 35th on the NFL's all-time passing list with 29,054 yards. He still holds the NFL record for consecutive seasons with a completion percentage higher than 60.0 with 12.

However, that streak ended this season with the Cowboys when he completed only 52.6 of his passes.

Free agent DL Chris Canty admitted Thursday that the odds of him returning to Dallas are slim to none

"I would love to stay in Dallas," Canty said. "But I don’t think that the Cowboys are going to afford me that opportunity." Canty will get a lot more on the market than he would from Dallas. The Cowboys are right up against the cap.


Cowboys are not strongly interested in free agent Ray Lewis

A team source told ESPN's Matt Mosley early Thursday that the Cowboys are not strongly interested in free agent Ray Lewis.

Mosley doesn't rule out a deal, but says Dallas "hasn't even spent much time discussing" it. Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome indicated Wednesday that the sides are still in talks. Lewis is expected to get upwards of $10M annually.

Related: Cowboys

The Cowboys are reportedly shopping SS Roy Williams in trade talks

Williams will likely be cut in the likely event Dallas can't find a taker. The coverage-challenged safety's release would save over $2 million under the cap and $4.4 million in cash. It's worth noting that if Williams is moved we won't have to refer to the other Roy as "Roy E." anymore.

Palyer Update: Miles Austin, WR


Miles Austin was tendered a deal by the Cowboys on Wednesday, according to the Dallas Morning News. He will make $1.545 million next year. A team would have to surrender a second-round pick to sign him if the Cowboys chose not to match the offer.

Our View: It's unlikely that any team will sign Austin over keeping their second-round draft choice. He had a decent year with Dallas in 2008, making 13 grabs for 278yards in 12 games. He also had three touchdowns.

The Cowboys could cut Roy Williams, according to


Our View: If cut, the Cowboys would free up $2.18MM in cap space. Williams is a liability in pass coverage and admitted that he does not fit in well in their 3-4 defense.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Austin, Bowen, Procter, Hurd all get 2nd rd tenders

Restricted Licenses
Bowen, Three Other Cowboys Receive Tenders
Rob Phillips - Email Staff Writer
February 25, 2009 6:08 PM

IRVING, Texas - The Cowboys tendered one-year contracts to four of their five restricted free agents on Wednesday, beating Thursday's NFL deadline to submit qualifying offers.

Wide receiver Miles Austin, defensive end Stephen Bowen, wide receiver Sam Hurd and guard Cory Procter each received the league's $1.545 million restricted tender, which secures right of first refusal and second-round compensation should the Cowboys choose not to match another team's offer sheet.

The league's restricted signing period ends April 17. By submitting second-round tenders rather than the original draft choice tender level ($1.01 million), the Cowboys increase their odds of keeping all four players because teams are naturally hesitant to part with a high draft pick in return.

Tight end Tony Curtis did not receive a tender. Curtis was third on the depth chart last season behind Pro Bowl starter Jason Witten and second-round pick Martellus Bennett, and the Cowboys seem to like the potential of exclusive rights free agent Rodney Hannah, who spent all but the season's final week on the practice squad.

Austin, Bowen, Hurd and Procter all are former undrafted free agents who have filled important backup roles for the Cowboys over the past three years.

Bowen's return will prove more significant if starting defensive end Chris Canty leaves via unrestricted free agency. Last year Bowen again worked in substitution packages and had 28 tackles, nine quarterback pressures and two tackles for loss. Without Canty, Bowen and fellow fourth-year end Jason Hatcher could compete for the starting job.

Two separate knee injuries (one in preseason, one last November) sidelined Austin for four games, but he's fast emerging as a deep threat at receiver. Austin averaged 21.4 yards on 13 catches this season, easily a team high and the best single-season average by a Cowboys receiver with at least 10 catches since Alvin Harper in 1994 (24.9). He also averaged 21.5 yards on a team-high 29 kickoffs.

Hurd appeared in only three games last year due to a season-ending ankle injury, but had become an improving receiver and reliable special teams player. Procter, originally signed from the Lions' practice squad near the end of the 2005 season, started 11 games at left guard in place of Kyle Kosier and also can play center behind Andre Gurode.

If a new NFL collective bargaining agreement is not reached and 2010 becomes an uncapped year, all four players will revert back to restricted free agency next year because they will have fewer than six accrued NFL seasons.

The Cowboys now will turn their attention to the league's unrestricted signing period which begins Thursday night at 11:01 p.m. (CST). They're expected to let all 11 of their own free agents test the market first, most notably Canty and inside linebackers Kevin Burnett and Zach Thomas.

Hard to believe it's been 20 years since Jerry bough the Cowboys

by Aaron Chimbel

Where have the past 20 years gone?

And what a 20 years it has been.

A lot of people were skeptical when some Arkansas oilman bought the Dallas Cowboys for $150 million from Bum Bright. It was Feb. 25, 1989.

A lot of people are still skeptical.

But, and it's a big but, Jerry Jones has left his mark on the Dallas Cowboys, both good and bad.

The success in the 90s is undeniable. Three Super Bowls in four years puts those teams among the best in the history of the NFL.

But what happened first and what has happened since are why so many people don't like Jerry Jones.

The first thing he did was fire Tom Landry and, for the most part, since he fired Jimmy Johnson the team hasn't done much, save for the remaining Johnson-era players and coaches who won a Super Bowl under Barry Switzer.

The team hasn't won a Super Bowl in 13-years or a playoff game in 12-years. The head coach changes just about every three years and the cast of characters is, at times, questionable.

All that said, I've always liked Jerry Jones. I like his passion. I like that he will do whatever it takes to try to win. I like that he takes chances.

But, and it's another big one, what I don't like is him being so involved in the football operations.

The best thing about Jones is his business sense. He's a marketing genius and has increased the Cowboys value nearly 10-fold.

Probably the best example of all this is when the WFAA sports team was discussing the most memorable moments in the Jones-era Monday afternoon.

They all came while Johnson was head coach and running the football operations.

Finding Jimmy Johnson in Miami 20-years ago

by George Riba

I was at Spring Training for the Texas Rangers in Port Charlotte, Florida 20 years ago when the news broke that Jerry Jones had bought the Dallas Cowboys. Photographer Arnold Payne and I drove across Alligator Alley to Miami that morning to see what we could learn about Jimmy Johnson, the coach.

We arrived there, trying to figure out if Johnson was still in town when he suddenly popped out of the Miami Hurricanes football offices. He was as shocked to see us climbing out of our cars as we were to see him heading our way. He immediately went into sprint mode to get to his car.

By the time we got our gear out, we were able to get a great shot of him hauling buns out of the parking lot in his car. The next time we laid eyes on him again, he was having dinner with Jones at Mia's on Lemmon Avenue in Dallas, the night before he was introduced as the man who would replace Tom Landry.

Timing is everything and, for us, our timing was about 60 seconds off that day.

Demeco Ryans upset with the Texans... interested in Cowboys?

Posted by Mike Florio on February 25, 2009, 8:21 a.m.

Last week, Houston Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson said that he had been “betrayed” by G.M. Rick Smith, who allegedly promised Robinson that the franchise tag wouldn’t be used to keep him from becoming a free agent.
There’s now another unhappy member of the team’s defense.

Linebacker DeMeco Ryans, regarded by many as the cornerstone of the team’s defense, wants a long-term deal.

He made the comments to a Houston radio station, 790 The Sports Animal. (The audio is right here; Stephanie Stradley of the Houston Chronicle tipped us off to it.)

Ryan is signed through 2009, at a base salary this season of $940,000. If the CBA isn’t extended, Ryans will be a restricted free agent, since six years of service will be required to become an unrestricted free agent in the uncapped year. (It wasn’t clear from the interview whether Ryans or the radio hosts are aware of this significant wrinkle in the labor deal.)

Ryans also supported Robinson’s assertion that he was told he wouldn’t be tagged.

“It’s hard to go out there and participate when you’re upset at the guys upstairs,” Ryans said.

As to his own situation, Ryans said that talks have occurred, but that the team’s offer wasn’t acceptable to him. He said that he wants a new deal before the start of the season.

“This is where I want to be,” Ryans said. “I love Houston and this is where I want to be.”

Ryans also seemed to be miffed at the possibility that the Texans will make a “big move” in free agency without locking up Robinson and Ryans.

“I feel like I played out the rookie contract two years ago,” Ryans said. “I would definitely be trying to focus on me and get me locked in.”

Though the hosts tried (gently) to help Ryans understand that the team has other priorities right now with free agency and the draft, Ryans thinks that he should be a top priority.

“All the other teams out here, they’re taking care of their top guys,” Ryans said. “So I feel like we should do the same here.”

That said, being interviewed wasn’t a top priority for Ryans. He conducted the interview while playing Madden against former Houston linebacker Morlon Greenwood. Despite being cut last week, Greenwood played as the Texans.

And Ryans played as the Cowboys.

Salary cap expands to $127 million for 2009

Posted: Adam Schefter

The salary cap will grow in 2009.

Because teams didn’t spend as much as they were supposed to under the collective bargaining agreement the past three years, teams were notified Wednesday that the salary cap will increase over $4 million to $127 million for this coming year, according to sources with two NFL teams.

It defies the recession and logic, but just before free agency, teams actually will have more flexibility and salary-cap room. This is tremendous news for teams such as the Colts and Panthers, who are pressed against the cap, and not such good news for teams such as the Buccaneers and Chiefs, who were way under the cap. Now their advantage is somewhat compromised.

Teams believed they would see a mild increase in the salary cap, but this is bigger than teams expected.

Player Update: Terrell Owens, WR


ESPN is reporting that Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones has decided to keep wide receiver Terrell Owens. The Cowboys have not won a playoff game since 1996.

Our View: The drama regarding this decision has been building for weeks, although this was really the only way it could have ended. Owens finished the season strong and he is still a Top 10 option at the position. The Cowboys would have not saved any money had they cut him, but perhaps some sanity. However, they ran out of that some time in 1997.

Cowboys Pre-Free Agency Draft Needs

by Joe Rodriguez

Let’s take a look at our draft needs as they stand right now before free agency starts on February 27. The two clear cut needs as of right now are going to be DE and ILB; however, like all years past, a fan’s view of team needs is usually not in-line with what the team will actually do. In recent drafts, how many times can you remember not getting the guy you wanted, and how many times were you surprised by early picks like Fasano and Bennett. This trend is likely to happen again this year. But for now, in my opinion the first picks should address the following:

2nd round #51 DE: Canty will be gone, and with virtually no one of equal or great caliber, this hole should be addressed first
3rd round #69 ILB: We still have Carpenter a former 1st rounder to compete for the vacated ILB spot, but we’ll definitely need a solid ILB drafted here

4th round #97 OG: This pick should start the process of adding depth and competition for the LG spot. Kosier is playing on limited time, and just average and fully upgradeable at this point

4th round #113 OLB: Adding another OLB somewhere in this draft will happen, its just a matter of what round. Spencer is still a question mark, in yr 3 he better show something or we’ll be looking at that selection as a miss. Greg Ellis will not be here much longer, so addressing OLB will happen.
After the 4th round we’re basically drafting for depth purposes, and gem finding. Hopefully we can hit on someone, we need all the young gems we can get.

As an interesting barometer of our picks, I found this 7 round mock draft by Drafttek, and here’s what they have the Cowboys drafting through 7 rounds:

2nd round #51 FS Louis Delmas, Western Michigan
3rd round #69 OG Kraig Urbik, Wisconsin (from Cleveland)
4th round #97 OLB Cody Brown, Connecticut (from Detroit)
4th round #113 ILB Scott McKillop, Pittsburgh
5th round #148 OT Sebastian Vollmer, Houston
5th round #158 WR Kenny McKinley, South Carolina (from Tennessee)
6th round #184 CB Joe Burnerr, Central Florida
7th round #193 NT Darryl Richard, Georgia Tech (from Detroit)
7th round #210 FB Travis McCall, Alabama

This is actually is nice mock draft and I could see our draft going down this way. Safety is a concern, but as it stands right now, Roy Williams is still on the team, and if he remains on the team, Dallas probably won’t draft a safety early even though “we” think it should happen, the team always goes another direction every time. In this draft, they give us a OG in the 3rd round, another good possibility that again, would address the concerns surrounding Kyle Kosier. In the 4th they give us OLB, and ILB, those could be switched, but they both address obvious depth needs early on. Again, from the 5th round and up we’re looking at depth players. In this draft we get an OT, WR, CB, NT, and FB. I would say all make sense at this point. We’ll see how this shapes up.

Once the NFL combine wraps up and free agency begins, I’ll revist our draft needs accordingly. Let the fun begin!

Dallas Cowboy's Jerry Jones: It's Just Another Gag

by Jabber Head (Contributor)

I think we’ve all had those house guests that overstay their welcome.

You know the type: No matter how many hints are dropped, they remain oblivious and fail to recognize that their invitation has expired. They’re just as annoying as the guy that refuses to leave a party until there’s no beer left to consume.

In the professional football world, those guests are the national media—as well as you and I. Our host? Jerry Jones and his Dallas Cowboys.

When Jones allowed his franchise to be featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks, he invited the world into his personal quarters for fun and games. (If you didn’t have cable, you couldn’t afford the price of admission.)

It was smiles and styles as season preparation began. Jones took us to the master bedroom, where we saw the contract extension grins of Terrell Owens and Tony Romo.

We toured the kitchen, where coaches added spice to the roster, before serving anything to season opponents.

And we visited the baby’s room, where we not only received a glimpse of incoming rookies, but we also viewed a playpen provided for the babysitting of Pacman Jones.

America’s team had invited America in, and those were great times. When the season began and the “Hard Knocks” cameras stopped rolling, we couldn’t stop watching.

B/R Ticket Guide Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
on Sat, Aug 1 TBATickets from
Find TicketsPowered by FanSnap.comCowboy's games were grabbing the highest ratings, and the team's news was abundant on the wire. They couldn’t get enough of us, and the feeling was mutual.

The media journey never reached the desired destination of the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay. But we clung to the next best thing for entertainment value, strapping on our hard hats and watching the walls collapse on an unsupervised home.

They forced us to the exits, but we stared through the window. They pulled the blinds, so we squinted through the keyhole.

Dynasty and dysfunction are the greatest draws in sports. We couldn’t witness the building of the first, so we eagerly latched on to the latter.

Jerry Jones issued a gag, but it has nothing to do with media silence. As the annoying house guest, I see it as another ploy for publicity, because I refuse to believe that he wants me out.

What harm is there in announcing whether T.O. will stay or go, unless you’re trying to get value in trade? Even if that were the case, your potential trade partners can’t be gagged, and no one has made a sound.

There has to be more to it than "roster spot or not." At least I think so.

With Owens as an Eagle, Philly didn’t hesitate to tell everyone he was gone...The Bucs were quick to notify the public of Keyshawn Johnson’s dismissal.

Is there a difference between those franchises and the Dallas Cowboys? You better believe it.

The difference is, in Philly and Tampa, the invitees got what they came for, then quickly exit the home.

In Dallas, informing your coaches and players of a media silence doesn’t pry our bottoms from the sofa and steer us towards the door. Instead, it makes it more intriguing, drawing those that had no interest before to your living room.

What will Jones do for an encore? Name the successor of a first-year coach that won 13 games, so we can spend each day speculating about the team’s leadership in the future? Eh, done that, huh?

The Steelers and Cardinals played in one of the greatest Super Bowl games ever. Pittsburgh made history, winning their sixth Lombardi Trophy. Yet the entire offseason is focused on the Dallas Cowboys, and will remain that way throughout 2009.

Jerry Jones wouldn’t have it any other way. This house guest has seen through it, and seen enough, so I’ll be making my exit from Valley Ranch.

But trust me, I won’t be wandering too far, because I know he still has beer in there.

10 highs, 10 lows from Jones' 20 years in Dallas

The Associated Press

(AP) — Jerry Jones' flamboyant 20-year run as owner of the Dallas Cowboys has seen its share of highs and lows. In honor of the anniversary, here are 10 "ups" and 10 "downs" from the Jones era in Dallas:

10 UP

• Hiring Jimmy Johnson. Jones' former college teammate at Arkansas, and University of Miami coach, had a rough start at 1-15 in 1989, but went 43-21 after that and won consecutive Super Bowls before abruptly resigning in March 1994.

• The Herschel Walker trade. In October 1989, the largest trade in NFL history (involving 18 players and/or draft picks) sent Walker to Minnesota. Among players Cowboys got with some of Vikings' picks were Emmitt Smith, the NFL career rushing leader, and safety Darren Woodson, the team's career tackles leader.

• NFL-bucking stadium sponsorships and merchandise deals. In 1995, Jones cashed in with Pepsi and Nike — top rivals of NFL sponsors — by making them official sponsors of Texas Stadium. The NFL sued Jones. He countersued and, ultimately, changed the way all teams do business.

• Role in NFL deciding to add Fox before it was an established network. CBS had been televising NFL games for nearly four decades before Jones in 1993 helped the NFL reach an initial four-year, $1.58 billion deal with the then-fledgling network.

• Signing Deion Sanders in the salary cap era. The Cowboys lost to San Francisco and Sanders in the 1994 NFC championship game, so Jones found a way to sign "Prime Time" in 1995 despite a salary cap-strapped roster filled with stars. The Cowboys won the Super Bowl that season.

• Keeping his own big-name players. Fans could debate for hours the biggest name to get away in free agency. Any of those names pale compared to the franchise icons. Sure, Smith got away, but only for two pedestrian seasons in Arizona after the Cowboys decided to move on at running back.

• Hiring Bill Parcells when the franchise was at its lowest point in Jones' tenure. Cowboys were coming off three consecutive 5-11 seasons when Parcells was hired. Dallas quickly got back in the playoffs, but Parcells' four seasons led to two playoff appearances — and no victories.

• Michael Irvin's Hall of Fame introduction. In his memorable induction speech in 2007, in an unrehearsed address in which his eyes were wet and his words came slow and emphatically, Irvin commended Jones and former teammates Smith and Troy Aikman for motivating him.

• Keeping the Cowboys visible and relevant even amid the franchise's longest playoff victory drought. From reality shows — twice featured on HBO's Hard Knocks series to an upcoming show featuring Irvin in which 12 "football neophytes" compete for a spot on the Cowboys' training camp roster — to merchandise sales, the Cowboys are still a big draw nationally. Their national TV games are frequent ratings bonanzas.

• The new stadium. The Cowboys' futuristic $1.1 billion stadium opens next season, and already is set to host a Super Bowl, an NCAA men's basketball Final Four and the NBA All-Star game.


• The handling of the Landry firing. Tom Landry was the only coach in the Cowboys' 29-year history when Jones bought the team, but Jones already had picked Johnson as his coach. In the shock of Landry's dismissal, there was the new owner describing the night as "Christmas to me."

• Smith's holdout at the start of the 1993 season. With Smith wanting about $4 million, and Jones offering just more than half that, Smith missed the first two games. After the Cowboys lost both, Smith got a $13.6 million, four-year deal that made him the NFL's highest-paid running back.

• Any of 500 coaches. Soon after the Cowboys' second consecutive Super Bowl title under Johnson, Jones made his infamous "any one of 500 coaches could have won those Super Bowls." Soon after, Johnson resigned. After one coach for 29 years, the Cowboys have had six in 20 years under Jones.

• Triple Frown of coaching moves. Barry Switzer got the Cowboys to another Super Bowl, with the foundation laid by Johnson, but dropped to 6-10 within two seasons after that. Chan Gailey was fired after two seasons despite consecutive playoff appearances, and beloved defensive coordinator Dave Campo had three consecutive 5-11 seasons after being promoted.

• The Outlaw Era. The Cowboys' image reached an all-time low under Jones in 1996. At the same time they had won three Super Bowls in four years, they owned six of the past 13 drug suspensions in the NFL. Irvin's drug bust in an Irving motel was the lowlight.

• Search for Aikman's successor. Quincy Carter, Chad Hutchinson, Vinny Testaverde, Drew Bledsoe. And don't forget Drew Henson, Ryan Leaf, Anthony Wright and Clint Stoerner. Those were all the starting quarterbacks after Aikman and before Tony Romo took over midway through 2006.

• The Cowboys eventually paid for the salary cap savvy of the 1990s. Aikman and Sanders were gone by 2001, when their salaries were a large chunk of the $24 million Dallas paid for players not on the roster. The 5-11 record under Campo didn't come as much of a surprise.

• The Joey Galloway trade. After Irvin retired because of injury, Jones in 2000 gave up two first-round picks to Seattle for Galloway, who played only once his first season because of injury, and was gone three years later. Seattle used one of the picks on Shaun Alexander in 2000, when Dallas had only five picks and got no impact players.

• Putting the Triplets in the Ring of Honor before some deserving candidates from the Landry era. Aikman, Smith and Irvin were inducted in 2005. Drew Pearson, Harvey Martin, Ed "Too Tall" Jones and Charlie Waters are among former greats who haven't been recognized that way.

• Lone voice. Not liking some of the things reported this offseason, including whether Terrell Owens will return, Jones recently issued a gag order for coach Wade Phillips, his assistants and other team personnel.

Poll: The Cowboys brand


It's been 20 years since Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys. This week WFAA is taking a look at what fans think of the team, Jones and more.

Public Strategies, Inc. conducted a telephone survey in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex among a random sample of 400 adult residents who follow the Dallas Cowboys either somewhat or very closely.

The margin of error for the survey is +/- 4.9 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence interval.

Tuesday's poll questions: The Cowboys Brand.

Do you think that the new stadium will be very good for the fans, somewhat good for the fans, somewhat bad for the fans, or very bad for the fans?

Very good for the fans 35%
Somewhat good for the fans 31%
Neither good nor bad 2%
Somewhat bad for the fans 20%
Very bad for the fans 10%
Don't know 3%
Refused 1%

Overall, do you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable opinion of the Dallas Cowboys?

Very favorable 36%
Somewhat favorable 36%
Somewhat unfavorable 14%
Very unfavorable 10%
Don't Know 4%

Who is responsible for the current state of the Dallas Cowboys?

Jerry Jones 57%
Wade Phillips 18%
Tony Romo 11%
Terrell Owens 9%
Don’t know 6%

Owner remains believer in team Chemistry, discipline of less concern than helping Romo

Staff Writer ,

INDIANAPOLIS - Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones believes his team is as talented as any in the NFL, despite missing the playoffs in 2008.

Part of that belief comes from trade requests he's fielded lately from teams seeking three unnamed reserves.
"That's pretty good shape when you're sitting trying to get backups traded for," Jones said.

But talent alone does not equate to winning, and the failure to make the playoffs made the 2008 team seem like more style than substance.

"You have to dominate," Jones said. "You have to perform. You have to win."

For more than an hour Monday, Jones stood inside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to talk about the state of his team. He hit on several topics:

Why fans should be optimistic in 2009

We'll get better quarterbacking. Tony [Romo] is early in his career. I'm not going to say that we're going to have him for 16 games and through the playoffs. We all know the injury factor isn't something you can plan on. We need to do a better job when we don't have him at quarterback. ... I think Tony will be better. When you look at the games he played in, it'd surprise you as to how well he played compared to the year before.

He played well in our complete analysis of his year.

Why he doesn't get caught up in chemistry

I think it's principally because I've experienced locker rooms that look dysfunctional on the face of it and [have] won world championships, OK?

What is the team's top priority

I think being as Romo-friendly as our team can be. ... Romo-friendly means let's utilize his skills to the fullest and make sure everything we do maximizes his abilities. ... On defense, I'd like to see turnovers. I'd like to see us get turnovers. I'd put that right behind the quarterbacking - getting defensive turnovers. Eliminating some turnovers, maybe that ought to go right in there on the offense.

If coach Wade Phillips needs to be harder on the players

Wade's style, I've seen that win championships. ... But I've seen him bite and bite good. It's a mistake for anybody to think that he won't and doesn't disagree with me.

If there needs to be real repercussions if players are late for meetings or treatments

The answer is yes. ... Do they need to feel it more than they have in the past? I'm not agreeing to that. ... I think you have to have fines. I think you have to have an understanding [that] you can't hold people up. I would hope that we can correct that perception.

How to correct the perception

I'm not so sure about that. I don't want to go as far as announcing every fine we give. There is a certain element of discipline that I think all of the other members of the team ought to know about it.

The possible returns of free agents Kevin Burnett, Chris Canty, Zach Thomas and Keith Davis

Looking ahead, rolling the clock forward, I would like to think the circumstances would be that we could figure out a way for them to be with the Cowboys. Every one of those guys I would hope we might could get something worked out. (But, Jones added, the salary cap will limit that chance.)

If the team has decided against bringing back Adam Jones

I'm not going to go that far. That's pretty sweeping; it covers a lot. But he's better off, and we're better off him not being on our roster.

DMN Blog: More Ray Lewis talk

by Calvin Watkins E-mail News tips

I doubt that Ray Lewis will play for the Cowboys.

Really doubt it.

Jerry Jones said the Cowboys won't be major players in free agency and Ray Lewis is a major player.

My man Mike Preston at the Baltimore Sun blogs about how Ray-Ray upset the Ravens bosses.

Besides, Lewis plays the same position as Bradie James. So, to sign Ray-Ray, James has to move to the other linebacker spot.

I'm not sure if that's a good idea. James had his best year as a pro last year and I believe it was because of what Zach Thomas and Jay Ratliff were able to do to clear some room for him.

Now the big question at Valley Ranch is if you don't re-sign Thomas, who do you put beside James?

Player Update: Chris Canty, DE


The Washington Post reports that the Redskins have significant interest in free-agent defensive lineman Chris Canty.

Our View: GM Daniel Snyder had a meeting with Albert Haynesworth's agent last week, but the team feels that Canty is a far more cost-effective solution. However, Canty won't likely be had for a bargain. The 26-year-old has shown a lot of ability when healthy, and he figures to be one of the better pass-rushers on the market.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How Jason Garrett Murdered the Dallas Cowboys

by Mike Carley

"You don't win games on paper." Anybody who has been associated with any sort of athletic endeavor has had maxims such as this bellowed, preached or commented to them at some point or another.

However, it is this particular aphorism that applies most directly to the travesty that was the 2007-08 Dallas Cowboys.

There is a particular reason "you can't win games on paper" applies to the Dallas Cowboys, and it should be apparent to anybody with eyeballs and a semi-functional frontal cortex.

The level of underachievement, Romo injury aside, of this Cowboys team was historic.

It was unfathomable.

Last year's Cowboys team has to be arguably the most stacked team ever not to make the playoffs. However, they were only the most stacked team on paper.

The elephant in the room now becomes apparent: if the Cowboys looked so good on paper, how did a fully stocked Cowboys offense get blown out of the playoffs 44-6 by a Philadelphia Eagles offense on which every single offensive skill player outside of Brian Westbrook and Donovan McNabb would be a back-up in Dallas?

The "obvious" reasons have been beaten into the ground.

Romo is too reckless with the ball.

Terell Owens is a cancer.

Jerry Jones loves emasculating Wade Phillips in front of the team and the media any chance he gets.

Wade Phillips is the biggest figurehead since Queen Elizabeth II, or that King from Lord of the Rings who looked like he was made out of concrete and had the creepy dude make all the decisions for him.

Sorry, its easy to get carried away on the Wade Phillips subject.

However, while those might be the most obvious explanatory variables, they are also the easiest. Any lazy sports analyst can sit in their recliner and place the blame for an underachieving team on the quarterback (KNEE JERK: "A quarterback gets too much credit for wins, and too much blame for losses. Told you there were a lot of them.)

Any unobservant critic can point to the "cancerous" player with a checkered history and bust out six columns in an hour and a half without the slightest shred of research.

Any somnolent pundit can bluster about the head coach of an underachieving team and march out the same cookie-cutter objections that have been attributed to failing head coaches for decades.

However, Wade Phillips really was only responsible for the defense (Jerry Jones is the head coach; everybody knows that).

The Cowboys' defense ended up ranked eighth overall, was home of the NFL sack-leader in DeMarcus Ware, and after about week four, played solidly for the rest of the year.

Unquestionably, the underachievement of the 2008 Dallas Cowboys was due to an absolutely stacked offense that was run into the ground by a stubborn and hubris-infused offensive coordinator whose unwillingness to change or adapt any of his schemes to the adjustments of the defense wasted possibly one of the most talented offenses ever assembled.

I believe there are three components to any team's (or in this case, offense's) success:

The Roster

AUDIO: Norm talks about the idea of Ray Lewis in Dallas

Originally Posted by dcfanatic from a sports forum:

Norm Hitzges is kind of calling out Ray Lewis here by saying he's using the Cowboys as a bargaining chip...

Norm talks Ray Lewis coming to Dallas

Key term that Norm used in this clip - Fantasy Football!

Jerry loves Fantasy Football and he thinks that at some point in time this philosophy will lead the team back to a Super Bowl.

I have said since day one that I am not all that excited about bringing in Ray Lewis.

But in the same breath I have to admit that I think he would be an upgrade over Zach Thomas and that if he's here in 2009 I hope he does all that leading and stuff that people keep talking about.

AUDIO: Big Nate talks Cowboys with Smoaky

Originally Posted by dcfanatic from a sports forum:

Here's Nate Newton talking Cowboys with David Smoak about Ray Lewis and The Gag order out at Valley Ranch...

Big Nate talks with Smoaky

Nate makes an excellent point about Ray Lewis trying to come in here as a leader. These players haven't learned how to step up in big games for themselves, their head coach and their fans.

So why would we expect Ray to make a huge difference if he came to Dallas? I know Ray is a great leader, but this team and these players who have been flopping around for three years now have to learn how to win on their own.

And if they can't do so then maybe it's time to break down the roster and start over.

Nate also makes a very valid point about Wade being hushed up not really being that big of a deal in the big picture either because it's not like he was the voice of the team as it was.

Now I do hate the idea that the supposed head coach is muted publicly with a gag order because it just looks silly, but in the long run it probably won't mean much as far as the way the players look at Wade anyway. They know he's a dead man walking and they should know by now that there is no real head coach of this team.

As for Wade finally getting tough on these players and demanding great effort from them everyday in practice. I just don't see Wade Phillips not being Wade Phillips.

If he's going to do a 180 on these players then he's going to be looking at a whole lot of guys talking about him not being 'true to who he is really is' based on the philosophy he just instilled throughout this team over the last two seasons. And you can't blame them for thinking that way. You asked them to buy into it and when they did in wound up being a disaster in 2008.

Maybe in the end these players find a way to come together as a group and be their own 'head coach' in charge of leading this team to the next level when the 2009 seasons rolls around.

Cowboys: SS Williams may be released this week

Calvin Watkins, of The Dallas Morning News, reports the Dallas Cowboys may release SS Roy L. Williams this week.

Cowboys Insider: Team to evaluate safeties at upcoming NFL combine

By Tom Orsborn - Express-News

With Roy Williams no longer a three-down player and their locker room in need of a leader, the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to focus on Western Michigan safety Louis Delmas at the NFL scouting combine this weekend.

The fast-rising Delmas was a four-year starter in the Mid-American Conference who took his role as captain the last two seasons very seriously.

“He's unbelievable,” WMU coach Bill Cubit told the Kalamazoo (Mich.) Gazette last season when asked about Delmas' leadership skills.

What else is there to say about a player who ran 110-yard sprints after practice without prompting from his coaches and who once addressed his teammates about the need for better tackling and more intensity?

The 5-foot-11, 197-pound Delmas played cornerback as a freshman before switching to safety as a sophomore. He registered a team-high 111 tackles last season and ranks among the top safeties, a group that includes Alabama's Rashad Johnson, Oregon's Patrick Chung and Missouri's William Moore

Most draft experts expect Delmas to be taken in the second round. He could easily be off the board by the time the Cowboys are on the clock with the 51st overall pick. But don't forget owner Jerry Jones loves to make draft-day trades and has plenty of picks to work with this year.

Should they select Delmas, Ken Hamlin could move to strong safety, especially if Williams is let go. The former Oklahoma standout says he wants to return to Valley Ranch, but he's due $6.6 million, a lot of money for a two-down player who admits he isn't a good fit in Wade Phillips' 3-4 scheme. Cutting him would save $2.2 million on this year's cap, according to

The downside would be that's also roughly $4.4 million in dead money against the cap.

But even if the Cowboys keep Williams, adding a warrior like Delmas wouldn't be a bad move. Hamlin struggled last season after signing a lucrative, long-term deal and Keith Davis is an unrestricted free agent. But regardless of all that, Delmas sounds like a perfect fit for a team that needs high-character leaders.

Described by one scouting Web site as a “dynamic player with a well-rounded game” who is “always around the ball,” Delmas would be a welcome addition to a team that badly needs passionate players who aren't afraid to speak up in a positive manner.

Safeties will be examined and interviewed this weekend and Monday in Indianapolis before working out Tuesday. Delmas will be out to prove he can get the job done against elite competition, something he didn't face often in the MAC.

Here are two other players the Cowboys will likely study for possible selection in the second round:

Oklahoma guard Duke Robinson: His size (6-foot-4, 335 pounds) fits right in with a group that's the biggest in the league. Robinson would provide immediate depth and could be groomed to eventually replace Kyle Kosier at left guard.

LSU inside linebacker Darry Beckwith: With Zach Thomas likely gone and Kevin Burnett also an unrestricted free agent, the 6-2, 240-pound Beckwith, a finalist for the Butkus Award, would be a good fit.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones likes '09 football season


INDIANAPOLIS -- Jerry Jones likes Celine Dion, he's not saying about Terrell Owens, finding a backup quarterback is a priority, and he has countless reasons to be excited about the 2009 season.

Walking around a quiet but busy Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday while the NFL Combine continued on the field below, Jones nearly bubbled about the new Cowboys stadium.

"I want it to be the Cowboys; I'm not trying to be modest. I don't prefer the reference of Jerry's Place or Jerry's World," Jones said. "I've never been under any illusion as to why I have visibility or any type of interest. It has to do with the Dallas Cowboys."

What Jones envisions for the new stadium is a merger of the enhancements of a luxurious, home-entertainment system with the tangible touch of attending the actual event.

What Jones envisions for his team in 2009 is a far better product than the one that finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs in '08.

In an interview that lasted more than a hour, Jones covered subjects ranging from the perks and experience of the new stadium to the draft, to Adam "Pacman" Jones to the '09 season to, yes, T.O.

Here are the highlights:

Why should fans be optimistic about the '09 season?
We'll get better quarterbacking. Tony (Romo) is early in his career. I'm not going to say that we're gonna have him for 16 games and through the playoffs. We all know the injury factor isn't something you can plan on. We need to do a better job when we don't have him at quarterback. Last year was a good experience for us. Defensively, I think we've got a chance with some things that Wade is doing. We've got some things that will make us a better defense. Special teams, we did make a change there. We didn't go status quo. I think we'll be improved. It will be real nice to get our punter back. Everybody had injuries; we had some material injuries last year. I think it's not wise to say we're not going to have some injuries next year but maybe we won't have them impact us in some of the ways they did.

Do you need to find another quarterback, veteran or rookie?
It's a real priority for us to get where we'd like to be with our backup situation at quarterback. A real priority.

A veteran?
Not necessarily. A veteran may be too much of a veteran. You say, 'Well, you roll the dice a little bit and get by on two or three games.' You can make a case that you don't (win) a game you should have and it might have meant the Super Bowl. It could have meant that much to us to have won one of those games that we didn't win when we didn't have Tony. We were lucky to have won the one we did without Tony, frankly. We have to have improvement there.

Why don't you think the locker room issues are an issue?
I just don't. It's principally because I've experienced locker rooms that look dysfunctional on the face of it and won championships. In a pecking order of important things about your team, that is very low on the list. But our locker room issues did not impact in any way our 9-7 record and what we're doing. In any way. That's why I don't get uptight about it.

What is the high priority?
I think being as Romo-friendly as our team can be. Romo friendly means let's utilize his skills to the fullest and make sure everything we do maximizes his abilities

You hinted last week that you plan to keep Terrell Owens. Do you?
You got my drift. And that's all I want to say about that.

Romo echoed some things that Owens had said about the scheme and the offense last season; are you concerned about that as it relates to Jason Garrett?
I know first-hand where (Romo) is with Jason, pointedly. I know where they are on a working relationship basis. OK? I know you don't have one sitting over here throwing one under the bus. That's just not happening. That's why I'm not concerned about it.

Does Wade need to be 'harder' or more disciplined?
Wade's style, and I'm talking about both directly with players but just his style as a coach, I've seen that win championships. What we need Wade to be is him. But I've seen him bite and bite good. It's a mistake for anybody that he won't and doesn't disagree with me. He can be none abrasive, but he can be very firm on his points.

Do players need to fear if they are late for a meeting or something there will be a penalty?
Yes. But do they need to feel that? Yes. Do they need to feel it more than they have in the past? I'm not agreeing to that. But is that an important aspect of being considerate to everyone else as far as meeting attendance or rules relative to how you monitor injury. I believe that very strongly. I think you have to have fines.

Because I know that most of our fans know that in order to manage a lot of people and certainly manage a team that discipline needs to be a part of it. I would hope that we can correct that perception. I don't believe that is the case or is going to be the case.

How do you correct that perception?
I'm not so sure about that. I don't want to go as far as announcing every fine we give. That violates some other things I'm not for.

Is the Cowboys' relationship with Pacman Jones done?
I'm not going to go far. That's pretty sweeping; it covers a lot. He's better off; we're better off him not being on our roster. We're better off.

You have free agents such as Kevin Burnett, Chris Canty, Zach Thomas and Keith Davis. What are their chances of coming back?
I think every one of those you just mentioned I would like to think have a chance to be with the Cowboys. Rolling the clock forward, I would like to think the circumstances would be that we could figure out a way for them to be with the Cowboys.

You want them but, but the numbers might not allow it?
That's it.

Are your draft priorities safety, linebacker, defensive line and backup offensive line?
Those could be special teams guys as well so I would certainly say those are positions that we would look to that could help us this year as well as be potential players for the future at those positions.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ravens GM Newsome On Ray Lewis

According to DeMarcus Ware, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is genuine in his desire to play for the Cowboys - he's been pointing at the star on Ware's helmet and begging for Jerry Jones' phone number.

Lewis doesn't hit the open market until Feb. 27, and the Ravens were expected to hold negotiations with his representatives here at the combine.

"Economics is always a part of it," Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said. "But I don't know what the other part of it would be. He has a very good relationship with coach (Jim) Harbaugh, you know his relationship with (Baltimore owner Steve Biscotti), and he and I have a very good relationship. And I think he realizes where our football team is at right now . . . and that we can contend in our division and in our conference to try to get him to another Super Bowl . . . and the other thing that I think Ray can appreciate is that front that we have in front of him allows him to make plays."

There's still reason to doubt the Cowboys will have enough free cap space to sign Lewis, especially if they're going to give Ware an extension. The finances have to work for Lewis, of course, but he sure sounds like he wants to play in Dallas.

"'I want to wear this star on my helmet, that's my dream . . . that's my dream,'" Ware said Lewis told him when Baltimore closed Texas Stadium in December. "When we got to the Pro Bowl, he did it again. He came at me every day."

-Josh Ellis

NFL | Penn St WR Derrick Williams had meeting with Cowboys

Penn State WR Derrick Williams said he has spoken with the Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts and "a lot of different ones in informal meetings" at the NFL Scouting Combine. Williams noted he played quarterback in high school and feels he can be a threat as a receiver, return man or in the backfield if needed.

DMN Blog: Chris Canty update

by Todd Archer

The Cowboys will not be able to get a deal done with defensive end Chris Canty before free agency begins Friday.

They met with Canty's agent, Brad Blank, on Sunday and simply are unable to make an offer to him that would prevent him from testing the market.

"They drafted Chris and gave him an opportunity and I think he'll do well in the free agency period," Blank said. "That's the way the business works."

If the market does not bear the fruit Canty seeks, then he could come back, but with an increase in the 3-4 teams in the league now he figures to be a prized target.

Cowboys Jones disputes report on T.O. news services
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has struck down a January report that indicated the team was set during the offseason to discuss the possible release of receiver Terrell Owens.

Jones, speaking to reporters late Saturday at a downtown hotel in Indianapolis, where the NFL Combine is being held, expressed anger over a Jan. 14 report by ESPN's Ed Werder.

"That Stephen and I were debating about Terrell, that's just misinformation," Jones said regarding his son, Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones. "That's just not accurate. I don't know where that comes from. That's just total misinformation.

"And the thing is that nobody would know that except for me or Stephen, and I know Stephen didn't tell you. So whoever else said that happened is just wrong. It's just speculation, as far as us debating."

At least two sources told Werder that Stephen Jones would attempt to convince his father that Owens should be finished with the Cowboys. The Cowboys paid Owens a $12 million signing bonus just last year, included as part of a new four-year, $34 million deal.

"I think we all know that chemistry is the problem with this team more than the schemes or anything else," a Cowboys source told Werder. "Are we going to continue to allow talent to outweigh everything else in the decisions we make with players and putting the roster together?

"We're like the Redskins used to be when they signed every player they wanted. There's more to it than talent. It has to be more about the team."

Jones said Saturday that he's the only Cowboys official with a "full picture" of the team's operations.

"Where I'm coming from here, I just want to make sure you're not getting bits and pieces of information," he said. "That's not doing anybody any good and you're not making accurate reports."

In an effort to plug team leaks, Jones has put a gag order on all his employees, including head coach Wade Phillips, an unusual move he addressed.

Jones attempted to stifle any perception that Phillips has a diminished influence or role.

"It's well known that relative to our personnel decisions, who makes that decision," Jones said. "All I'm trying to say is basically that's where you need to go to see where the status of that decision is. That's where you need to go. That's what we're trying to avoid.

"What has happened this offseason, there's been a lot of misinformation. You guys aren't getting the accurate information at all."

According to Werder's sources, the discussions involving Owens had not been formally initiated and probably wouldn't occur until the Cowboys were more certain of the composition of their coaching staff.

Jason Garrett, once a candidate for at least two NFL head-coaching positions, remains with the Cowboys as offensive coordinator.

Garrett had interviewed with the St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions about their head-coaching vacancies. The Rams ultimately hired Steve Spagnolo, while the Lions tapped Jim Schwartz.

"You have to be worried about his influence over there, and I think we'd get some of those players back over to our side if he was gone,'' a source told Werder. "I think we have to decide how detrimental he is to [tight end Jason] Witten and [quarterback Tony] Romo.''

Jones went on and on Tuesday in Texas emphasizing he hasn't decided whether to keep or cut Owens.

Then, long after the subject was seemingly put to rest, Jones brought it up again -- with a pretty obvious hint that T.O. was staying.

"You and I both know that the one that you're asking about all the time, if I gave you the answer that you want to hear, then you would've already had it. So the fact you don't have it ought to tell you something. It really should," Jones said.

The response came in the final minute of a roughly 45-minute news conference called to announce that George Strait will headline the first-ever event at the team's new $1.1 billion stadium. But since it was the first time Jones addressed a large group of reporters since the Cowboys' season-ending loss at Philadelphia back in late December, far more topics came up.

The subject changed from music to football with a question about whether Owens will be on the roster when Strait takes the stage June 6. Jones was ready with the explanation that "we're evaluating our entire roster."

"There are several decisions on our roster we have to look at," Jones said Tuesday. "This is the time of year we do that. I'm not trying to be trite, but as you all know we're evaluating players in college, we're evaluating free agents and we're evaluating our own roster. This is an ongoing thing, not any different than this time last year. ... Our roster is our roster. Changes to that are pure, pure speculation."

When told he could end all speculation by saying Owens is staying, Jones said he wouldn't answer "because we're not talking about the roster; he's part of the roster."

"We've got a lot of things we want to look at. Not just to Terrell, but several positions on the team -- backup quarterback and some other areas," Jones said. "So, again, it's not that it's easy or hard. It's just that I'm not doing it."

DMN Blog: Jerry speaks

by Todd Archer

Finally, after hours of waiting in the lobby of the team's hotel, we were able to speak with owner and GM Jerry Jones - albeit briefly.
Jones was on his way to a dinner at St. Elmo Steakhouse with his coaches, scouts and medical personnel, which is an annual Saturday happening for the NFL scouting combine.

Jones discussed the one voice approach he is taking this off-season where coaches, including Wade Phillips are not allowed to speak to the media. Jones said too much inaccurate information has been written this off-season, which is why he made the change.

"Where I'm coming from here, I just want to make sure you're not getting bits and pieces of information," Jones said. "That's not doing anybody any good and you're not making accurate reports."

He specifically mentioned stories regarding an internal debate between himself and Executive Vice President Stephen Jones regarding Terrell Owens' future and players visiting Jones' Highland Park home to discuss personnel.
Jones said both stories, which cited sources, were incorrect.

Jones disagreed with the idea that Phillips' authority would be undermined by not being allowed to speak to the media.

"It's well known that relative to our personnel decisions who makes that decision," said Jones, who has had final say on personnel matter since purchasing the team 20 years ago. "All I'm trying to say is basically that's where you need to go to see where the status of that decision is. That's where you need to go. That's what we're trying to avoid. What's happened this off-season, there's been a lot of misinformation."

For what it's worth, Jones said he would meet with the local media again Sunday or Monday.
Have fun.

Player Update: Roy Williams, WR


Roy Williams is looking ahead to 2009 following a disappointing first campaign in Dallas, according to the Star-Telegram. He said, "I know there is negativity on my part. I just have to produce. I know what I can do. Jerry Jones knows what I can do. I am looking forward to a big year."

Our View: Tony Romo was injured when he joined Dallas, and then the receiver suffered from a plantar fascia injury when Romo returned. Williams noted that he has grown closer to Terrell Owens, and believes the pair can be as dynamic and Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona. He also feels that he can carry the Cowboys as a No. 1 receiver if Owens departs.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Player Update: Terrell Owens, WR

Owner Jerry Jones called a report by ESPN's Ed Werder that Jones' son Stephen is spearheading a movement to release Terrell Owens "just misinformation."

"That's just not accurate," Jones said. "I don't know where that comes from. I know Stephen didn't tell you. So whoever else said that happened is just wrong." The Cowboys would take a $680,000 cap hit to release T.O.


Posted by Mike Florio on February 21, 2009, 4:58 p.m.

Amid rampant speculation that Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis will sign a free-agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys at some point after free agency opens in little more than five days, Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware says that Lewis has made clear his desire to play in Dallas.

In an interview with the team’s official web site, Ware was remarkably candid about the situation.

“[W]hen we played Ray Lewis and Baltimore at the end of the season,” Ware said, “he came over and pointed to my helmet. He said, ‘I want to wear this star on my helmet, that’s my dream . . . that’s my dream.’ When we got to the Pro Bowl, he did it again. He came at me every day. It’s a great opportunity for him. His door is open. He’s an unrestricted free agent. He’s trying to get down where the star is. He told me he needed me to get him Jerry Jones’ phone number for him. I just busted out laughing.”

And Ware doesn’t think Lewis is merely trying to leverage Baltimore into giving him more money. “I think he is genuine,” Ware said. “Believe me, he is genuine. He talked to me before he became a free agent. He talked to me two years ago about it. He calls me about once a week and talks about it then. I even said, ‘Hey, Ray, I’m tired about talking about this. You need to find Jerry Jones’ number and fly out there and talk to him. . . . He says things like ‘D-Ware, I need to get down there. You’re the pass-rush guy and I need to play with you. Just call Jerry for me. Just call him. Just call him.’”

We first suspected that the Cowboys might make a play for Lewis when the team signed his brother, running back Keon Lattimore, to a free-agent contract after the 2008 draft. Though Lattimore didn’t stick with the Cowboys, we’ll find out soon enough whether it was a precursor to making a play for Keon’s big brother.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday Beastlines: Combine Edition

Posted by's Matt Mosley


Tim MacMahon says not to get your hopes up about Julius Peppers.
As Mac Engel explains, the Cowboys don't have the ammunition to trade for Peppers.
Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says Jerry Jones is hearing voices in his head.
Engel identifies the Cowboys' draft needs.
Chris Cooley thinks his YAC is better than Jason Witten's.


The guys accused of torching Donovan McNabb's front yard are pleading not guilty.
Donovan McNabb's agent is saying talks with the Eagles haven't begun.


Hank Gola has more on Brad Van Pelt's death.
The Giants have encouraged safety James Butler to test the free-agent market.
Derrick Ward told ESPN he's ready to shop around.
Ralph Vacchianto says the same thing.


More evidence that Chris Cooley is a really good dude.
Hall is at the top of the Redskins' FA list.
Ryan O'Halloran of the Washington Times talks about the combine.
For more on the Redskins, check out my column on tomorrow morning. I asked Vinny Cerrato 22 questions in 13 minutes. He asked at least four of them. Let's talk soon.

Suggs tagged; Ray Ray to see FA

Ravens, DST BAL

News: The Ravens used the franchise tag on Pro Bowl LB Terrell Suggs for the second consecutive year, a transaction that costs the team $10.2 million against the 2009 salary cap. That's the one-year salary Suggs is guaranteed if he signs their offer sheet; he can still shop himself around to other clubs but would force the team that signs him to give Baltimore two first-round picks as compensation. A three-time Pro Bowl selection who led the team with eight sacks while recording a career-high 102 tackles last season, Suggs was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. Now, teammates Ray Lewis and Bart Scott will be free agents while Suggs deals with the tag. Lewis has been linked to a spot with the Cowboys while Scott has been linked to reuniting with former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan in New York with the Jets.

The Panthers placed the franchise tag on Julius Peppers.

With T Jordan Gross signing a six-year deal Thursday, the Panthers are able to keep their best two young talents. For now. Peppers is due $17 million and wants out, so the Panthers are expected to seek a trade. He should attract a Jared Allen-like package as the Draft nears, but Carolina should exhaust all chances to keep him. Ultimately, it's their call despite his tough talk.

Source: Charlotte Observer

ESPN Mosley: Could Dallas be in Austin's rearview mirror?

Posted by's Matt Mosley

In case you missed it, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald had a blog item on Cowboys restricted free agent Miles Austin earlier in the week. He thinks there's a chance the Miami Dolphins might make a play for Austin.

As Salguero points out, there are some poison pills the Dolphins could put in the contract to make it difficult for the Cowboys to match the offer. I know that Bill Parcells and general manager Jeff Ireland love Austin's potential, but I'd be surprised if they did something to put the Cowboys in a bad situation. Because of their familiarity, the Dolphins and Cowboys have tried to work together.

The Cowboys think too highly of Austin not to protect him. But the fact that he wasn't drafted actually makes it more difficult to make that happen. We'll keep you posted.

Austin is a high character player with immense physical tools. He's ready to be a No. 3 receiver for the Cowboys and he could easily become a No. 2 receiver for the Dolphins. Cowboys receivers Sam Hurd and Patrick Crayton hang on Terrell Owens' every word. To his credit, Austin didn't pick sides in the T.O.-Jason Witten dispute. He keeps his mouth shut and constantly works to get better.

The Cowboys can't afford to lose players like him.

The Cowboys will meet with the agent for DeMarcus Ware at Indianapolis this week

Dallas has already made an initial offer, but Ware is going to want the most guaranteed money in franchise history. Tony Romo received $31M in 2007, and Ware figures to come in right around that number.


Mosley: Cowboys like Tyson Jackson

Posted by's Matt Mosley

I'm hearing that the Dallas Cowboys have a lot of interest in LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson (6-4, 295) heading into the draft. Jackson's not a great pass-rusher, but he would have a chance to replace Chris Canty in the Cowboys' 3-4 scheme.

It looks like the Cowboys will allow Canty to explore free agency. If Jackson somehow slips to No. 51 (and I think there's a chance), the Cowboys would love to take him.

Much more to come on this front.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

AP source: Peppers' trade list has only 4 teams

By MIKE CRANSTON, AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Julius Peppers still wants out of Carolina, but he'll only agree to be traded to four teams, further complicating the Panthers' efforts to get compensation for the four-time Pro Bowl defensive end.

On the eve of the deadline to place the franchise tag on Peppers, a person close to the player said Wednesday that the impending free agent wants to play for Dallas or three other unnamed teams, two of them in the NFC.

The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because the list wasn't supposed to be made public, said Peppers wouldn't agree on a trade to any other team, which would limit the Panthers since Peppers would likely have to sign a new contract with that new team before a trade could be executed.

Carolina would likely seek a first-round draft pick and other compensation for their all-time sacks leader, who announced last month that he wanted to leave after seven seasons. The Cowboys don't have a first-round pick this year. The Panthers would also likely prefer Peppers not play for a fellow NFC team.

The news provides another twist in an important _ and perhaps very costly _ week for the Panthers, who are also trying to hammer out a new contract with Pro Bowl left tackle Jordan Gross. That deal could cost Carolina approximately $9 million a year.

It was thought that if the Panthers could sign Gross before Thursday afternoon, they would slap the franchise tag on Peppers. That would mean offering a one-year deal worth $16.7 million, but it would mean no other team could sign Peppers without giving up two first-round picks.

That would leave the Panthers the option to trade Peppers and get compensation in return, similar to what Kansas City did last year. After placing the franchise tag on defensive end Jared Allen, the Chiefs traded him to Minnesota for a first-round pick and two third-round choices.

But Allen also agreed to a six-year contract with the Vikings that included $31 million in guaranteed money and could be worth $74 million if he meets certain incentives.

Peppers, who had a career-high 14 1/2 sacks last season, turned down a contract offer from Carolina last year that would have made him one of the highest-paid defensive players in the NFL. Interested in playing in a 3-4 defensive scheme instead of Carolina's 4-3 alignment, Peppers wouldn't say last week if he would hold out of if the Panthers place the franchise tag on him and then don't trade him.

Panthers general manager Marty Hurney did not immediately return a phone message Wednesday.

Phillips takes defensive coordinator duties for Dallas Cowboys

By BRIAN DAVIS / The Dallas Morning News

ARLINGTON – There is no more ambiguity over just who runs the Cowboys' defense. Wade Phillips will be the head coach and defensive coordinator in 2009, owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday.

The Cowboys fired defensive coordinator Brian Stewart after the season, creating a perception that Stewart was responsible for the team's defensive shortcomings.

In reality, the Cowboys have been running Phillips' 3-4 defensive scheme for the last two seasons. Stewart held the coordinator title, but Phillips has always been the defensive architect.

Phillips took some play-calling duties away from Stewart in November and December. Once that happened, the defense became more aggressive. The Cowboys finished with a league-high 59 sacks but were eighth in yards allowed per game (294.3).

Jones OK with chemistry: Jones said he is not worried about locker room chemistry, even though some players have indicated that was a big issue last year.

"They are a figment of the result," Jones said of chemistry concerns. "You didn't hear about those kinds of things when we were winning. You hear about those kinds of things when you're losing. ...

"If y'all [the media] knew more about some of the things you write about, you wouldn't be as concerned."

Reeves rift revisited: Phillips said he wanted Dan Reeves to join the Cowboys as a consultant. But Reeves lasted just two days before leaving Valley Ranch after he disagreed over language Jones inserted into the contract.

Jones wanted a clause that stipulated how many hours Reeves would work. Reeves said he'd never had that type of clause in any coaching contract and added, "Nobody punches a clock."

"I think a lot of him and really respect him," Jones said. "But it doesn't surprise me ... It became apparent to me that we just weren't on the same page."

Discipline for Spencer? Jones said outside linebacker Anthony Spencer will be disciplined following his arrest on charges of public intoxication and disorderly conduct in mid-January. He said the team will wait to see what the NFL does since Spencer violated the league's personal conduct policy.

The final word: Jones made it clear he understands Cowboys fans are upset about the team's disappointing finish.

"I would say to our fans that are there, I'm as disappointed and as resolved that you could ever imagine to do the best job of putting our team on the field," Jones said. "Winning will make people happy."

Player Update: Zach Thomas, LB

Zach Thomas is not expected to return to Dallas next season, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Our View: Thomas is 35 years old, and did not feel comfortable in the Cowboys' 3-4 defense.

DMN Blog: Julius Peppers wants to play for the Cowboys

The Rock Hill (S.C.) Herald reports (via Pro Football Talk) that Julius Peppers has a list of four teams to which he would accept a trade if the Panthers put the franchise tag on him.

The only team named in the report? The Cowboys, of course.

Feel free to dream about Peppers, who has made it clear that he wants out of Carolina and would prefer to move to OLB in a 3-4, wreaking havoc on the opposite side of DeMarcus Ware.

Just don't hold your breath for it to happen. With no first-round pick, it'd be difficult for the Cowboys to put together a reasonable trade proposal. With the plan to make Ware one of the highest paid defensive players in the game, it'd be difficult to create cap space to give Peppers that kind of deal, too.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

NFL Five ways the Cowboys can reach Super Bowl XLIV

Lm Otero / AP
Cowboys coach Wade Phillips

To say the 2008 Dallas Cowboys were a disappointment is an understatement. They were long on promise and short on delivery. Some may think it's best scrap the whole thing and start from scratch. That's too extreme.

The Cowboys can be saved. They can reach the Super Bowl.

Here are five ways to do it.

1. Beef up the running game Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice are the kind of running backs that offensive coordinator Jason Garrett can rely on — and rebuild his offensive reputation. It doesn't have to be a run-the-ball, don't throw doctrine. The last thing Dallas needs is less of Tony Romo.

But these running backs can make everything else easier.

Barber, when healthy, is the league's toughest running, according to Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. The 6-foot, 225-pound beast doesn’t just run for first downs — he wants to run over defenders at the same time. Injuries are a concern, as Barber was slowed badly by a toe injury in the last five games of the season. But that's where Jones and Choice come in.

Jones’ 4.4 speed makes him a big-play threat. His rookie season was cut short by a torn hamstring and a torn knee ligament, but he showcased his skills when he was on the field with 30 rushing attempts for 266 yards and 3 TDs (8.9 yards per carry). The Cowboys expect him to be fully healthy for 2009. Choice has power and explosiveness (92 carries for 472 yards and 2 TDs).

Dallas can use the three in the same way the Giants used Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw so effectively this season. It's not as fancy as the downfield passing, but it will be more effective each week, and later in the season.

2. Tell T.O. time is ticking

This is the hard part. Owens is classified as a me-first, out-for-himself type of player. There are mountains of evidence to suggest that this assessment is correct.

And for Dallas to succeed, it must be made clear that Owens is just past of the team, not the whole team. He's still a viable weapon (69 receptions for 1,052 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2008) who still makes game-breaking plays. But as 2008 wore on, and Owens became increasingly unhappy with his role, it became a bigger and bigger distraction for Dallas.

The easy thing would be to get rid of the distraction. That's also the worst thing to do. If the Cowboys, whether it's Wade Phillips, Jerry Jones or a teammate, can explain to him that at 35-years-old, Owens doesn't have many years left in the NFL. The sooner he comes around to that idea, the sooner Dallas benefits.

3. Support Tony Romo

Sure, there are plenty of questions about Tony Romo. He struggles during December. His arm strength isn't top shelf. Some wonder about his leadership. It doesn't matter.

Questions always pop up when a high-profile team falters. But that doesn’t mean that Romo isn't the quarterback for the Cowboys. He's one of the NFL's top five quarterbacks by nearly any definition.

He posted stellar stats in just 13 games (completed 276-of-450 attempts for 3,448 yards with 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions), is 27-12 as a starter and doesn't get enough credit for his mobility in and out of the pocket.

Yet, Garrett's biggest goal should be to ensure Romo is confident entering the season. Don't have him throw downfield as often. Rely on the running backs. Get him on the move and let him hit short passes.

4. Go get Ray Lewis

It’s one thing for the coaches to set the tone during times of disharmony. It’s another thing to have law-and-order in the locker room because of a player.

Lewis is that rare players who uses his dominant persona to establish himself as a leader — and doesn't accept any excuses from his teammates. That's the difference between Lewis and a player like DeMarcus Ware. Ware is great player, but Lewis has talents coaches can't teach.

Even better, Lewis can still play. Sure, he's going to be 34 next season. But he remains a ferocious hitter who can still cover the field better than most. His 85 solo tackles were his most since 2004.

Lewis would have to transition from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4, but he can handle it. Dallas doesn't need him to make every play — the Cowboys were 8th in total defense and 1st in sack percentage — but to provide solid run defense and leadership.

5. Trade the Roys

Receiver Roy Williams is big, slow and can't get open. Trading a first-round draft pick to Detroit to bring for Williams to run half-hearted pass patterns was a mistake.

Safety Roy Williams is a big hitter who has struggled in coverage for years. His tendency to get called for the late hit causes more problems and penalties than it creates fumbles.

Trading both could result in a couple of high drafts picks and a chance to add some much-needed youth.

Fins to Take a Flier on Cowboys Restricted Free Agent WR Austin?

Posted by Matt Loede on February 16th, 2009 filed in Rumors

The Miami Herald reports that the Fins may have an interest in Cowboys WR Miles Austin, who will be a restricted free agent on February 27th. Here is the story:

Sources at Valley Ranch say that Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin is likely to get a second-round tender for his restricted free agency, and there may be a team interested in taking him. As no surprise, it’s Bill Parcells’ Miami Dolphins. The Cowboys gave up their entire top draft picks, 1st and 3rd, and a 6th, to acquire Roy E. Williams so if they could get a second rounder for Austin, they might just pull the trigger.

What Kind of Tender(ness) will the Dallas Cowboys Show Miles Austin?

by Rafael Vela on Feb 16, 2009 12:59 PM EST

It's begun:

The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero writes that the Dolphins would definitely be interested in Miles Austin, should his free agent tender be low:

I do not expect the Dolphins to make a big splash in restricted free agency. They did not last year. But Tuna Helper Jeff Ireland is going to scour the list below -- this one acquired from the National Football League Players Association by Dolphins In Depth -- and I would not be surprised if he seriously considers at least one player from the list.

Obvious player of interest to the Dolphins: Miles Austin of the Dallas Cowboys.

This should not shock anybody here. Ireland was in charge of personnel when the Cowboys landed Austin -- though I understand the actual scout who found him is still on Dallas' staff -- and Austin's coming out came in the playoff loss to Seattle, when he returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Ireland might look on Austin as one of "his guys."

The question then becomes what type of tender the Cowboys will offer? As a restricted free agent, Austin's compensation will be determined by the amount of money Dallas offers him. He was undrafted out of Monmouth in New Jersey, so a low tender means the Cowboys would receive no compensation if he were lured away.

The Dallas Examiner says he's likely to get a second-round tender.

This raises other questions. If Terrell Owens is on the outs, do the Cowboys risk losing Austin? On the other hand, if you can get Miami's number two, the 56th overall, would you consider that a good trade for Miles Austin?

I've been in favor of tendering Austin at a first, because I'm concerned about WR depth if the Owens situation further metastasizes. I wonder if the 56th overall is a great return on investment. You could see Dallas stay and draft off their needs list with three picks in the 51 to 69th range.

However, the 56th is probably the area where the 2nd round rated talent runs out and the 3rd round talent begins, which is why Miami might seriously consider this. That does not seem like the best return for Dallas, but two picks in the late 2nd does give the team ammunition to move up into the first round pool.

Lots of food for thought here.

For what it's worth, the National Football Post's Mike Lombardi thinks getting Miami's 2nd would represent a coup for Dallas.

DMN Blog: Jerry Jones hints that T.O. will return

by Tim MacMahon

Jerry Jones declined to answer questions about the Cowboys' roster today in Arlington.

However, he did drop a hint that T.O. would return to Valley Ranch.

"You and I both know that the one you're asking about all the time, if I gave you the answer that you want to hear, then you would have already had it," he said. "So the fact you don't have it ought to tell you something."

Brooking may be a target

Tue, 17 Feb 2009 14:18:05 -0800

Tim MacMahon, of The Dallas Morning News, reports the Dallas Cowboys may be interested in Atlanta Falcons impending free-agent LB Keith Brooking if he does not re-sign before the start of free agency.

Monday, February 16, 2009

DMN Blog: Miles Austin to Miami?

by Tim MacMahon

The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero speculates that the Dolphins will try to make restricted free agent WR Miles Austin the latest Cowboys transfer to South Beach.

I wouldn't worry too much about this one.

Salguero's speculation is based on the fact that the Dolphins, who could use a big, fast, young receiver, wouldn't have to give up a draft pick to sign Austin if the Cowboys don't put a higher tender on him. Austin will get the second-round tender.

He'll be a Cowboy next season. The question is whether the Cowboys will sign him to a long-term extension before the season starts.

Austin is an important part of the Cowboys' future, especially if they decide to cut ties with a fella known around the Dolphins' front office as The Player.

oys may be interested in Olshansky

Mon, 16 Feb 2009 15:28:40 -0800

Brian Davis, of The Dallas Morning News, reports the Dallas Cowboys may be interested in San Diego Chargers impending free-agent DE Igor Olshansky this offseason if he does not re-sign with the Chargers before free agency.

Player Update: Free agent Ray Lewis

Free agent Ray Lewis reportedly irritated the Ravens' front office last week by saying he'd welcome playing for the Cowboys or Jets.

Beat writer Mike Preston concedes it was "posturing" and anticipates owner Steve Bisciotti caving to Lewis' demands. Lewis is expected to command $9 million annually on a three-year contract. That'd be quite a haul for a linebacker turning 34 who wore down during the stretch run last season.
Source: Baltimore Sun

Player Update: Roy Williams, WR


According to the Dallas Morning News, Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams said he would be "very surprised" if the team cut fellow wideout and "best friend" Terrell Owens.

Our View: Williams has not been shy about declaring his legitimacy for the No. 1 receiver job, a position that would be made available should T.O. leave. So adamant was Williams that he seemed to forget about all his mediocre seasons in Detroit when he lashed out at least on reporter who asked him if he was ready to assume such a role.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Owens forces Cowboys into internal struggle over WR's future in Dallas

by Don Banks

The great debate in Dallas in these earliest days of the NFL offseason surrounds Terrell Owens' fate, and to some degree, I'm learning that reality depends on who you talk to.

One side holds that owner Jerry Jones now knows what he must do, and for the good of the team's badly damaged locker-room chemistry, he will bite the bullet and acknowledge T.O. and his high-maintenance ways are the epicenter of the problem, making him an ex-Cowboy before a $3.1 million roster bonus is due in early June.

Call it the less-is-more approach to fixing what obviously ails the outfit formerly known as America's Team.

"You can't discredit the guy's numbers,'' one Cowboys source told me this week. "He makes plays. But the game is about much more than just numbers, and the game is much more than just one person. The headaches you have to put up with catering to someone aren't worth it.''

The other viewpoint is little more shaded in gray. It contends that Owens has become nothing more than the handiest, catch-all scapegoat for the Cowboys' chemistry troubles, with his long track record of issues now being fully projected onto his present in order to make the case his release would be just the cathartic purging needed in Dallas.

But to focus solely on T.O., the supposed locker-room cancer, is to completely overlook the other issues that doomed the Cowboys' 2008 season to mediocrity. Like the legitimate questions surrounding the starting quarterback's displays of leadership, maturity and, at times, competitive fire. Like the head coach's glaring struggle to establish the right disciplinary tone with his team. Like the offensive coordinator's lack of adaptability and development in the face of challenges last season, and the defense's inability to mesh its considerable talents into anything more than just 11 individuals fighting for 11 Pro Bowl berths.

"T.O.'s getting blamed for everything that happened here this season,'' another Cowboys source said. "But he's not the problem. They want to talk about how Terrell is so disruptive in the locker room, and that's a lie. The guy didn't do anything this year to warrant the type of stuff you're hearing now. There's a faction that wants to get him out of here, and if they want to let the guy go, they should let him go.

"But if you want to be quick to run him out of here, who are you going to get in here to replace him with? Even with our No. 1 quarterback missing three games, he scored 10 touchdowns and had 1,000 yards receiving. So who's your No. 1 receiver if he's gone? You let him go, and say you're 9-7 again next year. Then who are you going to blame? Who are you going to blame then?''

Roy Williams' presence as a potential No. 1 receiver in Dallas aside, I happen to believe there's more than a little truth to the idea the Cowboys' problems are multi-faceted. To put the blame for '08 squarely on Owens' shoulders and leave it there is probably the kind of over-simplification that we are guilty of far too often in cases such as this.

But I also think Owens, ever oversensitive and insecure as he is, contributed his share to the dysfunction in Dallas late last season. When he needed to button his mouth and play, he couldn't manage it. Then he felt the need to defend himself publicly to criticism, which, fairly or unfairly, only serves as a reminder of his track record on the distraction front. The bottom line is that the T.O. experiment deep in the heart of Texas is three years old now, and it hasn't paid off with even so much as a playoff victory, let alone a Super Bowl ring. If it hasn't worked yet, what's the likelihood of reaping results from pouring a fourth year into it?

If T.O.'s history in the NFL has taught us anything, it's that with him there is a law of diminishing returns. It was so in San Francisco. It was so in Philadelphia. And it appears headed that way in Dallas, as well. But I also think anyone linking Owens' self-destructive ways in his final days as both a 49er and an Eagle with last season in Dallas isn't making anything resembling a fair comparison. It may be time for T.O. to go once more, but the level of distraction he has created hasn't rendered it a no-brainer of a decision for the Cowboys. There are pluses and minuses to be weighed this time, as opposed to the last days in San Francisco and Philadelphia, when he just needed to disappear.

From all indications, the faction that has decided the Cowboys would be better off without Owens includes Stephen Jones, the owner's son and the team's COO and director of player personnel, and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. And that's a pretty strong lobby. I have no doubt quarterback Tony Romo and tight end Jason Witten, were they given votes, would also be among the crowd ready and willing to bid T.O. adios.

As for Wade Phillips, I believe he could live with either result, although one Cowboys source told me the head coach still supports Owens and hasn't joined the T.O.-must-go chorus at Valley Ranch. In the locker room, Owens seems to have widespread support among the younger players, but not as robust backing from some of the team's veterans, who seem weary of the melodrama that almost constantly surrounds him.

"Jerry's capable of putting up with him another year, but it's a case of what's said next?'' a Cowboys source said. "What's coming next? When you win, and he gets his numbers, things are fine [with Owens]. But if not .... with him, it's just dealing with headaches every day. I'd say it's all up to Jerry Jones, whether he's back or not. But it's tedious, having him there. It's tedious. And it takes a toll. He's right about some things, in that you want to get him the ball. But you can't be worried about it all the time. You can't throw it to him just to throw it to him. It took a toll on Tony [Romo], but he'll never admit it.''

The flashpoint for Owens last season, of course, was when the story of his internally expressed "jealousy'' of Witten's relationship with Romo came to light in early December. But a Cowboys source I talked to scoffs at the way the issue was framed in the media, saying it was just the now familiar NFL storyline of a star receiver lobbying for more passes his way when a team starts to lose.

"If you're not getting the ball and you're losing, and you're a No. 1 receiver in this league, you're frustrated and want to get more involved,'' the source said. "That's the reality of things these days. When we were 13-3 [in '07], and T.O. was our leading receiver, everything was great. Then we go 9-7 and don't make the playoffs, and Jason Witten is our leading receiver and T.O.'s the problem? He's the cancer? C'mon now.

"You've got a guy who's a future Hall of Famer. What does he have to be jealous of Witten about? He's not jealous of Witten. He wants the ball spread around to everyone. He didn't run to the media and criticize the offense late in the year like Romo did, when he said we got 'exposed' at Philadelphia. But that's being swept under the rug and nobody's making a big issue about that. T.O. and [two other receivers] went to Garrett and said what they had to say. Look at the whole picture. Don't try and blame just one guy.''

Jerry Jones, of course, has the only opinion that really matters on whether Owens stays or goes. My sense is things have reached a tipping point in regard to Owens in Dallas, and the odds are better than 50-50 Jones will say enough is enough and end T.O.'s Cowboys career. Maybe it's not a matter of if, but of when? Even one of the Cowboys sources I talked to this week said the more media speculation he hears about Owens being banished, the more he's starting to believe there's too much smoke not to be some fire.

"I think T.O. wants to be here, but if they don't want him, I'm sure he'll say, 'Let me go,' '' said one Cowboys source. "I know he's going to be playing well somewhere else next year, because he can still play. I wouldn't get rid of him. Because he's not the problem.''

But that's not the consensus viewpoint when it comes to Owens' time in Dallas. And more important, it appears it won't be the prevailing one.

"I just don't think a player can call out coaches and other players, and with [Owens] that's happened in San Francisco, and Philadelphia and it's happened here,'' said another Cowboys source. "He's a great player. But there's more to it than that.''

In Owens' well-chronicled NFL saga, isn't that always the most fitting summation?