Despite the current lack of funds, the cap-challenged Dallas Cowboys appear to be close to adding an extra body on defense.
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that former Detroit Lions linebacker Justin Durant plans to sign a two-year contract with the Cowboys once they create more cap space.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram noted that Durant’s visit amounted to nothing more than an “informational” meeting because the Cowboys, with just $102,000 in cap room, lack the finances to officially make a move. The same applied to visits by free-agent safeties Michael Huff and Will Allen. Apparently Durant’s visit went well enough for the six-year veteran to agree to wait while the Cowboys get their books adjusted.
That likely will come as the team negotiates a multi-year deal with pass rusher Anthony Spencer. The Cowboys also have to sign their draft class.
Durant gives the Cowboys a solid linebacker to add to Monte Kiffin’s 4-3 defense. He started 26 games over the past two seasons for the Lions and racked up 103 tackles in 2012. The 27-year-old figures to start opposite Bruce Carter with Sean Lee occupying the middle.
The Lions made little effort to re-sign Durant, but he went out of his way to thank the team and city on Twitter.
“Shout out to Detroit man I wanna thank y’all for the luv and support y’all showed me the past couple years I really appreciate it,” Durant wrote Tuesday. “I thank the organization for allowing me the opportunity to play the last 2 years I am forever grateful.”
RELATED: Dallas Cowboys agree to terms with free agent linebacker
The salary cap-challenged Dallas Cowboys made a ripple today (Tuesday) by reportedly agreeing to terms with former Detroit Lions linebacker Justin Durant.
The team is expected to sign the seven-year veteran to a two-year deal once it creates more space under the salary cap.
Durant started 14 games last season. He finished second on the team with 103 tackle while playing outside linebacker in the 4-3 defense, which the Cowboys will use this season after employing the 3-4 scheme every season since Bill Parcells installed it in 2005.
Second-year pro Kyle Wilber is projected as the starter at strong-side linebacker for Dallas in 2013, but the club now has two veterans to push him in Durant and Alex Albright.
A seven-year veteran, Durant spent the last two seasons with the Lions after he started his NFL career with a four-year stint with Jacksonville. Durant, who carries 240 pounds on 6-foot-1 frame, turns 28 in September.
MOBILE, Ala. — Jerry Jones wanted uncomfortable. He openly spoke about an offseason with everyone being on edge.
Wish granted. This is what it feels like.
NFL personnel people pulling friends aside and wondering, “What’s going on with the Dallas Cowboys?” The team’s owner speaking with reporters for 30 minutes to address the issue of who will take over as offensive play caller, only to leave those listening with merely an indication of the team’s direction. Jones and head coach Jason Garrett both embracing a reality neither has supported in the past.
Oh, and the Cowboys still trying to climb out of a ditch, as Jones put it.
Yup. These are the Dallas Cowboys of 2013. The reality is, these circumstances are setting Garrett up for a make-or-break season, which of course is better than not having the opportunity to return in the first place.
“We’ve got a lot of things about our team — the problem is a deal called 8-8,” Jones said while sitting on the NFL Network set following a Senior Bowl practice Tuesday. “When you’re 8-8 and the rules say, ‘We want everybody to be equal,’ you’ve got to break out of the ditch that we’re in at 8-8. That’s promoting some of the changes we’re making. To step this thing up.”
What have the Cowboys done this offseason, which began abruptly after Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins took Dallas’ playoff spot in a de facto NFC East title game? Plenty of restructuring.
Offensive coordinator Bill Callahan likely will call plays, taking over the role from Garrett. Soon-to-be 73-year-old Monte Kiffin, back in the NFL after a lackluster stint in the college game, will be the team’s defensive coordinator. Former Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is the defensive line coach. Jason Garrett’s brother, John, was re-routed to Tampa Bay to become the Buccaneers’ receivers coach. There will be more tinkering.
NFL people raised their eyebrows about the move to hire the master of the Tampa 2. Could be genius. Could be … not. For his part, Kiffin laughed about his age.
“I wouldn’t have come back if I didn’t think I could do it,” Kiffin said. “I’m excited. I know before the game, they don’t say, ‘How tall are you, how much do you weigh, how old are you?’ They don’t as a player. It’s, ‘Let’s go play.’ So, ‘Let’s go coach.’ “
As Kiffin slowly morphs the defense, installing the 4-3 scheme for which he believes the personnel is better suited, Garrett will watch the offensive adjustments from not quite as close. In his new role, Garrett will be free to focus on in-game situations, time management and other head-coaching duties he had no choice but to short-change while simultaneously serving as offensive play caller. Jones says Garrett encouraged this shift. Perhaps that’s true. But on Tuesday, while speaking with local reporters before Jones had officially announced the news, Garrett simultaneously supported a move away from calling plays while pointing out that there’s nothing that says a coach can’t call plays and master in-game situations. Um, OK then.
“I’ve been on teams where it’s worked a lot of different ways,” Garrett told reporters. “This idea that there’s no way you can call plays and handle the game situations … We’ve come back in a lot of games and handled game situations really well, and sometimes we haven’t handled them as well.”
The Cowboys love Garrett as a leader. The brass was especially pleased with his delicate and masterful handling of the off-the-field drama that followed the death of practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown and the related DWI incarceration of defensive tackle Josh Brent. And it was noted that Garrett somehow managed to sidestep a PR disaster when Brent appeared on the sidelines for a game after the incident by making sure it wouldn’t happen again while also refusing to treat Brent as an outcast. The doors of the facility were always open to Brent. Players noticed. Everyone did.
In an unfortunate coincidence, Garrett and the Cowboys suddenly found themselves facing another drunk-driving issue: Starting nose tackle Jay Ratliff was arrested and charged with DWI early Tuesday after his pickup truck struck an 18-wheeler. The coach’s handling of this situation will be closely monitored.
But the fight the Cowboys showed in 2012 when they were down in games — which happened frequently — demanded attention. Oh, and Garrett also helped the ‘Boys overcome a slow start to win five of their first six in the second half of the season, putting them in position to … lose their final two games and come up short for the playoffs.
Now, it seems, he has one more year to make it happen. Is it playoffs or bust? It might not be so simple. What if the Cowboys start out slow and look anemic, as they did this past season? Could Garrett withstand a limp out of the gate?
What if they make the playoffs and lose? Does he have enough job security to handle that?
The Cowboys believe in Garrett. They have since they sunk millions into him as an offensive play caller. They’ve believed in the process. It took them to the brink of the playoffs, but no further.
And now? They have stripped away the foundation and rebuilt. New defense. New offensive play caller. A new focus for the head coach. And a new view of the timetable facing Garrett going into his third full season at the helm.
Only time will tell if the new approach yields different results.
Courtesy: Ian Rapoport | Reporter, NFL.com and NFL Network
Editors comments; Pardon the negativity from the official National Football League’s website, much of which (NOT ALL) was edited out. The interpretation of the Valley Ranch changes should be one of optimism and one of an owner (and general manager) searching for answers …and a turnaround. Listen to the actual words from Jerry Jones in the video to get a sense of what the real intention are here. Try to overlook the NFL websites attempt to kill the golden goose (Dallas Cowboys). Without the Dallas Cowboys, what is the NFL? The irresponsible reporting from Ian Rapoport and Gregg Rosenthal (editor) are beyond contempt. It’s beyond me how the official website of the National Football League can justify bias reporting and pandering against the Dallas Cowboys. You’d expect a balanced, factual based account of all 32 teams … not idiotic statements from these two jackass yahoo’s in a suit. Publish facts as responsible journalists and let the readers decide.
I published this post to make several points. Namely, listen to the actual voices (in there entirety) of role-players (and decision makers) that matter … Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, Jason Garrett, coaches, staff, and players … and rely on this blog if you want ACTUAL factual coverage of the Dallas Cowboys and their quest to remain America’s Team. 99% of the time you’ll find articulate and accurate representations of facts from skilled and informed sports journalists … the ones that have earned trust.
The 2013 salary cap is tentatively slated to be at or just below $121 million, according to NFL sources.
The values for restricted free agent designations and franchise tenders have also been set. Below are the tentative franchise tag and transition tag numbers for each position, in millions.
These figures were distributed in early December at the annual meeting of team owners in Dallas. They will likely be finalized in March.
CB: Franchise: $10.668 Transition: $8.939
DE: Franchise: $10.984 Transition: $8.994
DT: Franchise: $8.306 Transition: $6.919
K/P: Franchise: $2.926 Transition: $2.654
LB: Franchise: $9.455 Transition: $8.216
OL: Franchise: $9.660 Transition: $8.560
QB: Franchise: $14.642 Transition: $12.845
RB: Franchise: $8.079 Transition: $6.851
S: Franchise: $6.798 Transition: $5.899
TE: Franchise: $5.962 Transition: $5.105
WR: Franchise: $10.357 Transition: $8.716
NFC EAST CHAMPIONSHIP FLEXED TO SNF: Dallas Cowboys and Redskins to end NFL 2012-2013 regular season in dramatic fashion
ARLINGTON, Texas — It had to come down to a final game. Had to. Just like it’s come down to the final drive over and over again. The white-knuckled way the Dallas Cowboys‘ season had gone, it would never end with coach Jason Garrett and his players watching the final day play out with their feet up, coasting into the playoffs. It wouldn’t fit. It had to be like this.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins on Sunday night. Prime time. A playoff spot and NFC East crown for the winner. Just like last year, when it was Giants-Cowboys. Like it should be.