SO LONG, COWBOY: Sun sets on Spencer’s career in Big D | Dallas defender to go marching on in The Big Easy | Anthony Spencer reunited with Rob Ryan
IRVING, Texas – When word got out that defensive lineman Ben Gardner had obtained Anthony Spencer’s jersey number for the upcoming offseason workouts, most assumed Spencer’s eight-year tenure with the Dallas Cowboys was over. Continue reading →
BOYS BIG BRITISH BRUTE: Dallas Developing Defender–DE Efe Obada | From home hopping to home shopping | Living the American Dream with America’s Team | Cowboys commit to promising prospect with 3-year contract
IRVING, Texas – Not only did the Dallas Cowboys have a productive week in London last fall, which ended with a victory over the Jaguars, but they might have found an interesting prospect along the way. Continue reading →
SEE FOR YOURSELF: NFL Film Breakdown–Dallas Cowboys DE Greg Hardy | Hardy makes Top 100 Players of 2014 list | The Kraken | NFL Videos
NFL Film Room: Breaking down defensive end Greg Hardy
Bryan Broaddus breaks down three plays from the Dallas Cowboys newly acquired defensive end, Greg Hardy. Continue reading →
FALLOUT FOLLOW-UP: Hansen on Hardy–Wife thinks he went too far | Charlotte Jones Anderson not afraid of 2nd chance opportunity | Diggin’ Deeper | Mark Cuban Chimes in | Hot Air Hansen | Salary Break-down | Greg Hardy poll
WFAA’s Dale Hansen joined the Dan Patrick Show on Thursday to discuss his comments on Greg Hardy. Here are some highlights from the interview. Continue reading →
Here’s the latest updates on the Dallas Cowboys players involved in NFL free agency this season. Six players have been lost while six have been added. Eight players have been retained from the Dallas Cowboys 2014-2015 squad. Nine players remain in limbo. Continue reading →
2015 NFL DRAFT PRIMER: Breaking down defensive gaps | Scouting interior D-line prospects | Top-tier DTs on the board | Marinelli’s Maulers
Looking at different positions in the 2015 NFL Draft, there’s an encouraging pool of talent among interior defensive linemen. They are broken up into five different groups. Certainly, some prospects cross into other groups — depending on the level of versatility — but identifying the player’s No. 1 trait is important. The reason there are no two draft boards alike among the 32 clubs is because of the scheme they play, position requirements, the subjective analysis during the interview process and the traits some teams prioritize. Continue reading →
DALLAS COWBOYS ROSTER UPDATE: Veteran free-agent RB Ryan Williams added for depth | NFL Free Agency 2014
IRVING, Texas – This weekend is supposed to be about the evaluation of rookies and first-year players and how they might fit into the roster.
However, the Dallas Cowboys always keep their eyes open for (affordable) available veterans as well. That was evident today when the club worked out running back Ryan Williams, a second-round pick (38th overall) of the Arizona Cardinals in 2011.
THE MARINELLI CONNECTION: Dallas Cowboys sign former first-round DT Amobi Okoye | NFL Free Agency 2014
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have signed free agent Amobi Okoye, a former first-round pick in 2007, to a two-year deal.
Okoye could possibly give the Cowboys some help at defensive tackle if he can get healthy, something that has been a challenge for the former No. 10 overall pick of the Texans in 2007.
Okoye, born in Nigeria, was drafted when he was just 19 years old. The 6-foot-2, 292-pound tackle became the youngest player to start an NFL game since 1967.
Okoye reunites with Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who coached him two years in Chicago from 2011-12.
Still just 26 years of age, Okoye will likely play the 3-technique in the Dallas Cowboys 4-3 scheme.
“We like a lot of things about him. He’s a young player coming out of (Louisville),” Jason Garrett said of Okoye.”He has a lot of talent. Rod was around him in Chicago so we know him well. We think that’s a positive thing. He’s had some health issues the last year … we feel like he has a chance to be a contributor on the line.”
In four years with the Texans, Okoye started 58 of 62 games. He played 25 games in two years with the Chicago Bears but only started once. Out of football in 2013, Okoye might have some position flex at tackle.
“We feel like he has the move to play (3-technique) but he can certainly play the nose,” Garrett said. “We’re not going to rush him into anything. But it’s good to have him in here.”
To make room for Okoye’s spot, the Dallas Cowboys waived linebacker Jonathan Stewart, who spent time on the practice squad last year.
DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH POST DRAFT: Dallas Cowboys scramble to sign priority undrafted free agents | 2014 NFL Draft Prospects
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys added more pieces in the hours and minutes following the conclusion of the 2014 NFL Draft than they did in the three days of the actual event.
No time can be wasted as teams attempt to sign priority undrafted prospects, and the quicker all the players can arrive, the better.
“It’s really pretty interesting logistically…we didn’t know who we drafted until two hours ago,” head coach Jason Garrett said immediately after the draft. “Now we go through the process, what’re the rules of the school, have you finished your exam, have you graduated, you guys on trimester system…We just felt like it’s important to get those guys in here, if we can, to have three bonus days with them before we go into that minicamp next weekend.”
First-round pick Zack Martin and fifth-round pick Devin Street were both at Valley Ranch on Monday. Garrett said fourth-round pick Anthony Hitchens had exams Monday and Tuesday and would arrive after those, while he expected second-round pick Demarcus Lawrence today (Thursday).
“The benefit is simply getting in a meeting room,” Garrett said. “We start there, introduce stuff to them, then on Tuesday and Thursday, they’ll go out with our veteran players on the field, they’ll get an orientation to our strength and conditioning program. These days are valuable. If you have time with them, 45 minutes in the morning, an hour and a half in the afternoon, a couple-three days, you can really learn a lot of football in a short period of time, and we feel like our rookie minicamp will be so much better as a result of that.”
Garrett said with a week in between the draft and the rookie minicamp, players arriving early can be three or four days ahead of where they would be otherwise before taking the field. Coaches also get a better idea of where the player is at physically.
The conditioning of rookies generally pales in comparison to the veterans, who’ve been in the Dallas Cowboys offseason program.
“That’s something we’ve got to be really careful about, really on Tuesday when they go out with our veteran players,” Garrett said. “Our veteran players have been here, and they’re working out and they’re in shape and they’re in our program, so we feel like it’s important to acclimate them to that, but we have to do it very carefully to make sure they’re ready to handle the work.”
The days leading into the rookie minicamp can be valuable. And while it may be unfair, coaches and personnel evaluators may be less inclined to bring in undrafted players with extenuating circumstances forcing them to arrive late.
“I think it impacts that, because it’s always so tight,” Garrett said. “There’s usually a couple guys you’re thinking about, and if the logistics are right with one guy and everything else is even, you’ll probably take that guy. But for the most part, you’re trying to take the best guys, and you can kind of work your way through some of those situations.”
VALLEY RANCH YOUTH MOVEMENT: Dallas Cowboys welcome 31 rookie draft picks & undrafted free agents | Full list of jersey numbers issued
IRVING, Texas – If it hadn’t felt real before, it must have started sinking in today.
The hallways of Valley Ranch have been quiet for much of the past five months, but they sprang to life with players – many of whom had roughly 36 hours to process the realization of a lifelong dream.
In all, the Dallas Cowboys brought in 31 players on Monday – six of their nine draft picks and 25 undrafted free agents. Three of the six draftees, second-rounder Demarcus Lawrence, fourth-rounder Anthony Hitchens, and seventh-rounder Terrance Mitchell. have obligations keeping them from joining the roster until Thursday. Despite that, the Cowboys had enough new players on hand to field a full team.
“It feels good to meet some of the guys and kind of start to get acclimated a little bit,” first rounder Zack Martin said.
Martin has at least had a few days to acclimate, as he was drafted Thursday night and arrived in Dallas on Saturday afternoon. The No. 16 overall pick said it was nice to get the rest of the rookies into town and start working.
“It feels good to be back in football – get in the meeting room and start talking football,” Martin said.
Some of those might know each other better than others, in fact. The Dallas Cowboys added 33 total rookies from 28 different schools, though not all of them are total strangers. Martin lined up opposite Stanford defensive end Ben Gardner for three years during the annual rivalry between the Fighting Irish and Cardinal.
“It was always me and him lining up against each other – we had a good little rivalry,” Gardner said. “He’s a great player and I’m glad we got him. I’m glad to be on his team now, because he’s not the most fun guy to face on game day.”
Gardner said Saturday he could feel the chip on his shoulder growing with every round he slipped in the draft. That’s bound to be a common sentiment around Valley Ranch, as Martin and Demarcus Lawrence are the only rookies on hand taken before the third round.
“I had a lot of mixed emotions, but I said to myself, ‘Anybody gives me a shot, I’m going to go in and give it all I got and make everybody regret who passed me up,’” said fullback J.C. Copeland (undrafted free agent).
All of those emotions are bound to make any player’s first day in the NFL surreal, but it might pack a little more punch for others. Auburn safety Ryan Smith, one of the many undrafted free agents (see list below) signed after the draft, happened to enter the league on his birthday.
“This is probably the best birthday I ever had, even though I’m kind of at work right now,” Smith said.
“It’s just a working process, everything’s just moving fast. But it’ll hit me soon when everything slows down when we get into camp.”
That will come sooner rather than later. Training camp is still several months away, but the rookies begin their first mini-camp on Friday – a much quicker turnaround than usual. It’s a process that’s bound to take some adjusting to, but Smith said it’s starting to settle in.
“Seeing the vets come in, seeing Romo come through the locker room, Dez Bryant, guys like that, it’s just kind of realistic now,” he said.
If it hasn’t settled in yet, it’s going to quickly. The physicals have been administered and the pictures taken. The pads go on soon enough.
“I’ll see when I start hitting somebody,” Copeland said.
As expected, the Dallas Cowboys waived six players to make room for their new rookies.
Most of the players removed from the roster were players the team added after the season as street free agents, or near the end of the 2013 season and placed on the practice squad.
Kearse finished the year on the active roster while Lewis was added to the practice squad.
The Dallas Cowboys need to be at 90 players when the team officially begins training camp on July 24 with the first practice. The first cut-down to 75 players will be in mid-August just before the last preseason game.
Dallas Cowboys 2014 Draft picks …
1 (16) Zack Martin | OG, Notre Dame | Reassigned jersey #70 today*
2 (34) Demarcus Lawrence | DE, Boise State | Assigned jersey #90 today
4 (119) Anthony Hitchens | OLB, Iowa | Assigned jersey #59 today
5 (146) Devin Street | WR, Pittsburgh | Assigned jersey #15 today*
7 (231) Ben Gardner | DE, Stanford | Assigned jersey #71 today*
7 (238) Will Smith | OLB, Texas Tech | Assigned jersey #40 today
7 (248) Ahmad Dixon | SS, Baylor | Assigned jersey #36 today
7 (251) Ken Bishop | DT, Northern Illinois | Assigned jersey #66 today
7 (254) Terrance Mitchell | CB, Oregon | Assigned jersey #30 today
* Zack Martin’s held up jersey #71 on his staged photo, assigned his college jersey #70 today. Gardner will wear #71 this season. WR Devin Street was issued his college jersey #15.
Dallas Cowboys 2014 undrafted free agents …
Josh Aladenoye, OT, Illinois State (Left tackle, could see them trying him inside at guard)
Chris Boyd, WR, Vanderbilt
Brian Clarke, G, Bloomsburg (Right guard, undersized but very strong)
Davon Coleman, DT, Arizona State
J.C. Copeland, FB, LSU (#2 ranked FB in this years draft)
Andre Cureton, G, Cincinnati (Right guard, stout, will need development, coachable)
Casey Kreiter, LS, Iowa
Ben Malena, RB, Texas A&M
Cody Mandell, P, Alabama
Glasco Martin, RB, Baylor (he’s your big thumper to watch)
Jordan Najvar, TE, Baylor
Ronald Patrick, G, South Carolina
Dashaun Phillips, CB, Tarleton State
Jarrod Pughsley, G, Akron
Marvin Robinson, S, Ferris State
Dontavis Sapp, LB, Tennessee
Jocquel Skinner, CB, Bethel
Keith Smith, S, San Jose State
Ryan Smith, S, Auburn
Dustin Vaughan, QB, West Texas A&M
L’Damian Washington, WR, Missouri (Combine 4.39 40, sentimental favorite)
Chris Whaley, DT, Texas (JJ’s “stored nut for winter”, torn ACL last November)
Joe Windsor, Northern Illinois
Evan Wilson, Illinois State
MEET YOUR NEW WIDE RECEIVER: Pro scouting report on Dallas Cowboys WR LaRon “Big” Byrd | NFL free agency 2014
LaRon Byrd | WR, Miami, Fla. | 6-4, 220 | 4.45 | UDFA with Arizona Cardinals 2012
Games Studied: 2012 Pre Season: New Orleans, Kansas City 2012 Regular Season: Chicago
Had to go back and study tape from 2012 because he missed the 2013 season with a concussion. LaRon Byrd is an interesting player due to his physical makeup for the position. Rangy, long build.
Played both on the outside and in the slot when the Cardinals went into “11” personnel. Would line up tight to the formation as a blocker and was more than willing to do the dirty work. Was not afraid to mix it up with defenders on the edge. Was more than just a get in the way blocker.
Really tried to finish his blocks. Would see him get square to the defender and engage. You could see this in his work on special teams when he blocked on the punt and kickoff returns.
Was used as a move guy at times. Would work hard to the flat like he did in the Chiefs game catching the ball on the move, then getting out of bounds to save time in the two minute drill. Aware. Made another adjusting catch over his head working toward the sideline in the same game.
There was some purpose to his route running. Was open against the Saints on a wheel route out of the slot but quarterback did not go his direction but would have had a huge play. Had a feel for how to work himself open against the press.
Would not call him the quickest off the line. Will build up speed as he gets going. Only had one drop on a drag route against the Saints that he should have had. Hands overall looked dependable whether he was catching inside or down the seam.
Took a huge shot from the safety in Cover 2 against the Chiefs and was able to hang onto the ball. There were a couple of snaps where he jumped for the ball where he didn’t need to but made the catch. Would not say that he is a body catcher only because he did have two snatch catches that I saw.
Was on the majority of the special teams for the Cardinals in the game against the Bears. Lined up as the L2 on the kickoff team, left tackle on the kickoff return and inline blocker on the punt return. Appeared to handle his assignments well and without issues.
His size, hands and willingness to show toughness as a blocker and special teamer makes this signing understandable because of the traits that he can bring to the roster. Very low risk signing that could work out well in the end.
Editors note: LaRon Byrd is the tallest Dallas Cowboys wide receiver on the roster. He’s a young, very gifted player with the toughness, work ethic, and character traits that Jason Garrett relishes. With Scott Linehan orchestrating the Dallas Cowboys offense, you can feel assured that Big Byrd will be fully utilized against these 5’11” secondaries. Nice addition.
Related article on The Boys Are Back:
Your Dallas Cowboys wide receivers …
|11||Beasley, Cole||WR||5-8||180||25||2||Southern Methodist|
|88||Bryant, Dez||WR||6-2||222||25||4||Oklahoma State|
|80||Byrd, LaRon||WR||6-4||220||24||3||Miami (Fla.)|
|17||Harris, Dwayne||WR||5-10||207||26||3||East Carolina|
Your Dallas Cowboys wide receivers currently on the practice squad …
|16||Benford, Tim||WR||5-11||193||24||1||Tennessee Tech|
|86||Lewis, Lance||WR||6-2||207||25||1||East Carolina|
|85||Newsome, Jamar||WR||6-1||201||26||1||Central Florida|
2014-2015 ROSTER UPDATE: Dallas Cowboys exercise fifth-year option for LT Tyron Smith | Free Agent wide receiver LaRon Byrd signed
IRVING, Texas – It’s long been viewed as inevitable, but the Dallas Cowboys made it official today by exercising the fifth-year option on Tyron Smith’s contract.
The move extends Smith’s contract through the 2015 season, and it bumps his salary from the roughly $2 million he’ll make in 2014 to $10.039 million in the final year of the deal. That salary is guaranteed, and Smith gets it fully guaranteed if he is still on the Dallas Cowboys roster at the start of the 2015 league year next March.
The next bit of news for Smith will be how this affects his prospects of reaching a long-term deal with the team, though it does buy both parties some time. The Cowboys had until May 2 to exercise the fifth-year option or Smith would have become a free agent next spring.
With the option, Smith now won’t be slated to enter NFL free agency until spring of 2016, but the Cowboys will likely try to lock him up well before that. The 23-year-old Los Angeles native doesn’t turn 24 until December 12, and he is widely considered among the best young offensive tackles in the league, earning his first Pro Bowl selection last season.
Even with the extended contract, Smith is still likely to be one of the Dallas Cowboys top targets for a new deal, along with wide receiver Dez Bryant. It’s been widely speculated one or both players could receive new contracts prior to the 2014 season.
The Cowboys selected Smith No. 9 overall out of USC in the 2011 NFL Draft. He has appeared in 47 of 48 possible games during his career – all of them starts. He played right tackle as a rookie before shifting to left tackle in 2012.
Smith’s emergence as a dominant left tackle helped improve the Cowboys’ much-maligned running game last fall. The Cowboys rushed for 95 yards or more four times in the final six weeks of the season, including four games of 107 yards or more. They managed that just once during the first 10 games of the year. The team’s ground game averaged four yards per rush on attempts to Smith’s side, and five yards per rush on attempts between Smith and guard Ronald Leary.
IRVING, Texas – Regardless of what happens in next week’s NFL draft, the Dallas Cowboys have added a new body to their receiving corps.
The Cowboys confirmed that they’ve signed wide receiver LaRon Byrd, a free agent who was released by the Cardinals earlier in April. The move gives the Cowboys eight receivers on the roster right now, along with Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Dwayne Harris, Tim Benford, Lance Lewis, and Jamar Newsome.
At 6-4, 220 pounds, Byrd is the largest receiver of the bunch.
Byrd entered the 2012 NFL Draft out of Miami but went undrafted. He signed with Arizona and made the active roster, logging one reception for eight yards and two tackles in four games. During the Cardinals’ 2013 preseason, Byrd suffered a concussion and was placed on the team’s reserved/injured list. He was placed on Arizona’s injured reserve after clearing waivers.
The Cardinals released Byrd on April 4 after signing two offensive linemen and a defensive tackle.
Byrd was a four-year contributor with the Hurricanes, from 2008-11. He finished his career with 106 receptions for 1,254 yards and seven touchdowns. He set a career high in 2009 with 33 receptions for 460 yards.