FOUR HORSES IN THE CORRAL: Meet your new Dallas Cowboys RB Rod Smith | RB Christine Michael brings power punch | RB Position Analysis | Boys Bye-Week Breakdown 2015
The running back position stands to look drastically different than it did just a month ago. Continue reading →
2014 PRESEASON ROSTER RUNDOWN: Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr returns | Stephen Goodin, Tom Hornsey added; Andre Cureton and Cody Mandell released | OG Brian Clarke cut; replaced with AFL veteran Wayne Tribue | DB’s debut | Club expected to sign RB D.J. Adams; release Ben Malena
Brandon Carr: I Worked Out In a Church Parking Lot | 5:07 | Dallas Cowboys CB Brandon Carr returned to training camp after the passing of his mother last week. He talked about those difficult times and the support he received from his teammates. (Watch | Listen)
DEZ DUO IN BIG-D: Dallas Cowboys sign WR Dezmon Briscoe to 2014-2015 training camp roster; DT Chris Whaley waived
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys added another Dez to the receiving group, less than 24 hours before the team departs for training camp.
MEET YOUR NEW TIGHT END: Dallas Cowboys add TE Dallas Walker prior to Training Camp | Dallas Cowboys Roster 2014-2015
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys didn’t wait for training camp to make their next addition.
QUARTERBACKUP SAGA ENDS: Kyle Orton released by the Dallas Cowboys | 2014-2015 quarterback position outlook | Four QBs Remaining | Analysis
IRVING, Texas – The standoff between Kyle Orton and the Dallas Cowboys is over. And from the looks of things, Orton is getting what he wanted all along.
The Dallas Cowboys officially cut the backup quarterback in a move that was made official today (Wednesday).
Orton did not participate in any of the Cowboys’ offseason practices or workouts, missing all of the OTAs and minicamp sessions. Although Orton has not made public comments this offseason, it has been believed he has hinted at retirement.
DALLAS COWBOYS ROSTER UPDATE: Standout CB Tyler Patmon replaces injured S Marvin Robinson | Dallas Cowboys Injury Update 2014
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys signed their first player from the rookie mini-camp workouts last weekend in cornerback Tyler Patmon, an undrafted rookie from Oklahoma State.
Patmon, whom defensive coach Monte Kiffin said reminded him on a “younger Ronde Barber,” turned more than a few heads last weekend at Valley Ranch.
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.
ARMED FOR THE OFFSEASON: Dallas Cowboys sign QB Caleb Hanie for depth | Kyle Orton’s absence continues
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys added another arm by signing a one-year deal with quarterback Caleb Hanie.
DON’T MEET YOUR NEW DALLAS COWBOY: Veteran LB Will Herring brings special teams leadership and depth to defense | Professional Scouting Report | NFL Free Agency 2014 | UPDATED
UPDATE: HERRING AND COWBOYS DEAL IS NOW OFF THE TABLE
IRVING, Texas – The deal between the Dallas Cowboys and former Saints linebacker Will Herring is now off.
Herring had announced the agreement with the Cowboys on Thursday on Twitter, stating that he’s “blessed to be playing in Big D this year and to be a part of the Cowboys’ organization,” but the deal fell apart by Friday before Herring had signed.
It was a mutual parting of the ways that had to do with the language of the contract.
The move would have been the third signing for the Dallas Cowboys in free agency, after inking deals with defensive end Jeremy Mincey and defensive tackle Terrell McClain.
Herring’s signing would have also put into question the future of Danny McCray, the Cowboys’ special teams star who’s now an unrestricted free agent. Herring finished second on the Saints with seven special teams tackles last season.
EDITORS NOTE: If you’re a regular reader, you already know The Boys Are Back website goes to extraordinary lengths to make sure information is ‘official’ and “accurate” before it’s posted here. This site is not a rumor mill. We wait for official confirmations and verify stories via multiple inside sources before anything is posted here. Our apologies. The team and Herring’s agent had a verbal agreement that broke down this afternoon regarding language in the contract. Deals off.
INITIAL REPORT FROM THE OFFICIAL DALLAS COWBOYS RESOURCE:
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have now signed a third player in free agency, adding veteran linebacker Will Herring.
The seven-year pro first announced the move on Twitter, saying “blessed to be playing in Big D this year and to be a part of the Cowboys’ organization”
Herring, a fifth-round pick of Auburn in 2007, spent four years in Seattle and the last three in New Orleans, where he played all 16 games each of the last two seasons, registering 13 tackles in each year.
Herring spent the last three seasons with the New Orleans Saints, playing mostly special teams and backup linebacker. He was the Saints’ special teams captain in 2013.
In his three years with the Saints, Herring started three games and had 35 tackles, two interceptions and forced one fumble. He joined the Saints after a four-year run with the Seattle Seahawks. He had three tackles on defense and two on special teams in New Orleans’ win against the Cowboys last season.
This move could signal the end of free agent Danny McCray’s time with the Cowboys. The team’s most productive coverage player since 2010, McCray is an unrestricted free agent.
Editors note: Herring was signed to a one year contract. The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed by the team at this time.
Scouting Report: Herring Stands Out On Special Teams
Will Herring | Linebacker, Auburn | Height/Weight: 6-3/235
Drafted: Fifth round, No. 161 overall, 2007 Draft by Seattle
Games Studied: 2013 preseason vs. Kansas City, Oakland, Houston; regular season vs. Dallas
Herring was mainly used as a special teams player during his three seasons with the New Orleans Saints — my look at him as a linebacker was from preseason film. He’s 6-3, 235 pounds and can play all three positions, but he’s most likely better suited to play as a weak side linebacker in this scheme (Editors note: That would put him in as Bruce Carter’s backup if the positions remain the same as 2013).
In Rob Ryan’s 3-4 scheme, Herring played as a weak inside linebacker for the Saints last season. He has a nose for the ball, and an easy flow and drop in coverage. He’s aware of the back out of the backfield and assignment to pick up — able to see the ball, than drive on it to make a wrap up tackle.
In the preseason tape against the Chiefs, he was a little too aggressive when it came to their waggle packages and defending them. He went hard after the fakes but while reading was reacting in a hurry. Herring isn’t the biggest player weight-wise, so he has to keep himself active to avoid blocks. Works with his hands and feet to keep himself free. Herring is aware to take his hands, jam the blocker, then move to the ball — you see him do this in his special teams as well.
He plays on the edge of the blocker more than square, but he’s effective in the way he does this. When he sees the ball, he will go get it. There were several times where he beat the blockers to the spot and was able to either make the tackle or be near the ball.
If he has an issue as a tackler, it’s not the physical side of wrapping up, but he will over-shoot the ball carrier with his angle because of his aggressive play. There were a couple of snaps where he freed himself but just overran the play. He moves well in coverage and appears to have an understanding of where he needs to be — whether that is in zone or man. He’s aware of crossers in zone and doesn’t labor in his movements — plays with a burst. Judging from the tape, he knows how to work through the traffic, doesn’t get hung up or slowed down.
All of that said, where Herring makes his living is as a special teamer. He plays as the center in the kickoff return, punt return blocker, L3, L4, L5 on the kick off team. He’s the left guard on punt team and field goal rush. On special teams, he showed the same traits he had on defensive snaps — nose for the ball, the use of hands and the wrap up tackle.
He runs well on the cover teams and keeps his eyes open and aware of blockers. Has a plan when he covers. I’d like for him to better a little better on his sustain as a blocker when he becomes engaged. He hustled down the field on the kickoff coverage. In the Dallas game, he was able to control James Hanna at the point, then make the tackle inside the 20 on Dwayne Harris.
With the Cowboys, he will be asked here to be a backup linebacker most likely as a Will but more importantly as a core special teamer in all phases of the kicking game. There are plenty more positives to his game than negatives.
Special Thanks: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Professional Scout
MONMOUTH MAN MILES APART: Dallas Cowboys receiver Miles Austin designated as post-June 1 cut | Release creates cap cash earmarked for 2014 NFL Draft picks
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys parted ways with Miles Austin today, ending several months’ worth of speculation about the veteran wide receiver.
Austin was designated as a post-June 1 cut, which will allow the team to spread his considerable cap hit over the next two years. The move will save the team $5.5 million against the salary cap this season, though that money will be unavailable until after June 1 — the Cowboys would likely use the savings to sign their 2014 draft picks.
However, the 29-year-old veteran will also cost the Cowboys $5.1 million in 2015, thanks to the June 1 designation.
The decision confirms what many had long suspected about Austin since he missed five games and grabbed just 24 catches for 244 yards last season. The undrafted free agent had four seasons remaining on a seven-year, $54 million deal that would been a massive blow to the Cowboys’ future salary cap figures.
Austin earned that big contract with a breakout season for the ages in 2009. Signed out of Division III Monmouth after the 2006 NFL Draft, he earned a place on the Cowboys’ roster for three seasons — mainly as a special teamer.
Following the release of Terrell Owens in 2009, Austin moved into position for more playing time at receiver. After tallying just four catches for 81 yards in the first month of the season, an injury to Roy Williams pushed Austin into the starting lineup in an October 11 matchup against Kansas City, where he exploded for a franchise-record 250 yards, including two touchdowns, on 10 receptions.
Austin tallied a whopping 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns on 81 catches in 2009, and he followed that up with a 69-catch, 1,041-yard, seven-touchdown effort in 2010. He earned Pro Bowl nods in both seasons.
Injuries have either hampered or derailed him in every season since. Austin missed six games and finished with just 579 yards, largely thanks to hamstring injuries — the same injuries that would wreck his 2013 campaign.
Austin did manage 66 catches for 943 yards and six scores in 2012, though injuries again limited his productivity.
All told, the veteran wideout missed 11 games and averaged just 588 yards per season in his last three years as a Cowboy.
The move will likely push second-year receiver Terrance Williams into the starting lineup for good. Williams worked his way into the lineup last fall partly thanks to Austin’s injuries, and he made the most of the opportunity. The rookie started eight games opposite Dez Bryant, and he nabbed 44 receptions for 736 yards and five touchdowns.
The worst defensive team in the NFL just parted ways with its most dynamic player.
The post-DeMarcus Ware era is upon us, and don’t believe for a minute that he and his agent will simply test the free-agent waters.
Ware will get the offer he wants. Ware is likely gone.
How can this possibly be a good thing for the league’s 32nd-ranked defense, given that Ware is only 31-years-old?
It’s mostly — but not entirely — a case of money.
We applaud the forward thinking teams of this league that use the unique status of NFL contracts, cutting players when they are simply starting to leave the prime of their careers in order to make room for newer, younger, cheaper talent.
New England has been doing this for a decade. The New York Giants do it. The New Orleans Saints just cast off about half their defense (it seemed) to retool and invest in the future.
The Cowboys? That’s the team that always keeping the salary cap at bay by re-working contracts and moving today’s problems into tomorrow land.
In large part, those past re-workings caught up with the Dallas Cowboys today. DeMarcus Ware was never supposed to count more than $16 million against the cap, but the club had shifted his money and his cap figure down the line until this crossroads was reached.
We don’t know what sort of reduction (if any) that Ware and his agent, Pat Dye, were willing to take in order to stay in Dallas. It sounds as if they were against any sort of pay cut.
They needed a decision by the time free-agency arrived at 3 p.m. They got their wish. The Dallas Cowboys cut a Ring of Honor candidate. See the press release below.
Given that no one really knows the answer to how much Ware was in decline last year or how much injuries contributed.
Jerry Jones chose not to shove today’s worries into next year’s cap. It’s possible that Ware signs with a 3-4 team, returns to his old outside linebacker position and goes to the 2014 Pro Bowl.
After all, someone drafted Ware in 2005 when head coach Bill Parcells was pushing for another outside linebacker, Shawne Merriman, who began his pro career with three straight Pro Bowl trips for San Diego. Merriman faded quickly after that. He retired from the NFL a year ago.
Ware, undoubtedly, has football left in him, but his decline in sacks the last two seasons (from 19.5 to 11.5 to 6) is a good indicator of which way he’s most likely headed.
The pertinent question now is: What do the Cowboys do?
They suddenly find themselves with $9 million in cap room, a figure that will grow beyond $14 million if wide receiver Miles Austin gets his official walking papers in June.
It’s almost certain Dallas will remain on the sidelines as the big free-agency dollars are passed out. That’s a good thing. The Cowboys’ plays as big spenders have almost never panned out, and the same goes for other clubs.
But they have to do something. And they have to absolutely nail their first two picks in a May draft that is filled with defensive linemen.
In hindsight, many Dallas Cowboys fans wish Jones has learned this lesson a year ago when he was giving all that money to Jay Ratliff, a failed attempt to placate the recalcitrant tackle.
Dallas Cowboys press release announcing release of DeMarcus Ware:
The Dallas Cowboys released defensive end DeMarcus Ware Tuesday. Ware, who was Dallas’ first first-round draft pick in 2005 (11th overall), is the club’s all-time sack leader (117.0). In his nine years with the team, Ware earned seven consecutive Pro Bowl appearances — tied for the fourth-longest streak in team history — and racked up seven straight seasons with 10 or more sacks (2006-12). Jared Allen (2007-13) is the only other league defender with seven consecutive 10-sack seasons since 2006.
A decision like this, involving a man who is a cornerstone player in the history of your franchise, is extremely difficult,” said Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones.
“After meeting this afternoon, DeMarcus and I agreed on an understanding that would allow him to explore the options he will have for the 2014 season and beyond. We were also in very strong agreement that playing for the Dallas Cowboys would be one of the options we would both be exploring.
“DeMarcus Ware, through his performance on the field and his outstanding character, is someone who is held in the highest regard within the Dallas Cowboys family. He is worthy of our greatest respect, and we want what is best for him and his family.”
In 2008 Ware established a club record and league-high 20.0 sacks, becoming only the seventh league defender to reach 20.0 in a season at the time and was named the 2008 NFC Defensive Player of the Year. En route to his 20.0 sacks in 2008, Ware put together a streak of 10 straight games (beginning in 2007) with at least one full sack, tying Simon Fletcher (1992-93) for the longest sack streak in NFL history.
In 2010 Ware led the league with 15.5 sacks to become only the fifth league defender to lead the NFL in sacks multiple times (Mark Gastineau, Reggie White, Kevin Greene and Michael Strahan). The very next season, Ware racked up 19.5 sacks to join Gastineau as the only league defenders with two seasons of 19.0-or-more sacks.
Through his nine seasons in Dallas, Ware posted the top-four single-season sack figures by a club linebacker – prior to making the switch to defensive end in 2013 – and four of the top-five single-season figures by any club defender.
Ware was a two-time winner of the Dick Butkus Award (honoring the league’s top linebackers). He won the first ever professional Butkus Award in 2008 and was a co-winner with Terrell Suggs in 2011. Ware was named All-Pro seven times, All-NFC three times, NFC Defensive Player of the Week four times, won the club’s Bob Lilly Award two times and was the team’s Man of the Year once.
Ware leaves Dallas with 710 tackles (ninth in club history), his club-best 117.0 sacks, 58 tackles for losses, 259 quarterback pressures and 32 forced fumbles – the most in club history since 1994 when the stat was first tracked.”
HEART ON HIS SHOULDER PADS: DeMarcus Ware’s grit and dedication to play injured leads shortened Dallas Cowboy career
Shoulder surgery last offseason. Elbow surgery this offseason. Nagging neck and back injuries, along with a reoccurring hamstring issue.
Oh, and there’s a quad injury in the middle of last season – the only injury to actually keep him out of a game.
Now as the seven-time Pro Bowler has been officially released by the Dallas Cowboys, you have to wonder if DeMarcus Ware wishes he would’ve missed more time. Maybe things could’ve been different.
In sports, we love the stories about Jack Youngblood playing in the Super Bowl with a broken leg. Or Willis Reed’s miraculous return to the court. And Curt Schilling pitching in the playoffs with a bloody sock. Don’t forget Michael Jordan playing in the NBA Finals with the flu.
Those are some of the moments that we’ll always remember. And it’s moments like those, and even ones closer to home like Emmitt Smith’s 1993 season finale against the Giants, that put the perception in our heads that players should always, without fail, do whatever it takes to get on the field.
But when it doesn’t work out so well, playing hurt can be costly.
Ware is now proof of that.
This guy probably had no business playing the last few games of the 2012 season, but his team was in a playoff push. So he pushed along. He played with a bad back, a bad hamstring, a bad shoulder and two bad elbows. And guess what, he wasn’t that great because of it.
Ware limped to the end of that year with 11.5 sacks.
By last summer he seemed completely recharged. He was an absolute beast in training camp, making some worry about offensive tackle Tyron Smith’s future because he was getting beat every snap it seemed.
Ware picked off the first pass of the season against the Giants and had four sacks in the first four games. Then, the injuries hit once again. And while I don’t think he was as ineffective at the end of this year compared to the previous one, he wasn’t the Ware we all remembered.
You have to wonder if things would now be different if he had just shut it down for one of those years. Say he can’t go at all and is placed on IR. Is the result the same?
We don’t know the answer to that, and we’ll ever get one. Sure, he’s still going to be labeled injury-prone but he wouldn’t have put average tape on himself in the process.
The Dallas Cowboys have some other guys on this team who don’t seem to play at less than 100 percent. They sit out until they’re ready to go and maybe that’s the right approach.
Ware missed three games in the middle of this year and came back for the Saints game, where it appeared the quad injury was still giving him problems. And that’s the nature of a quad injury. Yeah, you can get it good enough to play, but that’s where your power comes from. He never really had full strength in that leg the rest of the season.
And the elbows? That’s where your need your arms to bull-rush. He didn’t have elbow strength or quad strength, and therefore, he wasn’t beating many tackles, if any, by the end of the year.
Out of pride, and as someone trying not to make excuses, Ware told reporters last December he wasn’t hurt and vowed to play better. But he was hurt. He was more than hurt. But by saying that, it allows his critics to believe that he’s washed up because he’s not producing.
Well, maybe there’s a reason for it.
Who knows what’s next for Ware. Maybe his play has declined to the point where he’ll never be a factor. Maybe the injuries will be too much to overcome.
He tried to play through it last year and the year before and it didn’t work. In hindsight, it appears – without us being behind closed doors and not privy to all of the information – he’s been judged unfairly because of it.
But, good luck to him. DeMarcus Ware will eventually re-sign with the Dallas Cowboys, but probably for a one-deal before he goes into the Ring of Honor.
Related video …
Initial reaction to DeMarcus Ware’s release by the Dallas Cowboys | 4:57
VALLEY RANCH TRIAL SEPARATION: Despite his release, it’s still possible that the Dallas Cowboys could re-sign DeMarcus Ware
DeMarcus Ware is convinced he can make more money in free agency than the Dallas Cowboys are willing to pay, but is open to returning to the club if the market doesn’t support his stance.
Call it a trial separation.
Will that scenario unfold? It appears unlikely. There are quality teams with enough room under the salary cap to believe at least one of them will come up with the money that Ware seeks. Philadelphia is one potential suitor.
But today’s parting was described as amicable and no doors have been shut.
Ware knows to get the sort of contract he expects the offer will likely come in the first few days of free agency. If that offer doesn’t come he has told the Dallas Cowboys he would be willing to return. The source said Ware also indicated that before he signs with another team he will inform the Cowboys of the offer.
The club has told the seven-time Pro Bowler they want him on the roster in 2014 but at a base salary significantly less than the $12.25 million he was scheduled to receive.
Neither side has ruled out that they will be able to find an acceptable middle ground. Jones acknowledged as much in the release the club issued this afternoon announcing Ware’s release.
“DeMarcus and I agreed on an understanding that would allow him to explore the options he will have for the 2014 season and beyond,’’ Jones said. “We were also in very strong agreement that playing for the Dallas Cowboys would be one of the options we would both be exploring.’’
It will not be a prolonged exploration. Both sides recognize the need to move swiftly. If Ware doesn’t return, the Dallas Cowboys must use the $7.4 million freed up by Ware’s release and the $1.1 million it already had to find his replacements at defensive end.
The relationship may continue. But for now, the two have parted ways.
HAPPY TRAILS COWBOY: DeMarcus Ware to put his boots under someone else’s bed | Dallas legend sacked after nine seasons
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys’ leader in sacks is no longer a member of the franchise.
DeMarcus Ware, who’s gone to seven Pro Bowls and compiled 117 sacks in nine seasons with the Cowboys since being selected by Dallas in the first round of the 2005 draft, was released Tuesday.
“A decision like this, involving a man who is a cornerstone player in the history of your franchise, is extremely difficult,” said owner/general manager Jerry Jones in a statement.
Ware’s multiple restructures led to a $12.25 million base salary and $16 million cap hit for the 2014 season. By releasing Ware, one of the most decorated players to ever don a Cowboys jersey, the team saves $7.4 million in cap space.
The Cowboys were already $2 million under the cap after cutting Phil Costa, reworking the deal of Mackenzy Bernadeau and restructuring Tony Romo, Orlando Scandrick and Sean Lee. Ware reportedly wanted a decision made on his future before free agency began, and the Cowboys weren’t going to have him play on his current deal.
This move gives the Cowboys, who are set to lose Jason Hatcher and Anthony Spencer to free agency, much more room to work with to bring one of their own players back or to make a move in free agency. But it also means losing an icon who will go down as one of the all-time great defensive players in the game.
That doesn’t mean a return to Dallas is completely out of the question, according to Jones. But as free agency begins, Ware will get to test the market and the many options around the league.
“After meeting this afternoon, DeMarcus and I agreed on an understanding that would allow him to explore the options he will have for the 2014 season and beyond,” Jones said. “We were also in very strong agreement that playing for the Dallas Cowboys would be one of the options we would both be exploring.”
Ware had a couple of hefty streaks snapped last season. He’d compiled seven straight double-digit sack seasons before falling down to six sacks in 2013, and he’d played in all 16 games in each of his first eight seasons before missing three games last year.
Injuries have been the story for Ware in recent seasons. He’s dealt with a plethora of different ones, including quad, hamstring, elbow, shoulder, neck and back problems the last two years alone. He’s undergone elbow and shoulder surgeries the last two offseasons and missed the first three games of his career with a quad strain.
The 2013 season began promisingly for Ware after a tremendous training camp. He was easily the standout defensive player in Oxnard, Calif., and he followed that up by compiling four sacks in the first three games of the regular season, becoming the team’s all-time sacks leader in the process. Then the injuries kicked in, and he had just two more sacks the rest of the way.
The Cowboys wanted to keep him for the 2014 season, but only at a reduced rate. His cap hit in 2014 would have been twice what it was the year prior. His base salary was just $840,000 and his cap hit was $8 million in 2013. The Cowboys decided to part ways with Ware and save cap space after a meeting between the two sides. They can save another $5.5 million in room if they designate Miles Austin, who’s set to count $8.25 million against the cap, a post-June 1 cut.
Ware’s release gives the Cowboys more money to work with, but they currently have no proven talent to replace a player on the outside of Ware’s caliber.
Among Ware’s many accomplishments and accolades are a 20-sack season in 2008, when he was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Year, and a 19.5-sack year just three seasons ago in 2011. Ware and Mark Gastineau are the only two players in league history with two seasons of 19 or more sacks.
“DeMarcus Ware, through his performance on the field and his outstanding character, is someone who is held in the highest regard within the Dallas Cowboys family,” Jones said. “He is worthy of our greatest respect, and we want what is best for him and his family.”
The Cowboys save cap space but lose a player many consider to be the face of the franchise. Even with Ware’s career-low six sacks, he still finished third on the team in the category in 2013.
With Spencer set to become a free agent, no other Dallas defensive end currently on the roster for the 2014 season has more than 10 career sacks. George Selvie would be the leader with exactly 10 after last year’s seven-sack season.
DALLAS COWBOYS NFL SALARY CAP: Team under 2014-2015 cap after releasing Phil Costa and renegotiating Mackenzy Bernadeau contract | DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin decisions pending
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys are now under the salary cap after cutting the center many thought could be the starter prior to last year’s draft.
The Cowboys cut Phil Costa and renegotiated the contract of Mackenzy Bernadeau on Friday, putting themselves in better position financially prior to the start of free agency on March 11, which is the beginning of the new league year and the time all teams must be under the cap.
The restructuring of Tony Romo, Orlando Scandrick and Sean Lee already saved the Cowboys more than $16 million in cap space, and the move to release Costa saves another $1.5 million. Despite their continual cap restraints, the Dallas Cowboys will have no issue being under the new cap figure next week.
Costa appeared in only six games the last two seasons after starting all 16 games at center in 2011. He started three games at center in 2012 before injuries cut his season short. Costa, who signed a two-year deal worth $2.7 million last year, appeared in three games in 2013, but rookie Travis Frederick started all 16 games at center.
Costa’s been with the Cowboys since signing in Dallas as an undrafted free agent in 2010 out of Maryland, playing in a total of 26 games with 20 starts. He didn’t take a pay cut, and the Cowboys decided to part ways with the center to help get under the cap.
The Cowboys also saved cap space by renegotiating Bernadeau, who came on strong at the end of the 2013 season after getting replaced by Brian Waters. Bernadeau started the first three games of the season before the change was made, and the offensive line remained a strong point of the team when Bernadeau returned to the starting lineup for the final eight games of the season. Bernadeau will challenge for a starting guard spot in 2014.
The Dallas Cowboys sat high above the projected cap figure just weeks ago but figured out a way to get under the cap relatively smoothly and much more easily than many (in the media) anticipated.
If nothing changes, Ware will count $16 million against the cap and Austin will count $8.25 million against the cap. The Cowboys can save $7.4 million by releasing Ware and $5.5 million by designating Austin a post-June 1 cut. Of course, the Dallas Cowboys could also rework Ware’s deal to save cap space if he’s willing to cooperate on a reduction.
RELATED: DeMarcus Ware will listen to Dallas Cowboys offer
Former Pro Bowl defensive end DeMarcus Ware doesn’t want to take a pay cut but will listen to the Dallas Cowboys thoughts about a restructured deal.
He also hopes for a quick resolution.
The Cowboys informed Ware and representatives earlier this week about their need to lower his salary and cap figure. Ware is due a base salary of $12.25 million in 2014 with a salary cap hit of $16 million. The team would save $7.8 million if they cut Ware.
However, the Cowboys say they want the team’s all-time leading sacker back in 2014.
Ware will be 32 next season and recently underwent surgery for second consecutive off season. He had a career-low six sacks in 2013 when he has hampered by neck, quad and elbow injuries.
Ware expects to be back to his old dominant ways after surgery to repair nerve damage in his elbow last month. He will listen to the Cowboys thoughts on a restructured deal but remains hesitant about taking a major shave in salary.
Ware, who is shoo-in for the Cowboys’ hallowed Ring of Honor and likely future Hall of Famer, is expecting to draw a lot of interest on the free-agent market if he is released.
A decision on Ware would allow them to set a game plan for the start of free agency.
The Cowboys must address the defensive end position in the draft and free agency. Without Ware, it makes the situation even more acute because there are no players on the roster with his talent or prior production.
Even during an injury-plagued and limited 2013 campaign, Ware was ranked by Pro Football Focus as the ninth-most productive 4-3 defensive end as a pass-rusher and third in run-stop percentage. Ware was picked 11th overall by the Dallas Cowboys in 2005 NFL Draft. He has 117 sacks in nine years to rank first in team history and 18th in NFL history.
DALLAS COWBOYS ROSTER 2014: Team waives four players as Free Agency nears | Defensive End Everette Brown released
IRVING, Texas – After a quiet few weeks of the offseason, the Dallas Cowboys made a few roster moves, cutting four players from the roster.
The most notable was defensive end Everette Brown, who played in seven games during the second half of the season.
The team also waived defensive tackle Corvey Irvin, guard Ray Dominguez and guard Jeff Olson, who was only with the team for a week in training camp and suffered a concussion. He was on the team’s reserved/injured list. Dominguez was on the practice squad all last season, while Irvin was a late-season addition at defensive tackle.
Brown garnered more attention about where he came from than when he was actually in uniform. The defensive end was just a few days away from opening up a Smoothie shop in Charlotte when he got the call to come help the Cowboys’ injury-plagued defensive line.
Brown finished the year with seven tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss and four pressures. His sack and forced fumble against the Vikings helped the Cowboys halt a late-Minnesota rally.
Free agency officially begins March 11 although teams can negotiate with their own unrestricted and restricted free agents. Some of the key free agents for the Dallas Cowboys include defensive tackle Jason Hatcher and defensive end Anthony Spencer.
2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Free Agents
Jon Kitna, QB
Brian Waters, OL
Ryan Cook, OL
Anthony Spencer, DE/LB
Jarius Wynn, DE
Jason Hatcher, DT
Edgar Jones, LB
Ernie Sims, LB
Danny McCray, S
IRVING, Texas — Maybe there is a different way to look at Jerry Jones’ decision to keep Jason Garrett as the Dallas Cowboys’ head coach for a fourth season.
Maybe the owner is aware the general manager has not delivered enough for the head coach to have more than an 8-8 record. Bill Parcells used to say the goal was to get his team to play to the level that he perceived it to be.
Jerry Jones must allow Jason Garrett more control of his own fate.
Could Jones be conceding he has not done enough for Garrett, despite his statements that the Dallas Cowboys had a chance to not only make the playoffs but make a run to the Super Bowl as well? It requires you to believe Jones separates the owner job description from the general manager job description, but it is not that far-fetched.
Late in the season, Jones mentioned the team lacked the personnel in some key spots because of injuries. Of the 12 regulars — including the nickel corner — on defense, seven were in their projected spots when training camp began in the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles. Orlando Scandrick and Morris Claiborne essentially flipped roles. George Selvie, Nick Hayden, DeVonte Holloman, Kyle Wilber, and Jeff Heath were starters.
Perhaps Garrett maximized the 8-8 finish this year and last year because of injuries.
In his address to the media Monday, Garrett repeated the statement he made after the 2012 season ended in a Week 17 loss in an NFC East title game: it takes time to build a program. While he acknowledged wins and losses matter most, he failed to recognize the guy he lost to last week, Chip Kelly, was in his first year and took over a 4-12 team. Mike McCoy brought the San Diego Chargers to the playoffs in his first year. Andy Reid took the Kansas City Chiefs to the postseason after they had the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft.
Jerry Jones has a lot invested in Garrett beyond money. He believes in how Garrett is building the team and how he prepares the team. Quibble about the execution, but players’ effort has not been an issue with Garrett as coach. Jones wants Garrett to be his long-term coach. If Garrett finishes out 2014, only Jimmy Johnson will have coached the Cowboys longer under Jones.
Jones is right to bring back Garrett in 2014.
What he needs to do now is allow Garrett more control of his own fate. If Garrett wants to call plays, then let Garrett call plays. If Garrett wants to change the defensive coordinator, then let him, and if he doesn’t want to replace Monte Kiffin, Garrett will only be hurting himself.
Jones made sure everybody was “uncomfortable” in 2013 and it produced the same 8-8 record. He wanted Bill Callahan to call plays. He wanted Kiffin. He wanted Tony Romo more involved in the offense. He wanted Garrett to become a walk-around head coach.
Much will be made of Garrett’s lame-duck status in 2014 but if he doesn’t win, then he shouldn’t get an extension.
The pressure will be good.
It’s time Jones is “uncomfortable.” At least a little bit anyway.
IRVING, Texas – A quick look at new defensive tackle Frank Kearse, who the Dallas Cowboys added to their roster earlier this week.
Frank Kearse: 6-4 | 315 | 5.31 40-yard dash | Alabama A&M.
Has spent time with the Dolphins and Panthers before landing on the practice squad of the Titans this season.
Drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the seventh round of 2011 NFL Draft
Game film studied:
Carolina 2012 season against Miami, Kansas City, Atlanta, San Diego.
Will play as a one-technique in this scheme. Might be better suited to play as an end in a 3-4 but gives you some size inside at the one.
Is not that quick-twitch type of player that Rod Marinelli is accustomed to playing with, but his power is impressive.
Gets more push with power and upper body strength than he does with pass rush moves. Can walk blockers back.
Can be difficult to move at the point of attack at times. Able to hold up against double teams. Observed him holding off blocker with one arm.
Is active when it comes to moving down the line and working toward the ball. Showed some mobility.
Was able to redirect and change directions. Not a stiff moving player. Can play the low block and keep balance.
Had a nice sack against the Falcons where he defeated the double team with power, collapsed the pocket on Matt Ryan.
Was very impressed how he battled Max Unger from the Seahawks. In the plays he had, never allowed him to control him in the running game.
There were some snaps where I thought he could have played better with his hands, and when he didn’t that got him in trouble. Would help him shed blockers better.
COWBOYS VS. REDSKINS PRIMER: Jason Garrett press conference | 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys game 15 of 16 | Wednesday
Jason Garrett Press Conference: Cowboys vs. Redskins | Wednesday Practice (13:35)
- Addressing the “available” linebacker’s roles in practices and upcoming game
- If ever been in similar position of ‘not knowing’ what players will be available on gameday
- How do you help the defense with even more injuries on offense than last week
- Any scheme changes planned to help boost the offensive output
- Is it easier to gameplan with replacement players when QB is a traditional type player
- How do you combat against the types of beatdowns the Cowboys have faced recently
- How do you keep faith in Tony Romo when you start seeing late in game mistakes
- Does Romo need to be convinced how good the running game can be right now
- If JG is surprised by recent improvement in the running game
- OLs adaption and recent success with the zone blocking scheme
- Addressing Dwayne Harris’ injury situation regarding gameday
- What’s wrong with Terrance Williams this week
- The recent impact of losing the Special Teams field position with Harris being out
- The signing of new (big) defensive lineman Frank Kearse
- With LB Orie Lemon back, where does he best fit in this defense (W/M/S)
- Miles Austin’s return (from injury) has been incrementally better; grade on last game
- What is it about Jim Haslett defense that holds Cowboys offense back (scoring)
- Latest on Sean Lee and Ernie Sims injuries
- Sean Lee’s tests and results from them
- How did Holloman do (film room) with filling in for Sean Lee in last game
- Dealing with headset issue for the middle linebacker (went out in Green Bay game)
- Anticipate using a ‘dime package’ this week vs. Washington Redskins
- Was Jason Hatcher hurt or did he just have a bad game vs. Packers
- How effective can the Cowboys be with personnel packages due to lack of depth
- Has Brandon Carr lost his confidence
- Why is he not playing as well as he has earlier in the season
- Are teams targeting Carr more in the past couple of weeks
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DALLAS COWBOYS INJURY UPDATE: Several key players not practicing today | Terrance Williams pulls hamstring | Special Teams veteran added to roster | Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins | 2013-2014 NFL Game 15 of 16
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys returned to practice at Valley Ranch with several players not in attendance, as expected.
In fact, there were a handful out on the field working with strength coaches and the athletic trainers.
Among those players included DeMarcus Ware, who has been slowed by a quad strain this year, although he has played the last five games.
Terrance Williams (see below), the latest player to suffer a hamstring injury, was on the field going through stretches, along with Morris Claiborne (hamstring) and Ernie Sims (groin/hip). Wide receiver Dwayne Harris was also in that group as he is recovering from a hamstring injury as well.
Defensive end George Selvie was in uniform but standing to the side. He might get limited work when the team turns in the official report.
For some good news, the Dallas Cowboys did have Bruce Carter out there practicing. The team was in full pads and Carter was participating. The defense could certainly use his experience and leadership for a linebacker corps that has been derailed by injuries. Sean Lee was not practicing or on the field because of a neck injury he sustained against the Bears.
If Carter can play, he will likely join rookie DeVonte Holloman and Kyle Wilber as the starters, although Orie Lemon has been re-signed and practiced today. Rookie Cameron Lawrence is an option as well.
On offense, Michael Spurlock (see below) was practicing at receiver, wearing No. 15. He will also help in the return game, especially if Williams is out this week.
RELATED: Rookie WR Terrance Williams suffers latest hamstring injury
IRVING, Texas – Terrance Williams may not be available for the Dallas Cowboys Week 16 game against Washington, coach Jason Garrett said today.
Garrett said at his daily press conference that injured his hamstring during the team’s loss to Green Bay last weekend. He said Williams “may or may not be available” to play.
“Terrance has a little bit of a tweak to his hamstring,” he said.
That news adds another name to the list of hamstring injuries the 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys have suffered since the season started. For those keeping track, Sean Lee, Justin Durant, Morris Claiborne, Dwayne Harris, Bruce Carter, Barry Church, Miles Austin, Danny McCray, Lance Dunbar, Dez Bryant, Gavin Escobar and now Terrence Williams have all dealt with hamstring problems for varying amounts of time.
Garrett also said that Harris’ injury status is also undetermined for the Redskins game. The loss of both players would be a blow to the Cowboys’ depth at receiver, but it would also leave the team without its preferred punt and kick returners.
The Dallas Cowboys are looking into “contingency plans” in the event neither receiver is able to go, including signing of veteran return man Michael Spurlock (see below).
“We have to make sure we have some options. Joseph Randle is certainly in the mix there – someone who has done that before,” Garrett said. “We signed Michael Spurlock to come in. He’s been a returner in this league – both a punt returner and a kickoff returner. He also helps with our depth at receiver. Those are all the factors involved.”
The continued theme of hamstring injuries is something that has drawn more attention as the season has gone on. With such an inordinate amount of players sidelined with hamstrings, Garrett said it’s something the team is actively trying to address.
“It’s an ongoing thing. It’s not like we’re saying ‘Hey, we’ll figure that out.’ We’re talking about it now – what we can do a better job of,” he said. “We’ll see. We’ll evaluate what we’re doing, what other teams are doing, who’s doing it best, who’s not doing it well – see if there’s some common ground there.”
Spurlock should be able to help with wide receiver depth, should Harris and Williams sit out. Garrett said the availability of Escobar and James Hanna at tight end may offset the need to add other receivers to the roster.
RELATED: Dallas Cowboys sign special teams veteran receiver Michael Spurlock
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys need all the confidence they can get this week as they head to Washington in a game they need to win to likely keep their season alive.
And while they’ve already defeated the Washington Redskins 31-16 back in mid-October, the Dallas Cowboys probably won’t have the star of that game this week.
Dwayne Harris has been ailing with a nagging hamstring injury that has forced him out of two of the last three games. He’ll likely miss this week’s game in Washington as well and with that, he might not be back for the rest of the regular season.
So in an attempt to add a veteran presence who can at least try to fill in for the do-it-all Harris, the Cowboys have signed veteran Michael Spurlock, who reunites once again with special teams coach Rich Bisaccia.
Spurlock has played for Bisaccia in both Tampa Bay and San Diego, although he played nine games in Detroit this year.
Like Harris, Spurlock has experience as a punt returner, kick returner and also covers kicks. For his career, he has 80 punt returns for a 9.0 yard average and 104 kickoff returns, averaging 24.5 yards a return. He has five career touchdowns returns on punts (two) and kickoffs (three).
Losing Harris will be a big blow for the Dallas Cowboys. Harris ranks sixth in the NFL with a 30.5 kick return average. And his 14.0 yard punt return average would rank second in the league if he had enough returns to qualify.
Against the Redskins back in October, Harris was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week when he returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown and later had a 90-yard kickoff return that led to another touchdown.
Spurlock is one of three players to be signed to the roster, along with linebacker Orie Lemon, who was with the team but cut last week to make room for Edgar Jones. The Cowboys are also expected to add defensive tackle Frank Kearse, who was on Tennessee’s practice squad but has played six games in his career with the Panthers.
IRVING, Texas — Defensive end Edgar Jones rejoined the Dallas Cowboys active roster today after an eight-week absence. The team released linebacker Orie Lemon to make room for Jones on the 53-man roster.
Jones suffered a groin/abdominal strain in the Cowboys’ Sept. 29 loss to San Diego, and he was placed on the reserve/injured list in October with a designation to return. NFL rules allowed Jones to resume working with the team after six weeks, but this weekend’s game against Green Bay was his determined date to be eligible for return to the roster.
“With the rules, I feel like I could have come back earlier than the rules were set for. I kind of felt like, around week six, I was feeling back to myself,” Jones said Wednesday. “The good thing about that rule, though, there wasn’t any rush on it. That was the thing I had to be careful about – not trying to rush it and getting hurt.”
The Cowboys traded their 2014 sixth round draft pick to Kansas City in return for Jones and a 2014 seventh round pick after the preseason. Jones played in all four games during the first month of the season and tallied five tackles.
Lemon joined the team from Arizona’s practice squad following the bye week. He played in five games for Dallas during the 2012 season and notched five tackles, which prompted the Cowboys to sign him while Sean Lee and Justin Durant recovered from hamstring injuries.
During that time span Lemon appeared in two of three games and didn’t record a tackle.
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have filled out their practice squad by signing two players.
Tight end Jameson Konz, who played at Kent State, and running back George Winn, who played collegiately at Cincinnati.
Winn will likely take some of the scout teams reps of Phillip Tanner and Joseph Randle, who will likely be used more in the offense with Lance Dunbar (knee) now out for the season. Winn was recently with the Steelers and Raiders’ practice squads. He also spent time this offseason with Houston and New England.
Konz was released off Seattle’s practice squad earlier this year. He’s also played some defensive end in the past with the Seahawks, who originally signed him in 2010.
The Cowboys waived Andre Smith two weeks ago and hoped to retain him on the practice squad. But he was claimed off waivers by the Browns, who also plucked quarterback Alex Tanney from the squad that same week.
Without Smith, the Dallas Cowboys have just Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar and James Hanna on the roster. Konz will likely the scout-team reps at tight end.
With Tanney no longer around, veteran Kyle Orton handles all of the scout team snaps at quarterback.
The addition of Wynn and Konz fills up the squad back to eight players. The Cowboys have three receivers on the practice squad with Tim Benford, Jamar Newsome and Lanear Sampson. Defensive end Caesar Rayford and offensive lineman John Wexler and guard Ray Dominguez.