Category Archives: NFL Dallas Cowboys Contracts

BACK IN THE SADDLE: Team adjusts sack leader salary | DE Jeremy Mincey back with the ‘boys | 2015-2016 Dallas Cowboys training camp

BACK IN THE SADDLE - Team adjusts sack leader salary - DE Jeremy Mincey back with the ‘boys - 2015-2016 Dallas Cowboys training camp

OXNARD, CA – Defensive end Jeremy Mincey spent the first few days of camp at odds with the Dallas Cowboys. In his first day back with the team, he was back to his team-leading, peace-making ways once again. Continue reading →

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DIAMOND DEZ DEAL DONE: Dallas Cowboys secure X-Factor with new five-year contract | Dez Bryant tags franchise with $70 million deal | Deadline Day Deal Drama in Big D

DIAMOND DEZ DEAL DONE - Dallas Cowboys secure X-Factor with Bryant’s new five-year contract - Dez Bryant tags franchise with $70 million deal - Deadline Day Deal Drama in Big D

IRVING, Texas – Dez Bryant will be a Dallas Cowboy for years to come. Continue reading →

REALLOCATING ROMO’S RESTRUCTURE: Absurd Adrian Peterson assumption analyzed | Salary-Cap Swallowed Space

Cowboys ironworks - Dallas Cowboys - The Boys Are Back website 2015

IRVING, Texas – With so many putting two and two together and coming up with eight, maybe we should perform a little Dallas Cowboys salary cap analysis to shed some light on this situation.  Continue reading →

DALLAS DOLLARS & SENSE: Cowboys create cap cushion–Romo restructured | $12.8 million mad-money move | Top-10 QB salaries for next two seasons

dallas cowboys salary hat - nfl salary cap - the boys are back blog

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys opted to restructure Tony Romo’s contract, freeing up several million dollars in salary cap space in the process.

The possibility of restructuring Romo’s deal has been tossed around throughout this offseason. Valued at $108 million overall, is easily the largest contract on the Cowboys’ books. It’s common practice for teams looking to free up spending space, as the Cowboys restructured both Romo and Sean Lee in 2014.

Earlier this offseason, the Cowboys restructured Tyron Smith’s deal, freeing up $10 million in space.

It’s worth pointing out that the move is simply a rearrangement of Romo’s existing deal, not a pay cut. That said, it effectively functions to lower the quarterback’s astronomical cap hit of $27 million and give the Cowboys extra money to work with in 2015Continue reading →

DALLAS COWBOY FOR LIFE: America’s Team signs Tyron Smith to eight-year contract extension

DALLAS COWBOY FOR LIFE - America’s Team signs OT Tyron Smith to eight-year contract extension - The Boys Are Back website 2014

Tyron Smith: Happy to be a Dallas Cowboy for life | 3:40 | Dallas Cowboys LT Tyron Smith talks about his 8-year extension and everything that went into it. (Watch | Listen)

Stephen Jones: Tyron deserved to be the highest paid LT | 7:01 | Stephen Jones speaks with the media about the 8-year extension given to Tyron Smith. (Watch | Listen)

OXNARD, CA – The Dallas Cowboys have signed NFL Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith to the biggest non-quarterback deal in franchise history.

Continue reading →

2014-2015 ROSTER UPDATE: Dallas Cowboys exercise fifth-year option for LT Tyron Smith | Free Agent wide receiver LaRon Byrd signed

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.

The strong finish earned DeMarco Murray his first NFL Pro Bowl selection, in addition to Smith.


2014-2015 ROSTER UPDATE - Dallas Cowboys sign Free Agent wide receiver LaRon Byrd - The Boys Are Back website

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.

PLAYERS PERFORMANCE PAY: Dallas Cowboys left guard Ronald Leary ranks third for 2013

PLAYERS PERFORMANCE PAY - Dallas Cowboys left guard Ronald Leary ranks third for 2013 - The Boys Are Back website 2014

IRVING, Texas – Dallas Cowboys guard Ronald Leary ranked third in the league in performance-based pay for 2013, the NFL announced in its annual report.

The purpose of the program is to compensate players whose playing time surpasses their contract for the league year. Leary earned an additional $307,104.43, making him one of 11 players in the league to make at least $250,000 in additional compensation, due April 1.

Compensation does not count against the NFL’s salary cap of $133 million. Each team is allotted roughly $3.5 million to compensate players through an agreement with the NFL Players Association.

Leary started all 16 games at left guard last season, after he signed with Dallas as an undrafted free agent in 2012. He spent the majority of his rookie year on the practice squad before taking over for Nate Livings in training camp last summer.

Upon taking over the starting role, Leary played 71.3 percent of the team’s offensive snaps last year.

Before accounting for his performance-based pay, Leary’s initial salary for the 2013 season was $405,000. He’s slated to make $495,000 in 2014 – the final year of his initial contract before he becomes a restricted free agent in 2015.

Several other Cowboys players benefitted from the performance-based pay program, largely thanks to the rash of injuries that forced unheralded players into the starting lineup. Safety Jeff Heath, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Saginaw Valley State, rose up the depth chart to start eight games and roughly 57 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.

Heath’s compensation for 2013 is $247,273.09. Defensive tackle Nick Hayden, who was also an afterthought on the training camp roster before starting all 16 games, made an additional $156,788.33.

Nine Cowboys players in all earned more than $100,000 in extra compensation – including 16-game rookie starter Travis Frederick and fellow rookie starters Terrance Williams, and J.J. Wilcox.

George Selvie, who is now the Dallas Cowboys returning sack leader from 2013, also earned an additional $141,704.71 after earning a starting spot as a late addition to the training camp roster.

All told, the Cowboys made performance payments to 39 players during the 2013 season.

DALLAS COWBOYS NFL SALARY CAP: Punter Chris Jones will return for 2014-2015 season

TEXAS 2 DEFENSE CLIPS EAGLES - Game 7 Recap–Dallas Cowboys perched atop NFC East division - Dallas Cowboys chris jones punts 9 times in winning effort

IRVING, Texas — Dallas Cowboys punter Chris Jones has signed his exclusive rights tender of $645,000.

The move chews up $150,000 of the roughly $2 million worth of salary-cap space.

Jones averaged 45 yards per punt in his first full season with the Cowboys. He appeared in two games in 2011 as an injury replacement for Mat McBriar and four games in 2012 before a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament ended his season.

Jones had a 39.1-yard net average and had 30 of his 77 punts end up inside the opponents’ 20. Teams averaged only 9.2 yards per punt return against the Cowboys in 2013.

Earlier in the offseason the Cowboys signed kicker Dan Bailey to a seven-year extension worth $22.5 million.

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

DALLAS COWBOYS NFL SALARY CAP - Team under 2014-2015 cap after releasing Phil Costa and renegotiating Mackenzy Bernadeau contract - The Boys Are Back website

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.

They still have decisions to make on the futures of DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin, among others, and could make more moves and restructures to free up space for free agent signings.

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

Demetress Bell trying to stop Dallas Cowboys pass rusher DeMarcus Ware as a Philadelphia Eagle - The Boys Are Back blog

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 NFL SALARY CAP: Tony Romo contract restructured | Sean Lee and Orlando Scandrick help team move closer to 2014 budget

DALLAS COWBOYS NFL SALARY CAP - Tony Romo contract restructured - The Boys Are Back blog 2014

IRVING, Texas – When the Dallas Cowboys signed Tony Romo to a $108 million contract last March, they knew exactly what would happen about 11 months later.

That time is now, and so it’s no surprise the club has exercised a restructure clause that was placed in the deal that frees up about $10 million in cap space. It reverts his scheduled $21.7 million base salary down to $11.7 million, and more importantly for the club, helps the Cowboys get closer to the projected $134 million salary cap.

Romo becomes the third player in two days to have his contract restructured for salary-cap relief (see below). The Cowboys did the same with cornerback Orlando Scandrick and linebacker Sean Lee. Those moves saved about $7.5 million.

dallas cowboys salary hat - nfl salary cap - the boys are back blog

With free agency set to begin on March 11, which is the start of the new league calendar year, the Dallas Cowboys and all teams must be under the cap.

Last year, the Cowboys found a way to shave about $30 million in cap space to not only get under the cap, but also clear enough room to pay Anthony Spencer his $10.63 million franchise tag. The Cowboys did not issue the franchise tag this year and Spencer is one of nine unrestricted free agents, along with defensive tackle Jason Hatcher.

To try and sign either player, the Cowboys will need to get more room under the cap, but they can do that by cutting a few more veterans.

Wide receiver Miles Austin is expected to be one of them, but it likely won’t happen until March 11. If the Cowboys make Austin a post-June 1 cut, they cannot do that before the new league year. Cutting him now only saves the team about $450,000 in cap space but they can save $5.5 million by designating him a June 1 cut. However, while Austin would be released and free to sign with any team, that money won’t be off the Cowboys’ books until June 1.

Of course, DeMarcus Ware’s future has been cloudy as team owner and GM Jerry Jones said a decision needs to be made on the club’s all-time sack leader. If Ware is released, the Cowboys would save about $7.5 million, but it appears the two sides will first attempt to either restructure his deal or come to an agreement on a lower base salary, possibly one with incentives that can get Ware close to his scheduled $12 million base salary if he performs at a high level. Ware, who underwent elbow surgery last month, has battled through various injuries the last two years, but the three games he missed in 2013 with a quad injury are the only three he’s missed in his career.

Other veterans who could be waived for salary-cap reasons are linebacker Justin Durant, which would save $1.2 million, and center Phil Costa, which would free up about $1.5 million.


RELATED: Defenders Sean Lee and Orlando Scandrick provide salary-cap relief

DALLAS COWBOYS NFL SALARY CAP - Sean Lee and Orlando Scandrick help team move closer to 2014 budget

IRVING, Texas – As expected, the Dallas Cowboys have started the process to get themselves under the salary cap, which is now projected to be around $133 million.

The increased cap of nearly $10 million will help the Cowboys, but they’ve still get work to do. It has started with the scheduled restructures of both linebacker Sean Lee and cornerback Orlando Scandrick. Both players signed new deals and/or extensions last season. But the Cowboys put these scheduled restructures in the language of the contract, knowing they could and likely would, be utilized this offseason.

The moves save the Cowboys nearly $7.8 million in space, by turning the base salaries into signing bonuses and pushing back the bulk of the contract into later years. The same procedure will likely be done with Tony Romo, who also signed a new deal last March. The restructure will probably net another $10 million in cap room, which would put them close to the $133 million.

The Cowboys can still create more room by cutting veteran players such as Miles Austin ($5.5 million if he’s a post June 1 cut) and center Phil Costa, who will save them about $1.5 million. Justin Durant could get released and save the team another $1.2 million.

And it’s likely DeMarcus Ware won’t be playing for that $16 million cap charge. Either he agrees to a lower base or simply a new contract, or Ware could be outright released, in a move that saves the team about $7.5 million.

Restructuring Brandon Carr’s contact is another option but the team did the same last year and after a down season from the veteran cornerback, it’s not a procedure the Dallas Cowboys will be comfortable in making. Pushing back money only makes him tougher to release should he have another season in 2014 similar to last year, when he gave up too many big plays, including a 329-yard performance to Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

The Cowboys need to get under the cap by March 11 and will certainly get there in time, like they’ve done every year.

NFL SALARY CAP RAISED: Good news for Dallas Cowboys as cap raised higher than expected

dallas cowboys salary hat - nfl salary cap - the boys are back blog

It’s no secret the Dallas Cowboys have one of the tightest salary-cap situations in the NFL. Some unexpected relief came from the league.

The NFL set the cap at $133 million, instead of the $126.3 million figure that was originally expected.

At $126.3 million, the Dallas Cowboys were projected to be a league-high $31 million over the cap. March 11 is the deadline for teams to slip under the cap.

While the new projection offers the Cowboys a couple million dollars of relief, it doesn’t save them from having to make tough decisions about key players.

The cap is primed to soar even higher in 2015, after money from the league’s new television deals enter the equation.

The cap rise is good news for both teams seeking cap maneuverability and players who now begin to taste the fruits tied to the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2011. The structure of the CBA and the timing of the television deals sets the players up well from 2015 to 2020.

THE OLE BOY IS BACK: Dallas Cowboys sign veteran Jon Kitna as emergency quarterback | Kitna donating game check to school

THE OLE BOY IS BACK - Dallas Cowboys sign veteran Jon Kitna as emergency quarterback - Dallas Cowboys roster 2013 2014 - Dallas Cowboys

IRVING, Texas — In a move reminiscent of their 2010 season, the Dallas Cowboys signed veteran quarterback Jon Kitna to help offset an injury to Tony Romo.

The team made the move official Wednesday morning. Kitna rejoins the Dallas Cowboys as an emergency quarterback behind Kyle Orton.

Veteran return man Michael Spurlock, who had a 62-yard punt return in the win against the Redskins, was cut to make room for Kitna.

The Dallas Cowboys called the 41-year-old Kitna sight-unseen from his retirement as a math teacher and football coach at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Wash., after working out several other quarterbacks on Tuesday — David Carr, Tyler Thigpen, John Skelton, and Richard Bartel.

Kitna arrived in Dallas on Tuesday night in order to undergo a physical on Christmas Morning. The Cowboys are scheduled to practice Wednesday afternoon in a schedule somewhat altered to let the players and coaches spend the morning with their families.

THE OLE BOY IS BACK - Dallas Cowboys sign veteran Jon Kitna as emergency quarterback - Dallas Cowboys roster 2013 2014 - Dallas Cowboys schedule

This will be Kitna’s second stint in Dallas. He backed up Romo from 2009-11 and started nine games in 2010 when Romo went out with a broken clavicle. He retired after the 2011 season, which paved the way for the Cowboys to sign Orton in March of 2012.

Unlike that 2010 season, Kitna would not be the starter against the Eagles, but an insurance policy for Orton. The Cowboys have only carried two quarterbacks on their roster since Alex Tanney was signed off their practice squad by Cleveland on Nov. 26.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said adding another quarterback helps the team in practices.

Kitna played 15 NFL seasons prior to his retirement. He played for Seattle from 1996-2000, Cincinnati from 2001-05, and Detroit from 2006-08 prior to joining the Cowboys.

Jerry Jones said the Dallas Cowboys gave Orton a three-year, $10 million contract in 2012 for this exact situation.

“We’re in as good of shape under these circumstances as you possibly could be in,” Jones said. “I have every reason to think Kyle Orton could step out there and do a really good job for us. We’ve planned on that very event.”


RELATED: Dallas QB Jon Kitna to donate his game check to Lincoln High School

Dallas Cowboys QB Jon Kitna to donate his game check to Lincoln High School - John Kitna teaching math - Dallas Cowboys roster 2013 2014 - Dallas Cowboys

IRVING, Texas – Lincoln High School’s student-athletes in Tacoma, Wash., may benefit more than the Dallas Cowboys with Jon Kitna rejoining the team.

Kitna, who teaches and coaches at the school, said he’ll be donating his game check to the school’s booster program, which his wife runs.

He said he didn’t have a second thought than to give the money to the program to help out and get protein for the students. Kitna said 85 percent of the student population is below the poverty line, and his family’s dedicated itself to helping out. 

“My wife runs our booster program and spends roughly $25,000 a year feeding this young men and things like that in a lot of different avenues. One of the things we committed to this year for our booster program was our first $25,000 that we raised we were going to use on protein for the young men,” Kitna said.

Kitna and his family started a foundation specifically for what he’s doing now, giving young men the opportunity to grow in school and on the field.

“Unfortunately with the market dropping, all that stuff, when things when under, the foundation did too,” Kitna said. “But it’s what my wife does. She started a booster program along with my sister. They spend about $25,000 a year just feeding the young men.

“Then for us, we feel like we have some Division-I talented young men in our program that are doing great, but they need some supplement to their diet. One of the things we’re going to do is use money that we raised, and we’ve had a lot of donations and things like that, to get protein for these young men so that their body gets what they need.”

Kitna said whether it’s his teacher’s salary – he was an algebra teacher for two years at the school – or this player’s salary, he’s dedicated to helping out the school. He previously gave his teacher’s salary to chip in before adding this money on top.

“That’s what we do,” Kitna said. “I’ve lived a great life.”

Dallas Cowboys QB Jon Kitna to donate his game check to Lincoln High School - Dallas Cowboys vs. Detroit Lions - Dallas Cowboys roster 2013 2014

DALLAS COWBOYS SALARY CAP: Orlando Scandrick contract extended through 2018

DALLAS COWBOYS SALARY CAP - Orlando Scandrick contract extended through 2018 - Dallas Cowboys roster

IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys added another two years to Orlando Scandrick’s contract Friday afternoon.

The cornerback, a fifth-round pick by the Cowboys in 2008, had been playing on a six-year, $28 million contract that expired after the 2016 season. The new extension adds $9 million in guarantees and secures Scandrick’s services through the 2018 season.

In exchange for the guarantees, the deal allows the Cowboys to reduce Scandrick’s compensation and save $4.5 million on the salary cap over the next three seasons.

The extension comes at the tail end of what has been a career year for the veteran. Injuries in the Cowboys secondary, most notably to fellow corner Morris Claiborne, have forced Scandrick into extensive duty at both nickelback and outside cornerback.

His response to the circumstances has been impressive. With 59 tackles through 13 games, he has already bested his career high of 51. His two interceptions on the season are also a career high. He logged one interception in 2009, 2010 and 2011 before going without one last season.

Scandrick is tied with Brandon Carr for the team lead in passes defensed at 14. He is also the lone defensive back on the roster with a sack, which he logged on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford in Week 3.

The extension keeps Scandrick with the Cowboys until 2019, which currently gives him one of the three longest-running contracts on the roster. Tony Romo and Sean Lee are both under contract until 2020.

CONTRACT RISK AND REWARD: Looking back at Jay Ratliff and Jason Witten deals in 2011

Dallas Cowboys NT Jay Ratliff ready for the new 4-3 defense - The Boys Are Back blog - Tim Heitman - USA TODAY Sports

IRVING, Texas — A day apart in September of 2011, the Dallas Cowboys signed DT Jay Ratliff and TE Jason Witten to five-year contract extensions.

Each player had two years remaining on his deal at the time, but the Cowboys wanted to reward the Pro Bowl performers with new contracts in hopes that they would retire with the club. The Cowboys also received some salary-cap relief in the early part of the contracts even though it cost them up-front cash.

Ratliff’s extension was worth $40 million and included $18 million guaranteed. Witten’s deal was worth $37 million and included $19 million guaranteed.

Yesterday, Ratliff was cut by the Dallas Cowboys amid acrimony stemming from a groin injury suffered last season that is still bothering him today. Witten, meanwhile, was on the practice field getting ready for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

119009107RM117_Buffalo_Bill

The adage that has been repeated by many lately is you don’t pay age in the NFL. Well, sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t.

Ratliff had just turned 30 when he signed and was entering his seventh season. Witten turned 29 a few months before signing but was entering his ninth season

The Cowboys did not get a return on Ratliff on the most recent extension. He played in only 22 games after signing on Sept. 9, 2011. He recorded only two sacks and seven tackles for loss.

And now he’s gone.

Witten, now 31, has not missed a game, playing through a lacerated spleen early last season, and has 220 catches for 2,321 yards and 11 touchdowns since the extension. Last year, he set an NFL record for catches in a season by a tight end with 110 and played in his eighth Pro Bowl.

And still he plays on.

COWBOYS CONTRACT EXTENSION: Dallas linebacker Sean Lee signs six-year $51 million deal

COWBOYS CONTRACT EXTENSION - Dallas linebacker Sean Lee signs six-year $51 million deal

IRVING, TexasSean Lee has been a lock at inside linebacker for three years with the Dallas Cowboys. Tonight, the team locked him up through the 2019 season.

The Cowboys inked Lee, who is set to begin his fourth NFL campaign next month, to a six-year contract extension worth roughly $42 million, but could escalate as high as $51 million depending on play-time incentives.

Lee reportedly will get more than $16 million guaranteed over the life of the contract.

Lee had one year remaining on the original four-year contract he signed as the No. 55 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. In three seasons, he has started 21 games, including just six last year when toe surgery cut his season short.

Injuries were taken into consideration in negotiating the deal, which has a few play-time incentives to protect the Cowboys in case Lee misses more time due to injury.

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee prepares to catch the ball during afternoon practice at Dallas Cowboys training camp - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

Lee is the Cowboys’ middle linebacker and centerpiece of the 4-3 scheme under new coordinator Monte Kiffin.

“When we look at things we need to do, short and long term, his agreement is on that list,” Jones said earlier this month. “Those things have to fit and we certainly, in terms of planning and management of our cap dollars and our future, we’re planning on having him on the team.

“He’d be at the top of the list. Yeah, I’d say he’d be at the top.”

The two sides had discussions this off-season.  Lee was in the final year of a contract that pays him $630,000. He counts about $930,000 against the salary cap.

The club had about $10 million in cap room, meaning the extension with Lee will move more money into this season and ease the cap hit somewhat moving forward.

“Next year is going to be a tight year for us with the cap,” Jones said. “We’ve got to really be pretty resourceful.”

THE DOTTED LINE: Signing status of the 2013 NFL Draft first-round picks

Kenny Vaccaro of the New Orleans Saints was the first 2013 NFL Draft first-round selection to sign a contract. Less than 24 hours later, the Detroit Lions also signed their first-round pick, Ziggy Ansah, to a contract. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, all NFL first-round draft picks can have four-year contracts with a non-negotiable fifth-year option, although not all will receive it.

Pk

Player

Pos.

Team

Status

Contract

1

Eric Fisher

OT

Kansas City Chiefs

Unsigned

 

2

Luke Joeckel

OT

Jacksonville Jaguars

Signed

Four years, $21.2 million

3

Dion Jordan

DE

Miami Dolphins

Unsigned

 

4

Lane Johnson

OT

Philadelphia Eagles

Unsigned

 

5

Ziggy Ansah

DE

Detroit Lions

Signed

Five years, terms undisclosed

6

Barkevious Mingo

DE

Cleveland Browns

Unsigned

 

7

Jonathan Cooper

G

Arizona Cardinals

Unsigned

 

8

Tavon Austin

WR

St. Louis Rams

Signed

Terms undisclosed

9

Dee Milliner

CB

New York Jets

Unsigned

 

10

Chance Warmack

G

Tennessee Titans

Unsigned

 

11

D.J. Fluker

OT

San Diego Chargers

Signed

Four years, $11.4 million

12

D.J. Hayden

CB

Oakland Raiders

Unsigned

 

13

Sheldon Richardson

DT

New York Jets

Unsigned

 

14

Star Lotulelei

DT

Carolina Panthers

Signed

Terms undisclosed

15

Kenny Vaccaro

SS

New Orleans Saints

Signed

Four years, terms undisclosed

16

EJ Manuel

QB

Buffalo Bills

Signed

Terms undisclosed

17

Jarvis Jones

OLB

Pittsburgh Steelers

Signed

Four years, $8.705 million

18

Eric Reid

FS

San Francisco 49ers

Signed

Four years, terms undisclosed

19

Justin Pugh

OT

New York Giants

Unsigned

 

20

Kyle Long

G

Chicago Bears

Signed

Four years, terms undisclosed

21

Tyler Eifert

TE

Cincinnati Bengals

Unsigned

 

22

Desmond Trufant

CB

Atlanta Falcons

Unsigned

 

23

Sharrif Floyd

DT

Minnesota Vikings

Unsigned

 

24

Bjoern Werner

DE

Indianapolis Colts

Unsigned

 

25

Xavier Rhodes

CB

Minnesota Vikings

Unsigned

 

26

Datone Jones

DE

Green Bay Packers

Unsigned

 

27

DeAndre Hopkins

WR

Houston Texans

Unsigned

 

28

Sylvester Williams

DT

Denver Broncos

Unsigned

 

29

Cordarrelle Patterson

WR

Minnesota Vikings

Unsigned

 

30

Alec Ogletree

ILB

St. Louis Rams

Signed

Terms undisclosed

31

Travis Frederick

C

Dallas Cowboys

Signed

Four years, terms undisclosed

32

Matt Elam

FS

Baltimore Ravens

Unsigned

 

PLAYING FOR A CONTRACT: No long-term deal for Anthony Spencer

dallas cowboys outside linebacker anthony spencer (93) forces philadelphia eagles quarterback nick foles (9) to fumble - the boys are back blog

Ever since the Dallas Cowboys placed the franchise tag on defensive end Anthony Spencer in March it was a long-shot that they would be able to sign him to a long-term deal.

The depressed free-agent market have driven the prices down and Spencer, though he wants to stay in Dallas, had no intention of taking a below market deal when he was already guaranteed $10.6 million this year with the franchise tag.

Not surprisingly the two sides decided to end the impasse and just concentrate on the 2013 season with no further talks.

“Both sides are happy with the one-year deal,” Spencer’s agent Jordan Woy said Tuesday. “We tried hard but could not work out a deal. We have a very positive relationship with the Cowboys. Anthony is happy and he will play to the best of his ability again this season”

The Cowboys had until July 15 to work out a long-term deal with Spencer, per league rules.

Woy said no one has broken off talks but he acknowledged that they aren’t talking and will probably just concentrate on the season.

“Obviously we have to take a look at what people signed for and what they’ll make going forward,” Cowboys vice-president Stephen Jones said ominously two weeks ago. “There’s some good football players that what they got paid might affect what we want to pay Anthony going forward.” 

“There’s nothing here that’s not on the up and up and friendly,” Jones said. “If it works out, it works out. We’d love to have Spencer here, but we also understand it has got to work for him, too.” 

Spencer will most certainly get a long-term deal next spring in Dallas or elsewhere as the Cowboys will not put a franchise tag on him for a third straight year, guaranteeing him roughly $15.2 million in 2014.

ENTIRE DRAFT CLASS SIGNED: All seven 2013 Dallas Cowboy draft picks have signed contracts

Dallas Cowboys' top three 2013 Draft picks show new Dallas Cowboy jersey - The Boys Are Back blog

Center Travis Frederick was the first pick of the Dallas Cowboys in the 2013 NFL Draft. And he was the last to be signed to a contract.

The important thing is that the deal is finally done, as Frederick agreed to a four-year contract with the Cowboys on Tuesday. Financial details were not disclosed but Frederick signed for roughly $6.8 million, per a source.

The package also included guaranteed money in the ballpark of $5.5 million with signing bonus of $3.4 million. 

He was the 31st pick of the first round and is expected to start immediately at center. He took all the snaps with the first team in OTAs and minicamp.

Frederick’s signing completes the seven-member draft class and marks the earliest signing by the entire class by the Cowboys in years, three weeks before the start of training camp July 19.

RELATED: Cowboys ink 2nd-round pick Gavin Escobar

The Dallas Cowboys came to terms with second-round pick Gavin Escobar on a four-year deal.

The contract is worth roughly $4.3 million for the tight end who is set to backup Pro Bowler Jason Witten in 2013 and be his replacement in the near future. 

Escobar is also expected to play a big role as a rookie. The Cowboys plan to use more two tight end sets to get him and Witten on the field together. He could be a huge factor in the red zone as well.

RELATED: Third-round pick J.J. Wilcox in the fold

The Cowboys signed rookie safety J.J. Wilcox to a four-year contract.

Wilcox got roughly $2.73 million, including guaranteed money in the ball park of $586,000, per a source.

The third round pick, who is expected to compete for a starting spot at safety as a rookie, got a deal one day after fellow third-round pick Terrance Williams did the same. They join cornerback B.W. Webb, linebacker DeVonte Holloman and running back Joseph Randle as draft picks under contract.

RELATED: Dallas Cowboys, Terrance Williams agree to deal

IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys have secured third-round wide receiver Terrance Williams to a four-year deal.

Williams, the No. 74 pick overall, will receive a signing bonus of roughly $619,500.

The Cowboys got Williams with the extra pick they acquired in their draft-day trade with San Francisco, moving from No. 18 in the first round to No. 31 where they picked Travis Frederick.

A Dallas native, Williams caught 97 passes for 1,832 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior at Baylor. He finished his collegiate career with 202 catches for 3,334 yards and 27 touchdowns.

The Cowboys expect Williams to be their No. 3 receiver behind Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. After a slow start at the rookie minicamp, Williams’ play improved and had a productive minicamp, which ended last week.

JUNE 1ST CAP REPORT: Dallas Cowboys working with $5.5 million in the coffers

dallas cowboys wide receiver cole beasley (14) catches a pass between defensive back brandon carr (39), linebacker bruce carter (54) and linebacker sean lee (50) - the boys are back blog

When the Dallas Cowboys released defensive end Marcus Spears in March, he was designated as a post-June 1 cut, giving the Cowboys $2 million in salary cap space.

Well, the team gets that extra money now, and, added up the savings with the pay cut tackle Doug Free accepted, the team picked up $5.5 million in savings.

The Cowboys can use this extra cap space to take care of middle linebacker Sean Lee, who is entering the final year of his contract, and maybe even outside linebacker Bruce Carter. The team can also make moves to secure the services of wide receiver Dez Bryant or grab another free agent.

It’s doubtful the Cowboys extend Bryant and Carter right now considering each has two years left on their deals.

But Lee seems to be a logical choice and talks could happen during training camp and continue through the season.

UNDER A NEW INFLUENCE: Michael Jordan’s message to Dez Bryant helping to reshape image

NBA legend Michael Jordan had four words for Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant when he met him for the first time in February at the NBA all-star game in Houston: stay out of trouble.

Bryant, who recently signed an endorsement deal with the Jordan Brand, plans to oblige.

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant signs a three-year endorsement deal with Jordan Brand - The Boys Are Back blog

“Whenever you represent a guy like Michael Jordan you got to be right,” Bryant said. “I don’t know one guy who doesn’t admire him. It’s very rare to be a part of that group (a Jordan Brand athlete endorser). Just to be blessed to be part of that group means a lot to me. Before I was even signed to the brand all I rocked were Jordans. I’m blessed to be part of that. I’m going to stay focused and do my job and hold myself accountable with my actions.”

Dez Bryant recalled meeting Michael Jordan for the first time at his birthday party - The Boys Are Back blog

Bryant recalled meeting Jordan for the first time at his birthday party and being nervous before getting a stern edict from his idol.

“The only thing he told me was “stay out of trouble”, Bryant said. “Hearing it from him, he is a strong voice. His opinion matters. It just adds fuel to trying to do things great at all times, that’s something you don’t want to mess up. Now, I do pay attention to that, just because of the fact of who he is and what he is about. Everybody knows Michael Jordan is about his business, so that makes you want to be about yours.”

RELATED: Dez Bryant working for free, first year of deal

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant joins Jordan Brand - Jordans Daily - Michael Jordan  - Air Jordans - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant is so confident in his abilities to not only adhere to Jordan’s advice of staying out of trouble but also continuing to develop as one of the league top game breakers that he will not get paid the first year of his three-year endorsement deal with Jordan Brand at his request.

It was Bryant’s idea to work for free the first year of the deal outside of athletic gear/apparel and prove himself worthy of the Jordan Brand.

“He told Jordan, let me show you,” the source said.

Of course, if you know Bryant, the Jordan gear is like money to him.

Bryant is the seventh NFL player to join the apparel group and will be part of a new marketing campaign coming this summer.

DON’T WRITE HIM OFF, JUST YET: Doug Free spent the spring putting in time for training despite the uncertainty about his future

DON’T WRITE HIM OFF, JUST YET - Doug Free spent the spring putting in time for training despite the uncertainty about his future - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

IRVING, Texas – The question of whether Doug Free will be a Dallas Cowboy has mercifully been answered – what about the question of what to do with him?

Free agreed to a new, smaller contract last week after an offseason of speculation brought on by a forgettable 2012 season. The former $8 million offensive tackle severely underplayed his four-year contract from 2010 after a move to the right side of the line, and the result was an uncertain few months of contract re-negotiation.

Throughout that time period – a rare case of an offensive lineman being a team’s most-discussed asset – offensive line coach Bill Callahan said Free never strayed away from his dedication to the job. The 29-year-old spent the spring reporting to Valley Ranch and putting in time for training despite the uncertainty about his future.

“I’m really proud of the way Doug has handled everything that has transpired in the offseason,” Callahan said. “He’s been very positive, he’s been forthcoming, he’s been hard working and he’s not let the business side affect the playing side, which I think has been tremendous, so in that regard I just have the utmost respect.”

That much has been made evident by Free’s presence at events like the Reliant Home Run Derby and last week’s Cowboys annual golf social. Even in the midst of speculation about his future, Free made enthusiastic team appearances alongside team favorites like Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and Sean Lee.

Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach Bill Callahan said RT Doug Free never strayed away from his dedication to the job - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

“I’m proud of what he’s accomplished, to maintain his focus and still go out and practice and work and keep his focus as a pro just speaks volumes for me,” Callahan said.

It will be interesting to see how that professionalism translates to the playing field. Free is the logical starter at right tackle for 2013 at this point, although it’s important to remember that he was basically platooning with backup Jermey Parnell by the tail end of last season. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett touched on that when discussing his excitement at bringing Free back.

“We were rotating those guys in almost series by series,” Garrett. “Doug ended up playing a lot more snaps each game than Jermey did, but I really think that was a positive situation for both guys and for our football team. Jermey responded well to it, and Doug responded well to it.”

That seems to be applicable all over the offensive line, as the Cowboys boast plenty of depth but not many established starters. Returning a veteran like Free to the competition is something Callahan said should benefit the line in the long run.

“We like the fact that everyone has been here in this system for at least two years now,” he said. “(Continuity) is important but we also want to make sure we have the right guys playing. We like how the progress has gone so far and I’ve been encouraged by what I’ve seen.”

Free should probably be considered the favorite to retain his old role at the outset of training camp. But it’s clear from the coaches that his presence is a valuable one regardless – especially at his new discounted value.

“He’s a veteran player,” Garrett said. “He’s been a good player for us on the left side and the right side, and he’s got some position flex. He’s smart. He’s a leader.”

ROSTER RESOLUTION: Dallas Cowboys right tackle Doug Free agrees to pay cut (updated)

dallas cowboys right tackle doug free - the boys are back blog

Dallas Cowboys right tackle Doug Free has agreed to a pay cut that will allow him to remain with the team.

Free’s new deal calls for him to receive $7 million over two years, but only his $3.5 million salary in 2013 is guaranteed.

Free was scheduled to make $7 million in 2013 as part of the four-year, $32 million contract he signed in 2011.

Free struggled out of the gate last season, prompting the Cowboys to force him to split time with Jeremy Parnell.

RELATED: Tackle Doug Free agrees to pay cut to stay with Cowboys

dallas cowboys rt doug free 2012 - the boys are back blog

The impasse between the Dallas Cowboys and maligned left tackle Doug Free is over.

Free will remain with the Cowboys as he has agreed to a pay cut as part of a new two-year contract that will pay him $7 million in 2013 and 2014, per multiple sources.

Only his $3.5 million salary in 2013 is guaranteed making it essentially a one-year deal.

Free was scheduled to make $7 million in 2013 as part of a four-year, $32 million deal he signed in 2011.

He has started 48 games with the Cowboys  but struggled mightily last season _ so much so that he forced to share snaps with Jeremy Parnell.

The Cowboys have been clear that they wanted Free to return to the team in 2013 and continue to compete with Parnell at right tackle. But they were also clear that they weren’t going to pay him $7 million to do so.

If Free hadn’t agreed to a pay cut, he would have been released.

In the end both sides got something out of deal as it was unlikely Free would have gotten $3.5 million guaranteed for next season on the free agent market, especially at this late date.

The Cowboys were able to clear salary room to so they could possibly pursue other free agents or even give one of their players a contract extension.

RELATED: Doug Free reworks contract to stay with Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys right tackle Doug Free agrees to a revised contact - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

The Doug Free saga is over.

The right tackle has agreed to a substantial pay decrease in his final two seasons to remain with the Dallas Cowboys.

Free was scheduled to make $15 million in base salary over the next two seasons — $7 million in 2013 and $8 million next season. That total has been reduced to a total of $7 million, meaning the offensive linemen will make $3.5 million in base salary in each of the next two seasons.

The $7 million figure this season made Free the league’s highest paid right tackle. This restructured contract falls in line with the current market.

Tyson Clabo, the former right tackle from Atlanta who graded out much higher than Free last season, signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract with Miami earlier this month.

The Cowboys had kicked the tires on Clabo along with right tackle Eric Winston in free agency in case a deal could not be reached with Free. The club held the threat of a post June 1 cut over Free’s head. But the longer this dragged on, the more clear it became that the Cowboys preferred to keep Free and avoid the salary cap hit that would have been forced to absorb in 2014 by releasing him.

Free gave up seven sacks and was hit with 13 penalties last season. His grades in the run game were poor and he finished the season splitting snaps with Jermey Parnell.

RELATED ROSTER NEWS:

Dallas Cowboys sign defensive end Anthony Hargrove

In other news, Dallas signed defensive end Anthony Hargrove, who missed last season because of an eight-game NFL-imposed suspension for his role in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal.

To make room for Hargrove on the 90-man roster, the Cowboys cut recently signed guard D.J. Hall, a Texas State product.

Editors comment: Click HERE for more information on this signing.

COWBOY CONTRACTS: Rookie cornerback B.W. Webb inks his four-year deal with Dallas

Dallas Cowboys CB B.W. Webb speaks with Dallas media for the first time after being selected in the 4th round of the NFL draft - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

Rookie cornerback B.W. Webb signed a four-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday worth approximately $2.5 million.

A fourth-round pick from William & Mary, Webb is the third member of the team’s seven-play draft class to sign. Sixth-round linebacker DeVonte Holloman and fifth-round running back Joseph Randle signed last week.

Webb, who recorded 11 interceptions while starting a school-record 48 games for William & Mary, was one of the standout-performers at rookie minicamp, which ended Sunday. He’s expected to back up slot corner Orlando Scandrick.

“He has quickness and playmaking ability,” coach Jason Garrett said Webb. “He’s a guy we would describe as a football player who can come in and compete.”

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones joined Sirius XM’s Late Hits show this week to talk about the draft and the Cowboys’ rookie mini-camp. He said, “Certainly, one of the players that Gil [Brandt] noted to me when I was out at practice… B.W. Webb, the corner that we got in the fourth round, we basically really liked what we saw of him this weekend. He’s got such confidence… He really did show the skills and the quickness and really comes in as a real, legitimate candidate to come in and compete for a lot of playing time, especially in our money packages.”


More on Dallas Cowboys rookie cornerback B.W. Webb …

 

GRADUATION GOAL ACHIEVED: B. W. Webb excused from final day of mini camp

Rookie cornerback B.W. Webb has been one of the more impressive players in the Dallas Cowboys’ rookie minicamp so far. But the fourth-round pick, who is expected to compete with Orlando Scandrick for the starting spot at nickel cornerback, will miss the final day of camp on Sunday to return to William and Mary for graduation.

Webb counts his family as his biggest motivation for wanting to succeed in the NFL. They are also the reason why he had to go back to attend graduation.

“If it was up to my parents, it’s graduation before football,” Webb said. “They are more happy about that than [me] being in the NFL.”


Columnist Rick Gosselin answered questions in a chat on Monday. Here’s a highlight.

Can B.W. Webb take Orlando Scandrick’s spot despite Scandrick having a bigger contract?

If Webb proves to be the better player this summer, he will supplant Scandrick as the nickel corner. The Cowboys need to win games this season to save some jobs and you do that by putting the best players on the field — not necessarily the most expensive ones. Webb will wind up starting for this team at some point in the future. The Cowboys believed they stole him in the third round. This player probably had second-round skill but slid to the third because of his quality of college competition. He’s coming from a small school and the NFL will be a huge step up in competition. He’s not going to challenge either Carr or Claiborne any time soon, but Scandrick better bring his A-game to training camp.


FORMER NFL SCOUT: Dallas Cowboys rookie B.W. Webb ‘has playing traits like Asante Samuel’

After reading a story about Senior Bowl standouts in January I decided to save the article in case any of the players mentioned were drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. Going through some old stories earlier today I came across that particular piece written by CBSSports.com’s Rob Rang — and B.W. Webb was on the list.

Webb, a William & Mary cornerback the Cowboys drafted in the fourth round, was one of five prospects who improved their stock according to NFL scouts who Rang interviewed.

“Scouts knew Webb could cover, as he had shown quick feet, speed and route recognition on tape,” Rang wrote. “Needless to say, however, the jump in competition from the Colonial Athletic Association to the Senior Bowl was significant. But Webb certainly proved up to the task. The 5-10, 183-pounder showed improved physicality in Mobile and stepped up his play against the bigger receivers he faced on the South squad, showing the feistiness necessary to make the significant jump to the NFL.”

Rang also linked to a CBSSports.com article where former NFL scout and coach Pat Kirwan wrote that Webb “has playing traits like Asante Samuel.”

“He looks like a solid cover two corner with 48 college starts,” Kirwan wrote. “He holds up well in the man-to-man drills and has good anticipation in his zone drops.”

Webb should enter the 2013 season as the No. 4 corner on the Cowboys’ roster, behind Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick. Pretty good depth if Webb can be anything close to Samuel, a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion who has intercepted 50 passes in his 10-year NFL career.

X MARKS THE SPOT: Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle agrees to four year deal

A cast on Joseph Randle’s right arm kept the running back from taking part in drills during the Cowboys rookie-mini-camp.

But it hasn’t kept him from signing a contract.

The team’s fifth round pick agreed to a four-year deal Monday that will pay him slightly more than $2.29 million. He is the second player from this rookie class to sign with the Cowboys.

Sixth round pick DeVonte Holloman signed a four-year deal for $2.2 million over the weekend.

Randle should play a valuable role this season. He’s expected to ease the load on starter DeMarco Murray and be a solid insurance option if Murray goes down with injury, as he has in each of the past two seasons.

Randle had surgery on his thumb last week and is expected to be in a cast for the next five to seven weeks. He might be cleared to go through drills during the latter part of the team’s OTAs or its mini-camp in June. There is no concern about his ability to be cleared to compete fully once training camp rolls around in July.

The Oklahoma State running back make it clear he comes into the NFL with a chip on his shoulder pads for lasting until the third day of the draft.

“People can make whatever they want to make for their motivation,” Randle said. “I’m going to find plenty to motivate me.”

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