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.
COWBOYS OFFSEASON OUTLOOK: Evaluating the offensive fits as 2014-2015 mini-camps conclude | Dallas Cowboys roster
IRVING, Texas – With the Dallas Cowboys 2014-2015 offseason practices now finished, here’s a breakdown of what to look for at each offensive position moving forward.
It’s been a nice couple of practices for Terrance Mitchell missing the majority of practices due to his university being on the quarter system. Mitchell has normally been lining up on the right side at corner, but he took some snaps on the left side in the nickel.
In the 7-on-7 period, Jamar Newsome tried to run a crossing route on him out of man coverage and Mitchell played it perfectly. He was able to avoid the pick of Tim Benford, who started his route right at him. Mitchell never lost sight of where Newsome was going and once they both arrived in the middle of the field, Mitchell was in ideal position to knock the ball away. It was the type of play that a rookie corner normally does not make because he gets distracted by the receiver trying to rub him out.
Safety Ahmad Dixon is a very aggressive player in the way he attacks the ball. He is one of those players that would rather be in the pile than standing around watching his teammates. Where Dixon is going to have to improve is when you tackle in this league or play in coverage, the angle you take to the ball is almost more important than making the play itself.
Dixon is doing a nice job of seeing these routes develop like he did during the 7-on-7 period against Devin Street. On the play, Street came out of the left slot inside and stopped right in the middle of the field. Dixon was not fooled on the play, but if he would have taken a more direct angle instead of rounding it off, he might have had a chance on the play. It is a correctable mistake but one that he needs to take care of as he learns how to play coverage in this league.
Even before the draft, I admired the play of Davon Coleman out of Arizona State and the flexibility that he brings to a defensive scheme. The first thing that a linemen is taught is that if you cannot get to the quarterback, find ways to get your hands up quickly.
Coleman has really done a nice job, no matter where he has played, of attacking the blocker and becoming a disruptive player. He’s been playing as the three-technique and working on a rush against Ronald Leary. Coleman was able to get to the outside of Leary quickly, but on the way up the field, he was able to read that Caleb Hanie was in the middle of a three step drop and shot his hands in the air. As the ball left Hanie’s hand, it deflected off Coleman and was knocked off target for Devin Street on the slant.
The ball fluttered toward Terrance Mitchell who was in coverage on Street. The result of the play was a pick-six for the defense as a result of a heads up play by a young defensive linemen trying to win a spot on a 53 man roster.
Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Pro Football Analyst/Professional Scout
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys managed to get all nine draft picks signed a month before leaving for training camp.
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.
COUNTDOWN TO THE OTA’S: Your 2014 Dallas Cowboys top defensive “Wave Rushers” starting to emerge | Dallas Cowboys Organized Team Activities 2014
IRVING, Texas — In my experience of working in personnel offices around the NFL this time of year, as a staff you are working hard to eliminate the unknowns for your squad.
There are always going to be questions whether you have the numbers (see the current Dallas Cowboys roster) and depth to get you through training camp in July and into August. The last thing you want to happen during camp is to get caught short if you have a run of bad luck with injuries.
2014 MINICAMP WRAP-UP: Dallas Cowboys rookie defensive linemen stand out | Aspiring offensive players to watch | Special Feature
The 2014 Dallas Cowboys Rookie Mini Camp has wrapped up and it’s time to look ahead to the Dallas Cowboys OTA workouts scheduled to begin next week.
Here’s a look at the rookie class of defenders and offensive players to keep an eye on as the 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys season transpires …
DALLAS COWBOYS ROSTER UPDATE: Veteran free-agent RB Ryan Williams added for depth | NFL Free Agency 2014
IRVING, Texas – This weekend is supposed to be about the evaluation of rookies and first-year players and how they might fit into the roster.
However, the Dallas Cowboys always keep their eyes open for (affordable) available veterans as well. That was evident today when the club worked out running back Ryan Williams, a second-round pick (38th overall) of the Arizona Cardinals in 2011.
THE MARINELLI CONNECTION: Dallas Cowboys sign former first-round DT Amobi Okoye | NFL Free Agency 2014
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have signed free agent Amobi Okoye, a former first-round pick in 2007, to a two-year deal.
Okoye could possibly give the Cowboys some help at defensive tackle if he can get healthy, something that has been a challenge for the former No. 10 overall pick of the Texans in 2007.
Okoye, born in Nigeria, was drafted when he was just 19 years old. The 6-foot-2, 292-pound tackle became the youngest player to start an NFL game since 1967.
Okoye reunites with Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who coached him two years in Chicago from 2011-12.
Still just 26 years of age, Okoye will likely play the 3-technique in the Dallas Cowboys 4-3 scheme.
“We like a lot of things about him. He’s a young player coming out of (Louisville),” Jason Garrett said of Okoye.”He has a lot of talent. Rod was around him in Chicago so we know him well. We think that’s a positive thing. He’s had some health issues the last year … we feel like he has a chance to be a contributor on the line.”
In four years with the Texans, Okoye started 58 of 62 games. He played 25 games in two years with the Chicago Bears but only started once. Out of football in 2013, Okoye might have some position flex at tackle.
“We feel like he has the move to play (3-technique) but he can certainly play the nose,” Garrett said. “We’re not going to rush him into anything. But it’s good to have him in here.”
To make room for Okoye’s spot, the Dallas Cowboys waived linebacker Jonathan Stewart, who spent time on the practice squad last year.
THE SAFETY VALVE IS OPEN: Dallas Cowboys firmly support young J.J. Wilcox following the 2014 NFL Draft | Dallas Cowboys defense
IRVING, Texas – Perhaps rookie safety Ahmad Dixon will turn into something truly special, but the numbers speak for themselves.
The Dallas Cowboys drafted Dixon No. 248 overall, eight picks away from the end of the 2014 NFL Draft on Saturday. The fact that they took him means they see something promising in his play, but his position on the draft board doesn’t inspire much in the way of expectations.
That’s by design, to hear it from Dallas Cowboys executives. The safety spot is a position some consider to be a dire need for Dallas, but it’s hardly evident based on the draft strategy. With the No. 16 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys had a shot at any of this year’s premier prospects – Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, Calvin Pryor and Jimmie Ward – not to mention a slew of other safeties drafted behind them.
Despite that perception, though, Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said he was “pretty comfortable” with the outlook at safety going forward with Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath, and Matt Johnson.
“I think I was always pretty upfront about that. You can obviously upgrade it if you take them one – I’m not going to deny that. To some degree there was one in the second there we liked a lot, the Northern Illinois safety,” he said. “But after that, we kind of felt like we were getting a lot of what we had. We like J.J., we like Church and we like Heath. We’ll just see how these guys play out.”
That’s an attitude both Stephen Jones and Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones repeated several times throughout the weekend. Specifically, it seems the offseason optimism is for Wilcox to grab hold of the starting role he briefly held in 2013.
The Georgia Southern standout was taken No. 80 overall just last season and endured plenty of ups and downs — from losing his mother in training camp to being named the starter to a knee injury that forced him out of the lineup – during a rollercoaster rookie year.
“We thought we had really hit on a big one right up until he lost his mother – we were naming him the starter the day he left,” Stephen Jones said on Friday night. “Obviously, we couldn’t do that because he’d have to miss quite a bit of time.”
In the meantime before training camp, however, hopes remain high for Wilcox.
“We feel good about him – that’s saying a lot,” Jerry Jones said. “But, boy, he looks good out here and we have high expectations for him.”
IRVING, Texas – Early in the draft, players are picked not only for their skills and talent, but also for their abilities to contribute early.
Later in the draft, teams aren’t worried about roles as much and more concerned about acquiring players with traits that can be developed down the line.
For the Dallas Cowboys, they’ve got nine draft picks who will be on the field tomorrow (Friday) for the team’s rookie minicamp. With that in mind, let’s examine specific roles for each player and outlined their chances of making the team.
Zack Martin | 1st round, G, Notre Dame
This guy will step right in and start at one of the guard spots this year, presumably the right side for Mackenzy Bernadeau, who likely handles the backup roles at both guard and center. There has been talk of Martin returning to his collegiate position of tackle at some point, maybe in Year 2 when he gets stronger and more established in the league. But, he currently has the size and makeup of a guard and that’s probably where he’ll end up for most of his career.
Demarcus Lawrence | 2nd round, DE, Boise State
Unlike most draft classes, there could be more eyes on the second-round pick than the first. What the Dallas Cowboys decided to give up (a third-round pick) to move up 13 spots in the second and take Lawrence will put some added pressure on him. The fact that he’s replacing DeMarcus Ware’s position and has the same name won’t help matters either. But the Dallas Cowboys don’t have a lot of options remaining for a right defensive end. He he might start out on the second team behind the likes of Anthony Spencer or Jeremy Mincey. If Lawrence meets Marinelli’s expectations, he’ll take over sooner rather than later.
Anthony Hitchens | 4th round, LB, Iowa
Right away, the Dallas Cowboys have a plan to play Hitchens as the backup to Sean Lee at middle linebacker. For that specific spot, it could be a big role for Hitchens, considering Lee’s injury history and the fact he’s coming off a neck injury that sidelined him for the last three games in 2013. Considered more a “thumper” linebacker who likes to mix it up and hit, Hitchens could get some work at outside linebacker, but don’t be surprised if he steps right into a MLB role.
Devin Street | 5th round, WR, Pittsburgh
The Dallas Cowboys were excited to land Street, a player with a third-round grade that they liked enough to move up in the fifth. What the club likes the most about Street is his knowledge of a pro-style offense. He already knows all of the positions, which will give him a big advantage in adjusting to the NFL. He could use a little upper-body strength and that might plague him. His build is similar to Terrance Williams last year and they share similar on-field traits in their size and ability to get behind defenders. Street might start out as the fifth receiver.
Ben Gardner | 7th round, DE, Stanford
A pectoral injury cut his senior season short and consequently hurt his draft stock. Gardner was a tenacious college player who has a high motor. If that translates well to the NFL, he could garner some playing snaps even as a rookie. The Dallas Cowboys have quite a few defensive linemen (now), so the players who stay healthy and take advantage of limited reps will get the biggest boost. Gardner must shine in fourth quarters of preseason games to stick around.
Will Smith | 7th Round, OLB, Texas Tech
Like many players drafted this late, Smith’s primary task (to start out) will be on special teams. Aside from that, the Dallas Cowboys view him as a guy who can add depth and create competition in the linebacker corps during training camp. Smith was a tackling machine at Texas Tech, racking up 120 tackles from the weak side last season. Smith said that the “Will” linebacker spot is his specialty, and if he adapts well he could push Bruce Carter for playing time. We saw this same story play out just last year, when DeVonte Holloman joined the team in a special teams role and finished his rookie season with two starts.
Ahmad Dixon | 7th Round, S, Baylor
It’s easy to write off anyone drafted just eight spots away from the end of the draft, but the lack of an established starting free safety has to be encouraging for Dixon. The Baylor veteran looks like more of a run-stopper than a ball hawk – he managed just four interceptions, compared to 288 tackles, in three years as a starter for the Bears. But again, it’s not like Dixon’s competition is that steep. The other contenders to start opposite Barry Church are a pair of second-year players in J.J. Wilcox and Jeff Heath, and a third-year player with no career appearances in Matt Johnson. If there’s one position on the Dallas Cowboys depth chart where a seventh-round pick could make some serious headway, it’s probably safety. As usual for late picks, special teams duty is a given as well.
Ken Bishop | 7th Round, DT, Northern Illinois
Bishop was among the 30 players who visited the Dallas Cowboys back in April and the club was happy to see the lineman fall to them. He could very well end up getting playing time right off the bat. The active defensive tackle made 70 tackles last season, which is somewhat ridiculous considering he played nose guard. The Dallas Cowboys valued the lineman from the start, and as the only defensive tackle chosen by the team in the draft, he should get more opportunities than the typical seventh-round pick to stick around. Bishop likely starts out at the 1-technique in this defense, rotating with guys such as Nick Hayden and perhaps Terrell McClain.
Terrance Mitchell | 7th Round, CB, Oregon
It didn’t sound like Mitchell realized the interest the Dallas Cowboys had in him prior to the draft, but they liked him enough to snag him before someone else could in free agency. The Cowboys final NFL Draft pick has some size for his position at 5-11, 192, and some nice stats. Starting every game last season and notching five picks for the Ducks. He was clocked among the quickest defensive backs at the NFL Combine in the 3-cone drill and 20-yard and 60-yard shuttles. The Cowboys didn’t take another corner in the draft, which gives him a better shot to stick around, but they added a couple as undrafted free agents. Mitchell will need to show off that quickness and some special teams skills early on to earn a permanent spot on the roster.
SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN: Dallas Cowboys linebacker position is loaded with question marks | Dallas Cowboys Draft 2014
The Dallas Cowboys linebacker position is loaded with question marks from top to bottom. That uncertainty also puts the level of priority to address this position in question as well.
MEET YOUR NEW WIDE RECEIVER: Pro scouting report on Dallas Cowboys WR LaRon “Big” Byrd | NFL free agency 2014
LaRon Byrd | WR, Miami, Fla. | 6-4, 220 | 4.45 | UDFA with Arizona Cardinals 2012
Games Studied: 2012 Pre Season: New Orleans, Kansas City 2012 Regular Season: Chicago
Had to go back and study tape from 2012 because he missed the 2013 season with a concussion. LaRon Byrd is an interesting player due to his physical makeup for the position. Rangy, long build.
Played both on the outside and in the slot when the Cardinals went into “11” personnel. Would line up tight to the formation as a blocker and was more than willing to do the dirty work. Was not afraid to mix it up with defenders on the edge. Was more than just a get in the way blocker.
Really tried to finish his blocks. Would see him get square to the defender and engage. You could see this in his work on special teams when he blocked on the punt and kickoff returns.
Was used as a move guy at times. Would work hard to the flat like he did in the Chiefs game catching the ball on the move, then getting out of bounds to save time in the two minute drill. Aware. Made another adjusting catch over his head working toward the sideline in the same game.
There was some purpose to his route running. Was open against the Saints on a wheel route out of the slot but quarterback did not go his direction but would have had a huge play. Had a feel for how to work himself open against the press.
Would not call him the quickest off the line. Will build up speed as he gets going. Only had one drop on a drag route against the Saints that he should have had. Hands overall looked dependable whether he was catching inside or down the seam.
Took a huge shot from the safety in Cover 2 against the Chiefs and was able to hang onto the ball. There were a couple of snaps where he jumped for the ball where he didn’t need to but made the catch. Would not say that he is a body catcher only because he did have two snatch catches that I saw.
Was on the majority of the special teams for the Cardinals in the game against the Bears. Lined up as the L2 on the kickoff team, left tackle on the kickoff return and inline blocker on the punt return. Appeared to handle his assignments well and without issues.
His size, hands and willingness to show toughness as a blocker and special teamer makes this signing understandable because of the traits that he can bring to the roster. Very low risk signing that could work out well in the end.
Editors note: LaRon Byrd is the tallest Dallas Cowboys wide receiver on the roster. He’s a young, very gifted player with the toughness, work ethic, and character traits that Jason Garrett relishes. With Scott Linehan orchestrating the Dallas Cowboys offense, you can feel assured that Big Byrd will be fully utilized against these 5’11” secondaries. Nice addition.
Related article on The Boys Are Back:
Your Dallas Cowboys wide receivers …
|11||Beasley, Cole||WR||5-8||180||25||2||Southern Methodist|
|88||Bryant, Dez||WR||6-2||222||25||4||Oklahoma State|
|80||Byrd, LaRon||WR||6-4||220||24||3||Miami (Fla.)|
|17||Harris, Dwayne||WR||5-10||207||26||3||East Carolina|
Your Dallas Cowboys wide receivers currently on the practice squad …
|16||Benford, Tim||WR||5-11||193||24||1||Tennessee Tech|
|86||Lewis, Lance||WR||6-2||207||25||1||East Carolina|
|85||Newsome, Jamar||WR||6-1||201||26||1||Central Florida|
2014-2015 ROSTER UPDATE: Dallas Cowboys exercise fifth-year option for LT Tyron Smith | Free Agent wide receiver LaRon Byrd signed
IRVING, Texas – It’s long been viewed as inevitable, but the Dallas Cowboys made it official today by exercising the fifth-year option on Tyron Smith’s contract.
The move extends Smith’s contract through the 2015 season, and it bumps his salary from the roughly $2 million he’ll make in 2014 to $10.039 million in the final year of the deal. That salary is guaranteed, and Smith gets it fully guaranteed if he is still on the Dallas Cowboys roster at the start of the 2015 league year next March.
The next bit of news for Smith will be how this affects his prospects of reaching a long-term deal with the team, though it does buy both parties some time. The Cowboys had until May 2 to exercise the fifth-year option or Smith would have become a free agent next spring.
With the option, Smith now won’t be slated to enter NFL free agency until spring of 2016, but the Cowboys will likely try to lock him up well before that. The 23-year-old Los Angeles native doesn’t turn 24 until December 12, and he is widely considered among the best young offensive tackles in the league, earning his first Pro Bowl selection last season.
Even with the extended contract, Smith is still likely to be one of the Dallas Cowboys top targets for a new deal, along with wide receiver Dez Bryant. It’s been widely speculated one or both players could receive new contracts prior to the 2014 season.
The Cowboys selected Smith No. 9 overall out of USC in the 2011 NFL Draft. He has appeared in 47 of 48 possible games during his career – all of them starts. He played right tackle as a rookie before shifting to left tackle in 2012.
Smith’s emergence as a dominant left tackle helped improve the Cowboys’ much-maligned running game last fall. The Cowboys rushed for 95 yards or more four times in the final six weeks of the season, including four games of 107 yards or more. They managed that just once during the first 10 games of the year. The team’s ground game averaged four yards per rush on attempts to Smith’s side, and five yards per rush on attempts between Smith and guard Ronald Leary.
IRVING, Texas – Regardless of what happens in next week’s NFL draft, the Dallas Cowboys have added a new body to their receiving corps.
The Cowboys confirmed that they’ve signed wide receiver LaRon Byrd, a free agent who was released by the Cardinals earlier in April. The move gives the Cowboys eight receivers on the roster right now, along with Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Dwayne Harris, Tim Benford, Lance Lewis, and Jamar Newsome.
At 6-4, 220 pounds, Byrd is the largest receiver of the bunch.
Byrd entered the 2012 NFL Draft out of Miami but went undrafted. He signed with Arizona and made the active roster, logging one reception for eight yards and two tackles in four games. During the Cardinals’ 2013 preseason, Byrd suffered a concussion and was placed on the team’s reserved/injured list. He was placed on Arizona’s injured reserve after clearing waivers.
The Cardinals released Byrd on April 4 after signing two offensive linemen and a defensive tackle.
Byrd was a four-year contributor with the Hurricanes, from 2008-11. He finished his career with 106 receptions for 1,254 yards and seven touchdowns. He set a career high in 2009 with 33 receptions for 460 yards.
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.
IRVING, Texas — Before people get carried away with Kyle Orton’s absence from the Dallas Cowboys offseason program, two factors need to be put out there: the workouts are voluntary and he missed just one day.
But the Cowboys should not look at Orton’s absence as a one-day deal. They need to determine whether Orton really wants to play football in 2014, despite what they heard from the player’s agent and the fact Orton would be walking away from $3.25 million.
It could be as simple as him not wanting to play anymore. He is the second-highest paid backup quarterback in the NFL behind Matt Moore ($4 million) of the Miami Dolphins, so money wouldn’t seem to be an issue. He has been content in his role as a backup to Tony Romo, so opportunity wouldn’t seem to be an issue.
Undoubtedly the Cowboys have spoken directly to Orton this offseason with the whispers of him thinking about retirement. What was discussed is not known. Did he tell them he would play or not play?
Orton holds the cards here because he does not have to show up until the mandatory June minicamp. If he does not report for that, then he would face fines up to close to $70,000. If he does report, what kind of condition is he in?
The Cowboys can trade him or release him. What kind of return would they get for a player who may or may not report to a new team? If they release him, then they would forfeit the right to pick up $3 million of the $5 million signing bonus he received in 2011.
They could keep him and hope he arrives at the June minicamp in good shape and is ready to go when the team reports to Oxnard, Calif., for training camp. Hope, however, should not be their strategy.
Yet there is a more immediate question raised from Orton’s absence. Does it push quarterback up the ladder when it comes to the draft?
The Dallas Cowboys signed Brandon Weeden to a two-year deal in the offseason with no signing bonus. They liked him coming into the 2012 draft, but not as much as the Cleveland Browns liked him. He had more interceptions than touchdown passes, but the Cowboys have taken a no-risk look at him.
What can they learn about Weeden before the draft? Not much. Coaches are not allowed on the field with the players until Phase 2 of the offseason program, which comes the week of the draft.
The Dallas Cowboys attended Aaron Murray’s workout at Georgia last week. They talked with Jimmy Garoppolo and David Fales at the NFL scouting combine. They had a number of quarterbacks at their Dallas Day workouts last week in Garrett Gilbert, Casey Pachall and James Franklin, but they did not have a quarterback among their national visitors.
The Cowboys aren’t exactly being held hostage by Orton, but his decision (or indecision) could go a long way in how they plan to attack the draft.
THE TRUE BLUE ROSTER TEST: Name all ten of the Dallas Cowboys defensive linemen currently on the roster | Special Feature
Do you know who they do have?
Hint: There are currently 10 defensive linemen under contract.
Another Hint: Three of them are defensive tackles and seven are defensive ends.
How many can you name off the top of your head?
STOP READING NOW AND THINK ABOUT IT …
THE ANSWERS ARE BELOW … NO PEEKING!!!
And? Maybe Ben Bass?
FOUR TO GO …
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
The 10 defensive linemen currently on the 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys roster have combined to play in 268 games, making 457 tackles and 39.5 sacks. Ware and Hatcher combined to play 260 games with 779 tackles and 144 sacks.
Editors note: This post inspired by Charean Williams of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. Current Dallas Cowboy unrestricted free agents Anthony Spencer, Edgar Jones, and Jarius Wynn are not included in this count … but you get bonus points for naming them!
True Blues, keep up with the 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys roster 2014-2015 right here, on The Boys Are Back
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.