SO LONG, COWBOY: Sun sets on Spencer’s career in Big D | Dallas defender to go marching on in The Big Easy | Anthony Spencer reunited with Rob Ryan
IRVING, Texas – When word got out that defensive lineman Ben Gardner had obtained Anthony Spencer’s jersey number for the upcoming offseason workouts, most assumed Spencer’s eight-year tenure with the Dallas Cowboys was over. Continue reading →
Here’s the latest updates on the Dallas Cowboys players involved in NFL free agency this season. Six players have been lost while six have been added. Eight players have been retained from the Dallas Cowboys 2014-2015 squad. Nine players remain in limbo. Continue reading →
FUTURE OF THE FRANCHISE: Debating the 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys needs position-by-position | NFL Free Agency vs. NFL Draft
We’re conditioned to believe that the Dallas Cowboys won’t be major players when the NFL Free Agency period begins on March 11, 2014 Well, this article may not make you feel any better, but hopefully more informed. With the little bit of cap space they will likely have, here’s were the Dallas Cowboys could spend their money in free agency:
Positions likely to be addressed in free agency:
1.) Defensive tackle. The entire defensive line is basically tied for No. 1 on this ranking scale. Both need to be addressed badly. But with Jason Hatcher likely gone via free agency, Nick Hayden is the only returnee who received major playing time in 2013. A healthy Ben Bass and Tyrone Crawford should help here, but another starting caliber player and depth needs to be acquired through free agency and the draft. (Defensive tackle Henry Melton #69 of the Chicago Bears pictured above)
2.) Defensive end. If DeMarcus Ware agrees to a restructure, this group at least has a leg to stand on. If he leaves the Dallas Cowboys, George Selvie and Crawford are the only significant pieces remaining. This is obviously not ideal in a system that is predicated on its front four constantly causing problems for the opposing quarterback. Like tackle, end needs to be addressed in both free agency and the draft.
3.) Safety. This has been a problem area for a long time (for some). Jerry Jones said at the scouting combine last month that he likes where the team is at safety. Barry Church is a solid player when healthy, but there isn’t much proven talent at the position after him. J.J. Wilcox was drafted in the third round last year, but he struggled to establish himself during his rookie season. The jump from Georgia Southern is obviously a big one. Jeff Heath and Matt Johnson would be next in line, but neither should be expected to be a full-time starter this year. The Cowboys could add a veteran safety like they did last season with Will Allen.
4.) Linebacker. If the season started tomorrow, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, and DeVonte Holloman would likely be the starters. And the Cowboys have reason to be concerned about all three. Bruce Carter never seemed comfortable in Monte Kiffin’s scheme last season. Holloman is a sixth round pick who doesn’t have much experience. Lee is the best of the bunch – and one of the best in the league – but he can’t stay healthy. Could that mean the Cowboys add a middle linebacker and move Lee to the weakside spot where he could remain a tackling machine but sustain fewer hits? Possibly. The depth at all three positions is thin as well.
5.) Wide receiver. If Miles Austin is cut, adding a veteran through free agency seems like a good idea. There should be some relatively cheap options out there. If not, the good news for the Cowboys is this draft is considered to be very deep at the position. (Editors comment: If the team ultimately decides to cut Miles Austin, it might be worthwhile to consider giving Jason Hatcher those salary dollars and keep him around Marinelli for a few more years.)
6.) Quarterback. If Kyle Orton retires, a veteran backup is critical. Tony Romo will be 34 next month and he has had two back surgeries in the last two years. The Dallas Cowboys need someone that can step in right away if Romo goes down and Orton isn’t on the roster. Even if Orton does play another season in Dallas, adding a cheap third arm through free agency is a possibility as well.
Positions unlikely to be addressed in free agency:
Interior offensive line. Upgrading these positions would likely come through the draft. Travis Frederick is a very solid piece at center and should be starting at that position for a long time. Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ronald Leary will likely be the starters again at guard. The position could certainly use some young depth, though.
Tight end. Jason Witten turns 32 in May, but there’s still tread on his tires. He caught 73 passes for 851 yards and eight touchdowns last season. The Cowboys spent a second-round pick on Gavin Escobar last year and a sixth round pick on James Hanna in 2011. Both should have a significant role this season.
Running back. DeMarco Murray, Lance Dunbar, and Joseph Randle should all get carries in 2014. Phillip Tanner has been the No. 4 back but the Dallas Cowboys chose not to tender a contract to him, which means he will be a free agent. A replacement for Tanner could be added in the later rounds of the draft or immediately after, via an undrafted rookie free agent.
Cornerback. Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Orlando Scandrick, and B.W. Webb will likely be the top four corners entering camp. It wouldn’t be a complete surprise to see the Dallas Cowboys draft a corner in May, because like pitchers in baseball, you really can’t have too many quality defensive backs in the NFL. Adding an expensive veteran corner through free agency doesn’t make sense.
Special Teams. Kicker Dan Bailey signed a long-term contract extension in January, so he’s not going anywhere. Punter Chris Jones is a restricted free agent and should return. Dwayne Harris has performed well returning kicks and punts, and he should continue to have that role. Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley could also help in that area. The biggest upgrade would likely come by adding a defensive back or linebacker in the draft who can also contribute on special teams coverage.
Ten NFL Free Agents that could be a good fit for the 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys:
It’s well documented that the Dallas Cowboys won’t be major players in free agency. They recently found enough salary cap space for the current players on their roster. With DeMarcus Ware, Miles Austin, and other potential restructures still in play, they could clear up some room to sign a couple of the lower priced options.
Here are 10 free agents that could be productive (per DMN staff) for the Dallas Cowboys if they can be obtained at a low price:
Recuperating defensive end Anthony Spencer (pictured above) #93 of the Dallas Cowboys
Defensive End Willie Young #79 of the Detroit Lions (pictured)
Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald #69 of the Seattle Seahawks
Defensive tackle Henry Melton #69 of the Chicago Bears
Wide receiver Kenny Britt #18 of the the Tennessee Titans
Wide receiver Robert Meachem #17 of the New Orleans Saints
Wide receiver Nate Burleson #13 of the Detroit Lions
Outside linebacker Antwan Barnes #95 of the New York Jets
Quarterback Colt McCoy #2 of the San Francisco 49ers
Quarterback Jimmy Clausen #2 of the Carolina Panthers
DALLAS COWBOYS ROSTER 2014: Team waives four players as Free Agency nears | Defensive End Everette Brown released
IRVING, Texas – After a quiet few weeks of the offseason, the Dallas Cowboys made a few roster moves, cutting four players from the roster.
The most notable was defensive end Everette Brown, who played in seven games during the second half of the season.
The team also waived defensive tackle Corvey Irvin, guard Ray Dominguez and guard Jeff Olson, who was only with the team for a week in training camp and suffered a concussion. He was on the team’s reserved/injured list. Dominguez was on the practice squad all last season, while Irvin was a late-season addition at defensive tackle.
Brown garnered more attention about where he came from than when he was actually in uniform. The defensive end was just a few days away from opening up a Smoothie shop in Charlotte when he got the call to come help the Cowboys’ injury-plagued defensive line.
Brown finished the year with seven tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss and four pressures. His sack and forced fumble against the Vikings helped the Cowboys halt a late-Minnesota rally.
Free agency officially begins March 11 although teams can negotiate with their own unrestricted and restricted free agents. Some of the key free agents for the Dallas Cowboys include defensive tackle Jason Hatcher and defensive end Anthony Spencer.
2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Free Agents
Jon Kitna, QB
Brian Waters, OL
Ryan Cook, OL
Anthony Spencer, DE/LB
Jarius Wynn, DE
Jason Hatcher, DT
Edgar Jones, LB
Ernie Sims, LB
Danny McCray, S
SPAGNOLA COMMENTARY: Dallas Cowboys just may get the last laugh in free-agency 2013 (Special Feature)
IRVING, Texas – Broke out chuckling several times this week, in private mostly, so time to out myself.
First over the NFL’s new rule prohibiting ball carriers outside the box from lowering their heads to create forcible contact with the crown of the helmet, and vice versa for defenders trying to make a tackle.
Makes sense to me if the NFL is going to continue its vigilance to prevent head injuries in the game, but evidently not much sense to former running backs like Emmitt Smith, Tony Dorsett and Marshall Faulk, who have been crying out against this now 15-yard penalty from the highest mountain someone will transport them to.
Funny thing is, not sure any of those three ever ran over a defender outside the box using their suddenly-turning knuckleheads, but the guy who made a living running over guys – mashing many to the ground in violent fashion – Jim Brown, says this is a good rule, that he never believed sticking his head where it didn’t belong was ever a good idea.
Maybe the NFL should call this the Earl Campbell rule. That is, if anyone has seen the Tyler Rose’s physical condition anytime lately.
Then, not quite two full weeks into free agency, reading different website’s free agency Winners and Losers lists have been very amusing. Here is one that had me mumbling “Are you kidding me?”and since I was by myself, I’m guessing no one else heard. Now you will.
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” because as would be predicted, the Dallas Cowboys were consistently in the “big losers” category of free agency. Guess few have been moved by the re-signings of Phil Costa and Ernie Sims, and as Jerry Jones is wont to say, I’m smiling when I say that.
But here is what got me: The New York Giants were listed as winners. Winners, I’m telling you, for re-signing linebacker Keith Rivers and offensive tackle Will Beatty, free-agent tight end Brandon Myers to replace Martellus Bennett and linebacker Dan Connor, cut by the Cowboys, and for good financial and performance reasons.
Come on, seriously? Winners for that?
Sorry, and I probably do this every year, but allow me to climb on my soapbox to scream about how overrated free agency really is, that in most cases you overpay on the open market for whatever you purchase. Because – get ready – if these free agents are so good, why are they available?
Teams, usually no matter their cap problems, figure out how to keep guys worthy of big contracts. Building a team through free agency, meaning bringing in a bunch of mercenaries who have no sweat equity in the program, to me is asking for trouble. How fortunate the Cowboys didn’t fork over the other $10 million for some guy named Nnamdi that summer of 2011. Two years later the Eagles have divested their $60 million investment in him
OK, there, that’s off my chest.
IRVING, Texas — The Cowboys may not be done in free agency this year — they still could address positions like tight end or cornerback as the market settles.
Speaking of this topic, here’s what 2013 looks like for their next crop of free agents:
Starting cornerback Mike Jenkins tops the list. He’s coming off shoulder surgery but should be 100 percent for training camp. The Cowboys have signed Orlando Scandrick and now Brandon Carr to long-term deals in the last seven months, and Jenkins could be next at some point.
Defensive end Kenyon Coleman and center Phil Costa are the other two starters with expiring contracts after the 2012 season. Brodney Pool, who figures to start at safety at this moment, signed a one-year deal last week. Wide receiver Kevin Ogletree will also be back on a one-year deal to compete for a backup spot.
Running back Felix Jones is another prominent free agent to be. A healthy DeMarco Murray seems likely to remain the primary back next season, but when healthy Jones provides a change of pace that would have to be replaced.
The rest: Linebacker Victor Butler, safety Barry Church, long snapper L.P. Ladouceur, safety Danny McCray, quarterback Stephen McGee and tight end John Phillips.
Editors note: Red indicates the player was CUT after this article was originally published.
Peyton Manning will become the next quarterback of the Denver Broncos, barring a snag during intensified contract negotiations that have commenced under the instruction of the four-time MVP to his agent Tom Condon, according to multiple sources.
Once the Manning deal becomes official, Denver will try to trade Tim Tebow, according to sources.
Manning instructed Condon to negotiate the finite details of a contract that would conclude with him joining the Broncos after a frenzied but focused process that began when the Indianapolis Colts released him March 7.
Manning called Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway on Monday morning to tell him the news. Manning also called the San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans to inform them of his intent to now play for Denver.
Titans owner Bud Adams released a statement Monday saying: "Obviously I am disappointed, because I thought we would be a perfect fit.
"Now that we move forward, I want our fans to know that our expectations haven’t changed — winning a championship is still the goal. I like our quarterback situation moving forward and we will continue to build the team through free agency and the draft with that goal in mind.
"I also want to commend Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker. They were thrown into a very difficult situation. Matt was very good for us last year; and at some point, we expect Jake to be our future franchise quarterback," Adams said in the statement.
A contract between Manning and the Broncos is expected to be a formality. Elway and Manning first discussed the parameters of a five-year, $95 million contract during their March 9 meeting in Denver, the first time the quarterback visited a team during his free agency.
Building a team isn’t easy and the Dallas Cowboys will begin the process of remaking theirs. In general, NFL clubs turn over a third of their personnel each season. Dallas figures to address needs in the secondary and along the offensive line as it also attempts to fortify the inside linebacker position and enhance its pass rush.
Here is a look at how the 2011 team was constructed and how each player was acquired. The Cowboys may follow a similar plan in 2012 or they could implement a new strategy.
From the Draft (29)
2003: CB Terence Newman, TE Jason Witten, LB Bradie James
2005: LB DeMarcus Ware, DE Marcus Spears, NT Jay Ratliff
2006: DE Jason Hatcher
2007: LB Anthony Spencer, LT Doug Free, CB Alan Ball
2008: RB Felix Jones, CB Mike Jenkins, TE Martellus Bennett, CB Orlando Scandrick
2009: QB Stephen McGee, LB Victor Butler, K David Buehler, TE John Phillips
2010: WR Dez Bryant, LB Sean Lee, NT Sean Lissemore, NT Josh Brent
2011: RT Tyron Smith, LB Bruce Carter, RB DeMarco Murray, G David Arkin, WR Dwayne Harris, FB Shaun Chapas, LG Bill Nagy
Signed as Free Agents (31)
2003: QB Tony Romo
2004: P Mat McBriar
2005: LS L.P. Ladouceur
2006: RG Kyle Kosier, WR Miles Austin
2009: LB Keith Brooking, S Gerald Sensabaugh, WR Kevin Ogletree
2010: S Barry Church, C Phil Costa, WR Jesse Holley, S Danny McCray, T Jermey Parnell
2011: S Abram Elam, DE Kenyon Coleman, LG Derrick Dockery, FB Tony Fiammetta, QB Chris Greisen, RB Sammy Morris, WR Laurent Robinson, CB Frank Walker, LB Alex Albright, K Dan Bailey, K Kai Forbath, LG Montrae Holland, WR Andre Holmes, G Kevin Kowalski, WR Raymond Radway, RB Phillip Tanner, P Chris Jones, RB Chauncey Washington
Claimed via Waivers (1)
2010: DE Clifton Geathers
Via Trades (1)
2009: QB Jon Kitna
Practice Squad (1)
2010: S Mana Silva
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Laurent Robinson (81) celebrates his fourth quarter touchdown catch with fellow receivers Dez Bryant and Jesse Holley
At the time, they were huge plays in the game, the two touchdowns to Laurent Robinson which brought the Cowboys momentarily back to within one score Sunday night, after falling behind 21-0 in the first half.
The comeback effort was in vain, as it turned out, but Robinson’s two scores were far from meaningless. Touchdowns No. 10 and 11 on the season, they just further boosted the future market value of the free agent-to-be wide receiver.
At the time, though, that wasn’t what he and the rest of the team were thinking about.
"We were excited," Robinson said of the second-half charge, which crescendoed with his six-yard slant route touchdown with 10:15 to play. "We were moving the ball well, just trying to make plays. Unfortunately it came up a little short."
Now that the season is over, the business of trying to improve for next year starts immediately. For the wide receiving corps, at least, that would be tougher if Robinson leaves via free agency.
"I want to be a Cowboy," Robinson said. "I love it here, they love me here, it seems like I’ve got a great connection with Tony (Romo). I love the guys, Dez (Bryant), Miles (Austin), (Kevin) Ogletree, (Jesse) Holley. We’ll just wait and see what happens . . . I’ll sit back and talk to my agent and see what happens, but I love it here. That’s all I can say."
Robinson finished the year with 54 catches for 858 yards and the 11 scores, nine more than his previous career high. A fifth-year pro, Robinson was originally a third-round pick of Atlanta, but was traded to St. Louis in 2009. He went to training camp with San Diego this summer, but was released before the season began.
Signing with the Cowboys in Week 1 and injuring a hamstring in his first practice with the team, he made his debut in Week 3 against Washington.
He recorded his first of three 100-yard games the next week against Detroit, and beginning in Week 8 against Philadelphia, caught a touchdown in five straight games, nine in a span of eight weeks.
All along the way, his value on the market and his value to the Cowboys continued to rise.
"It was a good feeling," Robinson said. "I knew I had talent, I knew I could make plays, but I finally got an opportunity to show what I can do, and I thank them for taking a chance on me."