Cowboys News Links: Josh Brent Status, More 2013 Draft Talk

Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

A quick roundup of news items related to the Dallas Cowboys.

What's shaking in the Cowboys world recently? For one thing, the current status of Josh Brent was made public. Right now, by NFL rules, Brent could be attending voluntary workouts. Since he won't be playing this season, everybody wondered if he would show up, and would the Cowboys allow it. They're trying to support Brent, but right now don't want the publicity surrounding anything involving him and the team. Turns out, he's not going to attend.

Josh Brent hasn't been banned from voluntary workouts with the Dallas Cowboys, but he's not attending them until his legal issues are cleared up. "The league hasn't had any sanctions on him," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Tuesday on KRLD-FM in Dallas. "The more important thing for Josh right now is to focus on the issues at hand for himself, and obviously, he's got some legal issues he's going to be working through, not to mention all the personal issues that are involved with what he was involved with. That's what he's focused on right now."

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Speaking of big men to play the 1-tech on the defensive line, one of my guys from Georgia Tech, T.J. Barnes, recently spoke to the Cowboys.

Barnes said Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans, Dallas and the Falcons have been among the callers. "I’ve been in the 3-4 and the 4-3," he said. "Those two are perfectly fine. I’ve always been a ‘1 technique or zero (technique). I can also play a 3 technique." Draft expert Tony Pauline lists Barnes as an undrafted free agent, the No. 35 defensive tackle in the draft. The website nfldraftscout.com projects him going in the sixth or seventh round, the No. 19 defensive tackle.

Barnes is massive, around 6' 6" and in the 360+ pound range. I think of him more as a 0-tech guy in a 3-4, but could fit into a 4-3. He doesn't fit the mold of the smaller, quicker player in the Monte Kiffin scheme, although 1-tech is the one position where you might like the size. Barnes was mostly a rotational guy at GT, his weight and conditioning were always whispered to be the issue. He commanded double-teams in the middle of a 3-4 just because of his size. I could see him being a back-up in the league, but probably not a starter.

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Also along the Cowboys line: Will Doug Free take a pay cut? Rick Gosselin answers:

Any further word on which way Doug Free is leaning in his decision? Rick Gosselin: If he's smart, he takes the pay cut. The big free agency dollars have already been spent by NFL teams. Whatever the Cowboys have on the table may be better than Free finds in the open market.

I think at this point he has to take a pay cut. His cap hit is outrageous, and if Eric Winston is out there saying he'll play for $3 - $4 million, then that's at least one fallback option (as long as he remains unsigned). Plus, there's the upcoming draft, and there are other free agent right tackles on the market besides Winston. They also have Jeremy Parnell in the fold. So Free, at his current number, makes little sense. He's going to have to accept a pay cut, and that might still not save him from an outright June release, depending on what happens over the next couple of weeks.

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Recently, the front-pagers here participated in the SB Nation two-round draft. We already selected Jonathan Cooper in the first round. In the second round, as a group we selected safety Eric Reid at #47.

After grabbing guard Jonathan Cooper in the 1st round, Dallas tries to solve another problem area with safety Eric Reid. Dallas is tissue-thin at the safety spot with its current roster and desperately needs help. Barry Church is one presumed starter but he is coming of an Achilles injury. Will Allen was signed as a free agent and could be a stop-gap measure for 2013. Last year's draftee Matt Johnson was injured all year. In Monte Kiffin's 4-3 scheme, Dallas needs deep-field safeties and Reid has the ideal body-type for that, plus he can be a ferocious hitter. He would have a chance to start in the Cowboys line-up. Added bonus, he would be reunited with his ex-LSU secondary teammate, Morris Claiborne.

In the real draft, former Cowboys player Tony Casillas will announce our second-round pick.

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Finally, a site call Sports On Earth decided to rank the Top 10 draft classes of the last decade. Lo and behold, the Cowboys 2005 effort ranked #1.

1. Dallas Cowboys, 2005 The Players: DeMarcus Ware (1st round); Jay Ratliff (7th round); Marcus Spears (1nd round); Chris Canty (4th round); Marion Barber (4th round), Kevin Burnett (2nd round). The Verdict: The Cowboys drafted the nucleus of a Super Bowl team in 2005. They just never got around to drafting ribosomes, mitochondria or an endoplasmic reticulum to support that nucleus. Ware and Ratliff remained the core of their front seven through last year, with Spears easing into a supporting role after years as a starter. Burnett and Canty are still NFL starters. Barber was a very good multi-purpose running back from 2005 through 2009 but faded quickly. Add in Jason Witten and Tony Romo (both acquired in 2003), and this draft tells the story of roughly a decade of Cowboys football. Ware and company helped the Cowboys to 13-win seasons and numerous playoff berths, and they still keep the team anchored around .500 and competitive. But Bill Parcells stopped running Cowboys drafts one year after this masterpiece, and the Cowboys started looking like a sitcom that was out of ideas by 2010, when some of these players had moved on and others had peaked.

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