Dallas Cowboys News and Notes: Mini-Camp! Transactions! Draft Recaps!

Tom Pennington

The latest doings from Cowboyland to sip with your Friday mornin' coffee: rookie camp begins; three seventh-rounders sign; Miles Austin is a Brown; new draft info emerges

Today, the Cowboys rookies will begin in earnest, with their first minicamp of the 2014 offseason. As might be expected, there is much anticipation and wonderment about the newly-minted Cowboys. The Mothership's Bryan Broaddus does his best to alleviate this with a flurry of advanced scouting reports. Read up in anticipation of a weekend of breathless reports on the doings at Valley Ranch:

Rookie FA scouting report: looking at QBs, RBs and tight end
Continuing his FA previews series, Broaddus offers brief thumbnail analyses of the two QBs (Dustin Vaughn and Kolton Browning), RBs (Josh Harris and Glasco Martin) and the lone TE (Jordan Najvar). He reserved his highest praise for Vaughn and Harris, for what it's worth.

Rookie FA scouting report: ASU DT, Akron guard and more
For this piece, Broaddus turns his scouting gaze upon Arizona State DT Davon Coleman, Cincinnati OG Andre Cureton. The "and more" turns out to be a report on Ferris State safety Marvin Robinson.

Scouts' Eye: Five guys worth watching at Friday's first minicam
Here, Broaddus serves up five names that merit special scrutiny this weekend: DEs DeMarcus Lawrence (yes, it has been officially declared that Lawrence spells him name just as Ware did, with a capital "M" in the middle) and Ben Gardner; OLB Will Smith; CB Dashaun Phillips; and OT Jarrod Pughsley. Although most of these guys are recent draftees, The Broad One also praises a couple of smooth movers: Phillips has "movement skills and Pughsley demonstrates "ease of movement."

CB Dashaun Phillips gets top undrafted bonus - Blogging The Boys
Maybe one of the reason Broaddus says to watch Phillips is because he knows enough to follow the money: the Tarleton State corner received the largest signing bonus of any of the team's UDFAs - a rather measly $7,500, when compared to the fat 70k they guaranteed Brandon Magee at this time last year.

Cowboys to add about 15 players on a tryout basis - Nick Eatman, The Mothership
In addition to the draft picks and UDFA guys, the Cowboys have extended tryout invitations to fifteen players. Lest you think these guys are mere rookie minicamp bodies, Eatman is quick to remind us that, in 2012, DT Ben Bass, RB Jamize Olawale and WR David Little turned their tryouts into training camp invites. Last year, WR Anthony Amos, OL Edawn Coughman, and DE Jerome Long did the same.

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But that's not all that's happening. In case you missed it, yesterday was peppered with noteworthy transactions...

Miles Austin signed with Cleveland Browns - Dave Halprin, BTB
A day after Jason Garrett reportedly had left the door open for Austin to return, that door slammed. Austin signed with the Browns, who find themselves thin at receiver after Josh Gordon's shenanigans. Oh the irony: as they bid an official adieu to Austin, one of the best UDFA finds in franchise history, the Cowboys welcomed a host of new undrafted free agents.

Cowboys Get Early Jump; sign three seventh-round picks - Nick Eatman, The Mothership
Thanks to the new CBA's slotting mechanism, the days of haggling over rookie contracts are just a distant speck in the league's rear-view mirror. On Thursday, the Cowboys inked seventh-rounders Ben Gardner, Wil Smith and Terrance Mitchell to rookie deals. The always-reliable Eatman notes, however, that the higher-ticker rookies, like Zack Martin, will likely have to wait until after June 1st to sign, as that's when Austin’s $5.5 million cap charge officially comes off the books.

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Just because we sit on the precipice of rookie minicamp doesn't mean that Cowboys Nation is finished digesting last weekend's draft happenings...

Cowboys mailbag - May 15 - draft feedback - Bob Sturm
Bob kicks off his piece by revisiting his post-draft article, and its central point: that this team continues to make mistakes by trading up in the draft, and wasting valuable draft currency to do so. He then proceeds to answer several viewer questions. The last of these caught my eye, as Sturm responds to a query about the Cowboys' inability to shut down the information pipeline:

If I could change anything about the way the Jerry Cowboys work, it would be their information/intelligence department having loose lips.  This, of course, is more Jerry than any mole down the food chain.  He says so many things that don't need to be said.  But, it is as if he cannot help himself.  People often credit him with doing all of this on purpose, but over the years he says so many damaging things that are used against him - Romo is Peyton Manning here, Defensive line is a strength, Manziel was the highest player on our board, 12 personnel, etc - that it clearly is not strategic.

They accidentally make their draft board public - twice in 4 years!  And they allow the world to look inside their war-room when there is no reason to, only to see a major disagreement happening on live broadcast!

Stop!  Protect your secrets.  Don't be so public.  Don't try to run a franchise and a reality show.  You already have the biggest audience, so you cannot sell more tickets.

Of course, if they did that, then we couldn't bring you the draft board every three years now, could we...

Cowboys gave up starters in Ealy and [Trai] Turner for Lawrence - Clarence Hill, Star-Telegram
In his recent conference call to season ticket holders, Jones the Younger announced that the players they would have taken had they not traded up for DeMarcus Lawrence would have been Missouri DE Kony Ealy and LSU OG Trai Turner (yes, a second offensive guard in three rounds). This, clearly, opens the door for second-guessers, nay-sayers and apocalyptic headline writers.

How a text message helped get Johnny Manziel drafted by the Browns - Dallas Morning News
A fascinating tidbit emerges from an otherwise innocuous piece: the Browns tried to trade up with both Tennessee (at the eleventh pick) and Dallas (at #16) to select Manziel, before finally moving up to #22 (they knew they had to leapfrog the Chiefs, who sat at number 23, since they felt certain Kansas City would select him). After the end of the first round, Jerry Jones remarked that the Cowboys hadn't received any offers, which begs the question; just how much did Cleveland put on the table? If they were willing to go up to the eleventh pick, might their offer to move to #16 have been a bit "firmer" than Jerry led us to believe?

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