-- The Cowboys have discussed negotiating new deals for free-agents-to-be Scott Fujita and Andre Gurode.
Fujita provides depth at a position decimated by injuries last year, with Kalen Thornton missing all of '06 and Al Singleton missing most of the season.
The pursuit of Gurode makes the offensive line road map a bit clearer. Gurode rotated with C Al Johnson and backed up RG Marco Rivera in the Carolina and St. Louis games. If the team feels Gurode represents value at C and guard, then tackle likely becomes the targeted position in the draft. This does not mean the Cowboys won't pursue a RT in free agency. It does suggest that Jerry Jones' comments yesterday complementing the South team's OTs Jonathan Scott, Eric Winston and Marcus McNeill should probably be taken at face value.
-- TE coach Paul Pasqualoni is the primary candidate to replace departed LB coach Gary Gibbs. With Chris Palmer in town to interview for the OC job vacated by Sean Payton, the floating opening on staff involves Tony Sparano. If he remains in his current role as O-line coach and running game coordinator and Pasqualoni moves to the defensive staff the Cowboys will need a new TE coach. If Bill Parcells surprises and moves Sparano back to coaching TEs, the Cowboys will need a new line coach. The former option seems more likely; I doubt Parcells denied New Orleans permission to interview Sparano to shuffle him back to his old position.
-- Jones says he expects ILB Dat Nguyen to retire soon.
-- The gamesmanship continues. Jones also said he expects disgruntled DE Greg Ellis to return to Dallas next season. Ellis contends that he's a poor fit in the team's 3-4 scheme and will not return.
If you smell somebody trying to get themselves traded, raise your hand.
Ellis' playing time decreased late last year, as Chris Canty supplanted him in the starting lineup. This would suggest Dallas would shop him this offseason; his contract averages $4.0 million, which is a high price for a rotation player. However, Ellis tied for the team lead in sacks with eight. Moving him represents a huge risk for the Dallas rush. Ellis has four years remaining on his deal, so Jones and Parcells are under no pressure to move him.
Then again, do you want an unhappy player on your hands? Ellis is clearly unhappy with the 3-4, and has made repeated references to his poor fit in the scheme.