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The VRR: A Slimmer Miles Austin; Pat Watkins & Sam Hurd Sign Tenders

Now that special teams aces Pat Watkins and Sam Hurd have signed their restricted free agent tenders, that leaves just Miles Austin, Gerald Sensabaugh, and Duke Preston as the Cowboys remaining RFAs.

Yesterday was the deadline for other teams to sign players to offer sheets. No word on whether Preston has been working out with the team, but Sensabaugh has yet to show at the voluntary sessions. He is expected to attend the mandatory ones next month.

I'm sure you've all seen that Austin returned from California to begin team workouts. He may be signing his tender as early as today.

Austin has reportedly trimmed down. He's already fast and a beast at breaking tackles, so anything that increases his top-end speed even more is just another reason to smile. Austin explained why he was initially working out in California instead of at Valley Ranch. According to him, it had nothing to do with his contract situation.

He returned to Valley Ranch on Wednesday nearly 10 pounds lighter than his 2009 playing weight. Austin argues that this program was the reason for his absence, which is contradictory of public sentiment over the past few days, a feeling that the receiver staying away from Dallas was a sort of message to the team.

"Not a power play, nothing like that at all," said Austin. "It just came down to when I was working out there, I was really buying into the workouts. Not only was I working out with a personal trainer, but I was running hills, running Runyan [Canyon], a lot of things.

 "It was just a good thing out there. I was getting good work in, shedding weight, running fast. I just wanted to be ready when I came back here, and I'm ready now."

More VRR after the jump.

Jason Garrett knew what his #1 wide receiver was working on all along.

Garrett said the team was in constant contact with Austin. They knew of his plans to go to work with a trainer in California and they fully expected him to be on hand when the Cowboys began their throwing sessions.

The receivers and quarterbacks toss the ball around on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Austin was back in town for the session last Thursday and has been here ever since.

Although the team may still be looking to draft a tackle, Garrett likes what he's seen from Doug Free.

Garrett said Free has the makings of a quality left tackle. He said the Cowboys were really encouraged by his performance in place of an injured Marc Colombo at right tackle last year. But they clearly believe his best position is left tackle. He is athletic. He has good feet and he has long arms, which are necessary at left tackle.

Also keep in mind that this was not a fly by night decision by the Cowboys and if they didn't feel real good about Free, they would not have cut Adams.

According to another source, their decision was not just based on watching Free at right tackle in place of Colombo. But also two years of practices in mini camp, training camp and during the season as the back up left tackle going against the best pass rusher in the NFL.

As expected, WR Sam Hurd signed his $1.759 million tender today.

Hurd had seven catches for 121 yards last season as his role lessened during the season. Hurd had four catches for 69 yards in the first four games and three catches for 52 yards in the final 14 games, Hurd had a more significant impact on special teams.

According to the Cowboys' calculations, Hurd led the team in special-teams tackles with 18.

Safety Pat Watkins signed his tender yesterday.

Watkins has played in 49 games in his career with 10 starts, while recording 116 tackles, four interceptions and 56 stops on special teams.

He played in 10 games in 2009 with one start before spraining the PCL in his left knee against San Diego (12/13) and missing the remainder of the season.

Calvin Watkins sums up what the remaining free-agent deadlines mean to the Cowboys. In essence, the team has everything covered in terms of retaining any restricted free agent.

Matt Mosely speculates that Marcus Spears may be on the trading block come Draft Day.

I think a team such as the Redskins would be wise to make a move for Spears during the draft. The Cowboys would probably move him for a mid-round pick. For whatever reason, the team has soured on Spears, who's actually one of the better leaders on the team.

It's not like the defensive end in Wade Phillips' 3-4 scheme is going to have a lot of sacks. I'm not quite sure why Spears' stock has fallen so much, but it's at an all-time low at this point.

ESPNDallas looks at CB Devin McCourty in its Cowboys potential Draft Preview series.

Mike Jenkins sounds quite welcome to the possibility of the team drafting his former SFU teammate, safety Nate Allen. Jenkins tweeted last night:

Nate allen best safety. In coll overall

Morehouse OT Ramon Harewood visited with the Cowboys this week.

Highly regarded for his intelligence and character, Harewood attended Morehouse on an academic scholarship and declined the offer of an athletic scholarship because he didn’t want to cost a teammate their scholarship.

He weighed 363 pounds during the season ,but is believed to be down to 335 pounds now. Harewood has huge hands and 35-inch arms.

He has been working out in Dallas with former Cowboys offensive lineman George Hegamin.

A BTB hat tip goes out to APerfectStar for the FanShot.

The now-infamous Jerry Jones video is all the talk right now. His response?

"I certainly don't and wouldn't use four-letter words in anything that would be involved in the media or for people of all ages to hear. The other thing that I would be careful about is any wit or attempt at wit or humor or attempt at humor. But that's just not what you're thinking about when you're having a social moment."

A social moment...I kind of like that. DCFanatic has the interview below if you care to indulge in "Jerryisms".

Martellus Bennett put together a list of The Top 13 Favorite Songs of the Dallas Cowboys.

Cowboys great, Everson Walls, will be the Keynote Speaker at My Very Own Book's First Annual Dinner.

My Very Own Book is a non-profit that runs reading programs in North Texas schools in low income neighborhoods. Students who read outside of school hours are rewarded with new books.

The dinner will be held at the Eisemann Center in Richardson, TX on Saturday, May 1 at 7PM. Seats must be reserved by Tuesday, April 27. Click the link above for details.

BTB Training Camp Fundraiser Update: So far, we've received nearly $800 from 22 kind BTBers. Let's try to hit $1,000 by the end of the draft, shall we?

Thanks to all who have donated and in advance to those who plan to. With the Cowboys likely splitting camp between Oxnard and San Antonio, anything y'all can do to help is greatly appreciated!

Donating is easy; just click the link below.

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