While we all wait with breathless anticipation to see a lot of muscular young men run and jump in what is essentially tight underwear, and try to convince our families and friends that this is perfectly normal, there are still several other things of note going on with the Dallas Cowboys.
First off, the March 5 deadline for tendering franchise offers is keeping Anthony Spencer at or near the top of our concerns about the team. Since my last post on him, Stephen Jones has stated that the team is wanting to talk to his agent.
Executive vice president Stephen Jones said a meeting is not scheduled with Roosevelt Barnes, "but there's a chance we'll probably get with him."
Jones said a decision on whether to apply the franchise tag on Spencer, which would cost roughly $8.8 million, has not been made. The Cowboys have until March 5 to tender Spencer. Free agency begins March 13.
In an ideal world (well, from my perspective), the team could reach a deal paying Spencer a reasonable salary, say around the $3.5 million/year range, keeping the cap hit more manageable and leaving some room to address other needs. However, it remains to be seen just how eager he is to stay, given the less than loving attitude many in the media and fan base have expressed towards him. If the team cannot find a way to resign him without the tag, they might be forced to go that direction or they will have to try to replace him. There is going to be interest from other teams, some of whom have a much more positive view of his value on the field.
There is also a bit of a hint in the interview that the team is taking the BPA approach seriously.
Should the Cowboys tag Spencer, Jones said it would not preclude the team from selecting a linebacker with their first-round pick in April.
Other Cowboy doin's after the jump.
Stephen Jones was busy talking about other things as well. Although the team is rather limited in what it can do at this point, it is taking some steps to see what it would take to retain WR Laurent Robinson.
The Cowboys can talk contractual parameters with his agent, Harold Lewis, and would like to meet with him in Indianapolis during the NFL scouting combine, but they will not talk hard numbers now so other teams would know the Cowboys' bargaining position.
"The conversation with him goes more like, ‘What are you thinking and then we'll think about it,'" executive vice president Stephen Jones said.
It certainly sounds like anything coming out of this will be about as solid as spit, but at least the team can get an idea of what his agent's position is and start figuring out how to make all the free agent pieces come together.
Stephen also put a bit of a wet blanket on the idea of moving Jay Ratliff to end.
"I still see Ratliff as our starting nose tackle," Jones said. "Will he see action out there [at defensive end]? You never totally rule it out, but right now we still see him as our nose."
And gives a vote of confidence (with a slight caveat) to Tony Romo.
"I think he plays that position well enough for us to win a Super Bowl, period," Jones continued. "He's that good. We've got to some things differently in other parts of it and Tony has to do his part, too. He's got to be a leader and he's got to pull those guys in. But the way he plays quarterback isn't our problem."
The combine, of course, is an attempt to get some solid measurables on the most likely draft prospects. But one of the most important parts of the whole shebang may actually be the interviews, where the teams sit down with players and try to find out if this is really a person worth using a draft pick on.
"But it’s really a lot more," said Kerrigan, the Washington Redskins’ No. 1 draft pick in 2011. "They want to break you down mentally, see what your attitude is, see how you retain information. They want to ask you about your past, what kind of background you have. Different things like that."
This is always a very important thing for the teams to deal with. I would expect Dallas to want to sit down with both Dre Kirkpatrick and Janoris Jenkins, two players that would certainly fill a need but who also have had some possible character issues, particularly Jenkins. Adding to the pressure to get a good read on what kind of a person a prospect is, as well as his playing skills, is the recent drug dealing fiasco at TCU. The biggest name from that story is LB Tanner Brock, who was a likely NFL caliber prospect for next year until it all blew up. The concern now is how many more cases like TCU are lurking out there, and how likely it was that the teams would be aware of problems like that. I put that question to our semi-resident NFL scout Birddog26. He told me that there was certainly an awareness that TCU had problems, and that you could see a marked lack of interest in players from there around the NFL before the story broke in the media. He also said, rather ominously, that it is not the only school that has this kind of issue. And that was all he felt comfortable saying. I just hope the Dallas scouting staff has its ears open on this stuff.
But the big thing about the combine, at least for us, is the question of who the Cowboys are interested in, especially in that first round spot. ESPN Dallas has a primer on the combine that mentions something to watch for after the combine itself wraps up.
If the Cowboys visit Stanford for the its [sic] Pro Day, it doesn't mean they want Luck. Guard David DeCastro is projected as the best interior linemen [sic] in the draft. If Jason Garrett visits Stanford's Pro Day, it could mean DeCastro is targeted. Garrett went to one Pro Day last spring, Tyron Smith's at USC.