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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Franchise Tag For Dez Bryant?

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Latest Cowboys headlines: Don't be surprised if team slaps Dez Bryant with the franchise tag; A thinking person's guide to the "DEZtractions"; Cowboys ride new winning formula into bye week.

Ronald Martinez

The Dallas Cowboys have a long weekend coming, with the players off through Tuesday and the coaches off until Monday. That means Cowboys news will be hard to come by over the next three days, which just means we'll have to dig a little deeper for our daily summary of Cowboys headlines.

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Twitter mailbag: Cowboys will franchise-tag Bryant - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer tells us not to be surprised if team slaps Dez Bryant with the franchise tag.

I've been on record for quite some time now that I believe the Cowboys will put the franchise tag on Dez Bryant. I don't think a change in agents really changes anything. Look at the Cowboys' recent past: They have been able to sign free agents to-be like Tyron Smith and Sean Lee to deals in training camp. They reached deals early in seasons with Miles Austin and DeMarcus Ware.

The fact that this has gone this long tells me the Cowboys are holding firm to what they believe is the right price. The franchise tag is their leverage. If Bryant wants a long-term deal, then he has to understand the Cowboys are willing to use the tag. They used it for two straight years on Anthony Spencer and paid him close to $20 million. I can see the same scenario happening for Bryant. Both sides talk about wanting to get a deal done, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of movement at the moment.

Cowlishaw: What Cowboys should do with Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray | DMN
Cowlishaw wonders which of the two players the Cowboys will put the franchise tag on, shares his thoughts on both options, but then leaves us in the dark as to what the Cowboys should do.

What You Need To Know About The DEZstractions - Shan Shariff, CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport said the Cowboys were hesitant to offer big money to Dez Bryant in part because Texas police had visited Dez Bryant’s house six times. Shariff absolutely destroys Rapoport's story, and shows that at a minimum, Rapoport's story was based on sloppy research, and that's already putting a very positive spin on things.

Go read the report for yourself and you'll get a much better feel for how headlines are fabricated these days.

Jerry Jones: Dez Bryant’s contract is not a distraction; He’s loyal and so are the Cowboys | Dallas Morning News
Dez Bryat doesn't want to be franchized, which is why he talked about the importance of being loyal. Jerry Jones didn't address the franchize tag issue, but did say that loyalty is not the issue:

"He’s a loyal guy and we’re loyal guys," Jones said. "Of all the players that I’ve been associated with over the years, I’ve had a chance to probably have more personal interaction with Dez. Probably as much as with Michael Irvin back in the early ‘90s, but certainly a lot of personal interaction, inordinately so.

"We have both had a chance to show that we really work well together, we’re very loyal, you can count on us. And I say us, him to, you can count on us if the hair gets short, you get a little problem, we can count on each other to work it out. And that’s the way it’s been for the first five years that we’ve been together."

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Cowboys ride new winning formula into bye week | The Wichita Eagle
According to this AP report, the winning formula revolves around Jason Witten, who is catching fewer passes and throwing more blocks.

Romo is on pace for the most efficient season of his career even though his trusty tight end has only once had a lower number of receptions through 10 games — when Witten was a rookie 11 years ago. This is the new, winning formula for the Dallas Cowboys (7-3), who are in their best shape going into the bye since they made the playoffs as the top seed in 2007.

No mention anywhere of 12 personnel.

DeMarcus Lawrence/Anthony Hitchens leads Week 11 snap report - NFL.com
Rookies DeMarcus Lawrence and Anthony Hitchens played big roles in the Cowboys' Week 10 victory, Chris Wesseling writes.

We've been waiting for Dallas' defense to cripple [sic] under the weight of so many injuries, but that hasn't been the case. The Cowboys can thank a pair of rookies for the shutdown performance against the Jaguars. Second-rounder Lawrence played roughly 60 percent of the snaps, showing against the pass as well as the run in his second game back from injury. Fourth-rounder Hitchens filled in admirably for Rolando McClain at middle linebacker, stuffing the run for a second straight week. Lawrence's role will continue to grow. Hitchens' playing time hinges on McClain's health.

NFL MVP Projection: DeMarco Murray chasing Emmitt Smith - CBSSports.com
Murray rushed for his ninth 100-yard game last Sunday and has Emmit Smith in his sights.

Only one Cowboys running back has ever had more 100-yard games in one season and that running back only did it once. In 1995, Emmitt Smith rushed for 100 or more yards 11 times. Cowboys fans probably remember 1995. That was the last time Dallas won a Super Bowl.

Mel Kiper says Cowboys guard Zack Martin is NFL's best rookie - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Todd Archer offers up an interesting quote from Mel Kiper, who doesn't just see Martin as the best rookie in the NFL, but also raises (again) the question of whether Martin could eventually move outside.

"The story of the season for Dallas has been the effectiveness of the offensive line. And what's remarkable about that unit is if you go through every game (and that's my Monday this year), you realize that Martin has been the most consistent player. He's been outstanding, probably a top-10 player at the position league-wide. And remember, this is a guy who could flip outside to tackle."

Scout’s Eye: Detailed Scouting Report For Newly-Signed LB Dekoda Watson | Dallas Cowboys
Doesn't happen very often that a guy waived by a 1-9 team is picked up by a 7-3 team, but that's exactly what happened to Watson. Here's why:

From what I was able to observe on tape will most likely be used as a core special teamer and backup outside linebacker and occasional pass rusher.

5 best NFL venues | National Football Post
Former player agent Jack Bechta writes about his favorite NFL Stadiums, one of which is AT&T Stadium.

If you haven’t been to Jerry’s World, put it on your sports bucket list. It doesn’t even have to be for a Cowboys game but this stadium is the new world standard.

NFL Grades Week 11: Do the Bills have a quarterback quandary? - CBSSports.com
John Breech wonders whether Kyle Orton is the problem in Buffalo. I chuckled.