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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: NFL Analyst Predicts DeMarco Murray Signs Team-Friendly Deal In Dallas

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Latest Cowboys headlines: Will the Cowboys extand both DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant? Can free-agent spending buy a title? How does the 2015 NFL draft stack up talent wise?

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Andrew Brandt’s Business of Football: A dozen offseason predictions | The MMQB
Andrew Brandt, former Packers vice president and player agent, offers two predictions that will please Cowboys fans:

DeMarco Murray, after shopping his services to a lukewarm marketplace, returns to the Cowboys for a team-friendly contract. As I have often noted, Murray’s strong production may have actually hurt his contract value, with teams more focused on future rather than past performance. Indeed, free-agent running backs with fewer carries may actually procure better contracts. As for the Cowboys, they have clearly prioritized Dez Bryant ahead of Murray all along.

Dez Bryant, after being saddled with the franchise tag in February, will complete a striking contract extension with the Cowboys before the July 15 deadline. The Cowboys will unsuccessfully attempt to apply their team-friendly structure used with Tyron Smith before relenting and paying Bryant a top-of-market contract. And if they need salary cap room, the Cowboys will continue to refinance the most heavily mortgaged contract in the NFL, quarterback Tony Romo’s.

Cowboys Huddle-Up: Cheap contract for Murray? - Mike Fisher, CowboysHQ
Mike Fisher has nothing but derision for the idea that Murray would accept a cheap contract in Dallas.

Thursday was DeMarco's 27th birthday. What to get him for a gift? Well, since money isn't important, and since all he wants is a Super Bowl, he gets a cheap contract in Dallas but with title contention.

I don't mean that. And really, neither does he.

2014 Football Outsiders Awards - Football Outsiders
FO announce the results of the 12th annual Football Outsiders Awards, which are voted on annually by their readers. The Cowboys show up a lot among the nominees, and win one award outright, the Unit of the Year Award, which goes to the Cowboys offensive line.

The Cowboys offense had its best DVOA since 2009. In his 11th season, Tony Romo led the league in completion percentage, yards per pass, touchdown rate, passer rating, and Total QBR, and finished second in DVOA. DeMarco Murray led the league in rushing yards, touchdowns, yards from scrimmage, and rushing DYAR. Both owe a significant portion of credit to the big uglies up front. Yes, this was the best offensive line we have seen in some time.

Fire that destroyed Rolando McClain’s home in Alabama ruled an arson | Brandon George, DMN
An Alabama state fire marshal has ruled that the fire that burned down McClain’s home was intentionally set. With that determination, what was previously an arson investigation has now officially become a criminal investigation.

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Can free-agent spending buy a title? - Stats & Info Blog - ESPN
The short answer is "No." Offseason spending does not always lead to regular-season success, this article argues.

Six of the 12 teams that have ranked in the top three in free-agent spending since 2011 did not improve their win total, including all three of last year’s top spending teams.

Nine teams most likely to make a run at DeMarco Murray | FOX Sports
Denver, Minnesota, Atlanta, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Indianapolis, Tennessee, Oakland, and Jacksonville are all possible landing spots for Murray, according to this Foxsports slidehow.

Bengals, Cowboys, Falcons, Jags fits for talented, troubled Greg Hardy - CBSSports.com
Greg Hardy's off-field troubles are concerning, but he's only 26 and had 14 sacks in his last full season. Would the Cowboys roll the dice? Pete Prisco thinks it's possible.

Even though they have cap issues, and face a tough task keeping some of their own -- including DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant -- they have a huge need for an elite edge rusher. Rookie Demarcus Lawrence flashed late last season, but a veteran to go with him and Jeremy Mincey would help. George Selvie is also a free agent. The Cowboys would have to get creative to add a player like Hardy, but with uncertainties in the market, who knows? If the Cowboys had cap room, I bet they would be a major player for Hardy.

Eagles' Brandon Graham will be popular in free agency - NFL.com
Chris Wessling writes that per CSN Philly's Geoff Mosher, the 26-year old Graham's asking price is a four-year deal worth roughly $30 million (with $20 million in guarantees).

For me, that sounds like a reasonable offer for DeMarco Murray, but for a part-time pass rusher who started 16 games in five NFL seasons?

Cowboys sign free agents Davon Coleman and Cameron Lawrence | Jon Machota, DMN
Finally! Took the Cowboys a while, but they finally signed UDFA rookie DT Davon Coleman. They also signed exclusive rights free agent linebacker Cameron "Fabio" Lawrence to an undisclosed contract.

Cowboys Re-Sign Coleman + Lawrence - Mike Fisher, CowboysHQ
Quoting "CowboysHQ sources," Mike Fisher writes that the process of re-signing Davon Coleman was a little more complicated than it was for the other practice squad players.

Coleman, 6-2, 276, wasn't re-upped weeks ago in part because the coaching staff wished him to be more "serious'' about football as a job.

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NFP Prospect Focus: Michael Bennett and Nate Orchard | National Football Post
Need help on the D-line? The NFP's Greg Gabriel explains why Michael Bennett may be an excellent fit for a team like the Cowboys:

He will be one of the better inside pass rushers in this draft. His quickness off the ball consistently gives him an advantage. He flashes as a strong bull rusher, and he can use his hands and feet to be good with counter moves. He has a nice burst off of a block to close to the quarterback. His production is excellent as he has 14.5 sacks over the last two seasons playing inside.

Michael has some limitations, with size being his biggest. His best fit will be as a 3-technique in a one gap 4-3 scheme. He can be described as being a poor man’s Tommie Harris when Harris was at his best. While Michael can play in a 3-4, I don’t see him being as effective in that scheme. He can become a pro bowl tier player as a 3-technique.

How does the 2015 NFL draft stack up talent wise? - Sun Sentinel
Omar Kelly writes that each NFL draft has different strengths and a distinct favor.

The depth of this draft can be found at offensive tackle (six presently have first-round grades) and pass rushers (nine defensive ends or pass rushing outside linebackers could be taken in the first round). If your team needs one of these, this is the draft for you.

Teams in need of cornerback and safety are going to have to dig deep, and might need to lean on free agency because this crop of talent doesn't blow anyone away.

How did the 2014 NFL Combine winners and losers fare as rookies? - SBNation.com
Some of the players labeled as combine "winners" end up missing cuts and having short careers, just as many who fall short of expectations during the workouts still have solid careers. As he does every year, Mocking the Draft's Dan Kadar declared his winners and losers for the 2014 NFL Combine and looks at how they performed as rookies last season.

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Nick Foles downplays trade rumors - Bleeding Green Nation
The Foles issue isn't going away any time soon. My favorite assessment of the situation came from...Foles himself, who apparently is only listening to a guy who has been too busy to talk to Foles.

"I think you're going to hear about them every single year," said Foles. "That's just part of it. I think the main word is 'rumor.' It's a rumor that you can't put too much into it. I only listen to the people at the [Eagles] facility, being Chip [Kelly]. He's the one that will make the decision."

Foles also said that he hasn't really been in touch with Kelly since the coach has been busy.

Redskins' RG3-Less Fan Letter May Spark New NFL 'Truth in Advertising' Trend | Bleacher Report
Season-ticket renewal letters are like love letters. It's what you don't say in them that reveals your true feelings.

The Washington Redskins sent a pep-talk mash note to members of their "Premium Club," listing all of the players and coaches who fans could look forward to rooting for in 2015. Robert Griffin III was conspicuously absent from the list.