Twenty-six years ago today, Archer notes, Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys and fired Tom Landry - and has been looking for his own version of Landry ever since. Here's Jerry on Jason:
"He is not the same guy he was when he joined us as offensive coordinator and certainly not the same guy he was when he was playing quarterback for the Cowboys," Jones said. "This guy has evolved. He has shown abilities to operate with duress. He has shown ability to be reasonable when needed, unreasonable when needed. He will confront any areas that need to be confronted. Will he do it with skill? Yes. Does he set it up so when he needs correct he can? Has he built a proper deal to correct staff or players? Is he good with communicating any need he has with the league, with the organization, all of those things?"
Apparently, the answer to those final three questions is also yes, because:
"I gave him $6 million a year for five years."
The Mothership's roster review continues, with a look at the "other" McClain, one of 2014 free agent class's under-the-radar acquisitions who was limited by injuries. The Broad One speaks:
Needs to have a good off season and better luck with his health. Has the physical traits to be a full time starter if he improves in a couple of different areas. Have seen him come off the ball as a pass rusher but needs to be more consistent doing it. There is some explosive quickness to his game but needs to make sure that is done down after down. Is the ideal fit for the position with his body type and ability for what these coaches are asking him to do. Flashes enough plays to make you believe you have something with him. Hard working player that can get better.
Archer points out that the Cowboys most obvious need is pass rush, adding that, based on what transpired at the Combine, there are plenty of pass-rushers in this year's draft class. He notes:
The Cowboys do have distinctive differences in what they look for in left and right defensive ends. At left defensive end, they want a little more size and strength to hold up against the run. At right defensive end, it's purely about athleticism and pass rush.
That said, Archer doesn't distinguish between these two positions when he outlines the top prospects. And that's the key: in the midst of a good draft class, there are only a few legitimate (i.e., first- or second-day) candidates to play LDE in the way Rod Marinelli envisions.
And now, a wee point-counterpoint re: Number 88's contract:
JJT fires the first shot, proclaiming that Jones the Elder needs to stop "lowballing" Dez - which means $20 million guaranteed - and open up his pocketbook and pay the man market value:
Jerry isn't offering Bryant a lucrative long-term deal for one reason: He doesn't have to do it. It's really that simple, but just because the rules allow a franchise to take advantage of a player doesn't mean it should. So Bryant, first-team All-Pro this season, has every reason to be mad, annoyed, disappointed or any other adjective you want to use to describe his mood.
Responding to Taylor's piece, Archer agrees that the real stickler with Bryant's contract is the guaranteed money. He calls hogwash on that spurious "$20 million guaranteed" claim, beginning with the assumption that Dez is franchised the next two years:
At the very least Bryant is looking at $28.6 million in guaranteed money over the next two years based off the franchise tag. Just logically it would follow that Bryant would not accept a deal that did not include at least that much guaranteed. Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson has the most guaranteed money among receivers at $48.7 million. Before his recent deal, Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald was second at $27 million along with Miami Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace...So based off the franchise tag over the next two years, Bryant’s guarantee would already be second-most to Johnson.
Seems as good a place as any to start...
The Sturminator's ever-swelling draft portfolio inches closer to bursting with his look at Yeldon, the Crimson Tide runner. The question with Yeldon is: which T.J. are you gonna get? The lightning to Eddie Lacey's thunder, or the comparatively plodding 2014 version? Here's Bob:
What you want to see with a man this size is the instant acceleration when he must reroute his run, and in 2014, that disappeared from the amazing 2012 and 2013 Yeldon which had runs that made you think he was a Top 5 pick. Honestly, after watching him so much over his 3 years at Alabama, I am led to believe that his injuries in 2014 robbed him of his special qualities and made him a shadow of himself (which actually made him the 2nd best RB option at Alabama by the end of the year).
Here's George's rationale:
Why Free will likely be back: Free brings a veteran presence to the offensive line position meetings that is highly regarded by his peers and coaches. The Cowboys have one of the league’s best offensive lines and one of the youngest, so Free is seen as the wise old man. He just turned 31 in January, but he’s proved reliable on and off the field.
NFC East Roundup
Since the Cowboys news cycle has slowed to a crawl, I thought I'd check in to see what's cooking in our rivals' camps...
You, sir, are no Brandon Jacobs
Well this should be a side-splitter
This is what it's come to: pray for a trade down opportunity