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Dallas Cowboys News And Notes: Cowboys Salary Cap Is Nice And Clean

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All the news that's fit to link. Today's top stories: Cowboys in great cap shape; Tony Romo news; Sean Lee on the comeback trail; offseason tidbits; Ryan Williams ready to take off?

Is this man ready to take off?
Is this man ready to take off?
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Jason Garrett roster overhaul continues to bear fruit. Not only are the Cowboys the NFL's fourth-youngest team, but there's this:

For the most part, Cowboys have a clean cap - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

Toddzilla informs us that the Cowboys have done yeoman's work cleaning up their cap in recent seasons, getting rid of players whose performance fails to match up to their bloated contracts. Heading in to 2015, there remains only one Cowboys who fits that description: Brandon Carr. Here's the straight dope:

The Cowboys will offer Carr a chance to stay at a cheaper rate, like they did with right tackle Doug Free in 2013, or cut him altogether. Making Carr a post-June 1 cut saves the Cowboys $8 million against the cap in 2015, but he would count $7.434 million against the 2016 cap.

If the Cowboys don’t designate Carr a June 1 cut, then they will save $566,000 against the cap in 2015, but he will not be on the 2016 books.

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Quarterbacks not only get all the money and all the beautiful women. They also get all the headlines...

Scott Linehan's QB successes from different angles - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

Archer writes that one of the best things to come from the Cowboys' 2014 season was the relationship that developed between Tony Romo and Scott Linehan. And it's not just professional; the two of them have an official mutual admiration society:

"Tony's a great professional," Linehan said. "He's a great human being, before we start about his playing ability. You can have those relationships with guys that are professional like that and get it. He accepted me from the time I got here and was open to just anything. He just wants to get better at his craft and help us win. And I think he did that.

How much time did the Cowboys buy for Tony Romo? - Rainer Sabin, DMN

The Cowboys O-line rebuild has done exactly what it was intended to: buy time in the pocket for Number Nine. Sabin breaks out some impressive stats to substantiate the claim:

Romo had an average of 2.84 seconds in the pocket in 2014....How much better protected was Romo in 2014 than in 2011 – the year the offensive line began to be rebuilt under Cowboys coach Jason Garrett? A lot. Four years ago, Romo had an average of 2.64 seconds to throw...

That amounts to almost an 8% increase. In a game of microseconds, that's a lotta extra time.

The NFL's best quarterbacks: where does Cowboys' Tony Romo rank - Jon Machota, DMN

In the kind of piece that we usually see on national sites, Machota ranks the signal callers. Of course, we all want to know where Number Nine sits; he's at #7, between Andrew Luck and Philip Rivers. Rank, indeed.

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And how's the quarterback of the defense these days?

Sean Lee heads list of Cowboys' comebacks - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

After Rolando McClain finished tied for second in the Comeback Player of the Year voting, Archer notes that Dallas might have another linebacker in the running for next year's CPOY award. Kid by the name of Lee. Sean Lee:

Lee is their best playmaker. He would be a sure bet to record 100 tackles. He has a nose for the football. If McClain re-signs, Lee could move to weakside linebacker, which is the playmaking position in the Cowboys’4-3 scheme. If he sticks as the middle linebacker, he’ll still be in position to make a ton of plays.

Other comeback kids manning the rehab wagon: Mo Claiborne, Darrion Weems, and a bunch of defensive linemen: Jack Crawford, Amobi Okoye, Ben Gardner, and Chris Whaley.

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2015 Draft Profile: what I see in Paul Dawson, LB, TCU - Bob Sturm, DMN

The Sturminator's draft series continues with a look at the former Horned Frog linebacker and Big 12 Defensive layer of the Year. Here's the good news:

Pop on one of his games and it becomes clear very quickly that he runs very well and has no problem in space against running backs in routes....His closing speed is amazing and panic inducing to a QB who is trying to find a solution to this on the fly. He shoots gaps so well and has a real knack for blitzing off the edge when it is called for. He really plays linebacker like a safety with his fluid ability and his heat-seeking missile style.

And the takeaway:

This is absolutely the type of player that would fit wonderfully into the Cowboys’ plans, but there are many mitigating circumstances to consider...the question is whether a team like the Cowboys should allocate resources here when they really want to address the sack issue and the potential replacement for DeMarco Murray. Complicated, but Dawson is exceptional at what he does, which is to cause major chaos on a regular basis.

Cowboys offseason manifesto: free agency fire - KD Drummond, CowboysHQ

The Noble Drummond continues his must-read offseason series by offering a bold "all-in" free agency plan - one that includes Dez Bryant, Doug Free, and Rolando McClain to long-term deals; Devin McCourty as a FS upgrade, and Justin Houston to boost the pass rush. Plus a bunch of other lower-impact deals. Here's KD's wrap-up:

The total amount of cap space necessary to bring these 13 players into the 2015 fold? Just shy of $26 million of cap space....Dallas could make these moves (relinquish Melton's option, release Brandon Carr, restructure Tyron Smith), and reallocate some of Tony Romo’s salary in a way that creates the room needed to sign their 2015 draft class (approximately $2.5 million of space) and have the necessary cap space to sign in-season free agents.

KD's plan does force us to consider: will the Cowboys, coming off a 12-4 season, go big to maximize the tail end of Romo's career?

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Report: Joseph Randle charged with pot possession - Dave Halprin, Blogging the Boys

From the "fool me twice" file comes this gem:

Cowboys running back Joseph Randle has been arrested on misdemeanor drug charges, according to KAKE TV in Wichita. The Cowboys are in the midst of deciding whether to re-sign star running back DeMarco Murray, and one part of that calculation centered around Randle and his ability to step in as the lead back if they didn't re-sign Murray. Now, after a second arrest in less than a year, Randle's status on the team could be in doubt.

What's the plan for Ryan Williams in Dallas? - Marcus Mosher, all22breakdown.com

Mosher authors a fascinating piece that offers some insight into Ryan Williams' time in Big D:

Dallas had their sights locked into Ryan Williams at number 40 [in the 2011 draft] and were ready to make the call to Williams informing him that the team was going to select him. Instead, the Arizona Cardinals swiped him out of their grasps just two picks prior....Heart-broken, Dallas went ahead and drafted an injured Bruce Carter in the second round and "settled" again for their running back. This time, it was in the third round for a player named DeMarco Murray out of Oklahoma. Funny how things work out.

The point here is that Jason Garrett and Co. have had their eyes on Williams for quite some time now. After an offseason to get his body right, Mosher suggests, the former Virginia Tech star may be ready to take off...