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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Cowboys Offseason Masterplan Is "To Improve Our Defense."

Latest Cowboys headlines: Stephen Jones says offseason plan is all about the defense; Important contract dates coming up; Is Ndamukong Suh an option for the Cowboys?

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys' offseason plan all about the D - Brandon George, DMN
George writes that the Cowboys scouts "locked in on three defensive areas" at the Senior Bowl, and that the Cowboys "want to upgrade the front, middle and back of their defense." Stephen Jones sums up the Cowboys' offseason manifesto:

"Our goal here more than anything, more than the obvious of Dez and DeMarco, is to improve our defense," Jones said. "That’s where our focus will be. It won’t just be defensive front, although that’s first and foremost."

"We’ll certainly look at corner," Jones said. "We’ve got a high cap number with Carr that we’ve got to look at. I think Brandon has played well for us. I think he played better toward the back half of the year."

"Certainly we’ve got a situation, obviously, there with Mo and his injuries. We’ve got to look at that. We’re still believers that if Mo had a fully healthy offseason and a fully healthy season, that he would play up to our expectations. But you know, that’s just something we have to manage in terms of the money."

"Sure, [linebacker is] another area that we have to address and get our hands around," Jones said. "There’s a lot of moving parts on all those guys."

Sean Lee heads list of Dallas Cowboys' comebacks - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Arc her walks us through a list of six players who will be making a comeback from injury this year. The list is headlined by Sean Lee, and six of the seven players could provide a boost for the defense: LB Sean Lee, CB; Morris Claiborne, DE Jack Crawford, DT Amobi Okoye, DE Ben Gardner, DT Chris Whaley, and OT Darrion Weems.

Cowboys' offseason outlook: Running backs | David Helman, FOX Sports
Helman moonlights on Foxsports and throws a handful of names in the ring as potential DeMarco Murray successors.

If the Cowboys manage to hang onto their own, then running back basically isn't a need at all. But they could have needs in free agency as well as the draft. You'll be bound to hear names like Mark Ingram and Ryan Matthews as veterans the Cowboys could afford to sign to inexpensive deals. There's also the possibility of drafting a new runner -- potentially as early as the first round, if Murray is out the door. Familiarize yourself with rookie runners like Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley, Duke Johnson, Jay Ajayi and Tevin Coleman, just in case the Cowboys are in the market.

Joseph Randle’s attorney issues statement, says Randle did not threaten or brandish gun against ex-girlfriend | Drew Davison, Star Telegram
Randle’s attorney did what attorneys do and issued a statement denying everything. The full statement:

"Joseph Randle regrets that he was recently involved in a party in a Wichita, Kansas hotel that ended with the Wichita Police being called. There are no criminal charges. A woman who was present at the party has filed a protection from abuse lawsuit, which Randle believes to have no merit. Randle asked the woman to leave the party and go home, which she refused to do."

"Contrary to the woman’s allegations, Randle did not threaten her or brandish a gun at any time. Randle has retained counsel who will contact the Wichita police to offer cooperation with any further investigation they may want to conduct. Until that time, Randle has been advised by counsel to not discuss the incident. He very much appreciates the many statements of support from his family, friends, and fans."

Agent's Take: NFL key dates and what they mean for your team -
Some key dates for the Cowboys:

Feb 15: Deadline for Cowboys to pick up Henry Melton's option. Also, Doug Free's 2015 and 2016 contract years void on this day. Both players become unrestricted free agents when the 2015 league year starts.

Mar 2: The period for designating franchise players ends at 4 p.m. ET. If the Cowboys can't reach deals with Dez Bryant or DeMarco Murray, this is the latest date they could tagged.

Mar 10: The 2015 league year and free agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

Mar 12: For Tony Romo, an additional $7.5 million of his contract which was previously guaranteed only for injury becomes fully guaranteed.

Mar 14: Sean Lee's $2.5 million 2015 base salary, which was guaranteed for injury at signing, becomes fully guaranteed.

Is Suh and option for the Cowboys? - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer answers a Twitter question about whether the Cowboys would take a shot at Ndamukong Suh in free agency.

Every year we see big names attached to Dallas because everybody wants to play for the Cowboys -- or at least make other teams believe they want to play for the Cowboys. As for Suh, I just don't see it happening. I don't see the Cowboys willing to spend that kind of money on one player. They'd rather have three players for the price of one, and one of those players could be Tyrone Crawford, who is entering the final year of his contract. If you look at the roster right now, you have Crawford, Terrell McClain and Ken Bishop as 3-technique possibilities. Jeremy Mincey can move there in passing situations. While every team can use a Suh, I don't know that the "need" is there necessarily, especially at the cost. Again, I think the Cowboys would rather spend money on three guys in free agency to help that defense than one guy.

Draft Profile: Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami - Bob Sturm, DMN
Sturm, happily double-spacing like the manual typewriter never went out of style (Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period), offers up a draft profile of the hard-hitting Perryman, whom he ultimately finds wanting.

I also fear that he is a bit of a dinosaur in a league where corners are being made into safeties. Safeties are being made into linebackers and linebackers into defensive ends. In a league where speed is being emphasized over pop, a player who plays with pop is completely reliant on getting to a team that plans to use you properly. I think a team like Dallas that doesn’t wish to rush its linebackers much is not a great fit. If you are going to use your Linebackers as blitz options in the A-Gaps – like Philadelphia did for years with Jim Johnson – then he will flourish. But, if he is just a 1st and 2nd down option to destroy running plays, then it becomes difficult to value him in the 1st round or maybe even in the 2nd. Surely a talent and a guy I like, but it has to be the right fit and at the right price.

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