There was a ton of news that came out today, but as expected very little of it involved the Cowboys. It may be a smart way to run a franchise, but darn it Jerry, don't you know the internets need clickbait?
Regardless, here's all the news that's fit to print, and even more that isn't!
BREAKING NEWS: Cowboys Restructure Tyron Smith Contract, Free Up $8 Million In Cap Space - Blogging The Boys
Our own Tom Ryle has the story. Here's the takeaway:
The Cowboys triggered a built-in restructure within Smith's contract that converted $10.2 million of his fully guaranteed $11.039 million base salary in 2015 into signing bonus money.
That pushes the Cowboys' salary cap space to a little more than $11 million available if the club wants to add players when the NFL's free agency period officially opens at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
One of the biggest questions of the offseason was whether the Cowboys would try to retain Doug Free or Jermey Parnell. The Cowboys ultimately chose Free, and now Parnell is taking his talents to Atlantic Beach. Todd Archer says Dallas got the better deal:
Who got the better value?
The Cowboys did even if Parnell is younger. The Jaguars are paying top money for a right tackle with nine career starts, including playoffs.
ESPN's tireless Todd Archer, (seriously, when does this guy sleep?), reviews all the moves Dallas has made so far in free agency and comes away impressed. When the only head scratchers involve your fourth string running back and cornerback, you've had a pretty good off-season.
DeMarco Murray is now the big question for the Cowboys, and there has been a lot of ink spilled trying to answer it.
The Mothership tackle some reader questions, including if DeMarco Murray is worth more than LeSean McCoy. They never really answer the question, but do give us this tidbit:
if McCoy indeed get more than $26 million guaranteed, then I don’t think that’s something Murray will get. Should he? That’s another question, and it all comes down to what teams ask them to do. If you’re talking about the Cowboys, I’d rather have Murray.
According to former Colts GM Bill Polian, Murray's camp has outpriced themselves on the market.
When his number comes down into the seven, perhaps even $8 million range, if the structure is OK, he will get a job.
Former Cowboys offensive coordinator Norv Turner is a big fan of DeMarco Murray, and doesn't seem that concerned with his potential decline:
"Certain guys defy [age]," Turner said. "A guy like Marcus Allen, a guy like Emmitt, there’s certain guys who have played well. Terry Allen defied it to me because of his knees. They know how to play and they continue to be productive players past a certain point and they keep going. Frank Gore has done it. Marshawn Lynch has done it. Marshall Faulk did it."
Another article from Todd Archer, who believes the lack of Murray news is a good thing for the Cowboys:
But the news with Murray is slow with the general belief among teams that he will rejoin the Cowboys.
Hey speaking of train wrecks...this one is sponsored by Chip Kelly, Super Genius!
It's a good reminder that no deal is finalized until a player actually signs the contract. Which the Eagles have now learned twice, as Gore joins Devin McCourtney as players who were reported to have come to terms to the Eagles only to back out at the last minute.
Still, the whole situation looks bad. Gore looks indecisive and unreliable. The Eagles appear to have lost their third noteworthy free agent in 24 hours. Former Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin decided to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs, and New England safety Devin McCourty considered an offer from the Eagles, but decided to stay with the Patriots.
And now that your schadenfreude break is over, back to Cowboy news! Here are a couple of good general primers to keep in mind during the madness that is free agency.
Blogging the Boys Michael Sisemore lays out the do's and dont's of free agency, going over everything from DeMarco Murray to the need to continue to create depth. My personal favorite:
The Cowboys' need to upgrade their defensive line is a forgone conclusion. What they SHOULD do is bring in some outside help. What they SHOULD NOT do is find that solution on March 10th.
And our very own RabbleRouser lays out the Six Commandments of free agency, including "not coveting your neighbors mediocrities" and "thou shalt forsake the aged".
A cardinal rule--perhaps the cardinal rule--of managing the salary cap is to avoid giving multi-year contracts with guaranteed money to players 30 years of age or older. The key is to avoid offering third contracts, which tend to be signed by players who are in the 28-30-year-old range.
With all this free agency talk, it's almost easy to forget the other insanity going on. I speak of course, about draft season.
A review of the Sturminator's thoughts on potential defensive tackles the Cowboys could take early. Here's Sturm on Ohio State prospect Michael Bennett:
You would need to use him properly and maybe limit his snaps to keep his energy high, but you can see that he would be a real nice fit with a team like the Cowboys who wish to have a 6-8 man rotation at all times.
The fine folks at Football Outsiders take a look at Jay Ajayi and come away impressed. After saying some very nice things about DeMarco Murray, they have this to say about Ajayi:
Jay Ajayi is not a special back, at least not right now. He has the talent to develop into the best back of the 2015 draft class. Although not a generational talent that many of us thought Peterson was (I labeled him as such in my pre-draft analysis), Ajayi runs like a wild horse. Ajayi has the talent to develop into one of the best backs of the 2015 draft class -- if not the best overall.
Much like fellow wild horse Adrian Peterson, Ajayi needs some firm boundaries to thrive -- just don't load him down with too much to think about and risk spoiling what makes the Boise State running back a potentially creative, dynamic force at his position. Ajayi is a fine receiver from the backfield with feature-back size, burst, and flexible hips to change direction while running at a good clip. There are also flashes of that 1-on-11 mentality that good running backs possess, but a wise team will be open to baby-stepping Ajayi into a starter's role as it focuses on one thing. It's the same skill that most backs with dynamic flashes must additionally refine as they transition from wild horse to thoroughbred: Patience.
Around the twitterverse.
Demarco has removed all pictures of him in a Cowboys uniform from his Twitter. So there's that. Even his header (what was it?) is gone.— Cowboys Nation (@CowboysNation) March 10, 2015
The Seahawks obviously are signing Cary Williams so that the offense can be more successful in practices.— KD Drummond (@KDP10for10) March 10, 2015
Total is meaningless, but Cowboys will be roughly $9.5m under cap when market opens tomorrow. But don't read into any deals being close— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) March 10, 2015
I want some Ruth's Chris but I'm jobless, so I'll have to settle for cheesecake factory. #FatKidTweet— Sterling Moore (@SterlingMoore) March 10, 2015