Get out your calendars, ya'll. We have some dates for you...
Dallas Cowboys offseason dates announced - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
The Cowboys announced that their offseason program begins April 20, and organized team activities will take place on May 26-28, June 2-4 and June 8-10. Minicamp is June 16-18. Veterans will then be off until training camp in late July.
After this alarmist view of the Romo restructure capped off Wednesday's news cycle...
The reasons Cowboys threw salary cap caution to wind and restructured Romo's deal - Rainer Sabin, DMN
...sanity was restored to the Morning News's sports desk:
Top 10 salaried QBs: Cowboys getting a bargain over next two years with Romo's restructured deal - DMN
In the wake of the Romo restructure, the Morning News staff asks: which NFL quarterback is scheduled to cost his team the biggest chunk of cap space over the next two seasons? It's not Number Nine, who comes in eighth. Check it:
1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: $26.4 million for 2015, $27.4 million for 2016. $53.8 million total.
2. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: $19.5 million for 2015, $23.75 million for 2016. $43.25 million total.
3. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens: $14.55 million for 2015, $28.55 million for 2016. $43.1 million total.
4. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: $17,245,000 for 2015, $23,950,000 for 2016. $41,195,000 total.
5. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: $17,721,250 for 2015, $22,500,000 for 2016. $40,221,250 total.
6. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos: $17.5 million for 2015, $21.5 million for 2016. $39 million total.
7. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: $18.25 million for 2015, 19.25 million for 2016. $37.5 million total.
8. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys: $14,973,000 for 2015, $20,835,000 for 2016. $35,808,000 total.
9. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears: $16.5 million for 2015, $17 million for 2016. $33.5 million total.
10. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs: $15.6 million for 2015, $17.8 million for 2016. $33.4 million total.
Don't let anyone tell you Romo is "being paid like a Super Bowl MVP." He'll cost less than Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford, for goodness' sake...
With restructure, Dallas Cowboys need to preserve Tony Romo - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
By restructuring Romo's contract, Archer argues, the Cowboys hope to delay the beginning of the post-Romo era for at least three more years, through the 2017 season:
If something bad happens in 2015 to Romo, the Cowboys could be on the hook for as much as $31.9 million in dead money in 2016. Spreading that hit out over two years with a post-June 1 cut would mean they save $8.6 million in cap room in 2016 but he would count $28.7 million in dead money against the 2017 cap. If they wait until after the 2016 season, the signing bonus proration would be $19.6 million, which would save them $5.1 million in cap space. Again, that’s a lot of dead money for one player against the cap. For a comparison, the Cowboys are scheduled to have $12.9 million in dead money against the 2015 cap on 32 players, and that’s a lot of cap space. If Romo can make it through the 2017 season and the Cowboys want to move on, then it becomes much more manageable. The dead money in 2018 would be $8.9 million and create a cap savings of $13.8 million.
The math isn't so easy for Cowboys to add Adrian Peterson's $12.75 million salary - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
The Cowboys, Archer argues, would need to do more than restructure Tony Romo's contract to fit AD's contract in under the cap:
Add it all up and the Cowboys might need to do more than restructure Romo's contract to make it all fit. And that makes adding Peterson difficult to do but not impossible, but it could require the running back to take less from the Cowboys in order for it to work. Sometimes the math just doesn't work out, especially when it comes to the NFL's salary cap.
With the door seemingly closed on free agency, it's time for the assessments:
Lost & Found: Despite Losing Run-Stopper, Cowboys Get Potential Upgrade With Hardy - Nick Eatman, The Mothership
The Mothership begins a look at the Cowboys' work in free agency. Here, Eatman examines the comings and goings at defensive end. A taste:
What They’ve Done: What the Cowboys gain in Hardy makes it almost unfair to compare him to George Selvie, who is a different type of defensive end. Selvie did have seven sacks in 2013 while playing for an injured Anthony Spencer, but his strength is stopping the run. Selvie had only three sacks in 2014, to go along with 31 tackles. Hardy recorded one sack in just one game, coming off a 15-sack season in 2013. Hardy is a beast to block and it’ll take more than just one lineman to stop him. That really wasn’t the case for Selvie, who often came off the field on third downs. While the Cowboys will need to figure out who can stop the run at end, getting a top-line pass-rusher is more than a fair trade. Edge: Hardy
Dallas Cowboys' signing analysis: Darren McFadden - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer goes to the tape to examine McFadden's game, and comes away with the following:
How he fits: He is a one-cut runner and in the zone scheme you want a guy who can hit it and go. Now he’s not done that in quite some time, but the Cowboys hope a change of scenery with more talent around him gets him back to the form he showed at Arkansas. Or at least the form he showed in 2010 when he ran for 1,157 yards. He has not had more than 223 carries in a season so he will not replace DeMarco Murray’s carries by himself. He can be a part of a committee.
Cowboys sign player who went from homeless to warehouse storeman to NFL - DMN
The title says it all. Prior to signing with the Cowboys, new Cowboy Efe Obada worked as a warehouse storeman for a supermarket called Grace Foods. Now he has traded in his 40-hour-per-week job a for a shot at NFL stardom. But here's the killer:
Obada was homeless at age 10 and spent his teenage years in foster homes and near gang culture.
"We were home-hopping and living with strangers," Obada told NFLUK's site. "When you haven’t got stability, you don’t trust people – you know where you’re living is not permanent and it’s not real and you feel they’re just getting paid to look after you. You develop trust issues and you develop your own little demons. It’s not a nice feeling to not be wanted and to not have that security and stability."
2015 NFL Draft profile: What I see in Grady Jarrett, DT, Clemson - Bob Sturm, DMN
Sturm keeps churning out the draft reviews; this time around, his object of study is the Grady Jarrett, the Aaron Donald starter kit:
Summary: He penetrates into the backfield and shoots gaps with the quickness that is uncommon amongst his peers....Now, is he a 3-technique at the next level and not a 1-tech at all? His natural ability seems to say so, so let’s consider a guy who might be interchangeable despite spending so much time at 1-tech at Clemson. Jarrett is an absolute pleasure to watch and will flash for you several times a game with a quick get-off and slice right into the path of the rusher for a TFL, but I just wonder about the long-term size and ability to compete up with the big boys on Sundays as a regular. As part of a rotation where I can cherry-pick his uses, I am very interested. But, if he is a 2nd round pick, is that a luxury that the Cowboys can afford? If he slides into the 3rd, I can absolutely see the fit here, but it is all going to be a matter of cost. I love his positives, but the negatives give me pause about over-investing. At the right price? Sign me up.
Cowboys draft breakdown: CB Quinten Rollins - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer breaks down another cornerback prospect, a talented small-school guy. Is he ready to make the jump to the NFL? Here's what Archer thinks:
The Cowboys need a cornerback that can play a lot and right away. I’m not sure Rollins is that guy or would be better to play a spot role as a rookie with some special teams and learn the game a little bit more. He can play but it would be asking a lot for him to be an impact player as a rookie.
Dallas Cowboys draft breakdown: CB Marcus Peters - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer's draft previews continue with a look at the troubled but talented Washington Corner:
Cowboys fit: There is no doubt there is talent there. It just might take a lot of patience from secondary coach Jerome Henderson. Peters would play press coverage and bail with his back to the sideline giving up some throws that would be far too easy at this level. While the talent levels are far different, Henderson’s patience for Terrance Mitchell ran out at the end of training camp when he could not get the seventh round pick to play with good technique. Mitchell made plays in camp but he got beat a lot too. Peters is more talented and could be a mid to late first round pick but some of those issues could be troubling.
After those draft previews, it would be irresponsible for me not to end with this:
Cowboys Drafted More Pro Bowlers Than Any Other NFL Team Over Last 10 Years - O.C.C, Blogging The Boys
The cool one asks: how successful have the Cowboys been at drafting Pro Bowlers in the more recent past? The answer? Hugely:
I'd venture to say that after a long, bleak period following Jimmy Johnson's departure, the Cowboys over the last 10 years have started hitting on their draft picks again. At the end of the day, the Cowboys' one key issue in the draft is much less about hitting on draft picks, and much more about keeping enough of their high draft picks to hit on future Pro Bowlers with.