The dead-zone is in full effect around Valley Ranch, but the fan in all of us just can't wait for the festivities to begin again. The players will have a little over a month before they will all gather in Oxnard, California for training camp. Though not much happened over the course of the OTA's and minicamp, it is an important part of building the team.
Maybe I've had one too many blue and silver Kool-Aids recently; but there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about what the Cowboys are building here. Even though this period is filled with a lot of slow days, there are still quite a few unsolved mysteries to attend to. Last year, we saw the Cowboys sign Rolando McClain, so here are few potentials to keep an eye on before the Cowboys head out to Oxnard.
A Dez And A Deadline
The deadline of July 15th is fast approaching and Dez Bryant is still without a long-term solution to his financial future. Though he has been franchise tagged for $12.8 million, of course the now sixth-year wide-out would like a little more security from the organization that drafted him. The market has currently not been set and that is the particular predicament that the front office finds themselves in. Demaryius Thomas, of the Denver Broncos, was also tagged this year. The there are other guys like the Falcons' Julio Jones and Bengals' A.J. Green who are also going to want deals soon.
It's a complicated situation in which everyone is at a standstill. Nobody wants to jump first because the one that gets paid first with likely get paid less. That's how these contract quarrels go, however for the Cowboys, there may still be added incentive. Dallas has no qualms in keeping Bryant at his current tender. Yet, for what they are building and what many believe they are capable of this season, a potential disgruntled player would not be ideal. Dez is all about being a Dallas Cowboy and has done everything to show that.
With these things, it always comes down to the guaranteed money. There is still plenty of reason to believe that deal can get done because it's exactly how the Cowboys operate. That is not to say that the Cowboys are pressed to make this happen because once the deadline hits, all bets are off. Dez will have to play under the franchise tag or miss games and lose $755k paychecks. The closer the deadline gets the more conversation there is to be had and the push for a deal heightens. There's no certainty but the Cowboys don't want all of their questions on the first day of camp to be about Dez Bryant. Getting a deal done helps everyone involved and the Cowboys have a history of taking care of business in the final hour. With Stephen and Jerry, you can never rule out any possibility. If it doesn't work out, I fully expect for a conversation to be had with Dez and things will find a way to smooth out.
A Possible Trade For A Running Back
Though most of this talk has subsided for quite some time, Bryan Broaddus remains adamant that this is still a card that Stephen Jones is willing to draw. I agree with the notion too because the Cowboys have an idea of what their running game needs to be. Thus far, it has been slightly slowed by the hamstrings of Darren McFadden and knees of Ryan Williams. The Cowboys certainly don't want these types of things to linger throughout their time in Southern California. As much trust they may have Joseph Randle's abilities, I would not fault them for still perusing other depth charts for another potential back-up plan.
The importance of their running game and therefore their quarterback's efficiency depends on it. Nobody is saying that the Cowboys must get a DeMarco Murray-type, but guys like Knile Davis or Lamar Miller are noteworthy. Look for the potential to be alive and well should the Cowboys not be overly confident in this current stable. Trades aren't always the likeliest or best approach, but the Cowboys have to still think about this option.With the injuries and lack of production of the current guys, I would not be putting all of my eggs in anyone's basket just yet. If there is someone out there who could be effective in helping this team move the chains; jump on it.
At Least Direction For The Greg Hardy Appeal's Process
I feel like this is a bit overkill, however we should hear something very soon on the appeal. Some times the NFL will take the approach to wait until the dust has settled before dropping news. Of course, when all the players and coaches were around Valley Ranch and the media had access to them was probably not their ideal time to break anything. This is a very important piece to the offseason puzzle but is likely not finished just yet.
As mentioned many times, Harold Henderson is appointed by the league and he rarely sides against his comrade Roger Goodell. So if everything goes the way we expect it, he'll uphold this ten-game suspension and it will head to the courts. Yet, I could be wrong and the NFL throws one big curveball and reduces it to a six-game suspension, but highly doubtful. Once it goes to court, the judge will preside over the case and try an determine if Hardy is being unfairly punished under the new collective bargaining agreement. The NFLPA has already filed a grievance against Roger Goodell for being in contempt of court dating back to the ways he has handled punishments in the past. One of their arguments has gone as far as to name Hardy's case directly. There will be a decision very soon but the Cowboys maintain status quo as usual. Hardy has been working with the first team and will be allowed to practice and play in preseason games. This case seems like it is going to drag into the end of the summer and possibly leading up to opening night. What a wrench that could be thrown should the court put a stay on the case just to spite the NFL? Expect the NFL's response fairly soon and away we go.