The Cowboys are eight weeks away from the beginning of training camp where the action starts to really heat up. Yet, the want and desire to read everything Cowboys related never dies down here in the BTB community. At this point, the Cowboys are still tinkering with positions and awaiting other developments. However, that never stops the mind from wondering.
Dez Bryant's Contract
When Dez showed up last week for OTA's it cause a little stir for the media but most fans know it's just all a part of his commitment to his team. Right now, Dez has yet to sign his franchise-tag tender which would earn him close to $13 million for 2015. Of course, like most players Dez has the right to sit out while the two sides try to hammer out a deal. Bryant did not show up for Wednesday's practice and his head coach certainly missed him:
"Dez has great energy, has great passion. It’s infectious," Garrett said Wednesday morning before practice. "He was out on the practice field a little bit on Thursday and did some of the stuff in individual. He’s a special player, a special guy. We love having him around. He’s working through his business part right now but it was good to have him out here."
There is still a strong feeling inside the ranch from Bryan Broaddus and Mickey Spagnola who believe that the Cowboys will work out a deal before the July 15th deadline. The benefits are obviously more cap space and inking the best player on the team to a long-term deal. Though Dallas is not necessarily pressured to do anything right now with other big name receivers out there looking to cash-in. The Cowboys aren't too keen on setting the market because it could have potential of backfiring in either direction. Dez Bryant is worth a $100-million dollar contract, but these contracts are never about the end figure. It all comes down to guaranteed money, right now it's a stalemate but everyone seems optimistic it's not over. Stephen Jones, who has been optimistic but firm, had this to say:
"If he ends up playing this year under the tag we will go right back to work again next year. Now would we like to get a long term deal on him? Of course we would. We’ll work hard to do that and I’m sure we’ll make a push at some point and see if we can make it work. If not, hopefully he will understand it’s difficult to make a deal at this point and he’ll come in and get ready to play."
Greg Hardy's Appeal Decision
Hardy had his appeal last Thursday in Washington, D.C. with the arbitrator Harold Henderson. It was said that the appeal lasted about seven hours. Henderson famously upheld the NFL's ruling in the Adrian Peterson suspension. Shortly after that, questions have risen about Henderson's neutrality which has coincided with the NFLPA filing a motion accusing Roger Goodell of being held in contempt of court. Our very own Tom Ryle touched on the subject in that article saying:
"One of the biggest issues about the way Goodell has handled cases like Peterson's and the suspension of Greg Hardy is the complaint that he has paid no attention to the provisions of the CBA. His decisions since the Ray Rice fiasco have been seen as arbitrary and based more on public relations and the reactions of media and fans of the league. Despite the findings of Judge Doty, the league has taken no action to comply."
It's silly to think that this won't have some bearing on the ruling in this case. However, it's equally the same to assume that Ray McDonald's recent swift exit from the league won't either. Despite this, there are some strong feelings from Broaddus that this suspension will significantly be reduced. He's been hearing anything from 2-6 games for a while now and even believes it could be on the lower side of that.
These matters between the CBA and law are murky at best. If the decision is upheld, we can expect a swift motion from the NFLPA for this matter to be brought to court. However, in the long run that would just cloud the picture even more until a judge's ruling can be made. This is probably why some believe that Henderson could possibly reduce the suspension before something similar to the AP case evolves.
Tyron Smith versus Randy Gregory
Tyron vs. Gregory is must see, even if it's hard to tell a winner in these sessions.— Rob Phillips (@robphillips3) June 3, 2015
This is shaping up to be the battle to watch in training camp. Much like a few years ago with DeMarco Murray and Sean Lee, this is the type of battle that makes your football team better. Anytime you have two first-class athletes going up against each other in a practice setting, it's going to produce good things on the field. Tyron Smith is one of, if not the best, left tackle in football. Randy Gregory is a rookie but is having some limited success against Smith in practice. The only sure-fire way to get better is to be competing against the best day-in and day-out. It's exciting for the Cowboys, who are rebuilding their defensive line.
A strong competition in one-on-ones will set the tone for the entire football team. For Jason Garrett, he likes to have players that practice just as hard as they play. If he can create an intense practice environment, chances are he's going to have just as hungry a team in 2015 as he did last season. It all starts with the play in the trenches, it looks like the Cowboys are on their way to improving in that area.
It's about time we all come to terms with the fact that Rolando McClain is a gamer. In whatever way he can find to miss practice, he will miss practice. Maybe I'm in the minority but I couldn't care less if he misses practice. Especially this period of the practices. As fans, of course we like to see the whole team together but if McClain can continue to bring what he does on gameday then so be it. There is merit in folks wishing he we're doing his rehab at Valley Ranch. That part I fully understand because when guys like Mike Jenkins have stayed home in the past, they find themselves not ready in week one. However, this is OTA's, not mandatory therefore I have to treat it as such.
McClain probably has his own personalized bed in the training room, the guy just doesn't seem to enjoy practicing. The coaches know what they have with him, he's not being asked to lead the locker room or anything. Every team has a cast of characters and McClain is one of Dallas'.
Tony Romo: The Field General
The Cowboys are in an unfamiliar position this offseason, their star quarterback is readily available for these early practices. The past few seasons, Tony has been recovering from injuries and has been on pitch-counts. It's not to say he won't be monitored this time around, too. It is nice to have Romo in the fold as he practiced for his fifth straight OTA practice on Wednesday. Tony is the leader of the team and even though Dez may not be there everyday, it's giving the opportunity for the rest of the recievers to earn repetitions with number nine. There is always a lot of talk this time of year about earning trust, right now this time can be invaluable for guys learning their craft to have their leader alongside them.