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Cowboys News: Waiting On Dez, Cole Beasley Redemption & Who Is The Return Man?

Plus Jason Witten is still Jason freaking Witten, Kyle Wilber may be overlooked, and Jerry Jones gives away some serious money to charity.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Long-Term Deal Between Dez Bryant and Cowboys "Imminent"? - Blogging The Boys

The Dallas Cowboys only have one major unresolved issue to take care of before training camp starts, and that particular elephant lounging in the corner is the Dez Bryant contract situation. Hope has been ignited with multiple reports coming in that a long-term deal is now very close to being done. The main source of this comes from Shan Shariff of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.

The numbers Shariff quotes are also interesting, although it remains to be seen which side is "tossing" those numbers around. The Cowboys' original offer to Bryant reportedly was $114 million over 10 years with $20 million in guarantees, and even amateur capologists immediately understood that such an offer was perhaps a starting point for a contract negotiation, but wasn't anywhere close to a final offer.

But $100 million (over seven years) with $45 million in guarantees might be much closer to what an eventual contract may look like.

Cowboys insider answers nine pressing questions before training camp | Sporting News

The Sporting News reached out to Cowboys beat writer Clarence Hill of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram for some insight into what Dallas has facing them. This answer might come back to haunt him.

Ultimately, who wins — Dez Bryant or Stephen Jones, and why?

They both win because Dez Bryant will ultimately sign his $12.8 million franchise tender and play this season. That is more than he has made in his entire career and nothing to sneeze at. I believe he will get a long-term extension next offseason barring any unforeseen incidents. This is a year for Bryant to prove to the Cowboys once and for all he can be trusted on and off the field.

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Players who show us NFL life doesn't end at 30 years old | FOX Sports

The Cowboys are committed to their youth movement, but that doesn't mean they don't value the older veterans who still play at a very high level, like Tony Romo and the true elder statesman who makes this slideshow, Jason Witten.

While he may never be able to break Tony Gonzalez's NFL receiving records, Witten is setting the bar high for other tight ends. Witten ranks second in catches (943) and yards (10,502) all-time at the position.

Babe Laufenberg: On the day Cole Beasley walked out of camp; best Jerry Jones story | Dallas Morning News

The long-term color man for Dallas Cowboys game radio broadcasts offered some insight on things, including why he did not feel it was surprising Cole Beasley almost gave up on the game. The second chance he got from Jason Garrett certainly has paid off well.

I was not surprised, and it certainly turned out to be a wise and prudent move on the Cowboys' part to let him come back. ​Not to get into the specifics of Beasley, but today's football player, especially in Texas, has been playing for a long time before he ever hits an NFL training camp. You see more and more players not wanting to do it anymore, even at the professional level. The mandatory and grueling off-season conditioning programs, 7 on 7 tournaments, and extensive weight lifting programs at the high school level and even younger has frankly just burned some kids out. So can I understand a 22-year-old thinking' "I do not want to do this anymore"?  Absolutely.

Rookie Watch: Whitehead Looks To Seize Opportunity At Receiver, Returner | Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys

One camp battle that is shaping up to be a real free-for-all is the fifth wide receiver/returner spot. Lucky Whitehead is a name that is getting a lot of attention (and perhaps the best name in and of itself on the entire roster).

Like the four other undrafted receivers on the 90-man roster, Whitehead chose the Cowboys because Dwayne Harris' free agent departure meant opportunity for a backup job. Whitehead, Deontay GreenberryNick HarwellAntwan Goodley and George Farmer are competing with veterans A.J. Jenkins and Reggie Dunn. Whitehead's return skills give him an edge, but only if he can show promise as a developmental receiver and a willing contributor on special teams coverage units, too. If he's just a returner, he might have a hard time getting on the game day roster. When the Cowboys have given him the ball in space during offensive drills, he's shown the quickness that makes him such a tough cover on returns.

Cowboys position breakdown: Which rookie WR has the best shot of making the roster? | Jon Machota, Dallas Morning News

The general feeling seems to be that Whitehead is the leader for the last WR spot going into Oxnard.

The departure of Dwayne Harris, who signed with the Giants in free agency, leaves Dallas with an opening at wide receiver and kick/punt returner. Whitehead had a good showing during organized team activities and minicamp in both areas, so he's arguably the front-runner for the final spot at the moment.

20 Questions: Which Linebacker Wins Competition For Starting "Sam" Position? | Dallas Cowboys

As you may have noticed, there are a lot of linebackers making the trip to California with the team. The writers who contributed to this roundtable question did not come to a consensus, but Nick Eatman makes a good case for a player who has become something of a forgotten man in the group.

Yes, a starting job is a starting job but this is really more of a two-down position considering the Sam linebacker comes off the field during nickel and dime packages. Because of that, I can see Kyle Wilber winning this spot, saving Anthony Hitchens more for the nickel. Plus, Hitchens to me, will end up playing more in the Mike. Wilber has a good role as the Sam and on special teams and this coaching staff likes his game and progress. So I would say it goes to Wilber, only because Hitchens will be used in other ways.

Mailbag: Realistic Expectations For Lee? Front Office Stability? | Dallas Cowboys

Along with some real optimism about how Sean Lee will do this year, Bryan Broaddus offers a take on Jerry Jones and continuity that those guys at ESPN mentioned elsewhere on the front page could learn from.

This is going to sound funny but Jerry Jones is still the same guy he was 20 years ago in regards to running this football team. He has always relied on the information he was getting from the coaches and scouts in order to make his decisions. Where things have changed and you are exactly right is that the folks providing that information have done a much better job of providing it for him. You should absolutely give credit to Stephen, Jason Garrett and Will McClay for the way they have provided sound opinions along the way.

Jerry Jones Accepts Challenge From Bob McNair; Donates $1Mil To Hope Lodge - CBS Houston

The outspoken and very colorful owner/GM of the Cowboys has taken a lot of heat over the years, but many overlook the many positive things he has done off the field. This is another one.

Owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, accepted owner of the Houston Texans, Bob McNair's challenge on Monday, donating $1 million to the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge Houston.

The challenge issued by the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation earlier this year says they will give $1 for every $2 the ACS raises for Hope Lodge until December 15th, 2015.

Jason Kelce rips Steve Weatherford of New York Giants after his jabs at Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks - Phil Sheridan, ESPN Philadelphia

And finally, just to cheer you up a little more, here is some nice friction between two of our much beloved division rivals. Giants punter Steve Weatherford had some less than complimentary things to say about Chip Kelly, Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow and the entire quarterback situation for the Eagles. Center Jason Kelce fired back.

Kelce took to Twitter on Monday to respond.

"Of course a player who is literally not allowed to be touched is talking s---," Kelce wrote. "Is interviewing punters a thing now?"

Fun times!

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