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Cowboys News: Lots Of Dez And His Still Pending Contract, Plus Greg Hardy May Be Wearing Down

The latest installment in the Tony Romo vs. Eli Manning arguments, Doug Free anchors the line, and Gavin Escobar working hard.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Conflicting reports: Cowboys-Dez Bryant deal not close — or is it? | Dallas Morning News

The very different takes on how things are progressing in the contract negotiations between the Dallas Cowboys and star wide receiver Dez Bryant seem to depend on whether the writers are ones close to the team (mostly very positive) and others who may possibly be looking to generate views with negative reports.

Reported talks between representatives for Bryant and Dallas Cowboys management yielded "no progress" last weekend, according to Bleacher Report analyst Jason Cole.

Cole, an NFL insider citing unnamed sources, said the Cowboys are not budging from their long-term offer, worth "approximately $20 million guaranteed and subsequent guarantees later on."

Bob Sturm: The amazing Dez Bryant: ‘Pay that man his money!’ | Dallas Morning News

Sturm builds his case on a lot of things, including the fact that among the top 11 seasons catching touchdown passes by Cowboys, Bryant not only is number one,  but also the only player to make this list three times - and it is still early in his career.

There is certainly more to being a WR than scoring touchdowns, but I doubt many people need to argue that Dez could improve in those departments. His game is complete and his rough edges have all been smoothed over. There may be a few receivers in his class in the NFL these days, but make no mistake, that list can easily fit on one hand.

Cowboys Dez, Giants JPP + The Fireworks - Mike Fisher, CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

A look at the risk that players like Jason Pierre-Paul face when they have not signed their franchise tender offer, which the New York Giants could retract if they find out his injuries are severe enough.

Bryant is also presently "at risk,'' if you will, because he hasn't signed his tender, either. This status worried some when Dez, playing in left field alongside 105.3 The Fan's Mike Bacsik, celebrated a defensive player by launching himself into an aerial backflip.

Broaddus: Comparing The Tape On Dez Bryant And Atlanta’s Julio Jones | Dallas Cowboys

The news link yesterday had several rankings in it. Bryan Broaddus noted that the NFL Top 100 had Julio Jones ahead of Dez Bryant, and rather than just throwing out a gut reaction, he went back and compared video of the two from last season. He found that the evidence showed that maybe this was not justifiable.

A play that stands out to me was against the Ravens where Matt Ryan threw a vertical route along the right sideline where the ball came down a little short. It was a play that I had seen Tony Romo throw dozens of times to Bryant and nine times out of ten he would come down with the ball. Jones was unable to make that play and in other games had some adjustment problems.

There was a point early during my study where I blurted out to David Helman and Nick Eatman that I thought the players were right in having Jones over Bryant - but the more I watched the less I believed that.

NFL players consider DeMarco Murray a Top 10 player, but not Dez Bryant | Dallas Morning News

The list is voted on by their peers. Who will be facing Bryant on the field. It will be interesting to see if he might have a bit of a chip on his shoulder.

Sorry, Eli! rates Tony Romo higher than Giants’ Manning | Dallas Morning News

Of course, it is always fun to indulge in a little confirmation bias with these things. The arguments between the fan bases about who is better, Eli Manning or Tony Romo, are always fun. This time, Romo at 10 edged Manning, who came in 11th.

NFC East Q&A: Are the New York Giants a threat to win the division? - Dan Graziano, ESPN New York

Eli Manning can be very good or really bad. Never knowing which version will show up makes it a challenge to face the Giants anytime.

Todd Archer: From far on the outside, I always think it is dangerous to count out Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning. Yes, things haven't gone the way they had hoped recently, but I can't dismiss how Coughlin puts his teams in position to be in position. That doesn't mean they always win, clearly, but they will be a tough out. I put the Giants and Eagles right behind the Cowboys as a threat to win the division, and I do it mostly because of Coughlin.

Report: Cowboys’ Greg Hardy losing will to fight NFL over suspension | Dallas Morning News

Is this what the long delay in announcing the results of his appeal all about? No matter how you feel about Greg Hardy as a person, he is also a player covered by the CBA. Even if Hardy is ready to take whatever the league finally hands down, the NFLPA needs to start raising a ruckus about how this has been handled. (However, note that this is from the same writer who believes the Bryant negotiations are not progressing. Just saying.)

Cole reports that if Hardy can get some sort of reduction in his 10-game suspension, perhaps down to eight or six games, he may be willing to drop any further action against the NFL.

Hardy is worn down from a legal process and appeals process that has taken more than a year, Cole reports.

Doug Free is Cowboys’ steady veteran on O-line, even while sidelined | Drew davison, The Star Telegram

Once upon a time, some of us (raises hand sheepishly) thought Doug Free was a liability on the offensive line. Now, while the talk is all about the youth movement, he is the seasoned, wily anchor at 31.

When he arrived as a fourth-round draft pick in 2007 out of Northern Illinois, he learned from veterans such as Flozell Adams, Marc Colombo, Kyle Kosier and Leonard Davis.

Now, Free is the one taking players such as center Travis Frederick and right guard Zack Martin under his wing. Eight years, Free admitted, has gone by fast. But he's embracing his role and sharing any advice he can with the younger guys.

Escobar Focused On Improving Consistency Entering Third Season | David Helman, Dallas Cowboys

Since being drafted in the second round, Gavin Escobar has not exactly set the world on fire. He is the latest in a line of tight ends who find being second on the depth chart behind the superb Jason Witten rather limiting. But he is focusing on improving himself rather than whining about things (we're looking at you, Martellus Bennett).

Escobar's continued work in the offense can only help him, but this offseason came with an added benefit. This spring is the first time he's been able to work with Tony Romo during the offseason, as injuries have limited the Pro Bowl quarterback during Escobar's time with the team.

Rookie Watch: LB Wilson Versatile Enough To Earn Reps Right Away | Nick Eatman, Dallas Cowboys

Can the Cowboys strike fourth-round gold with Damien Wilson the way they did with Anthony Hitchens in 2014? They certainly hope so.

Just like Hitchens, Wilson was a highly productive tackler in the Big Ten, as he finished with 197 total takedowns in just two seasons with Minnesota. This coaching staff expects versatility from all of its linebackers, but Wilson's early focus is likely to be the weak side and the middle spot. Given his high draft status, it's doubtful the rookie gets cut, which should make the veteran competition for roster spots all the more competitive.

Cowboys position series: Will defensive line additions lead to more sacks? | Jon Machota, Dallas Morning News

That is certainly the hope.

"I think there's just a lot of competition across the board, there's 10-12 guys that can really play," second-year defensive end Ben Gardner said. "It's going to make for one heck of a training camp and hopefully a heck of a season where we can put up some better sack numbers."

Orlando Scandrick reportedly no longer engaged to Draya Michele: ‘It was a poor decision to propose’ | Dallas Morning News

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