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Cowboys News & Notes: Are L.A. Rams Jerry Jones' Revenge For 2010 Salary Cap Penalty?

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Latest Cowboys headlines: Rams relocating to LA may prove Jerry Jones is the most powerful owner in the NFL; it's been a rough week for QB Truthers; the Cowboys have options at No.4, but RB isn't one of them.

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In a terrific story in ESPN on Thursday, Don Van Natta and Seth Wickersham broke down the inner workings and negotiations that ultimately resulted in NFL owners voting 30-2 in favor of Stan Kroenke's bid to relocate the Rams to Inglewood. One of the key storylines in that piece is the role Jerry Jones played in the process, and the following headlines reflect on different aspects of that.

Jerry Jones played a key role in the Rams relocating to LA, proving he's the most powerful owner in the NFL - Emmett Knowlton, Business Insider
Knowlton examines the ESPN story and explains how Jones used his power in numerous backroom deals and negotiations to help Stan Kroenke relocate the Rams to Los Angeles.

What stands out from the piece, however, is Jerry Jones: the most powerful owner in the NFL. Without Jones' support and influence, the Rams would almost definitely be playing in St. Louis next season, and the Chargers and Raiders would likely be the teams in LA instead.

Jerry Jones Is The Reason The Rams Are In Los Angeles - Barry Petchesky, Deadspin
Petchesky also takes a look at the ESPN story and the role Jones played in that process. There's a sense among many fans and observers that Jerry Jones is just an eccentric old man. That's not what his fellow NFL owners see. Not at all.

There’s a sense around the league that Jerry Jones doesn’t have his hands in the Cowboys as much as he used to, that a combination of age and good sense have seen him cede a lot of control to his son Stephen. That Jones’s most influential days, at least with his own team, are behind him. That’s not the Jones that’s described here. This one, tirelessly working the phones to whip up support for his side, celebrating with whisky and steak when he won, this is Jerry Jones in his prime. When it’s all said and done, Los Angeles might be his single greatest NFL legacy.

Why the Rams move to LA puts Jerry Jones closer to the Hall of Fame than Jimmy Johnson - Matt Mosley, SportsDay
Mosley also provides a take on why Jerry is far from the geriatric buffoon he's often portrayed to be.

There had been a recent narrative suggesting Jones was ceding some control over the Dallas Cowboys to son Stephen and daughter, Charlotte Jones Anderson. And while there might be a shred of truth to that, Jerry reminded the NFL over the past year that he still has a powerful voice. He basically stared down Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, a former NFL player, and Disney CEO Bob Iger, while brokering a deal that will that will allow Rams owner Stan Kroenke to build a $2.7 billion stadium in Inglewood.

NFL Owners in Disarray as Roger Goodell is Losing Control of the League - Pats Pulpit
Pats Pulpit smell a conspiracy by the NFL in everything, but this article offers an interesting perspective on the salary cap penalty the Cowboys and Redskins incurred in 2010.

The 2010 season offered a year without a salary cap and Dallas and Washington decided to sign players with front-loaded contract structures that took advantage of the non-cap. In March of 2012, the league announced that the two teams would be hit with lost cap space due to the contracts structures. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was upset. So was Washington's owner Dan Snyder.

Those are two of the biggest new-money owners, along with Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeff Lurie, and they were not happy.

Now, it seems like the new-money owners have been getting their revenge.

Getting the Rams to Los Angeles was a clear victory for the new money fraction over the old money fraction.

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Top five picks in 2016 draft: Biggest area of need - ESPN
The five ESPN beat writers covering the teams with the top five picks in the draft lay out each team's top positional area of need. Todd Archer does the honors for the Cowboys, but it's also interesting to read what the teams ahead of the Cowboys are looking for.

- OT Laremy Tunsil looks to be the guy for the Titans
- The Browns "need a quarterback this year, they needed one last year, they have needed one every year."
- The Chargers are looking hard at defensive linemen such as such as Joey Bosa, DeForest Buckner or Robert Nkemdiche.

Which leaves the Cowboys:

The good news is that with the fourth pick the Cowboys stand a decent chance of landing a Jalen Ramsey or Bosa, depending on what happens with the three picks in front of them.

Mailbag: Potential Draft Picks At DT? - Dallas Cowboys
Asked who his personal favorites are at DT in the draft, Bryan Broaddus lets loose:

My highest rated player among the defensive tackles playing the one-tech is Andrew Billings, then Jarran Reed, Austin Johnson, A’Shawn Robinson, Kenny Clark and Hassan Ridgeway. I have Sheldon Rankins as a three-technique. I don’t feel that there is a big drop off between Billings and Reed, which means that both could go in the first round or be available when the Cowboys select at No. 34. Collectively it’s a very powerful group that can hold their own in the running game but also give you some push in the middle of the pocket in the passing game. Any one of these players is an upgrade over the current situation.

Cowboys need a cornerback, but is No. 4 selection too soon? - David Moore, SportsDay
Moore looks at the cornerbacks that played in the last two Super Bowls and concludes it's too early to commit to a CB at No. 4.

Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. started for Denver. Josh Norman and Robert McClain started for Carolina. Talib is the only first-round pick in the bunch. Norman is next in line. He was a fifth-round pick in the same draft as Claiborne. Norman was taken at the same spot in his draft (No. 143) as Scandrick was four years earlier.

Darrell Revis and Brandon Browner started at cornerback for New England in Super Bowl XLIX. Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell started for Seattle. Revis is the only first-round pick in that bunch. No other corner was taken higher than the fifth round.

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Drafting Top QB Sounds Good, But Not Right Move - Adam Boedeker, NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
The Cowboys could draft their future franchise quarterback, but it wouldn't be the best idea, Boedeker explains as he stabs the QB truthers in the back.

They have several areas on the roster to upgrade, and while getting a future franchise quarterback would be fantastic, it wouldn't help them for what the Cowboys hope is another 3-5 years. They have a chance to grab a true impact starter that high in the draft, whether it be a wide receiver to stick opposite Dez Bryant or a shutdown corner or pass-rushing beast.

If the Cowboys had no holes, or even just one, then they might serve themselves well by taking advantage of the rare high pick to grab a quarterback, but that's just not the case with this team, and they shouldn't go that route.

2011 draft a great example of why Cowboys shouldn't spend 1st-round pick on QB just to draft one - Jon Machota, SportsDay
The life of QB truthers is getting tougher by the day in Dallas. Here's another QB-skeptic adding fuel to the no-QB bonfire.

All drafts are not created equal. Just because you're drafting in the top 5 doesn't mean there are QBs worthy of a top 5 pick in every draft. The 2011 draft is a great example. If the Cowboys were sitting at 4 in that draft and were set on taking a QB, they'd be picking between Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder (all went between picks 8 and 12). But in doing that, they would be passing on these players that went 4 through 11: A.J. Green, Patrick Peterson, Julio Jones, Aldon Smith, Tyron Smith and J.J. Watt. You have to take the best player, not just fill a need.

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Aikman: Some coaches I talked to thought Dallas' front seven on defense was best they'd seen all season - SportsDay Staff
In a recent interview on KTCK-AM 1310 The Ticket, Troy Aikman spread some cheer about the Cowboys' front seven.

There's some pieces in place that can give this defense a chance. When I travel around and talk to other general managers, other personnel people, coaches ... there were a number of coaches this year that felt Dallas' front seven was the best front seven they'd faced all season. But you gotta go out and you gotta do it. That's the challenge for Dallas; that's the challenge for every team.

2015 NFC East rookie grades - Bucky Brooks, NFL.com
Brooks provides NFC East rookie grades and has the Cowboys (B-) ahead of the Giants (C+) and Eagles (C+) but behind the Redskins (A-). Here's what he had to say:

The Cowboys sought to rejuvenate their defense with the selections of Byron Jones and Randy Gregory early in the draft. Jones certainly added some juice to the lineup with his versatile skills in the back end. The ultra-athletic defender notched 11 starts and made solid contributions as a cornerback-safety-nickel corner for the Cowboys. He had 66 total tackles -- sixth-most on the team -- and eight passes defensed. Gregory, who missed four games with an ankle injury suffered in Week 1, didn't fill up the stat sheet as a situational rusher, but he did flash potential as a speed rusher off the edges. He needs to make a bigger splash in 2016 to live up to draft expectations, but he is a nice building block for Jerry Jones' defense. La'el Collins was a nice addition as an undrafted free agent with blue-chip talent. He upgraded the Cowboys' star-studded line with his rugged play at the point of attack.

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You should only invest a first-round pick on a position and/or player you expect to hand a second contract to. Recent history suggests running back is not one of those positions.

Plenty of RB candidates in rounds 2-4 - Todd Archer, ESPN
In his Friday mailbag, Archer shoots down the notion of drafting a QB in the first round.

Considering how the Cowboys played the running back game last offseason, I'd be stunned if they took Ezekiel Elliott in the first round that high. But I think there will be plenty of candidates in Rounds 2-4 that could be appealing and could split the work with Darren McFadden. I'm already on record saying I'm a Kenneth Dixon fan, and nothing he did at the Senior Bowl took me off that bandwagon. Add DeVontae Booker, Alex Collins and Jordan Howard to that list as well.

Look for Cowboys to draft RB in early rounds - Jon Machota, SportsDay
In a recent chat, Machota answered a questions about when the Cowboys will draft a RB.

I would be very surprised if the Cowboys didn't draft a running back at some point in the first three rounds. A name to keep an eye on in the second round: Louisiana Tech's Kenneth Dixon. He played on Jason Garrett's team in the Senior Bowl.

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How I think the Cowboys will approach free agency, positions they might look to bolster - Brandon George, SportsDay
George expects an entirely rational approach to free agency. From The Cowboys. I guess we'll see about that.

I don't think the Cowboys will be setting the market on any players. They won't overspend. They'll look for bargains, more middle-of-the-road players who won't be at the top of the market but on the come. They'll look to add help at DE and CB and maybe LB on defense.

Terrance Williams, J.J. Wilcox to receive raises in 2016 - Todd Archer, ESPN
Williams and Wilcox have earned significant raises after having played more than 35 percent of the snaps in their first three NFL seasons.

Due to the proven performance escalator that was put into the 2011 collective bargaining agreements, players picked in Rounds 3-7 can earn more in the final year of their rookie contracts provided they play in 35 percent of the offensive or defensive snaps in two of their first three seasons or 35 percent of the cumulative snaps in all three seasons.

As a result, Williams and Wilcox will earn base salaries of $1.686 million in 2016, according to the NFL Players Association records. Williams was set to earn a base salary of $707,500 and Wilcox was set to earn $690,000.

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Byrd worked with Rod Marinelli in Chicago from 2009-2012.