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Cowboys News & Notes: What To Expect In Week Two Of Free Agency

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Latest Cowboys headlines: taking a look at some remaining free agents; should the Cowboys bring Dunbar back?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cedric Thornton: Best bang for Dallas Cowboys buck - Steven Mullenax, The Landry Hat
For those of you that were waiting a long time for another Nick Hayden "air guitar" celebration, well...it might even be a little longer now.

Thornton will add his excellent run defense to the Cowboys porous D-line. Dallas ranked a lowly 22nd against the run in 2015, allowing an average of 120.9 rushing yards per game.  The 27-year old is expected to move inside the defensive line and should replace veteran defensive tackle Nick Hayden as the starter at the one technique.

Cowboys Free Agency: Week 2 Preview - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star
What should fans expect this week? Jess Haynie breaks down each position and looks at some possible options.

With no additions and two of their key players from last year remaining unsigned, plus Randy Gregory facing a four-game suspension to start the year, defensive end remains the team’s biggest need. Long and Hardy are the two biggest names available but the Cowboys have yet to show any tangible interest in either. Much like we saw with the Cedric Thornton signing, Dallas could have their eyes on someone unexpected. I anticipate them signing someone with starting-level talent this week.

Dallas Cowboys 2016 Free Agency: Looking At Potential Targets For Dallas - Michael Sisemore, BTB
While the Cowboys like to go young in their free agent acquisitions, there are a couple veterans out there that have caught their eye. Michael Sisemore takes a look at some of the Cowboys options going forward.

Weddle is rumored to be deciding between Dallas, Oakland, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore. His family is very important to him and he's decided to take the weekend to mull that over. Oakland seems like the true team in play here as it would allow for him to stay in California and is only a short flight home. Also, Oakland is the likeliest team to pay anywhere close to his asking cost and players over there have started to recruit him. Though many fans in Cowboys Nation are trying to get him to Dallas, I would caution you to not get your hopes up with this one.

Cowboys free agent target Casey Hayward signs with Chargers - Brandon George, SportsDay
This isn't a Cowboys signing, but it could have some meaning for the team. The Chargers got themselves a bargain when you compare this deal with other free agent corners in the league. The prices look to be falling and this is where the Cowboys might start zoning in on some good buys.

Green Bay free agent cornerback Casey Hayward agreed to a three-year, $15.3 million contract Sunday with the San Diego Chargers, a source said.

Philly radio personality: Thornton nice player, but Cowboys will screw it up in other ways; moody DeMarco Murray 'a fraud' - Staff, SportsDay
Philadelphia radio personality, Howard Eskin weighs in on the Cedric Thornton signing, but thinks the Cowboys will somehow find a way to have it blow up in their face.

Cedric Thornton, who is this guy?

Howard Eskin: He's a nice player. I like Ced. He felt he didn't take enough snaps defensively and that's why he went elsewhere. For whatever reason, the Eagles felt they were OK on the defensive line. The Cowboys will screw it up in other ways, but he will help them in the area of the defensive line. But give the Cowboys time, they'll find a way to screw things up anyway.

Speaking of finding a way to screw things up...

DeMarco Murray's strange Eagles interlude - Marcus Hayes, Philly.com
The only thing that is relevant to the Cowboys about DeMarco Murray is how they'll get an extra fourth round pick next month. But it's still astonishing how things went so bad so quickly in Philadelphia for the former-Cowboys running back.

Upon arrival in Philadelphia, with $21 million in guaranteed money and nothing left to prove, Murray suddenly developed a nagging hamstring injury that virtually eliminated him from participation in those pesky training camp practices and preseason games. He arrived with a sterling reputation as a worker, but teammates seemed to question his investment and were unsympathetic; Malcolm Jenkins caustically offered him a chair so he could sit and watch the rest of the team’s misery at camp.

Lance Dunbar visiting Seahawks on Sunday after earlier visit with 49ers - Brandon George, SportsDay
Dunbar's impact in games have been sporadic over the years, but the Seahawks got a good glimpse of his skills in 2014. Twice he caught a short pass for a long gain on a third and long during the Cowboys week six visit to Seattle. Dunbar will return to Seattle once again, only for a different reason this time.

Dunbar gave the Cowboys a back with a different skill set last season, catching 21 passes for 215 yards in the first five games. Dunbar, however, was lost for the season when he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in early October. Dunbar is still recovering from the major surgery.

Cowboys 2016 Free Agency: Who Can Fill The Lance Dunbar Role? - Ryan Ratty, BTB
And if Dunbar gets snatched up by another team, who will the Cowboys look towards to fill his shoes? Our own Ryan Ratty offers up a few suggestions.

I'm putting Bobby Rainey as the first target on this list for a reason. At 28 years old, Rainey doesn't have a ton of wear-and-tear on him and if used in the right role in Dallas, he can contribute both in some packages as a runner and in many packages as a receiving options out of the backfield. Rainey has shownhe can make plays out of the backfield. He is also adept at returning kicks on special teams. Rainey's free agency market hasn't been that crowded so far and if Dunbar goes elsewhere, Rainey could emerge as a candidate for the job.

The Cowboys have to draft a quarterback at No. 4 if they believe he is a franchise QB - Brad Sham, SportsDay
Jerry said they will not take a QB with the number four pick, but that isn't deterring some people from thinking that way. Sham feels that the Cowboys have to pull the trigger if they think a franchise QB is still sitting there.

What to do with the No. 4 pick:

This is how I would approach the fourth pick. You don't want to be here again. The first question is 'Is there, in your opinion as a scouting staff, and you can bring the coaches in too, is there a franchise quarterback in this draft?' I don't want EJ Manuel with the eighth pick or Christian Ponder with the 11th, Ryan Tannehill with the seventh, Blaine Gabbert with the 10th, that's not what I want. I want a franchise quarterback, we all know what that is. Is there one there?

Cowboys draft prospect, Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott arrested yesterday - K.D Drummond, Cowboys Wire
With the recent news of potential QB draft prospect, Dak Prescott getting in trouble over the weekend, people are wondering what this does to his draft price? Could this open the door for him to fall to the Cowboys at a much cheaper price? K.D. examines the situation.

Some may look at a DUI as a minor infraction, but for a quarterback prospect it could have major blowback. Starting quarterbacks are the public face of a franchise, and franchise quarterbacks are few and far between. The dropoff in play from starters to backups is greater at this position than any other, and it’s the most important position on the field.

Cowboys: Does Dak Prescott DUI Change Dallas Interest? - Christian Blood, Fansided
Will one incident have much of an impact to his draft stock?

Prescott’s character has never been much of a question, and I don’t think that this incident needs to change that entirely. Prescott managed to attend a camp at Starkville High School after being released from jail, so at least he kept that appointment with hundreds of kids.

Why safety Jeff Heath has respect of Cowboys coaches ... and deserves same from Cowboys Nation - Kristi Scales, SportsDay
Cowboys safety, Jeff Heath wasn't drafted, but that hasn't stopped the team from keeping him around. He's just one of those players that coaches love. Kristi Scales explains.

Question: I've been nothing but frustrated with Jeff Heath for as long as I can remember. Can you explain what the Cowboys are seeing in him that I'm not?

Kristi Scales: Wow, that's not a lot of respect for the Cowboys leader in interceptions in 2015! Geez, he had two INTs. Enough to lead the team, and more than all the Cowboys starting DBs combined (Wilcox, with 1 INT, was the only one of the regular starters in the secondary to record and INT in 2015). That's a horrible indictment on the lack of playmakers in the secondary. No disrespect to Heath, but nobody was counting on him to lead the team in any of the major statistical categories, other than special teams tackles (which he did with 9, tied with Kyle Wilber and Damien Wilson). Don't be frustrated with Heath. He is a key role player on this team. And even though his tender offer (which was low level) is $1.67 million, the Cowboys will probably try to lower that cap hit by doing a multi-year deal. He is reliable. The coaches know what they have in him. They can count on him. That's why he's on the team, and he's very productive in his role.