In his five wonders piece, Todd Archer considers whether RFA Ronald Leary could be used to fill another need the Cowboys have, an upgrade for the backup to Tony Romo (currently the team has only Kellen Moore). The Looney signing just makes this more of an option.
It got me to wondering if the Cowboys could use Ronald Leary as trade bait for a backup quarterback. I'm not advocating getting rid of Leary, who I believe could start for most teams in the NFL, but the Cowboys have cast their lot with La'el Collins at left guard. The Cowboys gave Leary the second-round tender worth $2.553 million as a restricted free agent, but they can negotiate deals with teams. Leary should be of interest to teams, but teams generally don't want to give up picks at this time of the year.
That idea of trading Leary to get a backup QB would let them address one of the biggest unaddressed issues in free agency so far. And the draft is still an option for working on the problem as well.
The Cowboys haven't drafted a quarterback since using a fourth-round pick on Stephen McGee in 2009, but this could be the year they select a quarterback to learn behind Romo for a few seasons before taking the reins.
With a month left until the draft, it is likely that the team still will make moves in free agency. However that turns out, it is clear that one thing is underlying the strategy the team is following.
Considering the lack of big moves in free agency and the Cowboys' unwillingness to add a big contract to the roster, the club's brass has shown that they believe key injuries in 2015 (such as Tony Romo and Dez Bryant) contributed more to the team's 4-12 finish than a roster filled with glaring holes.
The Dallas Cowboys continue to add unspectacular free agents, but the addition of Joe Looney replaces an important depth player.
Looney addresses a very specific hole on the Dallas roster, replacing Mackenzy Bernadeau, who was lost in free agency to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He is strictly a depth signing, but one that is definitely needed.
Free agency is also about who moves on, as Bernadeau illustrates. Now another Dallas free agent, who many fans still hope will be re-signed, is looking at his other options. Jack Crawford is making a visit.
After sitting on the open market for several weeks, the former Dallas Cowboys defensive end will finally be checking out a new team. According to NFL insider Adam Caplan, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be hosting Crawford on a visit this week.
Lots of stuff on the draft front, of course.
There is a growing consensus that Jalen Ramsey is one of the two or three best prospects in the draft, if not number one. He certainly thinks he is the best of the best, and is not shy about why.
"I think all of my traits equally are reason for the success," Ramsey said after Florida State's pro day on Tuesday. "I'm big. I'm strong. I'm fast. I have the hips. I have the footwork. I'm always trying to perfect my craft, and at the end of the day, I'm just a competitor. I'm a winner.
"That's something I like to do, so wherever you put me, I'm going to compete and I'm going to win."
Another player who is often mentioned as one of the top members of the draft class, Joey Bosa, is now being rumored to be seen as the Cowboys as not all that. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com was one to put the idea out there, and the reasons may have a lot to do with his attitude, something the Cowboys put great weight on.
Zierlein didn't identify his source but doubts about Bosa are not a foreign concept. He had a down year in 2015 compared to the previous season but many forgive that as a player trying to avoid injury and preserve his draft stock. What's more, concerns about Bosa's personal life and partying are making teams leery.
While the thought of lining Ezekiel Elliott up behind the Dallas offensive line has made many of us Geeked out for Zeke, there are some doubts that the Cowboys would take him at four, their only real chance to get him barring a trade back. If he is not drafted by Dallas, their best bet for a running back in the draft may be to take Derrick Henry at 34.
No one should need any reminders about how potent the Cowboys' offense was when they had DeMarco Murray pounding the rock against opposing defenses 25 times per game. Henry is in that same mold. He might not be a game-changing talent, but he's durable. He's also a nightmare for defenses to deal with over the course of four quarters. If Dallas wants to re-establish its smash mouth running game, Henry fits the bill perfectly.
Sturm takes a look at another possible target outside the first round, but in the case of Leonard Floyd, he is not convinced that is a good idea.
Often times when you see holes in a player's game, you are reminded that he has plenty of time to develop at the next level with some coaching and weight training. I readily concede that seeing projections is a very difficult skill in draft evaluation and I have missed on this type of player before. But, given his age, and that much of the development of a player happens between 20-23, I am pessimistic Floyd becomes a complete weapon at the next level.
A report from Michael Silver states that Myles Jack, another highly rated college talent, is foregoing running the 40. There are continuing concerns about his recovery from a knee injury, but teams will be basing decisions on medical evaluations.
Silver's story cites several anonymous front-office executives who say Jack's decision not to run a 40 before the draft likely won't affect the stock of a player who's widely expected off the board in the first part of Round One, though one decision-maker holding a top-10 pick said it could hurt him.
Guess which team is listed first in this article? Go ahead.
Not only do the Cowboys seriously need to consider a replacement for Tony Romo down the line due to his age, but they need a backup they can actually trust in case he gets injured again. Romo, who will turn 36 in April, broke his clavicle twice in 2015 and only played in four games. He also suffered broken ribs in 2014 and underwent back surgery in 2013.
The Tennessee Titans are reported to be open to trading back out of the first spot. Guess which team is listed first as a possible trade partner to get Carson Wentz? Go ahead.
So who would move up? I was told some time ago that Wentz was atop their board which shouldn't surprise anyone. Jerry Jones has come out and said that the team won't draft a quarterback at #4 overall, but I wouldn't rule it out. Jones has stated many times in the past he's regretted not planning for life after Aikman, and with a playoff caliber roster already in place, the Cowboys may be willing to sacrifice short-term additions for long-term planning. Again, despite Jerry Jones's statements, I've been told it's still too early to rule out a trade up, especially if he feels the Eagles could be angling for Wentz at #1 as well.
To finish up, some things about current Cowboys players and staff.
As the 2015 first round pick of the Cowboys, Byron Jones had what has to be considered a successful season, earning a starting job during the year. He saw time playing several positions in the defensive backfield, and he took it all in stride.
"It was fun, it was enjoyable," Jones said of moving around. "Any time I could be out there, playing any position for the Cowboys, I was ecstatic. I was just enjoying it. It's difficult if you haven't studied, but if you understand the defensive scheme in its entirety, especially in the secondary, you can kind of interchange positions a little bit. It's just the technique that takes a little time to come along. I never really had a real home position, so I'd work both my corner and safety technique at every practice. I got used to everything changing."
Just as Jones has shown some versatility, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence has also shown he can play from both sides of the formation. That helps the Cowboys in allowing them more freedom in the draft.
"You see who you have, you target guys, you want to build a certain way but eventually you'll have a group of players and say, ‘Who fits best where and what's best for our team?'" coach Jason Garrett said. "And again oftentimes they are aligned but oftentimes you have players who are versatile who can do different things and this combination might work better even though this guy might be better here, he's incrementally worse here and having him here is better for everybody else. So that'll be the decision we make. But you like to have guys that are versatile can do different things to give you that flexibility."
One battle to watch closely during camp is going to be between Brice Butler and Terrance Williams for the number-two wide receiver job. Butler was impacted by the quarterback issues the Cowboys suffered through when Romo was injured, but he is a strong contender to unseat Williams.
I understand that Williams has a strong chemistry with Tony Romo but there's no denying that his play is inconsistent. Butler is taller, bigger, longer and faster than Williams, plus he actually catches with his hands.
Yesterday was Jason Garrett's 50th birthday, and he and a couple of close personal friends celebrated it in style.
C'mon. Everybody who has been around the Cowboys much knows Garrett loves him some Boss.