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Cowboys News: Jerry Jones On Rolando McClain, “Such A Waste” But Still No Plans To Cut Him

Latest Cowboys headlines: Jerry Jones disappointed with McClain, but he's still hanging around; Cowboys running backs - are they really as good as people think?

San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Jerry Jones on Rolando McClain: "Such a waste" - Steven Mullenax, The Landry Hat

A lot of people are puzzled when it comes to how the Cowboys will proceed with McClain after the news of his 10-game suspension came out last month. Let’s look at what we know:

  • McClain was underachieving in Oakland and was cut. He signed with Baltimore in 2013, but then retired a month later. Dallas took a chance and traded for him.
  • McClain was suspended last season for four games for violating the substance abuse policy. The Cowboys re-signed him to a one-year deal this season.
  • McClain was suspended yet again last month, this time for ten games for violating the substance abuse policy. The Cowboys have not released him.

While it is disappointing, the Cowboys front office doesn’t appear to be that surprised by all this.

But when it comes to McClain, the one thing the Cowboys can not claim is ignorance. The former first round selection’s career has been a rollercoaster. After twice retiring from the league, the 27-year old McClain now faces his second suspension due to violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Last season, the Cowboys starting mike linebacker was suspended for the first four games of the season as well.

Pump the brakes: Why the Cowboys should not cut Rolando McClain - A.J. Mada, Cowboys Wire

The loss of McClain is a sunk cost. Just as Joseph Gordon-Levitt said in that movie where he walked across the Twin Towers, "the carrots are cooked." What’s done is done. So what is the best move for the Cowboys going forward? Some think it might still be best to just rent his talent for the second half of the season.

Although never the most dependable rental, McClain got the job done for the most part, with dynamic performances against Seattle in 2014 and Miami in 2015. The Cowboys never broke the bank for him, and in March signed him to a one year, $4 million deal, plus incentives.

Cap implications aside, a contract like that is manageable and can be kept on the books for the latter part of the season. t’s easy to say McClain is expendable in July, but his roster spot could prove to be useful late in the season.

The Cowboys have a few internal options for their starting middle linebacker spot in the meantime. First, they could move Sean Lee back into the middle.

The only man who matters hasn’t given up on Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain - Cindy Boren, Washington Post

While it doesn’t matter what we all think, it would be very interesting to know where the brain trust at Valley Ranch stand. And there is no brain more convoluted than that of Jerry Jones.

Despite reports that some within the Dallas Cowboys organization want to rid themselves of Rolando McClain, the opinion of only one man really matters and that man, owner Jerry Jones, is supporting the linebacker.

Jerry Jones 'disappointed' in Rolando McClain but unlikely to cut troubled LB - Sean Wagner-McGough, CBS Sports

And it could just come down to dollars and cents.

"The main thing is strategically, [financially], it's not good for us," Jones said, "and he doesn't take up an active spot on the roster [during the season]."

Which defensive newcomer will make an impact in 2016? - Yusuf Nakhooda, Cover 32

Do you have a favorite new kid on the block? Of course you do. We are all looking forward to seeing what these new Cowboys can do and they will garner even more praise if they’re on the defensive side of the ball.

Cedric Thorton has four career sacks, so he’s not likely to make a big statistical splash. But he’s the most proven defensive player the Cowboys added this off-season. Benson Mayowa will have an immediate chance to rush the passer as quite possibly the Week 1 starter at right defensive end. The team hopes to get contributions from Maliek Collins and Charles Tapper, but Thornton is a really strong run defender who for years made things difficult for the Cowboys’ offense, as a member of the Eagles. He should form a strong tandem with Tyrone Crawford at tackle and I think his strength at the point of attack should help the linebackers flow to the ball. His stats might not be gaudy, but he’ll be a solid addition to this defensive line.

8 Dallas Cowboys players that can make or break the season - Dyllan Larson, The Landry Hat

What about a resident Cowboy making an impact? Dyllan Lawson has a list of savvy veterans who could take a big step in 2016.

Unfortunately for Crawford and the Cowboys, he was hindered for by a torn rotator cuff that he suffered in the second game of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles. He showed toughness by playing with the injury that would eventually require offseason surgery but his production was clearly limited.

Despite the serious injury, Crawford managed to make 44 tackles, register five sacks, and finish with 27 quarterback pressures. These numbers are actually decent for an average player. The Dallas Cowboys are expecting him to be better than average after signing him to a five-year, 45 million dollar contract last year.

Five Cowboys I'll be keeping a close eye on in training camp - Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay

Sean Lee and Orlando Scandrick are two of the Cowboys best defensive players. Thanks to season-ending injuries suffered in training camp over the last couple years, the Cowboys haven’t had these two on the field together since 2013. This season, both should be a full go, but as Kate Hairopoulus points out, all eyes will be on the teams prized cornerback as he returns from his knee injury.

Question: Can you pinpoint five Cowboys you'll be keeping a particularly close eye on during training camp, and why?

Hairopoulos: Orlando Scandrick. Will he be able to pick up where he left off before the injury at training camp a year ago? Dallas sure needs him to. Some interceptions from a cornerback sure would be nice.

Darren McFadden: Could The Cowboys Trade Him? - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

Whether or not the Cowboys keep McFadden will come down to just how valuable they see him. Training camp will be very enlightening when it comes to evaluating other options like Alfred Morris and Darius Jackson. Even if they are prepared to cut him loose, it might be hard getting value for him.

The biggest hurdle Dallas will face in trading McFadden is the reputation of their offensive line. Everyone saw DeMarco Murray’s 2014 explosion and then his utter collapse last year in Philadelphia. Nobody wants to be compared to Chip Kelly for front office decision-making, meaning they may shy away of any player whose value has been inflated by the Cowboys’ offensive line.

That's a great point. Nobody wants to be compared to Chip Kelly. One thing that won’t be an obstacle for Dallas is McFadden's price. He will come with affordable terms to absorb for a team that can use his services.

On the other hand, McFadden’s contract hasn’t been inflated by his performance. His base salary of $1.25 million is all that his new team would be responsible for. That’s a bargain money even for a veteran backup, let alone a guy who can put up big numbers under the right circumstances.

McFadden was one of the nicest bargains in fantasy football last year year. His replacement this season, however, won’t come so cheap.

Why Ezekiel Elliott Is One Of The Most Touted Rookie Running Backs In Fantasy Football History - Kevin Luo, The Sports Quotient

If you are targeting Zeke in your fantasy draft this season, I got some bad news for you - it’s going to to cost you. While he may be positioned as a late first-rounder now, expect his stock to rise as the draft nears. Fantasy is about talent, but it’s also about the situation, and Zeke has the best of both worlds.

He’s one of the most highly touted rookie running backs in recent fantasy football history, and he deserves every bit of the hype (as a fantasy prospect, at least). During the actual draft process a few months ago, Zeke was considered one of the most complete backs to come into the league in years. His combination of size, athleticism, and natural running talent helped him put up massive numbers at Ohio State and led to the Cowboys taking him so high in the draft.

Look for Zeke to start jumping other RBs in the rankings over the next several weeks.

Is the Cowboys running back unit barely worth a Top 10 ranking? - Jarren Glover, Cowboys Wire

Not everyone is impressed with the Cowboys running back situation. PFF recently stacked all the running back groups and the Cowboys finished 10th. That seems a little tough to digest, but Jarren Glover over at the Wire offers up one possible explanation.

In 2015, Dallas rushed for only eight touchdowns after netting 16 the year before. It can be blamed on Romo missing 12 games, but the fact is the Cowboys had a hard time rushing for touchdowns in 2015.

And that was good enough for PFF to rank them 18th last year.

To fix that issue, they signed running back Alfred Morris and drafted running back Ezekiel Elliott.

And now because of the improvements at the position, McFadden’s place on the team is being questioned, yet it’s only good enough to move them up to tenth place? The offensive line clearly does not factor in all this, but even still - that seems really low to put this group.

Pro Football Focus Ranks The Cowboys Offensive Units As Nothing Special - Dave Halprin, BTB

Does PFF have any valid arguments to back up their claims or are they just plain hating on the Cowboys offense? Sure, the team was 31st in points scored last year, but a lot of weird stuff was going on then. Don’t those over at PFF realize just how spectacular the 2016 offense is going to be? Our own Arceus, Dave Halprin shares a sentiment many of us have and we’re all calling "bullarky" on their RB assessment.

Here we are thinking what an amazing stable of running backs we have, and PFF has us ranked 10th, behind such luminaries as the Panthers (Jonathan Stewart, Cameron Artis-Payne, Fozzy Whittaker), the Jaguars (T.J. Yeldon, Chris Ivory, Denard Robinson). Sure it's hard to grade when Ezekiel Elliott hasn't taken an NFL snap yet, but seriously, a group that has the highest-ranked college running back since Adrian Peterson, a guy that was fourth in the league in rushing last year, and a four-year vet who made the Pro Bowl twice is only 10th in the league? Come on PFF.

Ezekiel Elliott has optimal OL situation - but still cut him slack in rookie year - Tim Cowlishaw, Sportsday

Fans have lofty expectations of the Cowboys rookie running back. While a big year isn’t unimaginable, his 2016 body of work shouldn't come without blemishes. As Tim Cowlishaw points out, some typical rookie growing pains should be expected.

Question: Seems to me there's more pressure on Ezekiel Elliott to produce than any Cowboys rookie in a long time. Is too much being expected of this rookie?

Cowlishaw: In a way, yes. I agree. He should have an optimal situation, playing behind this offensive line. But he is still a rookie, is likely to make more mistakes either with fumbles or pass protections than people are likely to expect. But I still think he has big numbers at the end of the year, and you can't wait more than a few picks in your fantasy draft or he will be gone.