Today’s news includes tidbits about the Broncos and Tony Romo, what past running backs for Dallas have to say to Ezekiel Elliott, and a potential cut among the veterans, plus more!
We heard it before, but the Broncos name keeps coming up when discussing Tony Romo and his possible destinations for the 2017 season. The only problem for Cowboys fans, it’s always about if Romo is released and not traded.
But in terms of [John] Elway’s vision for the Broncos near and far, his roster-building strategy for this season and beyond, his crossroad decision is [Tony] Romo or [Paxton] Lynch.
If Romo becomes available through his release from the Dallas Cowboys – a transaction many observers deem unavoidable because of his monstrous, if non-guaranteed, remaining contract, plus the team’s proven young replacement in Dak Prescott – the Broncos are expected to at least discuss whether to pursue the veteran quarterback.
So will several other teams who are far more famished at quarterback than the Broncos. If the price tag on Romo’s new deal becomes $13 million per year, the Broncos may not compete. If Romo is willing to take a few million dollars less to play for a team with an immediate chance to compete for the Super Bowl, it would be surprising if the Broncos didn’t listen.
I still find it hard to believe that the Cowboys would get rid of Romo without getting something back in return. Surely a team who wants Romo would try to work a trade while asking Romo to restructure his contract. Even if the Cowboys only get a mid-round pick in return, that is better than just a release. Keeping the faith!
It’s been a highlight moment a few times already in Ezekiel Elliott’s career. A defender comes up and tries to go low on Zeke, only to watch Zeke calmly hurdle over him for extra yards. It sure is fun to watch, but a couple of retired Cowboys running backs don’t want to see it anymore.
“He better stop that. He better stop that. He better stop that,” Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett said. “That’s one thing that I don’t like. When you get airborne, you’re at the mercy of the hit, and sometimes you can’t protect yourself. I think as he gets older he may take that out of his repertoire. He needs to stop that. That scares me every time he gets airborne. I’m like oh….”
Elliott, a high school hurdle champion whose mother was a college hurdler, leaped over Bears safety Chris Prosinski, Eagles safety Rodney McLeod, Ravens cornerback Jerraud Powers and Bucs safety Bradley McDougald his rookie season.
“Get on the ground as quickly as possible,” Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith said. “Every time I watch somebody run, I’m looking very closely, very tentatively, seeing how they fall because a lot of things happen when you fall.”
Somehow I doubt that Zeke will stop.
There’s been a lot of comparisons of the current Cowboys team to the Cowboys team from the early 90s, right before they went on their Super Bowl run. They are a young, up-and-coming team, and they have some semblance of the new Triplets. But ex-coach Jimmy Johnson isn’t buying it yet.
Johnson recognizes the current group has stars at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and along the offensive line, but that's about where the comparisons end.
"You really can't compare," Johnson said. "People don't realize, we led the league in defense back in 1992. We had great special teams. You can't really compare teams just because of two or three players."
While you can debate if it’s too early to be calling Dak Prescott, Zeke and Dez Bryant the new Triplets, you can’t debate the point about the defense. Jaylon Smith will certainly help if he can return to form, but the Cowboys still have work to do on that side of the ball.
For all the debate we had about turning the team over to Dak and whether it was the right decision during the season, Coach Johnson had no such doubts.
The former Cowboys head coach discussed the situation Saturday while at a 25th anniversary celebration of Dallas' 1992 Super Bowl team.
"Without question, it was the right way to go with Dak," Johnson said. "Now, I don't want to take anything away from Tony Romo because Tony Romo is a great quarterback. If he's healthy, he can make a lot of plays.
"But for this team, it was the right decision to go with Dak. He plays within the system, he doesn't turn the ball over, he's still young enough, he can make plays with his legs. He's really just an outstanding quarterback that doesn't make a lot of mistakes."
At the Cowboys reunion on Saturday night for the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Super Bowl team, some Hall of Fame Cowboys welcomed Jerry Jones to the club.
“Silver and blue are the Cowboys colors, but you look pretty damn good in gold,” Irvin said as they presented Jones with a portrait of him in his Hall of Fame jacket. “Welcome to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
Cowboys Pro Football Hall of Famers welcoming Jerry Jones to the group pic.twitter.com/5dxyimq3vK— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) February 26, 2017
Of all the great combine performances over the past decade, it seems like the one Byron Jones put together a few years ago is second to none.
1. Byron Jones
Draft: First round (No. 27 overall), Dallas Cowboys
Jones (unofficially) set a new world record at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine, jumping an astonishing 12 feet, 3 inches in the broad jump (the best in the combine in the past decade by eight inches!).
That distance is also believed to be a world record. Granted, the standing long jump hasn't been an Olympic event since 1912, so records aren't complete. Norwegian Arne Tvervaag is believed to have held the world record of 12-2 set on Nov. 11, 1968. American Ray Ewry, who won gold medals in the event in the 1900, 1904 and 1908 Olympic Games, had held the world record (11-4 1/2, set in 1904) before Tvervaag established a new mark in 1968.
Coupled with an impressive vertical jump (third-best at the combine in the past decade), Jones' draft stock jumped and he became a first-round selection.
If you’re looking for a veteran on the Cowboys that might get cut, Alfred Morris just might be that guy,
Dallas Cowboys (Current projected cap space: $6.7 million) On the chopping block: RB Alfred Morris ($2.1 million cap hit; $500K dead money). Settling the Tony Romo situation would free up a little bit of extra change for the Cowboys—he’s set to cost $24.7 million against the cap, with a $19.6 million dead-money hit, hence the desire to rework his deal pre-trade. Elsewhere, this is a roster built more for contract restructuring than for releasing overpriced players. Morris’s contract is far from unreasonable, but he also barely played down the stretch. If the Cowboys opt to re-sign Darren McFadden or draft another back, Morris could be bumped.
Pro Football Focus picks one free agent that played in Dallas last year the team should re-sign, and one free agent from around the league they should pursue.
Barry Church, S, 86.2 overall grade in 2016
Calling any of the Cowboys’ free agents ‘must re-signs’ is probably a stretch, but the one who is best to consider is safety Barry Church. He has slowly improved in coverage and cut down on his missed tackles last year, while always being an astute run defender. His price tag also shouldn’t be too high, compared to someone like Mo Claiborne, where another team may consider spending big money.
Top 2017 free agency prospects
DeMarcus Ware, Edge, Denver Broncos, 77.4
A reunion between Ware and the Cowboys shouldn’t be out of the question. At this point, he would really just be a situational pass-rusher, where Dallas definitely needs some help. Ware would have to be willing to sign a team-friendly or incentive-laden deal, but at the right price, he would be worth signing.