We'll kick off our roundup of the latest Cowboys headlines with this message from Tony Romo. No words are needed to go along with it.
The Dallas Cowboys and Tony Romo will part ways, that much we know. How they will part became an interesting story as the day wore on. The expectation was that Romo would be designated as a June first cut, but then the plot took an unexpected twist. Word leaked that the Cowboys were looking to swap Romo with either the Broncos or the Texans.
Shortly after, Ian Rappaport tweeted that a release of the quarterback was never in the plans.
Soon, Jones and Romo will no longer have a football relationship. But their friendship will remain.
Sitting on the Cowboys’ luxury bus in Indianapolis, Jones was asked if he has closure with a Romo move that seemed inevitable since the middle of last season.
“That’s an appropriate word but an inappropriate word because I’d like to stick around a long time and I know he’s going to be around a long time and we won’t have any closure,” Jones said. “We’ve got a relationship. Closure is not the word. ... By the way, I would hope that Dak and I get to have the same kinds of years in the future and I enjoy that with players that we were with the Cowboys 25 years ago. I enjoy that today with them. And it doesn’t impact other than to just remind me that in many cases you’re going to know these players for the rest of your life. And you’re going to spend the rest of your life with them. ... When you think of that that’s not closure. What that is is just the beginning.”
Now they are about to say goodbye. At least for a little while.
Ronald Leary was the odd man out among the Cowboys interior linemen, but he was also a valuable piece. There was never a question about his ability to start in the NFL, he just had the misfortune of being on the same offensive line with Zack Martin and La’el Collins. The Cowboys made the right move in keeping him around for the 2016 season, but with his contract expiring at the end of the league year, it was certain that Leary would move on.
The Broncos badly needed to sign at least one starting-caliber offensive lineman in free agency to help patch up their porous line.
“Ronald is a big, physical and athletic guard who plays with an attitude,” Broncos general manager John Elway told the team website. “Upgrading the offensive line was a priority for us and we’re excited to add Ronald to our team.”
Denver is getting a good one, and if Tony Romo finds his way to the Broncos, he will be happy to share a huddle once again with Big Ron.
Aside from some unfortunate events that occurred right before the NFL draft, La’el Collins is an NFL first round selection. Dallas stole him as an UDFA. Without Ronald Leary as a fall back, the Cowboys need Collins to play to the level of Tyron Smith and the other first round talents up front. He needs to bring it every day.
Collins has the higher ceiling of the two, and he does not have the degenerative knee issue of Leary, but there were plenty of times that Big Ron outplayed him. Going forward Collins has to step up and always be the man.
Through his first two seasons, Collins was able to make some highlight blocks. Since it was National Pancake Day the other day, his double pancake blocks against Seattle in 2015 were a nice reminder of his athleticism.
But he needs to make a jump in his play-to-play consistency.
With Smith, Frederick and Martin, there is a high standard in the Cowboys’ offensive line room. Leary was able to uphold it. Collins will have to do the same for the Cowboys to continue to succeed in 2017.
Not all the quarterback news in Dallas revolves around Tony Romo. While his predecessor is looking forward to what his future holds, Prescott is working on elevating his game.
Dak has spent the past few weeks working with the staff at the Tom Shaw Performance Enhancement Camp in Orlando much as he did during the time between his collegiate career and his debut with the Cowboys.
Prescott is not the only Cowboy who is working on getting a little better each day. It may be a 16 game season, but pro football is a full time job. Nobody is working any harder than Jaylon Smith.
Until Smith actually takes to the gridiron and proves it, questions will remain about his return from a devastating knee injury that ended his collegiate career. The Redshirt rookie linebacker has a lot to prove, and he feels up to the challenge. His message to us is this:
"The message is: Jaylon's gonna ball this year." - Jaylon Smith
Terrell McClain was the top tackler among Rod Marinelli’s rushmen last season, and several organizations were interested in securing his talents for the upcoming season and beyond. Now he looks to follow the path that fellow former Dallas defensive lineman Jason Hatcher took. The Cowboys division rivals in Washington made the most attractive offer to the defensive tackle, reportedly 4 years for $21 million dollars.
Multiple teams that use a 4-3 defensive scheme inquired about McClain, who finished last season as the club's leading tackler among defensive linemen with 41 stops. He also had 2 1/2 sacks, eight quarterback pressures and two forced fumbles in helping to solidify the interior of the Cowboys' line, allowing Tyrone Crawford to move outside to end.
A former draft pick of the Raiders, Jack Crawford’s career came alive when he joined the Dallas Cowboys and went to work under Rod Marinelli. Now he is set to cash in as a member of the Atlanta Falcons to the tune of over $10 million in the next three seasons.
One year after first testing the open market, Morris Claiborne is again shopping around for offers. After finding no real interest last season he returned to Dallas on a one year prove it deal. It seems as though the Baltimore Ravens saw enough to garner some interest this time around.
With Tampa Bay showing interest in J J Wilcox, plus the Seahawks making inquiries as well, and Barry Church looking like a done deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars there is a very real possibility that the Cowboys secondary will feature a totally different look in 2017.
Moving on from the departures, let’s look at an option or two that might be a viable prospect to come to Dallas.
Nick Foles is a known name to Cowboys fans from his days in Philadelphia. Last year he was tied to the franchise as a potential replacement for Kellen Moore when the backup passer went down with an injury.
With the team looking to potentially upgrade the QB2 slot this off-season and the Chiefs declining his option, Nick Foles once again is a source of some speculation in Dallas. With the Cowboys taking a look at Josh McCown, it makes sense that they would also kick the tires on Foles.
The Cowboys need pass rush help; Barwin now needs a job after being released by the Philadelphia Eagles.
The former second-round pick out of Cincinnati has done some phenomenal things in his eight-year NFL career, including posting a career-high 14.5 sacks and 64 total tackles just two short seasons ago. His production has declined since, but he still landed five sacks in 2016 -- only one less than Cowboys' team leader Benson Mayowa.
Barwin is not the ‘War Daddy’ that we all want, but he is a veteran contributor who can apply heat to the passer. Under the right circumstances his presence could be the difference maker for the Cowboys.