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Cowboys News & Notes: Tony Romo To Denver Rumor, Doug Free Might Retire, Jaylon Smith Will Play Regardless

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There were three big stories breaking for Dallas on day one of the NFL Combine. We break them down and catch you up on the rest of the headlines.

Hmmm. Wonder what they could possibly have to talk about?
Hmmm. Wonder what they could possibly have to talk about?
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

We normally try to pull in coverage of the Cowboys from other sources for our news links posts, but quite frankly, the best coverage of the three big stories from yesterday was done right here. So there.

Cowboys Free Agency Rumor: Broncos Allegedly "In Driver's Seat" For Tony Romo - OCC, Blogging The Boys

Until things settle, any mention of Tony Romo and his eventual landing spot is going to generate huge interest. Our One Cool Customer dissects the latest rumors as related by Ian Rapoport, and while he delivers his usual outstanding reportage, this is a must-read article just for the extra helping of sauce.

There is no polite way of saying this, but Rapoport obviously doesn't have the faintest idea how the salary cap works and what the Cowboys' cap looks like, because the Cowboys can withstand the cap hit of releasing Romo with ease. Rapoport goes on to say that Romo will have to take a pay cut to join the Broncos - all of which makes me wonder whether Rapoport is pushing Denver's agenda here.

Remember, among the chief sources of information prior to free agency: NFL general managers, who are lying, and agents, who are lying even more.

Broncos aren’t in the market for a new quarterback, according to Vance Joseph - Adam Stites, SBNation.com

While national media types are hyping Denver as a landing spot Tony Romo, their head coach Vance Joseph is still supporting Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. (However, please refer back to the second paragraph of the previous quote.)

"We've got two young guys that played last year and won nine games last year combined, and probably should have won more," Joseph said. "So moving forward, we're satisfied there with those two kids."

Broncos Will Intently Pursue Romo - Charlie Campbell, WalterFootball.com
And to close our trifecta of Romo-to-Denver stories, this third one has a different message yet again.

Sources say that new Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph has looked at the two young quarterbacks on the Broncos roster and has decided the team needs a veteran signal caller for the immediate future. As a result, sources say Denver plans on pursuing Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo intently.

Joseph wants to win now and Romo could buy them more time to develop 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch. Team sources say Broncos general manager John Elway is not pushing Lynch on Joseph, and is agreeable to making a run at Romo.

With the Texans also planning on being in pursuit of Romo it looks like Houston and Denver will be chasing the same quarterback in free agency for the second straight year.

2017 NFL Combine: 9 questions that need to be answered in Indianapolis - Dan Kadar, SBNation.com

It's all about the draft prospects.

Until it's not.

Will movement on veteran quarterbacks take over?

While all the public eyes will be on 40 times and measurements, the real action at the combine will take place at night between teams and agents. Before a team can commit to Kizer, Mahomes, Trubisky or Watson, what happens with players like Jay Cutler, Jimmy Garoppolo, Mike Glennon, Tony Romo and Tyrod Taylor? The future of those veterans could be decided in Indianapolis, and alter the outlook of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Cowboys Rumors: Jaylon Smith May Play This Season With Brace For Drop Foot - Tom Ryle, Blogging The Boys

Ian Rapoport was at the center of two Cowboys-centered stories yesterday. In addition to the Romo-to-Denver rumors, he was throwing cold water on all our hopes with tweets to the effect that Jaylon Smith was going to have to play with a brace because that nerve hasn't regenerated. Which really isn't as big a development as it seems on first glance.

The problem appears to be that Smith is still not fully recovered, and there is still no way to know when or if he ever will be. He could be 100% ready by the OTAs, by the start of training camp, by sometime during the regular season - or never. That has always been the case. There are still months to go before he would have to go into an NFL game with the brace. The simple fact is that we don't know how this will turn out.

Cowboys Free Agency Rumor: Right Tackle Doug Free "Considering" Retirement - OCC, Blogging The Boys

It was a trifecta of hot topics for the Cowboys on Wednesday. The third was the possibility that wily veteran right tackle Doug Free may elect to retire rather than face another year of trying to get his (in football terms) aging body through NFL games. It would create some new questions for the vaunted offensive line.

At the same time, "considering" retirement does not mean Free will retire, merely that it is one option he is currently mulling.

Free just turned 33, and many players above 30 routinely take some time after the season concludes to ponder their future.

This may not be as likely as reports had it, however.

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones explains team's 'No. 1 priority' this offseason - and it's not the pass rush - John Machota, SportsDay

Everybody knows that pass rush is the number one, top, absolute priority for the Cowboys this offseason, right? Well, not Stephen Jones. At the top of his to-do list: Re-sign All Pro guard Zack Martin.

"I've made it clear our No. 1 priority is Zack, to get him re-signed at some point," executive vice president Stephen Jones said Tuesday at the combine. "When you've got that much money in the offensive line and you have Dez and you have Zeke who obviously was a top-five pick, those guys don't come cheap."

Dallas Cowboys won't change salary-cap approach, despite naysayers - Todd Archer, ESPN

Unless you understand that the Cowboys put their emphasis in free agency to re-signing their own, you are likely to chafe once again under Dallas' lack of activity in the market. But as Stephen Jones explains, the team has a plan and is committed to it.

"We've got a good feel for what we're doing in terms of when you push money out. At some point, you've got to pay for those guys. Certainly, Tony, for example, it's a situation where, at some point we'll have to get that contract whole under the salary cap. But once it's cleared, you gain a lot of room back. It's just a philosophy we have. It's not necessarily for everybody, but we certainly think we can have success with it, especially when you start to get your hands on a team like this, that allows you to give it a chance to win a championship over the next two, three, four years here."

Cowboys want Dak Prescott for '12-15 years', but could draft QB - Patrik Walker, 247sports

This is not here so much for the news value, but just because I really enjoyed Patrik Walker's prose here.

Dak Prescott is really, really good at playing football.

Captain Obvious-level proclamations aside, the fourth round compensatory pick out of Mississippi State has become the platinum standard for what rookie quarterbacks are expected to become in the NFL -- so much so, it's now become fashionable to comp every prospect in the country to him ahead of this year's NFL Draft.

And that's with complete and blatant disregard for logic, at times.

The Dallas Cowboys know what they have in Prescott and they want him around as long as he's physically able, with executive Stephen Jones hoping to keep him in town for the next "12 to 15 years". And now that the team knows who their new franchise QB is, they'll need to again address the recurring issue behind that post.

Cowboys veteran TE coach Mike Pope retires, Steve Loney takes spot - Clarence Hill, The Star-Telegram

I just hope Coach Pope left Loney with a handbook on how to conduct those endlessly entertaining drills - including a bunch we haven't seen yet. Those were such a highlight in camp. Enjoy retirement, Coach.

In a move that was long expected, Dallas Cowboys veteran tight end coach Mike Pope has retired and will be placed by senior offensive assistant Steve Loney.

Pope, who turns 75 this month, has been with the Cowboys the past three years, but he has coached in the NFL for the past 34 years. He was with the New York Giants for 14 seasons before joining the Cowboys.

NFL salary cap for 2017 season set at $167 million - NFL.com Staff

No more guessing or estimating. The salary cap now has been announced at $167 million.

The figure represents a more than $12 million raise over last year's cap figure on $155.27 million. Since 2012, the cap has been increased by about $47 million. It marks the fourth straight year the cap has gone up by more than $10 million over the previous year.

The team with the most cap space: The Cleveland Browns at over $102 million. And dead last, your Dallas Cowboys with $3.3 million. Of course, they will be doing some money shuffling to get that number up in the near future.

Follow me @TomRyleBTB