The Giants’ answer to the Cowboys’ offensive line has been to sign Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison and Pierre-Paul to massive contracts. They could keep Jonathan Hankins as well, although at a price the team wants to pay, which is maybe not as much as Hankins wants.
The Giants have committed $34.76 million in 2017 cap space to Pierre-Paul ($7.25 million), Harrison ($10 million), Vernon ($16 million) and Jay Bromley ($910,000), who projects to be the starter if Hankins remains unsigned.
The Cowboys have committed $17.162 million to their projected starting offensive line of Tyron Smith ($8.820 million), La’el Collins ($662,000), Travis Frederick ($4.531 million), Zack Martin ($2.853 million) and Chaz Green ($786,000). If Jonathan Cooper starts, with Collins moving to right tackle, take out Green and add Cooper’s $1.656 million cap figure.
While that does not look like an even match, remember that the Cowboys restructured the contracts of Smith and Frederick to create $17 million in cap room. Smith had a cap figure of $15.8 million, while Frederick’s cap figure was $14.871 million. That brings the Cowboys’ total to nearly $35 million in cap figures spent on the offensive line.
Bryan Broaddus seems to take the view that Michael Sisemore of BtB took a couple days ago, among other thoughts in this interview.
We talk about how many corners are in this draft, heck all you had to do was watch the third day of the combine and you're watching all these corners move around and saying heck, this guy can play and this guy can play. There's no mystery to this. You might actually be getting better players in this draft than the ones walking out the door and you're a 13-3 team. So to walk to the edge of the ledge and think about jumping? Turn back around and go do some more work on the college players.
Eatman also appears on board with that view.
I really don’t think the Cowboys’ secondary is in terrible shape right now, especially at cornerback. In fact, if you just show some patience, the Cowboys might end up with a better cornerback spot than they had last year.
At safety, that might be a different story but neither is in awful shape, especially here in March.
Mosley isn't quite convinced the Cowboys will be better off in the secondary.
Can the Cowboys draft better players than those they lost in free agency?
Mosley: That's a pretty tall order. You might find a Barry Church-level player in the first round, but then you don't have your pass-rusher. I think it's hard to assume you are going to land three or four walk-in starters in the draft. You'll be very fortunate to land two starters in those first couple rounds. And we know how much the Cowboys love taking projects in the second round. Jerry can't help himself. I think Jaylon Smith's progress or lack thereof is going to have a large impact.
George takes a similar view.
The Cowboys can justify the losses of the defensive backs by acknowledging that they were a part of an underachieving secondary, but they also know it won't be easy to replace four players who have combined to start 224 games in Dallas.
Furthermore, it adds more pressure on the Cowboys to draft well next month.
The Cowboys really need to come out of the draft with a cornerback and pass rusher who can be major contributors in 2017.
Yes, this year's draft is deep in defense. But the Cowboys select 28th overall and have only seven draft picks to work with, none in the fifth round.
The title says "cornerback" but quote from Broaddus below is about the hole in the offensive line.
"Do they have the guy? Do you really trust Chaz Green? That's the biggest issue right there," Broaddus said. "The times he has played in regular-season games, which has only been a couple, he's looked OK. And that's when you thought he would be your guy. We'll see real quickly what their plan is here, if they do believe that Chaz Green will be the guy. Because if they get to 28 and one of those tackles are on the board and they pass and go another direction, then you'll know exactly what they feel about Chaz Green."
A little Bob Sturm on the draft.
Barry Horn: Kevin Sherrington would say they have to take the best player available when their pick comes up. If it's a wide receiver, take a wide receiver. If it's a tight end, take a tight end. They can't do that anymore can they?
Bob Sturm: I generally subscribe to that idea, but I also would suggest to you in at the top, where the finest of steak is still available in the first round, you've got to make it fit to what you're building. And for that reason I think the Cowboys are pretty fortunate that this is the type of year where their two biggest needs, cornerback and edge rusher, are the two most plentiful positions in this draft. I think 1-100 you will find the majority of the top 100 prospects the two positions that are most heavily populated are in fact defensive backs and edge rushers. So that's great news. Now you just gotta find the right one.
Do you consider Josh McCown signing with the Jet's to be a loss? Me neither.
But the biggest side effect to keeping Romo was seeing Josh McCown sign a contract the New York Jets. The Cowboys were never going to guarantee McCown $6 million as the Jets did, but Dallas could have had him for a lot less.
An overview of the Romo situation, suggesting it will be weeks at least before any resolution.
To the best that can be ascertained, there is no imminent deadline or other timing factor that would force a decision anytime soon. Romo could get impatient or the Cowboys might simply give up on pulling off a trade. Absent that turn of events, the issue could remain in stasis for several more weeks. The Broncos can't start their offseason program until April 3 at the earliest. The Texans' earliest start date is April 17.
We offered up a different take yesterday on Blogging the Boys, and it generated a lively discussion.
Just think about how this could change the dynamic. If Tony Romo agreed to this cut, the Cowboys would then have every incentive to keep Tony Romo for 2017 as a mentor to Dak, and in case Dak were to get hurt.
To pry Romo away from the Cowboys at that point would take some real draft and/or player capital.
Not only would Romo be more valuable to the Cowboys, he would be more valuable to any acquiring team because they would not be on the hook for his $14 million deal in a trade. Instead, they would only be on the hook for the contract they would have been hoping to sign him for as a free agent - a low-salary, high-incentive deal to protect themselves against any potential future injury to Romo.
In this scenario, the threat of Dallas keeping Romo would no longer be a bluff. The Cowboys could tell any suitor - "pony up, or we’re keeping him."
What do you think Houston might do at that point when they are looking at Tom Savage (who couldn’t stay healthy), Brandon Weeden, maybe Jay Cutler (who might cost more in salary), and/or a drafted rookie quarterback to lead them next season? Think their tune might change?
But of course, this hinges on a very big caveat —
Why would Tony Romo consider such a deal?
Four writers, four different answers to the question. Rob Phillips offered this answer:
Terrance Williams’ return was a bit of a surprise, at least to me. I thought his market value might be too much for the Cowboys’ limited cap space, but he’s back for a reported $17 million over four years – and that’s good news for Dak Prescott. As explosive and efficient as this offense was last season, let’s remember that Prescott is still a young quarterback in this league who needs help around him. Williams is a capable receiver opposite Dez Bryant and an underrated blocker in the run game. The other thing his return does is eliminate wide receiver as perhaps an early-round necessity with defense – particularly pass rush and secondary help – obvious needs given the free-agent departures of so many players on that side of the ball.
It's time for official visits to begin. Dallas usually drafts players who they've had some in, so let the guessing begin. But this first one comes with an injury issue.
Takkarist McKinley was the very first 2017 prospect profiled here at BTB back in January. At 6-2, 250 pounds he is a bit undersized for a defensive end but he has great speed (4.59 40 time at the Combine) and excellent length (34+ inch arms). He looks like your prototypical weak-side "LEO" defensive end and most projected him to be a top 20-25 pick until news came down recently that he had a torn labrum which required surgery. The prognosis is that he will be able to return in four to six months.
That means the best case scenario is McKinley would miss the entire offseason program and return just in time for training camp, while the worst case scenario has him missing all of training camp and the preseason, and perhaps returning just in time for the regular season.