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Cowboys news: Why Cowboys would be ‘stupid, stupid’ to let Dez Bryant go

Latest Cowboys headlines: Michael Irvin weighs in on Dez Bryant; Dak Prescott is still popular; Senior Bowl winners.

Cowboys Photo by Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images

Michael Irvin: The Cowboys 'would be stupid' to get rid of Dez Bryant right now - Sean Wagner, CBSSports.com
Irvin doesn't hold back with his thoughts on Dez Bryant.

In December, Bryant said he wouldn't be willing to take a paycut. At the beginning of January, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that they "need more from Dez." Last week, Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones admitted that Bryant can be a "distraction" at times.

But on Monday, former Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin stuck up for Bryant. He told "The Dan Patrick Show" that it would be "stupid" if the Cowboys let him go right now. He actually used the word "stupid" twice.

"You don't find No. 1 receivers hanging off trees like leaves. So what are you going to do, let Dez go? Who you got to replace him," Irvin asked. "You don't find them this easily. And the Cowboys would be stupid -- stupid -- to let this boy go right now."

Like it or not, Bryant is still the Cowboys' best receiving option in 2018.

The part of the Cowboys' offense that in more need of a fix than Dez Bryant's contract - J.J. Taylor SportsDay
In a recent chat, Taylor counseled that Dallas may still be the best spot for Bryant regardless of the financial considerations.

Should the goal be to replace Dez as the No. 1 receiver, or buy/draft some better receivers to go around him?

JJT: The goal should never change. Every year, it's the same: Put the best possible team together. That sounds easy, but there's a reason why the best coaches have a ruthless aspect to them. It's always better to let a player go a year early instead of a year late. So, if Dez is one of your best receivers at a price you can stomach then by all means keep him. If he wants more than the Cowboys want to pay, then they have to be willing to part with him. We all know the Cowboys have to fix their broken passing game. Whatever they have to do to fix that must come first. I'm in no hurry to see Dez go, but the team must always come first.

With Stephen Jones comments about Dez Bryant, is Dez leaving a real possibility?

JJT: Dez will absolutely be gone if he wants more money than the Cowboys are willing to pay. He's a Texas native and he loves the Cowboys. His incentive is to remain in Dallas, where he has strong sweat equity. In Dallas, folks cut him slack when he doesn't perform at the highest level, when he makes a key mistake. In another city, they're going to see the name on the back of the jersey and expect a Pro Bowl performance.

Michael Irvin Tosses Support Behind Dez Bryant - J.J. Taylor, NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Taylor points out Bryant's drop in production is a key determinant of what will happen this offseason.

That’s why the topic of slashing Bryant’s salary has been broached. Players who have big salaries must provide big numbers.

Bryant hasn’t - and it doesn’t matter whether you blame Bryant, quarterback Dak Prescott or the Cowboys’ offensive scheme.

“You’ve seen what Dez Bryant can do,” Irvin said. “You’ve seen him put up 16 touchdowns in a season. Now, he has a new quarterback who we have just given the “old man” tag. It’s like Dak has been around forever and it’s just his second year. Dez has to bring Dak along.

Tony Romo was something different. Tony knew how to handle a team’s personality. Sometimes, he would go off read just because he wanted Dez’s positivity energy. These are things a young Dak is going to learn.”

But it’s not going to happen before the Cowboys ask Bryant to take less money, which is why he might be playing elsewhere in 2018.


Scout’s Notebook: Standouts, Surprises In Breaking Down The Senior Bowl - Bryan Broaddus, DallasCowboys.com

The Broad one likes his game tape and uses the Senior Bowl as an opportunity to hit the film room. He liked what he saw from wide receiver D. J. Chark:

Outstanding day receiving by LSU receiver D.J. Chark after a week where he was up and down during practices. Chark was able to put everything together for five receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown. His touchdown was a 75-yard pass from Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta off play action, where Chark was able to rub Dubuque cornerback Michael Joseph off on UCF tight end Jordan Akins. It appeared that the play wasn’t designed for that to happen, but it worked out. Penn State safety Marcus Allen was sitting in the middle of the field and was late to react, which affected the angle he took to try and cut Chark off. Chark showed nice body control and balance along the sideline to outrun Allen into the end zone for the touchdown.

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo Proving Doubters Wrong At Senior Bowl - John Owning, Fanrag Sports Network

Owning looks at the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year ahead of the April draft.

It’s understandable why Oklahoma edge defender Ogbonnia Okoronkwo doesn’t lack confidence. The 2017 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and All-American has accumulated 164 tackles, 34.5 for loss and 21 sacks in his storied Sooners career.

Yet, despite all the accolades and production, many questioned Okoronkwo’s ability to hold up on the edge against the mammoth offensive tackles in the NFL because of his small stature. After arriving in Mobile, Alabama at the beginning of Senior Bowl week, Okoronkwo measured in at 6-foot-1 and 243 pounds with 34.5-inch arms.

When asked about the concerns about his size, Okoronkwo eloquently described why he thinks it’s actually an advantage, rather than a detriment, to his game:

“I think my size is an advantage for sure… I got the length of the 6-foot-5, 6-foot-6 guys, you know, as far as my arm length, but I don’t have to bend as low as them. I’m already low to the Earth. I feel like I got a great center of gravity. I got great bend. My speed off the edge is as good as it gets, you know. I just bring a lot to the table. Not only in pass rushing but I can drop from the line and I feel like I play the run just as well.”

A Will Hernandez NFL Draft Primer - And How He'd Fit With This O-Line, Will Hernandez, CowboysHQ

The offensive line looks to be a position of need for the Cowboys and perhaps no player helped their stock more at the Senior Bowl than guard Will Hernandez. Could he be a 2nd day target for the Cowboys?

Where could he be taken? According to CBSSports.com Hernandez is the No. 2 guard on the board, behind Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson (and Hernandez isn’t catching the potential Top 5 pick). CBSSports.com has a second-round value on Hernandez. ESPN sees it far differently, at least for now. Hernandez is the No. 179 player on their board and using the Scouts Inc. rating system he’s seen as a borderline draft prospect. It’s unclear if their rankings were updated after the Senior Bowl (I wrote this piece on the day after, so it will be interesting to see if Hernandez’s stock takes a boost in their eyes. NFLDraftScout.com has Hernandez at No. 34 overall and rising. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah does not have Hernandez among his Top 50 prospects at this time.


Dak Prescott Remains No. 1 on NFLPA Top 50 Player Sales List - NFLPA.com

Despite a less-than-stellar season Cowboys’ stars maintain tops spots among merchandise sales.

Last February, Dak Prescott debuted on the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) Top 50 Player Sales list at No. 8. One year later, the Dallas Cowboys QB has claimed the top spot for the second-straight quarter. The list is based on total sales of all officially licensed NFL player-identified merchandise, tracking year-to-date results from March 1-November 30, 2017 – the first list of the year that includes sales during the regular season.

Prescott’s continued climb up the Top 50 in the span of a calendar year puts him in rarified air among the game’s top sellers. He is the third quarterback to top the NFLPA’s quarterly Top 50 Player Sales List more than once, joining New England Patriots QB Tom Brady and Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. Prescott is also the third player to hold the top spot in back-to-back quarters, joining Wilson and Cowboys teammate, WR Dez Bryant.

Along with Prescott, teammate Ezekiel Elliott is among the top sellers. The Cowboys RB is No. 2 overall, a spot he has now held for three consecutive quarters. In fact, the Dallas duo has now occupied two of the top three spots on the last four lists.


DeMarcus Lawrence's agent: Whenever the Cowboys call, we're ready to talk - SportsDay
Some Cowboys’ fans have lobbied for the team to slap the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence due to his past injury problems and relative lack of production his first few years. That’s likely a final resort for the Cowboys.

Dallas is open to franchise tagging Lawrence, a move that would guarantee the 25-year-old about $17.5 million next season, but executive vice president Stephen Jones is still hoping to get something more substantial signed.

"To me, the only reason you use a franchise tag is to hopefully protect yourself if you can't get a long-term deal signed that you like," Jones said at the Senior Bowl. "That's normally the route we like to go. Certainly we're going to roll up our sleeves and see if we can do something with DeMarcus without having a franchise tag."

Lawrence's agent, David Canter, told ESPN that he expects things will pick up in a few weeks and plans on meeting with the Cowboys at the NFL combine

How Much is Demarcus Lawrence Worth? - D.White, Blogging The Boys
Another terrific BTB FanPost contribution; here D.White postulates a potential DeMarcus Lawrence contract. He outlines a 5-year deal with a total value of $76M, $15.2M AAV, $17M signing bonus and $35M guaranteed.

This isn’t what I want to see happen. Nor is it what I believe will happen. I’m all for the cheaper, the better. The proper phrase there would be "team friendly". The proposed contract above would represent a deal that leans more towards "player-friendly". However, the point of this post is to see how a deal of that magnitude would impact the salary cap during the lifespan of the contract. It is also something to considered when debating on whether or not Dallas should place the franchise tag on Demarcus Lawrence or sign him to an extension.


Cowboys 2018 offseason priorities by position group: Offensive center - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys
Our fearless leader continues his look at position group priorities heading into the off-season.

Offseason Priority - Low

The center position is obviously not a position of high priority for the Cowboys. Since there is only one center on the field, and he plays the whole game, you are essentially worried about a backup as long as you have a stud like Frederick. But the Cowboys do need to figure this out. They could decide to go with a high draft pick at the guard position to replace Jonathan Cooper, and perhaps have that player also be the backup center. They could look at free agency to accomplish the same trick, or they could just re-sign Looney and continue having him be the primary backup at guard and center.

How the Cowboys play the left guard position could end up affecting how they deal with backup center.