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Cowboys news: Dez Bryant speaks out pledging to silence his critics

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NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Dez mum on taking pay cut, vows to shut people up - Jeremy Bergman,
Many fans were hoping to see a smaller cap hit on the books for Dez Bryant in the form of a paycut, but based on his remarks, that isn't something he's thinking about.

"I haven't heard a word on that," Dez said about potentially negotiating a pay cut. "I'm just controlling the things I can control. I have yet to talk to my agent about anything."

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that Dallas might attempt to lower Bryant's cap number by offering a mini-extension, which would kill two birds with one stone: keep a fan favorite and career Cowboy in the building, and open up 2018 cap space, potentially for taggable Demarcus Lawrence, in the process. But there's been no progress on that front yet.

Dez Bryant Breaks Silence About Contract, Criticism & The Future - Dave Helman, Dallas Cowboys
As Dave Helman from the Mothership reports, Bryant would also own up to his disappointing 2017 performance.

Even more than that, though, was a litany of mental mistakes – such as wrong routes and dropped passes – which Bryant attributed to his own preoccupation with other issues.

“A lot of plays were left on that field because of me – me allowing my brain to be somewhere it shouldn’t be,” he said. “I should’ve been focused on football and just played football, and I promise that’s what I’m going to do from here on out – regardless of whatever situation that I’m in. This is my job, this is what I love to do, it’s all I want to do, it’s all I care about.”

Dez Bryant says critics 'can kiss my a—' , Author Weinstein, Sporting News
The passionate receiver spoke candidly about his disappointing season, contract rumors, and how he is focused on the upcoming season. He has a message for those not on the Dez Train.

"I let a lot of things get in the way that should have never got in the way. I'm ready to make my mark. I don't care what nobody is talking about, I couldn't care less. Everybody that ain't with Dez Bryant, they can kiss my ass."

Check out the latest quotes from Dez Bryant as he discusses his contract, his abilities and what to expect in 2018 - Tom Ryle, Blogging The Boys
Our own Tom Ryle gathers a bunch of reactions from Dez's contract discussion on 105.3 The Fan as there were no shortage of sound bytes from the Cowboys star receiver.

And for those who think Dez could be on his way out in Dallas, that doesn’t look very likely if Bryant has any say in the matter.

Offensive or defensive line a bigger priority? - Christian Blood, The Landry Hat
The Cowboys could use more help in the trenches, but which group is a bigger priority this offseason? Christian Blood pleads his case.

There’s no question that the Dallas Cowboys defensive line, at least as we know it right now, is a far greater priority this offseason. We’ll see very soon if there’s any significant free-agent impact upfront, but that’s not likely given the budget allotted to the Dallas Cowboys at this time. It’s not like free agency is even the best idea when it comes to building a championship football team in the first place.

The Dallas defense is closer than some realize to being a really good unit – it’s not bad right now. The 2018 NFL Draft in the back yard of America’s Team is where the tide has to turn and that must take place as soon as the Cowboys go on the clock.

Why the Cowboys should stay away from former Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson this offseason - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Any time a big name hits the free agent market, many Cowboys fans immediately take interest. Jon Machota discusses whether former Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson would make sense for Dallas as well as answering this question about free agency priorities:

Left guard, wide receiver or linebacker -- where should the Cowboys prioritize their free-agent dollars for potential new additions?

Jon Machota: It all depends on the price. Wherever they feel they can get the best investment on their dollar. If Anthony Hitchens is willing to take a somewhat team-friendly deal to stay, I'd focus most of my attention on keeping him. Of the group you listed, left guard would be next. I'd handle wide receiver between rounds 2 and 5 in the draft.

Why The Cowboys Shouldn't Draft a Guard in the First Round - Mauricio Rodriquez, Inside The Star
There have been some good debates going on regarding whether or not the Cowboys should take a guard at 19. A talent like Isaiah Wynn from Georgia may be a tempting option, but should the Cowboys push hard to go in a different direction in the first round?

A guard at 19 makes sense. It's safe. But I'd rather see this team diversify. They did a great job at finding Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis to rebuild the secondary last year. Maybe they can find a DT or a LB who can help this defense go from "solid" to great.

Or maybe, if they're ready to make this a Dak-friendly offense, go get him a fresh wide receiver. Someone who can create separation and get this offense going.

Could the Cowboys be in play to trade up for FSU safety Derwin James? - Jon Machota, SportsDay
A few days ago, we discussed some possible trade-up options for Dallas and whether or not it would make sense. Jon Machota throws out his three candidates and they all have one thing in common - defense.

Which top prospect would have to start falling on draft night to make you want to trade up from No. 19?

Jon Machota: The three that stand out most to me are all on defense: FSU safety Derwin James, UTSA DE Marcus Davenport and Georgia LB Roquan Smith. As I've said, I think this first round pick needs to address the defense. You want to make the offense more Dak-friendly? Take pressure off the offense by improving the defense. A top 10 defense and one of the league's best running attacks sounds like a recipe for a lot of wins.

But who knows, maybe if more quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers are selected early, the Cowboys may not have to move up to get a shot at a really good player.

10 draft prospects who have to be picked before Cowboys on the clock - K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire
There are always Day 1 surprises in the draft and the more "out of nowhere" picks that happen before the Cowboys are on the clock, the better. K.D. identifies 10 players that could be selected ahead of Dallas that would open up the door for the team to still have a great option available at 19.

Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame), Orlando Brown (Oklahoma)

This isn’t a standout year for the tackles and as such, there are many who think they may not fly off the board as usual. We tend to think that’s the early thought but things change the closer to the draft things get. Tackles are so key, and so expensive on their second contracts, the need to get them in the first round remains high. How high is the question mark.

Can these two work their way up team’s draft boards and push a needed prospect down to Dallas?

And it doesn’t just have to be before pick 19 for the Cowboys to capitalize on a run of players from these other positions.

Names to watch if Cowboys target a swing tackle and Zeke insurance on Days 2 and 3 of NFL draft - Dane Brugler, SportsDay
While trading up to grab one of the elite players has been discussed a lot, the Cowboys may want to use their draft capital to get back into the first round if they see one of their favorites sliding. Draft guru Dane Brugler explains.

Q: Can you think of any scenarios in which you'd like to see Dallas trade back INTO the first round? The Cowboys grab, say, Florida State S Derwin James at 19 and then come back in late to snag Michigan DT Maurice Hurst or Georgia OG Isaiah Wynn?

Brugler: If a player the Cowboys covet (and even consider at No. 19) is still available in the final few picks of the first round, they should absolutely consider it. They would have to trade their second- and third-round picks and basically sit out Day 2 of the draft this year, but landing two first-round players is never a bad plan. It should be considered if the "right" player falls.

The last time they saw one of their favorites still lingering late in the first round, they worked out a trade and moved up early in Day 2 to get him. That player will become a very rich man real soon.

In case you missed it...

Four compensatory selections added for draft - Clarence Hill Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Cowboys got their four comp picks, but they didn't come away with two fourth-rounders like many of us were hoping. Clarence Hill provides a little insight as to why they received the picks they did.

The Cowboys’ haul is a direct result of the seven players they lost in free agency last year, including guard Ron Leary (Denver), safety Barry Church (Jacksonville), cornerbacks Morris Claiborne (New York Jets) and Brandon Carr (Baltimore), defensive tackle Terrell McClain (Washington), safety J.J. Wilcox (Tampa Bay) and defensive end Jack Crawford (Atlanta).

Per the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.

Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors.

Compensatory picks are positioned within the third through seventh rounds based on the value of the compensatory free agents lost.

A breakdown of each of the Cowboys four compensatory picks can be seen in this tweet from Michael Signora:

Cowboys Finalize Coaching Staff, Including 10 New Hires & Promotions - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
Since the beginning of the year, there have been a lot of changes within the Cowboys coaching staff. The team has moved on from some of their coaches, and some of their coaches have moved on from them. Regardless of the situation, the remodeling of the Cowboys coaching staff is now complete.

Garrett has been making alterations to the staff since the first week of January. Longtime quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson and secondary coach Joe Baker were not retained. Neither was offensive line coach Frank Pollack, who essentially swapped places with Alexander by taking the same position in Cincinnati.

Wide receivers coach Derek Dooley went back to the college ranks to become offensive coordinator at the University of Missouri. Tight ends coach Steve Loney informed the team he planned to retire.

And Matt Eberflus, the linebackers coach/defensive passing game coordinator, took a promotion in Indianapolis as the Colts’ new defensive coordinator. Richard, who oversaw the Seattle Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” secondary that reached two Super Bowls, takes over Eberflus’ defensive passing game duties and replaces Baker in charge of the defensive backs.

Get used to these new faces...

Brandon George gives us the coaching staff rundown...

Why Kellen Moore is perfect QB coach for Cowboys’ Dak Prescott – Dan Orlovsky, The Athletic
Former Lions quarterback and now contributor for The Athletic, Dan Orlovsky lends a hand in understanding why the Cowboys are so interested in Kellen Moore as their new QB coach.

Moore does not waste time or effort in anything he does

One of the key trademarks of really good NFL quarterback play is being able to navigate the chaos of the pocket and defenses without wasting time or effort.

In meetings, we would go over drills, and Moore would be infatuated with the ones based upon efficiency and routine. He wanted to know all the details of the drill and why, then add his opinion on how to make it better. He was able to see the drill's impact on a QB instantly. Moore saw it as part of a puzzle, and every piece has its place.

Prescott will never do a drill “just because” under Moore. Every drill he does will have a specific goal. There will be no wasted time or effort. It's not who Kellen Moore is.

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