Roger Goodell Expected to Demand Millions of Dollars From Jerry Jones - Ken Belson, The New York Times
When the New York Times is writing about your football team it's almost never good news. And so it's true in this case as the NYTimes' outlines a potential multi-million dollar penalty against Jerry Jones for "actions detrimental to the league".
With the support of many N.F.L. owners, Commissioner Roger Goodell is prepared to escalate his public feud with Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys and long one of the most influential people in the league, by ordering him to pay millions of dollars for his efforts to derail negotiations to renew Goodell’s contract and for his outspoken defense of a star player who was suspended, according to five league officials with direct knowledge of the situation.
The punishment will be issued in the coming weeks by Goodell, who will declare that Jones’s actions were detrimental to the league, which rarely shows such acute signs of acrimony among owners and the commissioner’s office. Goodell has been reluctant to be seen as exacting retribution for the way Jones tried to sabotage his contract talks, but he was urged to bring the penalties by several owners who believed that Jones had crossed an unspoken boundary by threatening his colleagues.
The NFL is stupid if it asks Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to repay millions of dollars - Matt Mosley, SportsDay
SportsDay's Matt Mosley takes the league to task for any potential penalties against Jones. Mosley has been a frequent critic of Jones so this is somewhat surprising.
I'm normally more comfortable saying Jerry's lost his mind, but on this particular topic, the NFL has embraced stupidity. The powerful members of the compensation committee led by Falcons owner Arthur Blank have already won the public battle against Jones, and the Cowboys owner eventually backed down from filing a lawsuit against the committee. The report suggests that Goodell is reluctant to follow through with the fine because he knows it will look like personal retribution, but those mean ol' billionaires are apparently forcing him to act anyway. If he had a backbone, Goodell would use the security of his recent contract extension and convince the other owners to stand down.
Figuring Out Dez Bryant – And Where His Situation Is Headed – Bob Sturm, The Athletic
The status of Dez Bryant has been discussed by many and today Bob Sturm does his usual deep-dive and has a number of interesting thoughts.
Is that enough to say goodbye? Again, I don't believe that at all. Dez Bryant affects coverage. He keeps secondaries on notice. He makes safeties nervous. Yes, this will continue to diminish as defenses lose their fear of him as his skills diminish, but I saw enough rolling coverage in 2017 to conclude that he still is the biggest weapon for Prescott and he still causes defenses stress, which, in turn, makes the running game's job easier due to higher safeties.
I do think that he needs a much shorter emotional leash. He clearly has a difficult time regulating his emotions and he has to realize that this is not helpful to a young QB on any level, let alone the teammates that find it annoying in the huddle as his agenda is always going to be less important than the team agenda if it ever differs at all.
Dez Bryant has matured and come a long way in his development. But, he now has to face his evolution as a player and team leader or his career could be in peril soon. Many wish for him to play inside more and evolve like Anquan Boldin or Larry Fitzgerald have, but after watching his business decisions in December, I wonder if bringing him into the tight spaces where route precision is vital and the collisions are more brutal makes any sense at all.
Why don't the Dallas Cowboys make more trades? - Steven Mullenax, The Landry Hat
The Cowboys have been accused of a a tepid approach to making trades the last few years. But is that really true? Have the Cowboys not made many trades, or have the trades they've made just not yielded much in return?
Personally, I’d love for the Dallas Cowboys to take more risks and trade for more big name players. Every time another team pulls off what appears to be a one-sided trade, I always ask myself: Did the Cowboys even consider making that move? But at the end of the day, Dallas just isn’t that interested in making those kinds of blockbuster trades anymore unless they are gift-wrapped and left at their door step. And based on their track record, It’s hard to blame them.
Examining Cowboys potential NFL Draft decisions – John Owning, FanRag Sports
Owning goes through the first three rounds and plays virtual GM for the Cowboys. He sees the 19th selection as a choice between nose tackle Vita Vea and offensive guard Isaiah Wynn.
Both players have the ability to immediately step in and make a noticeable impact for the Cowboys. Wynn would likely slide into the currently vacant left guard position, while Vea would be positioned as the starting nose tackle. Both positions desperately need an upgrade and have quality depth, so it would still be possible to find a potential starter at either position later in the draft.
Ultimately this comes down to preference — and there’s no real wrong answer — but a nose tackle is currently positioned to make a greater impact than a comparatively talented left guard. Selecting Vea would immediately improve Dallas’s porous run defense and make life easier on Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith.
Verdict: Vita Vea
Quarterback Confidence Index rating for all 32 teams depth chart - Dan Graziano, ESPN
The long-time ESPN contributor breaks down the quarterback situation for each NFL team. Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing as it's worth the time. Here's his thoughts on the Cowboys.
You know, when we were doing this last offseason, the thing for which I took the most heat was the ranking of the Cowboys. (Most people thought it was too low.) The point was that Prescott had played only one year, as brilliant as it might have been, and confidence requires more proof. This time around, I wonder if people will say this is too high, as Prescott's second season didn't live up to his first. The way I look at it, if 3,324 yards, 22 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a 62.9 completion percentage at age 24 is a down season, count me in. Assuming a full 2018 season from Ezekiel Elliott, there's no reason for the Cowboys not to go forward with confidence in what they have at quarterback.
Mike Mayock NFL combine preview: Top prospects in draft - Peter King, SI.com
The NFL Combine is fast approaching (Friday, 9 A.M. Eastern for those interested) and King talks with professional draftnik Mike Mayock for his thoughts on what to look for at the most over-scrutinized agility test on the planet.
Receiver is a thin position this year, and recent classes have been terrible in the first round. Prompted by Mayock, let’s look at the receivers in the first round of last three drafts:
• 2015: Amari Cooper, Kevin White, DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor, Breshad Perriman, Phillip Dorsett.
• 2016: Corey Coleman, Will Fuller IV, Josh Doctson, Laquon Treadwell.
• 2017: Corey Davis, Mike Williams, John Ross.
Wow. Is that awful. One of 13 has played like a first-rounder. Amari Cooper. One!
“I think there is some trends emerging,” Mayock said. “It’s a pass-first league. Who were the best rookie wide receivers last year? JuJu Smith-Schuster and Cooper Kupp, taken at 62 and 69 [overall, respectively]. If you look back since '14, at all the first-round receivers, there is a history of injury problems—guys who can’t answer the bell and most of them had that history in college that we didn’t pay attention to. All three of the ones last year—Corey Davis, Mike Williams and John Ross—had durability concerns coming into last year’s draft. And I’m not saying they can’t become great players, because it typically takes a couple years at that position. I’m just saying, hey, beware of a history of injury at that position. Take a look at drafthistory.com and go back and look at those four or five draft classes.
NFL Draft 2018: Lamar Jackson as WR, other bad takes from scouts, analysts - Jeanna Thomas, SBNation.com
Perhaps no other event elicits more misguided hot takes than the NFL draft and this is year is no different. Looking for the worst? Thomas has you covered, doing the yeoman's work to narrow it down to the five worst.
It doesn’t matter which draft analysts try to tell you otherwise. The idea that Lamar Jackson should convert to wide receiver is far and away the worst take so far about the 2018 NFL Draft. But it’s far from the only bad one floating around.
It happens every year. Draft analysts — or, especially, Jon Gruden (he really liked Brandon Weeden. BRANDON. WEEDEN.) — throw out some predictions that are infuriatingly terrible. Then people throw it in their face year after year because the internet never forgets.
Everybody makes mistakes, and Gruden’s not alone. But now that it’s almost time for the NFL Combine, the hot takes from analysts and anonymous scouts will abound.