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Cowboys news: Jason Garrett and Stephen Jones talk Dez, Zeke, free agency, and more

Not a lot of hard facts, but tons of things to make you pay attention.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys
The head coach was not about to contradict the executive VP on Dez.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys' recent comments show releasing Dez Bryant is a real possibility | Jon Machota, SportsDay

The Dez Bryant situation is not becoming any more encouraging.

But judging by comments coming from the organization during this week's scouting combine, it appears parting ways with the three-time Pro Bowler is a real possibility.

When given an opportunity Wednesday to say he'd like Bryant to remain on the roster in 2018, head coach Jason Garrett danced around the question.

"You know we haven't had any specific personnel meetings about any of our players," Garrett said during a news conference inside the Indiana Convention Center. "We had a wrap up meeting at the end of the season, almost reviewing what happened last year and we'll have some more meetings starting this week and then once we get back to Dallas about the specific roles for each of our players going forward."

Dallas Cowboys: Jason Garrett describes the coaching education of new Cowboys QB coach Kellen Moore | Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay
Head coach Jason Garrett found time to talk a bit about how Kellen Moore is making the transition from player to coach.

"Oftentimes when you're a player, you sit in a room and you have kind of all the answers in your head," Garrett said. "'Ah, I'll do it this way, I can't believe he said that, da, da, da, da' ... Then when you flip it around and you have to run the meeting, you've got to run the practice and you've got to put it all together and come up with the plan and have all the answers to all the questions, it's different. It's different. I think Kellen understands that. He's diving in, he's trying to get an A-to-Z understanding of everything we're doing. He's embraced it fully and he's making a lot of strides in a short period of time."

Dallas Cowboys won't have special off-field rules for running back Ezekiel Elliott - Todd Archer, ESPN
Despite all the turmoil resulting from the Ezekiel Elliott suspension and the preceding court fights, the Cowboys will now have any "Zeke rules", per team executive VP Stephen Jones.

"You can only do so much," Jones said. "These are grown men. I have a lot of confidence that Zeke has learned a lot. Hopefully he has. Because if he has and he changes his behavior and he's able to stay on the field, we all know he can be one of the greatest to ever play the game, if he takes care of himself and takes care of his business off the field. I think Zeke wants that. He's a competitor. I think he wants to be one of the best. He certainly knows that he's got to take care of business, too.”

Dallas Cowboys' free-agent philosophy: keeping own is priority - Dallas Cowboys Blog - Todd Archer, ESPN
For all those hoping the Cowboys will make a bigger splash in free agency this year, despite what recent history teaches us, Stephen Jones had some discouraging words.

“Obviously, we’d like to have unlimited funds to improve our football team, but it’s very difficult when you want to sign guys like DeMarcus Lawrence and Zack Martin and Anthony Hitchens and other guys like Dak Prescott and [Ezekiel Elliott] -- and those guys are coming,” the Cowboys’ executive vice president said. “We certainly want to have those guys, as well, so it makes it very difficult.”

The Cowboys’ philosophy is to draft well, take care of their own when it comes to a second contract and fill in any holes in free agency.

“A lot of times people play free agency because they don't like their own guys and we like our guys,” Jones said. “For the most part, the guys that we've paid have worked out well.”

Cowboys Not Ruling Anything Out In Search Of A Starting Left Guard | David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
There is a pretty good debate going on about whether an offensive guard would be a good investment of the Cowboy's first round pick. Stephen Jones takes a favorable view of it, if the right player is available.

That might not rule out the draft, though. This franchise has invested three of its last seven first-round picks in offensive linemen. Asked about it Tuesday, Jones said he’s not unwilling to make it four out of eight in the right circumstance.

“I wouldn't rule it out, if there's a great one there,” he said. “If Zack Martin is sitting there again then you better take a look. You might be getting a Hall of Famer. Obviously to have that many first rounders in your offensive line, although La’el wasn’t a first rounder, he could’ve been. We don’t rule out anything.”

Byron Jones returning home to corner, per Cowboys’ Stephen Jones | Zeke Barrera, Cowboys Wire
Although nothing is exactly set in stone, it looks like Byron Jones will be a full time corner this season.

In a recent interview from the scouting combine, Stephen Jones referred to figuring out Byron Jones’ position as a “work in progress”, but acknowledged cornerback might be his best spot. He also referenced new secondary coach Kris Richards’ preference for bigger corners, a trait Jones possesses as opposed to the other talented, young cornerbacks the Cowboys recently added to their roster.

Why Adding Four Compensatory Picks Is “Big Deal” For Cowboys’ Draft Plans | Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
Now that draft season is really here with the start of the Greatest Show in Shorts, or the NFL Combine, the fact that Dallas has ten picks including four compensatory ones (at the moment) seems important.

“I love it that we got four picks because we’ve done a good job with our draft picks,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said from the NFL Scouting Combine. “They’re not only picks, they’re good picks, and we should be able to optimize that and put some real depth on this football team.

“Obviously in those first three or four rounds, you’re expecting to find starters as well. To have 10 draft picks is a big deal.”

With Orlando Scandrick on way out, what happens to Cowboys’ secondary? | A.J. Mada, Cowboys Wire
Among the things Stephen Jones talked about in Indianapolis is that the team is looking to part ways with CB Orlando Scandrick, made possible by the performance of the secondary players drafted in 2017.

Scandrick, who the Cowboys were rumored to have try to trade before the draft last year, has two years left on his deal and is set to count $5.3 million against the cap in 2018. With the Cowboys drafting four players in the secondary in 2017, and with Scandrick’s injury problems in 2017, Dallas seems to be ready to move on and complete a transformation.

Cowboys Mock Draft: Earl Thomas trade, plus move back in 5-round haul | K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire
This is an interesting (and highly speculative) mock, but the first couple of paragraphs are the best part of the article.

Earl Thomas is on the market, and despite being in the final year of his contract with the Seattle Seahawks, isn’t going to be as cheap as some think. It’s hard to imagine a player some regard as the best centerfielder in the game being available for cheap. If Dallas wants to reunite the Texas native with Kris Richard, it will have to pony up.

As a sidenote, one thing that is barely discussed in Dallas is what if Richard is part of the reason Thomas proclaimed his desire for the Cowboys to come and get him as soon as possible? As fans, it’s often easy to overlook things like that, but there was clearly something in Seattle which Thomas didn’t like. It could have been one of a myriad of things, and that includes the former defensive coordinator.

Date set for Jerry Jones hearing in battle over NFL legal fees - Patrik Walker, 247 Sports
The hearing on whether Jerry Jones and the Cowboys should pay $2 million in legal costs to the NFL over the legal circuses last year is set for Monday, March 5. While we have no doubts that it will be a fair an impartial hearing, since the NFL has such a sterling track record in these matters (sarcasm ended), it does seem logical to question the grounds for such a reimbursement.

The NFL doesn't truly have a leg to stand on in justifying such a massive repayment, considering their main opponent in the fight against Elliott wasn't the Cowboys -- despite the team assisting with some brief filings -- but rather the NFLPA itself, who is well within their rights to appeal any punishment handed down on a player. That said, the league would've had the same battle on their hands with Elliott had the Cowboys never raised a finger, so now requiring Jones to repay any portion of their legal fees for that war is disingenuous.

They may be able to land some type of award for the stalling of Goodell's contract extension, but that most certainly won't amount to $2 million and Jones being Jones, he'll argue he had the right to challenge the new deal as one of the commissioner's 32 employers.

The Opening Finals is moving from Oregon to Dallas in 2018 | William Wilkerson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Meanwhile, as the NFL is trying to extract a pound of flesh from Jerry Jones, he just goes on making the Cowboys the center of the football universe.

The nation's premiere football recruiting event will take place in Frisco this summer.

That's right, The Opening Finals are headed to The Star, according to the event's Twitter account. They have previously been held at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.

The Star is a 91-acre campus that hosts the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters.

After Cutting Papa John’s NFL Announces Pizza Hut Partnership « CBS Dallas / Fort Worth staff
More evidence that the decline of the NFL may not be as real as some would have us believe.

One day after it was announced that the partnership between the National Football League and Papa John’s was ending, North Texas-based Pizza Hut announced that they are now the new official pizza sponsor of the NFL.

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