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Cowboys news: Free agency is (officially) underway

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While there has been no actual action by Dallas (outside dealing with their own), the rumor mill has been going full tilt.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys
It’s a second round tender for David Irving.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The sham of no negotiating and the legal “tampering” period have ended, and free agent contracts (and trades) can now be completed. Yesterday was the first day of the new NFL year, and while no big deals have been done by the Cowboys (excepting the DeMarcus Lawrence tag), there is a lot of other news concerning Dallas to sort through.

Cowboys place second-round tender on David Irving - Todd Archer. Dallas Cowboys Blog- ESPN
One decision was made on Wednesday.

The Cowboys placed the second-rounder tender on the defensive lineman, which will pay him $2.9 million in 2018. The Cowboys would have the right to match any offer made between now and April 20 when the restricted free-agent signing period ends.

The Cowboys considered putting the first-round tender on Irving, which would have cost $4.149 million and probably prevented a team from making a serious run at Irving.

The team now has options if Irving is offered by another team, and the feeling is that they will only go so far in matching, taking the second round pick and cap space his departure would now bring.

Suh To The Cowboys? Depends On The Price | Josh Clark, 105.3 The Fan
Free agency buzz briefly hit a fever pitch for Cowboys fans after a report they were interested in DT Ndamukong Suh, just released by Miami. But it quickly was quelled by a report there was no interest. The reality: It all depends on the numbers involved.

ESPN had conflicting reports this afternoon as Dianna Russini said Dallas had an interest in Suh, while Josina Anderson reported that the team didn't have an interest in one of the NFL's dirtiest players.

But what if they were both right?

According to 105.3 The Fan's Mike Fisher, the Cowboys DO have an interest in the Nebraska product, but it all depends on the price he'll command.

Those conflicting reports:

Report: Cowboys made attempt to sign Sammy Watkins - Patrik Walker, 247 Sports
While so many fans get frustrated with the lack of activity by Dallas during free agency, multiple reports state that they made a real run at one free agent, possibly to move on from Dez Bryant. But the price tag was just too high.

Sammy Watkins nearly landed with the Dallas Cowboys.

The veteran wideout walked out of Los Angeles and right into the arms of the Kansas City Chiefs in the first wave of NFL free agency, and not many suspected the Cowboys to be in the hunt, given their usually frugal approach to business this time of year. They were apparently prepared to break rank though and, according to Terez Paylor of The Kansas City Star, the team made an attempt at signing Watkins. The problem clearly became the financial aspect, as is usually the case nowadays, with Watkins reportedly landing a three-year, $48 million contract from the Chiefs.

How serious were the Cowboys about Watkins?

Other reports put the figure at “only” $15 million - but that is still pretty serious coin for a team that doesn’t make big splashes in free agency.

Dallas Cowboys: Teams are throwing money at receivers, but that doesn't mean Dez Bryant is safe from a pay cut | David Moore, SportsDay
A lot of writers and fans have posited that the stupid money being thrown at free agent wide receivers has shifted the balance of power to Dez Bryant in talks about his contract. But maybe not as much as many assume.

The money thrown around in this phase of free agency evaporates quickly. If the Cowboys dump No. 88 on the market in the coming weeks, teams won't have as much to spend. If Bryant draws a line in the sand and refuses to take less, how much will he earn if the Cowboys part ways with him after the draft?

He won't get what Watkins, Robinson and Richardson have gotten. He could have trouble approaching that next level.

What has taken place in recent days doesn't increase Bryant's leverage as much as it alters the dynamics of the discussion.

There was other activity reported on Twitter as well.

New York Giants reportedly set to make Nate Solder NFL's highest-paid left tackle | Eric Edholm, Pro Football Weekly
Dallas' division rivals the New York Giants are finally doing something about the dismal state of their offensive line. That is something for us to note, but it also is yet another example of how free agency leads to some gross overpaying of players.

But for the Giants, they have started adding pieces as they appear to be making one more run during Eli Manning's window at age 37. Solder will be 30 years old and has never made a Pro Bowl, so making him the highest-paid tackle certainly is a bold move. He joins running back Jonathan Stewart as a curious veteran signing but one aimed at improving the veteran talent and helping improve a locker-room culture that seemed to deteriorate last season.

Cowboys LB Depth a Concern With Anthony Hitchens' Departure? ✭ Brian Martin, Inside the Star
With Anthony Hitchens now cashing in on free agency and leaving the Cowboys, the team only has three reliable players, WILL Sean Lee, MIKE Jaylon Smith, and SAM Damien Wilson. And it is certainly questionable whether all three would be healthy for a full season.

As you can see, the Dallas Cowboys have to be a little bit concerned with their depth at the linebacker position heading into the 2018 season. Yes, it looks as if they have their starters in place with Smith, Lee, and Wilson, but the cupboard is pretty bare behind them.

That's where Anthony Hitchens was so invaluable. He could step in and play any three of the LB positions, and do it at a high level without there being much of a drop off. The Cowboys no longer have that kind of "safety valve" on the roster.

Anthony Hitchens' departure via free agency definitely increases the need to address the depth at the linebacker position for the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, they would be wise to use both free agency and the draft to secure some much-needed depth.

Is Jason Witten asking the same questions as Tom Brady? - Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys Blog- ESPN
Reports that Jason Witten was a possible target for the new Thursday Night Football broadcast team surfaced last weekend. Witten is still stating that he intends to play at least another season - but this may not be the easy decision it appears on the surface.

In the final episode of Facebook’s Tom vs. Time, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spoke about his future. It wasn’t in specific terms but it was about his young family.

“There’s more to think about than just me,” Brady said. “And I think that’s what you commit to when you have a family and they commit a lot to me. Obviously, it goes both ways.”

Witten is the father of four young children: two boys and two girls. He coaches his boys in basketball and football when he can. He takes his kids to school.

At some point every athlete faces the point when it’s time to walk away.

Renderings For NFL Draft At AT&T Stadium Released « CBS Dallas / Fort Worth staff.
It's gonna be a heckuva show.

Renderings of what fans can expect for this year’s NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium in Arlington have been released.

Main stage
NFL

NFL
NFL Experience stage
NFL