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Cowboys news: Former Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns signs with Dallas

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The Cowboys finally splashed around a bit in free agency.

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NFL: AFC Wild Card-Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NFL free agent rumors: Allen Hurns headed to Cowboys - Marc Lancaster, Sporting News
The Cowboys were full of surprises on Friday when they finally signed a player that gets fans excited. Welcome to Dallas, Allen.

Hurns provides some versatility for Dak Prescott as both a downfield threat and someone who can work effectively out of the slot. The key is whether he can stay healthy; he missed multiple games in 2016 and 2017 due to hamstring and ankle injuries, respectively.

Those back-to-back disappointing campaigns came on the heels of Hurns' breakout 2015 showing, in which he racked up 1,031 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.

Now the 26-year-old will start over in Dallas, where rumblings continue about Bryant's future with the team. For the time being, though, Hurns figures to be competing more with Terrance Williams for targets.

Dallas Cowboys: Sources: Cowboys to sign 1,000-yard, ex-Jaguars WR Allen Hurns - Staff, SportsDay
The former Florida native will now make Texas his home.

The former Miami Hurricane, who has spent the last four seasons with the Jaguars, visited The Star on Wednesday, according to a source.

Hurns (6-3, 201) was released by the Jaguars on Tuesday after playing only 10 games last season. His best year came in 2015 when he started 15 games and caught 64 passes for 1,031 yards and 10 touchdowns. Jacksonville signed him the following offseason to a four-year, $40 million deal that included $16 million guaranteed.

But his production has dropped off since.

Over the last two seasons, Hurns has played 21 games, catching a total of 74 passes for 961 yards and five touchdowns.

How Allen Hurns signing affects Dez Bryant - Sam Quinn, 247 Sports

Nobody knows what the front office is up to when it comes to how they see their WR group, but that doesn’t stop us from trying to guess.

Now that the Cowboys have finally secured another wide receiver in free agency who figures to have a big impact on the team, many are wondering what the move’s impact will be on Bryant.

There already appears to be an answer. Mike Fisher of 105.3 The Fan is reporting that the Hurns deal will be so affordable that the Cowboys are also planning to retain Bryant next season. The two will play alongside each other, likely as the team’s starters. On the surface, the two appear to be an awkward fit. They are both bigger receivers, with Bryant coming in at 6’2’’ and Hurns even taller at 6’3’’. But overwhelming size is hardly a bad thing so long as it is offset with speed elsewhere in the lineup. The Cowboys should still look to draft a speedster in April to complement Bryant and Hurns, but stylistically speaking, just because they look similar doesn’t mean they play similarly.

Some have immediately presumed that Dez Bryant’s job is now in jeopardy. Mike Fisher quickly refuted this idea.

And just how affordable was Hurns deal?

The signing of Hurns just added fuel to the fire for those fans who are ready to wash their hands of Dez.

Tony Romo thinks Dez Bryant is “misunderstood” – Darin Gantt, ProFootballTalk
Former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo had some things to say recently about both Dez Bryant and Terrell Owens. While fans have their own perception, Romo lends us a hand in understanding things a little better.

“As far as personality between the two, they’re also a little bit different,” Romo said. “I think Dez is misunderstood in a lot ways. I know there a times where he can get talking and be volatile on the sideline and stuff, but a lot of it is positive. I’ve had every receiver who wants the ball. I think what you’ll find is there’s so many personalities on the football field. When the receivers are more demonstrative on the sideline and stuff, they’re just more demonstrative than offensive linemen. But people can be pouty in different ways. They can do anything in different ways. They just are vocal sometimes where you can see it on camera."

Why the Cowboys could have all new starting receivers in ‘19 - Reid Hanson, Sport DFW
From their interest in Sammy Watkins to signing both Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson, which WRs are the Cowboys trying to replace? They seem all over the place and Reid Hanson shares an interesting perspective that a complete overhaul may be in the works.

Today, the Cowboys must focus on the draft and finding replacements to Dez and/or Williams. The time to cut them will be at this time next season. Find the replacements now and cut bait tomorrow. It makes sense from a talent perspective as well as a financial perspective.

The Dallas Cowboys have long boasted stability in their WR ranks but that stability may be thrown out the window, at this time next year, when all three starting receivers are sent packing.

Longtime NFL agent: Cowboys avoided this league trap by not pursuing Earl Thomas - Jori Epstein, SportsDay
NFL agent Leigh Steinberg offers up some insight on some of the recent decisions by the Cowboys as well as why the front office might have pumped the brakes on the Earl Thomas trade.

What does that philosophy say about the Cowboys' decision not to trade for Earl Thomas?

Steinberg: Earl Thomas in his prime was one of the best defensive players in football. Last year, he wasn't at his prime. How teams get in trouble in football, and we see it over and over again, is they pay for past performance rather than future projections. The better measure is how many high-quality years a player has left. The Cowboys must've made the assessment that the equation -- cost in draft picks plus cap cost and the player's projected future -- was not, at the end of the day, worth it.

Prior to the Hurns deal, the Cowboys cap hit was very low.

Cowboys' recent deals account for less than $4 million in cap space - Todd Archer, ESPN
The Cowboys have been able to sign a handful of players for super cheap. Todd Archer breaks down each contract and the cap hit each one brings.

For $3.795 million in salary cap room, the Dallas Cowboys were able to re-sign long snapper L.P. Ladouceur and add free agents Joe Thomas and Deonte Thompson.

Ladouceur’s one-year deal is a minimum-salary-benefit contract, counting $720,000 against the cap even though he will make $1.015 million in base salary. Thomas has a 2018 cap charge of $1.275 million on his two-year contract, while Thompson will count $1.8 million against the cap in the upcoming season.

What's the Next Move for Cowboys in Free Agency? - Brian Martin, Inside the Star
With two weeks of free agency in the books, could there still be any splash moves on the horizon? With a month to go before the draft there is still plenty of time to sign more players. Brian Martin peruses through their needs to guess which players could be next.

Offensive Line

The Dallas Cowboys have already brought in several offensive lineman free agents, which would indicate they are serious about not only finding a new starting left guard, but adding some much-needed depth. Their lack of depth really hurt them in 2017 and they definitely don't want that to happen again moving forward.

Marcus Martin, Cameron Fleming, and LaAdrian Waddle have all reportedly met with the Dallas Cowboys. Martin and Fleming are currently still free agents, but Waddle recently re-signed with the New England Patriots.

Both Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming makes sense for the Cowboys and would be a welcomed addition to the roster. Martin would likely take over Joe Looney's role as the backup center/guard, but could compete for the starting LG position. Fleming could start at right tackle, but would also be an immediate upgrade at the swing tackle position

There are other options still available, but hopefully something can materialize with Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming.

Grading Every NFL Team's Free-Agency Performance - Chris Roling, Bleacher Report
Nothing like some free agent grades two weeks into it. How have the Cowboys done so far? Well, according to Bleacher Report, they are coming in with a solid C average.

Dallas Cowboys: C

Hamstrung with cap issues, the Dallas Cowboys haven't done much in free agency.

With less than $1.5 million in available cap space, the Cowboys' biggest splash so far was their acquisition of Oakland fullback Jamize Olawale and a sixth-round pick for a fifth-round pick. They previously tendered David Irving and re-signed Brian Price on the defensive line.

It's a shame, too, because instead of sitting on their hands, the Cowboys could have restructured deals for guys like Dez Bryant and been more active. Or, as Bleacher Report's Mike Tanier wrote, they could have outright cut Bryant or Jason Witten for big cap savings.

Dallas is an attractive destination for players given the roster in place and the team's history, yet the Cowboys had to back out on the Ndamukong Suh sweepstakes due to their lack of cap space, according to NFL Network's Jane Slater.

Given the current state of the roster, Dallas picked a bad time to go quiet in free agency, though it does have 10 picks in the upcoming draft.

Note: this grade was given prior to the Hurns signing.

Of course, the Cowboys focus most of their attention towards the draft.

Pre-draft visits & private workouts: What do they tell us about Cowboys’ draft strategy? - Michael Sisemore, Blogging The Boys
Our own Michael Sisemore provides a list of pre-draft visitors. Is there anything we can deduce from these choices?

First of all, and this is subject to change, the Cowboys are seemingly narrowing down their first-round options to receiver, guard, or linebacker. Of course, it’s very early in the fray but if the Cowboys do decide to trade up for someone like Derwin James, would they act similarly to what they did with Morris Claiborne? If your remember, Claiborne was the last player that they selected in the first round without bringing him for a 30 visit. Could they be bluffing again?

Another interesting takeaway from this list is that it would suggest even if they do not plan on an offensive lineman in the first, they’re likely to draft one high within the first three rounds. All three lineman on this list are projected to be selected in the first three days. Will Hernandez is represented by the same agent as Tyron Smith, that’s just another connection that would make RJ Ochoa proud.

Who has pre-draft visits scheduled so far?

Should the Dallas Cowboys trade up to draft Roquan Smith? Steven Mullenax, The Landry Hat
Going after one of the top linebacker prospects in the draft is not out of the question, however it could require burning some additional draft capital to move up and get him.

Smith is undersized at 6-foot-1, 230 pounds. The 20-year old possess elite quickness, football instincts and has the ability to diagnose plays with lightning speed. His size can be an issue at times as he’ll get engulfed by bigger players. But Smith is an excellent blitzer who possess unique sideline-to-sideline speed and will make eye-popping plays all over the field.

So if the Cowboys wanted a player like Roquan Smith, they’d likely have to trade up to get him. The best scenario for the Cowboys would be if Smith fell somewhere near 14th-15th overall. Dallas might be able to trade up for their first rounder and their lone third round pick. Anything higher, and you are looking at losing your second round selection instead, and possibly more.

Linebacker-needy Cowboys showing interest in former Texas star Malik Jefferson - Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The acquisition of linebacker Joe Thomas was a nice depth signing, but did nothing to replace the loss of Anthony Hitchens. The team will look to the upcoming draft to find a legit replacement and could target a former Texas star.

The Cowboys did not do a formal interview with Jefferson at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month when Jefferson wowed with a performance as strong as any linebacker in the draft. But interest from the Cowboys seems to be picking up as Jefferson had an informal meeting at the team’s headquarters at the Star on Tuesday, according to a source, and could return for a visit and/or workout in early April when national visits and Dallas-day workouts are conducted.

Jefferson, who trained at APEC in Fort Worth under Bobby Stroupe, was projected to go in the second or third round of the draft before the combine where he wowed.

His time of 4.52 seconds in the 40 yard dash was third best of all the linebackers. His 27 reps on the bench press were second best. He was fourth in the long jump and vertical jump. And he was as fluid as any linebacker during on-field drills.

The challenge of replacing Anthony Hitchens: Projecting linebackers – Jeff Cavanaugh, The Athletic
The Athletic's Jeff Cavanaugh provides a few candidates to replace Hitchens at linebacker, including a player who is growing in popularity among Cowboys Nation.

Fred Warner – LB – BYU

Height: 6'3.3″

Weight: 236

40 time: 4.64

Warner fits well in today's NFL. He plays a regular off-ball linebacker role but also will line up over slot receivers and *gasp* cover!

Warner possesses the one thing that a lot of linebackers coming into the league either don't have or haven't shown on tape. He has the ability to cover backs and some receivers/tight ends. That's the biggest key to a linebacker being a three-down player. He has to develop the physicality in his game. I have Warner graded as a third round player.