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Cowboys news: No talks with Dez Bryant yet, but receiver still a possibility at the top of the draft

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The latest Cowboys headlines.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Still waiting: Summit between Cowboys, Dez Bryant still on tap - Katie Hairopoulos, SportsDay

Despite speculation on restructuring his contract, the Cowboys have not yet met with Dez Bryant. Stephen Jones talked about that on 103.5 The Fan.

The Cowboys could ask Bryant to take a pay cut from the $12.5 million he is slated to earn in each of the next two seasons because of declining play since he signed a $70 million deal before the 2015 season. They could ultimately move on from the eight-year veteran. Jones said it will be team owner Jerry Jones who speaks publicly about the meeting, whenever it happens. Jerry Jones said last week that he hoped to talk with Bryant by the end of this week.

“We’re always trying to get the very best players,” Stephen Jones said. “Obviously, we have internal decisions to make in terms of our roster and who’s going to be on it, who’s not going to be on it. And we just want to give ourselves options. We want that receiver position to be competitive. We felt like we needed to improve upon last year.”

Jones said “what we do with Dez one way or the other” won’t affect the Cowboys’ draft decisions.

Waiting game: No meeting yet for Jerry Jones, Dez Bryant on receiver’s future - Clarence Hill, The Star-Telegram

Although Stephen Jones says the meeting won’t affect their draft plans, Clarence Hill writes on why a meeting could be important for Dez’s future.

But the meeting with Bryant remains paramount.

In addition to signing two receivers in free agency, Allen Hurns and Dionte [sic] Thompson, the Cowboys are focused on adding a receiver in the upcoming NFL Draft, set for April 26-28, at AT&T Stadium.

Among visitors this week at the team’s headquarters at the Star in Frisco are Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley, Maryland receiver D.J. Moore, Texas A&M receiver Christian Kirk and Florida receiver Antonio Callaway.

The team also spent a lot of time with SMU receiver Courtland Sutton during his pro day and he could be on hand for Dallas day on Friday.


Jerry Jones doesn’t see a huge gap between Cowboys, Eagles - Todd Archer, ESPN

The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a 9-7 season, while the Eagles just won the Super Bowl with Nick Foles; however, Jerry Jones does not think the gap between the two NFC East rivals is all that big. He explains why:

“They’ve got a team that mirrors us in a lot of respects,” Jones said. “I like a lot of things that we have that they have. We’ve got a running game, offense and quarterback [Dak Prescott] that I’m so proud of for looking ahead and building off of. They probably have more, to say the least, they probably have more names on defense. When I say names, just say they probably have what we’d like to continue to get to. But we’ve got some guys that I think we can get to there.

“I’d like to think that Philly closed the deal of where we had an opportunity to do it the year before.”

“I think that if the gap is defined as them winning the Super Bowl and [us] not even getting in the playoffs, then we’ve got to close the gap,” Jones said. “I think that we should’ve been in the playoffs. We weren’t. But I don’t believe that us not being in the playoffs this past year is the size of the gap.”

NFC East Roster Reset: Eagles snugly perched atop division - Edward Lewis, NFL.com

Lewis looks at the NFC East and each team’s offseason thus far. He looks at the best acquisitions, a sleeper pickup, and more.

SLEEPER ADDITION: Cameron Fleming, offensive tackle.

Old team: New England Patriots. New team: Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys’ woes last season can be traced back to Week 10, when left tackle Tyron Smith had to sit, and his replacement, Chaz Green, proceeded to give up sack after sack after sack to Falcons pass rusher Adrian Clayborn. The uneasiness on Dak Prescott’s blind side seemed to spook the young QB, and Dallas’ season spiraled from there. The addition of Fleming should help prevent a similar situation from occurring next season. He can start at right tackle, allowing La’el Collins to slide down to left guard, or he can be a backup swing tackle, providing insurance in case Smith needs to miss more games. His presence gives the Cowboys, at the very least, a nice piece of insurance for one of the league’s best OL units.

...

Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys fixed their O-line depth issues by adding Fleming and interior OL Marcus Martin, as well as re-signing OG/OC Joe Looney. They hope they addressed some of their wideout problems with the Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson additions. So, what’s left? Fix the defense. The cornerbacks appear set with Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown and likely Byron Jones. They’ve found their pass rushers in Demarcus Lawrence, David Irving and (maybe?) Taco Charlton. Linebackers, safeties and interior DL, though? Those remain issues for the ‘Boys. Look for them to go heavy there in the draft, expending at least one or two of their first few picks.

Three ways the Cowboys coaching staff must improve in 2018 - Michael Strawn, BTB

The Cowboys need more out of its coaching staff if its going to close the gap. Strawn writes on some ways the coaching can improve this season.

Play the players who play the best

The best sports franchises don’t anoint players with playing time. Instead, every player competes to earn their role on the team. While the Cowboys talk a good game in this area their actions simply don’t support their message. Let’s look at several examples where the Cowboys stubbornly stuck with a preferred player who had clearly been outperformed by another player.

- Chaz Green at left guard over Jonathan Cooper.

- Kellen Moore at backup quarterback over Cooper Rush

- Jeff Heath as starting safety over... everyone else.


Projecting Dak Prescott’s next contract - Sam Quinn, Cowboys247

Assuming he has a solid 2018, Dak is going to cash-in in a big way once he is due for a new contract.

While Elliott, as a first round pick, is committed to the Cowboys for five years, Prescott only signed a four-year contract that would theoretically make him a free agent after the 2019 season.

There is no way he will reach free agency. The Cowboys will give him an extension after next season that reflects his standing as the team’s quarterback of the future. It’s just a matter of figuring out how much that contract will actually cost. The mere fact that Prescott is a quarterback implies that he is going to be paid at the top of the market. The specifics will just come down to a few key factors.

The obvious one is performance. If Prescott plays as he did in 2016, as a rookie, he will be the highest paid quarterback in the league. That title won’t last very long, but remember, Jimmy Garoppolo technically has the biggest contract in NFL history and he has started seven career games.

2018 NFL Mock Draft: Latest Round 1 Predictions - Sean Tomlinson, Bleacher Report

Speaking of the Dez situation and a potential second contract for Dak, Sean Tomlinson of B/R has the Cowboys going WR in round one.

19. Dallas Cowboys: Courtland Sutton, Wide Receiver

It might feel like at least a slight reach if any wide receiver not named Calvin Ridley is selected in the first round. But any risk tied to that draft aggressiveness is worth it for the Cowboys because of their widereceiver desperation.

The need to grasp for receiving talent was alleviated to some degree when the Cowboys signed free agent Allen Hurns. But much more is needed. He has struggled through injuries and was limited to less than 500 receiving yards in each of the past two seasons. Meanwhile, the Cowboys depth chart at the position is still led by Dez Bryant, who’s beginning to age fast at 29 years old and hasn’t recorded a 1,000-yard year since 2014.

Courtland Sutton can provide a quick answer. At 6’3”, 218 pounds, he has the size to be a consistent threat along the boundary and in the red zone, which contributed to his 2,331 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns over 22-year-old’s final two years at SMU. And the speed he showed with a time of 4.54 in the 40-yard dash translated to a per-catch average of 16.5 yards throughout his collegiate career.

Dallas Cowboys 2018 seven-round mock draft - Sam Quinn, Cowboys247

Quinn also has Cowboys going WR on day-one — but a different choice.

Round 1, Pick 19: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Ridley is the best wide receiver in a draft that doesn’t seem to have one superstar at the position. The Cowboys are picking in the range where players like Ridley, Courtland Sutton and D.J. Moore will start to come off of the board. Ridley tops the list for a few reasons. He is the most pro-ready prospect, a necessity for the Cowboys as they try to win now with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott under rookie deals. He is also well-suited to being the deep threat that the Cowboys don’t currently have. He is the best overall receiver prospect in the draft and if he is available at No. 19, there is a very strong chance that he is the pick. The Cowboys are using one of their top-30 visits on him.

The Ringer’s 2018 NFL Mock Draft, Version 3.0 - Danny Kelly, The Ringer

The Ringer’s Danny Kelly also has the Cowboys going with Ridley in his latest first-round mock.

19. Dallas Cowboys: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama

Signing Allen Hurns was a good start, but the Cowboys still need to upgrade quarterback Dak Prescott’s pass-catching crew—especially if the team really plans to cut Dez Bryant. Ridley’s got quick feet, is sudden in and out of his breaks, and can pick up chunks of yards after the catch. He’d provide an immediate boost for the Dallas passing attack.

This player could end up being the biggest steal of the 2018 NFL draft - Dane Brugler, Sportsday

If you’re looking for a WR on day two, though, look for Anthony Miller from the Memphis Tigers.

Which single player do you think will be the biggest steal of this draft?

Brugler: We’ll have to see who slips in the draft, but an early guess would be Memphis wide receiver Anthony Miller, who has been quiet this pre-draft process because of a foot injury. His tape shows a top-50 player in this draft and he will be a steal if he falls a little bit because of the injury. I think Indiana tight end Ian Thomas will be a steal as well.


Cowboys dump Ticketmaster in favor of deal with SeatGeek - Darren Rovell, ESPN

In other news, the Cowboys moved on from its contract with Ticketmaster and instead partnered with SeatGeek.

The Dallas Cowboys announced on Tuesday that they have opted out of the NFL’s deal with Ticketmaster and have elected to give their primary box office business to ticket reseller SeatGeek.

Terms were not disclosed. The Cowboys also have purchased an undisclosed stake in the company.

“We honestly thought we would continue with Ticketmaster,” said Chad Estis, the team’s executive vice president of business operations. “But we have a commitment to have the best in class and we thought that SeatGeek’s technology from a fan standpoint and the ease of use and flexibility on the back end with our folks internally made this deal the right one.”

The Cowboys aren’t the first team to opt out of the Ticketmaster deal. The Detroit Lions switched primary ticketing to Veritix for the 2013 season but will return to Ticketmaster for the 2018 season. The Cowboys and New Orleans Saints, who signed with SeatGeek in November, will be the only teams not currently part of the league deal.

Cowboys confirm switch from NFL-backed Ticketmaster to SeatGeek - Karen Robinson-Jacobs, DMN

The Cowboys confirmed the news on Tuesday. Robinson-Jacobs has more on the story.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is once again showing his maverick side, opting out of the NFL’s ticketing arrangement with market giant Ticketmaster and is working instead with ticket reseller SeatGeek.

SeatGeek is now the primary ticketing platform for the team, all events at AT&T Stadium, and for the 12,000 seat Ford Center, part of the team’s headquarters at The Star in Frisco.


Updated Cowboys pre-draft visit tracker

Todd Archer reported yesterday that contrary to earlier reports, UTEP guard Will Hernandez will not visit the Cowboys this week. Perhaps they've already seen enough of him?

Here's BTBs full list of all known visitors so far:

NATIONAL PROSPECTS INVITED FOR A “TOP 30” VISIT

Player Position School Proj. Round Source Draft Scout Ranking
Official pre-draft visit in Dallas
WR Calvin Ridley WR Alabama 1 Bobby Belt 16
D.J. Moore WR Maryland 1-2 Neal Dalal 29
Christian Kirk WR Texas A&M 1-2 Bobby Belt 32
James Washington WR Oklahoma State 2-3 Todd Archer 70
Antonio Callaway WR Florida 4 Josh Norris 136
Daurice Fountain WR Northern Iowa 5-6 ConnorNFLDraft 196
OL James Daniels C Iowa 1 Rob Howe 18
Connor Williams OT Texas 1 David Helman 24
Kolton Miller G/T UCLA 1-2 James Layton 31
Desmond Harrison OT West Georgia 6-7 Josh Norris 228
DL Vita Vea DT Washington 1 Aaron Wilson 10
Da'Ron Payne DT Alabama 1 Albert Breer 14
Harold Landry DE Boston College 1 Albert Breer 19
Taven Bryan DT Florida 1 Albert Breer 25
LB Leighton Vander Esch LB Boise St 1 Tony Pauline 22
Rashaan Evans LB Alabama 1-2 Bobby Belt 36
Darius Leonard LB South Carolina State 5 Tony Pauline 169
Others Nyheim Hines RB NC State 3 The Wolfpacker 87
Deshon Elliott SS Texas 4-5 Jared Stager 145

LOCAL PROSPECTS INVITED FOR “DALLAS DAY”

Draft Scout Rank Name POS College Proj. Rd. Height Weight Source
161 Trey Quinn WR SMU 5 5-11 203 Todd Archer
-- Quan Jones WR Baylor FA 6-4 215 Twitter
-- Tejan Koroma OC BYU FA 6-0 290 Dane Brugler
-- Mason Gentry DT SMU FA 6-6 300 Twitter
2017 UDFA Matt Davis QB SMU -- 6-0 212 Jon Machota
2017 UDFA Dane Evans QB Tulsa -- 6-1 210 Jon Machota
2017 UDFA Jerod Evans QB Virginia Tech -- 6-3 238 Jon Machota
2017 UDFA Skyler Howard QB West Virginia -- 6-0 207 Jon Machota
2017 UDFA Seth Russell QB Baylor -- 6-3 220 Jon Machota