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Cowboys news: The Earl Thomas dream is finally, completely dead - we think

At least we know he has reported, so this may really be the end. Oh, and there’s lots of other news, too.

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
Yeah, he’s gonna still be in this uniform.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

[UPDATE] Cowboys upped offer for Earl Thomas, Seahawks wanted more, Cowboys back out and Thomas reports to Seattle - RJ Ochoa,, Blogging The Boys
The Earl Thomas dream is now crushed. Unless the Seattle Seahawks are going to change their mind later in the season (they play the Cowboys in week 3), it is over until next year.

Whatever excitement you had about the Cowboys reportedly upping their offer to a second-round pick for Earl Thomas, well, you might want to make sure you’re sitting down.

Thomas posted on his Instagram page (a place that’s connected him to the Cowboys quite often) that he will be reporting to the Seahawks on Wednesday, although he isn’t too thrilled about it.

The Cowboys tried to acquire Earl Thomas and failed. What’s next? – Calvin Watkins, The Athletic
Did Dallas make a mistake in not meeting Seattle's demands for Thomas? It depends on if you think ET was worth next year's first round pick, the reported demand. And that may not have been the only sticking point.

It seemed the Cowboys were preparing for a Thomas deal. They had about $16.6 million in salary-cap space before making their final cuts last Saturday. When the team released kicker Dan Bailey, it saved $3 million. So, absorbing Thomas’ $8.5 million base salary in 2018 wasn’t a problem.

Taking care of him long term is. A source said the Cowboys’ trade for Thomas didn’t include the possibility of a new contract, something he wants. If the deal was finalized, talks between the Cowboys and Thomas’ agents would have intensified quickly. Considering what Chicago did with Khalil Mack and his agents after the trade with Oakland, negotiations moved quickly.

Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys' Tyrone Crawford is now a 270-pound defensive tackle. Here's why he says that won't be a problem. | Brandon George, SportsDay
Tyrone Crawford lost weight to play defensive end for the Cowboys this season. Then David Irving got suspended, and with Maliek Collins still recovering from his injury, Crawford moved back inside to play DT. His weight, 270, seems a bit light, but he says his strength is back, and that is more important to him.

Crawford had shoulder surgery in consecutive offseasons before this year. In January 2016, Crawford had surgery on his right shoulder to repair a torn rotator cuff. He injured his shoulder in Week 2 of 2016 but played through it all season. In January 2017, Crawford had shoulder surgery again, but this time it was on the left side.

Crawford said he's regained a lot of his strength because his shoulders are healthy now. He said he was lifting about 355 pounds Wednesday and planned to get to 405 by Week 3. He said he's maxed out before at 490 to 500 pounds. Crawford believes he'll be able to push interior offensive linemen around now with his strength back.

Dallas Cowboys: 3 key areas Cowboys must improve to make playoffs, including a closer look at Dak Prescott's footwork | John Owning, SportsDay
How well Crawford can perform at DT may be crucial, as the failure of the interior defensive line last season is one of the things identified as an area the Cowboys must improve this season.

In 2017, the Cowboys' defense was putrid on third downs, allowing a 42.86 third-down conversion percentage (fourth-worst in the NFL), per Team Rankings. The defense was especially bad in third-and-short (one yard or less to go for a first down) and third-and-medium (between six and two yards to go for a first down) situations, per SBNation's Bill Connolly.

The biggest reason the Cowboys struggled on third-and-short and third-and-medium situations was the interior defensive line's poor play, especially when David Irving missed four games each to suspension and then injury.

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott out to prove he's the best back in the game - Todd Archer, ESPN
There has been a lot of talk about Ezekiel Elliott having a bit of attitude because of his suspension and legal saga last season. And he just confirmed it.

He said he is entering this season with a chip on his shoulder.

The "chip on my shoulder is not having a full year last year just not performing the way I believe I could have," Elliott said.

Asked if he thinks about where he was a year ago at this time, Elliott said, "No, that's behind me."

Jason Garrett is 'embracing the youth' in critical year with Cowboys - Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys Blog- ESPN
If you haven't noticed, the Dallas Cowboys are now one of the youngest teams in football. That was driven more out of necessity than a big master plan, with the departures of Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and Dan Bailey all driving that average age down. But Jason Garrett likes to look on the positive side.

“There’s a lot of really positive things about having a young team. As a coaching staff, you really want to coach them hard in every aspect of the game, and typically they respond well,” Garrett said. “They have a lot to learn about the game. Then you want to put them in game situations where they can grow and learn from the experiences, both good and bad. You try to do that with all your players, regardless of what their age is, but having a good, young team with a lot of guys who think alike and are excited about the opportunity to play together, I think that can be energizing for everybody.

Dallas Cowboys: Motivated receivers say it’s ‘our time’ | Clarence Hill, Jr, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
If you have somehow missed it, the belief in the national media is that the Cowboys have the worst receiving corps in the NFL. But new WRs Tavon Austin and Deonte Thompson aren't listening to that noise.

“Nobody’s opinions matters but the people in this facility,” Austin said. “People going to say this, and people going to say that, but my main focus is not on them people no more. We know what we’re capable of doing and we just got to go do it now.”

The first test will be in Sunday’s season opener against the Carolina Panthers and Thompson can’t wait because it’s their time to shine.

“I am ready to go out and have fun with these guys,” Thompson said. “We are going to do some special things. It’s our time. I’m excited to see us play. Everybody has that chip on their shoulder.”

Dallas Cowboys: 8 things to keep in mind before Cowboys season opener, from Rico Gathers to Randy Gregory expectations | David Moore, SportsDay
Among the points raised is this one about Randy Gregory and those rumors that flew around last week.

Jones is normally effusive in his praise. The fact he's been unusually restrained in his comments regarding Gregory leads some to speculate that bad news looms on the horizon for the defensive end.

Don't read too much into this.

Gregory has been suspended 30 of 32 games over the past two seasons. As much as Jones likes to blow smoke, he's an optimistic realist at heart. He recognizes what he can sell or market and what he can't to his fan base.

Expectations are already high on what Gregory can add to this team. It's in the best interests of Jones, the team, and above all, Gregory, to make sure these expectations don't rage out of control before he's played a game.

'Let the evidence show': Cowboys new-found faith in Rico Gathers - Mike Fisher, 247 Sports
What's better than Mike Fisher giving us the scoop on Rico Gathers? How about Mike Fisher quoting Bryan Broaddus with more scoopage.

"There's a chance Rico Gathers could be your third tight end and Dalton Schultz could be inactive,'' Broaddus said on Tuesday, a day before Dallas resumes workouts here inside The Star. He then added, "It'll bd interesting to see how they practice both guys (starting Wednesday.)'' Broaddus knows something here. The Cowboys may end up needing four tight ends -- used differently depending on the opponent and situation -- to replace the retired Jason Witten. If you are looking for a special success story, it's understandable that you would jump beyond likely starter Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin and Schultz and eyeball Gathers, who hadn't played football since the eighth grade before the Cowboys drafted the Baylor basketball forward in the sixth round in 2016. At the same time, the Dallas official depth chart was revealed on Tuesday ... and as Broaddus off-handedly predicted, Rico's made the climb. He's now upshifted to third string. We'll know more today after we watch practice; does Rico get second-team reps? Is is used as a third tight end? Is he lining up on special teams?

Ex Cowboys kicker Bailey has offers from four other NFL teams - Mike Fisher, 247 Sports
It was a little surprising to hear that Dan Bailey worked out with the New York Jets, but didn't sign. However, it doesn't sound like he is going to be looking for a job as long has Dez Bryant has.

As of Tuesday night, (Bailey’s agent Jordan Woy) says, Bailey's received four contract offers.

"There are a lot of factors that are important to Dan,'' Woy says. "It's not only about money. He is considering offers. He wants to be with the right team.''

"The right team'' likely means a contender. Therefore, maybe it's not the Jets who spurned Bailey after his Monday tryout with the New York Jets; and, speaking of money, I'd bet smart money the Jets are among the teams with an offer on the 30-year-old kicker, famous for having made 88.2 percent of his field-goal attempts in a Pro Bowl career in Dallas.

Dallas Cowboys: Why new Cowboys kicker Brett Maher says replacing Dan Bailey doesn't add to pressure he faces | Jon Machota, SportsDay
Meanwhile, Bailey's replacement Brett Maher seems prepared for the challenge of replacing the long time Cowboys' kicker. At least mentally.

Does knowing Bailey's successful history with the franchise put more pressure on Maher?

"Not really," he said. "I think in this profession, every single thing that you do is kind of pressure-packed as well. You never know when your time is going to come, when you're going to get an opportunity and when you're going to be on the wrong side of it.

"Especially at a position like this, every kick is so important in how this league shakes down every week to where you have to maximize every opportunity that you get."

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