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Cowboys news: DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones hoping to stay in Dallas; Senior Bowl standouts

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

DeMarcus Lawrence aims to be in Dallas ‘long-term’ - Herbie Teope,
The Cowboys front office has made it clear that star defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence will be a part of the team’s future. And the feeling appears to be mutual.

Lawrence, who is eligible for free agency in March, politely declined Wednesday to discuss his contract situation with as he exited the practice field at the Pro Bowl. But Lawrence is certainly willing to hear whatever Jones and the Cowboys have in mind.

“I’m trying to do that long-term deal, too,” Lawrence said. “Just tell Stephen to hit me up when he’s ready, man. I mean, he already knows what’s up with me.”

Lawrence played the 2018 season under a franchise tag, which paid a base salary of $17.1 million, and only added to his argument for a lucrative deal with 10.5 sacks, marking the second consecutive season he recorded double-digit sacks and made the Pro Bowl. The

Cowboys have a major decision to make on Lawrence with a little more than a month and a half before the start of the league’s new calendar year, which signals the start of free agency. And one of the options the team could mull if a long-term deal can’t be agreed upon surrounds another use of the franchise tag.

Byron Jones leaves no doubt he wants long-term deal in Dallas – Charean Williams, ProFootballTalk
After three seasons of solid play bouncing around where the team needed him, All-Pro cornerback Byron Jones has found a home at corner. Now, he just needs to find a permanent home in Dallas.

Jones spent his first three seasons in Dallas mostly playing safety and not nearly as well as he played at cornerback in 2018. The Cowboys picked up the fifth-year option on Jones’ contract for 2019 at $6.17 million, but they hope to sign him to a long-term deal during the offseason. Jones said there is “no question” he hopes that happens.

“You’re not going to find a better, more well-ran organization than the Cowboys,” Jones said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “The fans are great; the weather’s great; the food’s great for me. I live right in the city, too, so I want nothing other than playing for the Dallas Cowboys.”

A lesson of free agency teaches us that maybe it’s the right time for the Cowboys to let Cole Beasley walk - Kevin Sherrington, SportsDay
Sherrington answers reader questions, including whether the team should retain their beloved slot receiver.

Q: Should the Cowboys keep Cole Beasley?

Sherrington: One of the lessons of free agency and the salary cap is that sometimes you have to say goodbye to good players. Just like when the Cowboys let DeMarco Murray and Anthony Hitchens go. I didn’t agree with either move. And yet the Cowboys were right. They found players in the draft who were cheaper and, frankly, better, and the business decision is one of the reasons they’ve got legitimate cap space for the first time in years.

Cole Beasley is a really nice slot receiver. Made the biggest catch of the season. But he’s limited in what he can contribute, not only because of his size but because of the team’s priorities. It’s a run-first team, so the passing game is limited. And as our David Moore wrote recently, do you want to get the ball to Beasley over Amari Cooper, who is terrific in yards after catch? Or Michael Gallup, who turned into a great second option this season? Both are much bigger threats after the catch. And that’s important in the Cowboys’ scheme, which doesn’t do much to help WRs. They’ve got to do it on their own. Beasley would be better off on a team that makes better use of all its receivers.

Three positions that should be big priorities for the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL draft - Matt Mosley, SportsDay
Mosley answers a few questions from fans, including one about the three most pressing issues the team must address this offseason.

Q: What should the Cowboys’ top three priorities be this offseason?

Mosley: I would say that once you shore up the staff, it’s time to take a serious look at this draft. The Cowboys have whiffed on tight ends for awhile now. I would say that Blake Jarwin really emerged as somewhat of a threat late in the season. But the lack of a tight end who’s truly effective in the blocking game is a concern. Especially in Jason Garrett’s offense. Dalton Schultz may be able to make that leap after an offseason in the weight room, but he has a ways to go. The Cowboys need to address that position. This isn’t a team that spends big money in free agency.

You also need to find a help at safety. Woods and Heath are big hitters, but you’d like to see someone with more versatility back there. Both of those players were exposed in that playoff game. Bad angles and poor reads. So I would look at tight end and safety. I’d also try to address the interior of that offensive line, depending on how Travis Frederick’s recovery is going. The Cowboys had to dig deep to finish the season at those guard spots.

Vander Esch: “Always Knew I Would Get Here” - Nick Eatman, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys rookie linebacker is only the third defensive draft pick in the Jason Garrett era to be selected to the Pro Bowl and he didn’t waste any time getting there.

Not only is he playing alongside Seattle’s Bobby Wagner, one of his favorite players growing up, but Vander Esch also got to meet one of the NFC Hall of Fame captains in Brian Urlacher, a player LVE has been compared to often since being drafted.

“I got talk to talk to him to him (Wednesday) night. It’s cool having him out here, talking about plays and everything,” Vander Esch said of Urlacher. “He is another great guy. So the amount of resources that you have around yourself that you have looked to since you were a little kid here. It’s amazing.”

And while Vander Esch also called it an honor to replace Carolina’s Luke Kuechly in the Pro Bowl this year, making it to this game is a spot he always thought he would be.

“It’s a pretty crazy journey huh. I don’t know if I expected it to come this fast,” Vander Esch said. “I always expected myself to be in the shoes that I am now. One way or another, I knew I was going to get here. I wasn’t going to let anybody tell me that I couldn’t do it. I have been battling my entire life proving people wrong. You know how people are. They are negative in life. They don’t want to see you succeed. There are some that do. But there are a whole bunch of people against you. So you got to take that to heart. If you have a goal you are not going to let anybody tell you you can’t do it.”

By the Numbers: Dallas Cowboys in the Pro Bowl - Kristi Scales, 5 Points Blue
If you like numbers, then Kristi Scales has some Pro Bowl stats that might be of interest to Cowboys fans.

8: Amari Cooper becomes the 8th wide receiver in Cowboys’ history selected for the Pro Bowl. The list of the great eight includes: Bob Hayes, Drew Pearson, Tony Hill, Michael Irvin, Terrell Owens, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, and Cooper. Cooper was previously named to the Pro Bowl’s AFC squad twice as a member of the Oakland Raiders.

7: Number of Cowboys quarterbacks in team history selected to the Pro Bowl, including Dak Prescott who was named to his second Pro Bowl this year. The 7 Pro Bowl quarterbacks in Cowboys history include: Eddie LeBaron, Don Meredith, Roger Staubach, Danny White, Troy Aikman, Tony Romo, and Dak Prescott.

5: Five straight Pro Bowl selections for RG Zack Martin. He is 5-for-5: 5 NFL seasons, 5 Pro Bowls.

Five for Five...that’s not too shabby.

Doubters have surfaced for Cowboys’ Kellen Moore. Here’s why Dak Prescott, others in the NFL believe in his future. - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Breaking news: fans don’t believe in Kellen Moore. Shocker, right? Well, believe in him or not, he’s the one holding the play sheet in the offensive huddle for the NFC Pro Bowl team.

The possibility of elevating Moore is puzzling to some. He went undrafted in 2012 after going 50-3 as a starting quarterback at Boise State. Then, he played in only three games during a six-year NFL career that started with the Lions and ended with the Cowboys.

Since Moore wasn’t a successful NFL quarterback, some question his ability to run an NFL offense. Dak Prescott doesn’t have any doubts. The Cowboys quarterback, who is making his second Pro Bowl appearance in his first three seasons, is one of Moore’s biggest supporters. Prescott raved about Moore’s help behind the scenes as a backup QB after Prescott became the starter in 2016, telling reporters at the time that Moore was a “genius” and an “offensive coordinator in his own mind.”

Their chemistry continued to grow last season as Moore worked closely with Prescott during the week and then on the sidelines on gamedays as Linehan moved up to the coaching booth to call plays. “He’s a guy that people always said he can’t do this or can’t do that, but he’s the winningest quarterback in college football history,” Prescott said after Thursday’s practice at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. ”You can say it’s college, but he’s made a career for himself in the NFL for a long time because of how he knows the game, how quick he is at processing the information, seeing defenses, learning and knowing what is happening offensively and defensively.

“He’s just got the mind for it.”

From the Pro Bowl to the Senior Bowl. What’s cooking down in Mobile, Alabama?

Senior Bowl Film Study: SC’s Deebo Samuel worthy of Cowboys’ top pick - Dalton Miller, Cowboys Wire
With no first-round pick in April’s draft, the Cowboys best chance to land a playmaker will be in round two. And as Miller points out, there’s a talented wide receiver that could be available around that spot. Why should the Cowboys use that pick on him? Allow Dalton to explain...

Route running

Samuel put on an absolute clinic against the Senior Bowl cornerback and safety group in 1v1, 7v7 and team periods. If the quarterback wanted to complete a pass, and he saw man coverage, Samuel was the target.

Samuel is able to sink his hips and move his feet at a high rate, culminating in an ability to explode out of his break. He keeps his base tight, which is important because when one attempts to break out of a wider base, there’s a higher chance they get “stuck in the mud,” and cannot come out fluidly.

Film room: 7 potential NFL draft fits for the Cowboys from the Senior Bowl, including a towering pass-catcher - John Owning, SportsDay
John Owning has seven names for you, including a safety prospect that might be there in the second round.

Round 2: Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia

Measuring in at a little over 6 feet, 202 pounds, Thornhill isn’t the biggest safety, but he has the ability to play in single-high (Cover 1/3), split-safety looks (Cover 2/4) and in the box, where he can match up against tight ends and flow to the ballcarriers. Thornhill isn’t great at playing off blocks, but he makes up for that with his impressive instincts and diagnosing ability against the run. Thornhill does well to read his keys and flow toward the ballcarrier, and he’s excellent at attacking creases to penetrate and make plays behind the line of scrimmage. In coverage, Thornhill is at his best in zone, where he is able to read quarterbacks’ eyes and disrupt throwing lanes rather consistently.

Wrapping up Senior Bowl week and a look at the Cowboys coaching decisions - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys
For a full recap of this year’s Senior Bowl action, check out the Talkin’ The Star team as they keep us informed with what went down in Alabama as it pertains to the Cowboys.

The Senior Bowl is a great source of draftable players, one that the Cowboys have dipped into consistently over the years. Our own Connor Livesay has been down in Mobile following the action and talking to the players and he recaps it all in his show below. It’s definitely worth a listen before the game on Saturday.

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