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Cowboys News: Five free agent targets with ties to the Dallas coaching staff

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Plus, what a legendary Dallas Cowboy thinks of the Dak Prescott contract dilema.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin-USA TODAY NETWORK via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Film room: 5 potential Cowboys free agent targets who have ties to the new coaching staff - John Owning, Dallas Morning News

With free agency starting in a week, here are some possible Cowboys targets.

For the entirety of Jayron Kearse’s NFL career, George Edwards has been his defensive coordinator, so it’d make sense if the Cowboys were interested in the young and talented safety to fill their need at safety.

Kearse, much like Shaq Barrett last year, is the rare free agent who is young (26) and has good tape, but should also come pretty cheap on the open market. Similarly to Barrett, Kearse has been stuck behind arguably the most talented safety corps in the NFL with Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris manning the starting spots.

But when given the opportunity in recent years, Kearse has played well enough to prove he deserves a chance to be an every-week starter. At 6-4, 215 pounds, Kearse is a long and lean safety who does his best work in the slot and around the box.

Why The Cowboys Want “Real Deal” Quinn Back - Rob Phillips, Dallascowboys.com

Byron Jones may be a better overall player, but Robert Quinn seems like the Cowboys priority on defense.

Despite missing the first two games because of NFL suspension, Quinn led the Cowboys in sacks (11.5) and pressures (38) in his first season with the team, working opposite DeMarcus Lawrence at right defensive end. Quinn turns 30 in March. This might be his last best chance to maximize his earning potential with a multi-year deal.

”It’s really my first time going through this,” the nine-year veteran said after the Cowboys’ 2019 season finale in January. “So I don’t know, it’s going to be interesting. Obviously I don’t know what’s going to happen. I love the guys here. I love everything. But you know the business, how it works. So I guess in a few weeks, whenever things get hot again, we’ll figure it out.”

The Cowboys’ depth behind Quinn lacks experience. Recent draft picks Dorance Armstrong, Joe Jackson and Jalen Jelks have played a combined 20 games. Veterans Kerry Hyder and Michael Bennett are set to be free agents. The team still holds Randy Gregory’s rights, but the 27-year-old pass rusher remains indefinitely suspended since February 2019 and can’t have contact with the team, per league rules.

'He’s right up there with the best’: As the standard for Cowboys QBs, Roger Staubach’s take on Dak Prescott is telling - Kevin Sherrington, Dallas Morning News

Former Cowboy great Roger Staubach weighed in with his take on the Dak Prescott situation.

Considering how little he made in comparison to quarterbacks now, and how hard he worked to build a real estate empire after his career was over, you’d think Roger would begrudge today’s salaries. You’d be wrong, too. “The owners are making a lot of money,” he said, “so the players should also.”

Times were different in Roger’s day, but it was no less fun. Besides their skills, the Cowboys could be a clever bunch. Asked if he’d ever seen Tom Landry smile, Walt Garrison famously said, “No, but I’ve only been here nine years.”

Roger didn’t always lighten Landry’s mood. The legendary coach thought his quarterback occasionally improvised too much. And when he was supposed to run, he didn’t always get it right. So one day in practice, Landry ran a bootleg himself, then told Roger to do it just like he did. Roger got it perfectly, down to Landry’s limp. “Everybody got a big kick out of it,” Roger told the crowd Monday. He let the line sink in. “He didn’t.”

He didn’t have to say who “he” was.

CB Byron Jones Predicted As One Of The "Worst Contracts Of Free Agency" - Kevin Brady, Inside The Star

As Byron Jones appears set to break records, not all think he will break good ones.

Jones himself is a freakish cornerback. His length, athleticism, and speed give him all the tools to be a lock down man coverage corner, as well as a rangy defender in zone. And, with the Cowboys, he’s done just that.

Jones became the tight end eraser while at safety, but caught flack from fans due to his lack of physicality in the box. Then he moved out to cornerback full time and immediately had an All Pro season in 2018.

Byron Jones is a stud. That’s it. That’s the evaluation. He is going to get paid this offseason, and the number may shock some people. But letting your top cornerback and one of the top 3 defensive players on your roster walk is never the ideal move.

It may work out. Maybe they can improve in the margins at cornerback through the draft. Maybe Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis both take steps forward, it’s certainly possible.

One intriguing draft/trade strategy for the Dallas Cowboys - Matt Aaron, The Landry Hat

Amari Cooper out, CeeDee Lamb in?

Cavanaugh came up with one strategy that might just address both issues successfully. The cream of this year’s wide receiver targets are CeeDee Lamb from Oklahoma, Jerry Jeudy and the speedster Henry, both from Alabama. All three have the potential to be stars in the NFL, and all are projected to go in the first round.

Let’s say that the best defensive targets are off the board when Dallas’s number is called on draft day, but one or more of those three receivers are still available. In his show Jeffrey Time, Cavenaugh suggested that the Cowboys draft the receiver, then trade Amari Cooper for draft picks.

The second I heard this, I was floored. It immediately struck me as a genius idea, because it cuts a Gordian knot of problems for the Cowboys. Though pretty far out in left field, it’s a tremendously fun idea. Follow me on this.