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Cowboys news: Saying goodbye to Travis Frederick, plus other free agency news

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys-Coach Mike McCarthy Press Conference Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Frederick retires! It’s a sad time for Cowboys fans.

Cowboys C Travis Frederick announces retirement - Michael Gehlken, DMN

Jerry Jones on Frederick’s retirement:

”Travis Frederick, by the nature of his center position, was the core piece of what I believe to be one of the most talented and skilled NFL offensive lines that has been assembled.

”His leadership ability, production and intelligence put him at the top level of interior offensive linemen in our league for many years. At the pinnacle of his success, his career on the field was only exceeded by a rare display of courage and determination in overcoming a life-threatening illness and returning to the game—a challenge that could only be completed by a person with rare levels of perseverance and strength.

“As a contributor to our community, a family man and a professional person, he has distinguished himself as an exemplary representative of this organization. And for the rest of his life, when his name is mentioned in the same sentence with the Dallas Cowboys, he will be lifting the standards of excellence and esteem that has characterized the history of our proud franchise.”

DeMarcus Lawrence: Cowboys are going to have to pay Dak Prescott - Josh Alper, PFT

DeMarcus Lawrence knows what it is like to deal with the Cowboys use of the franchise tag, he has a message for the Cowboys front office.

Lawrence wanted a long-term deal with the team in 2018, which is what Prescott wants now, but got franchise-tagged and never worked out a new contract with the team. He produced another double-digit sack season in 2018, which led to another tag in 2019.

That one was shorter-lived, however, because the Cowboys eventually made him the highest-paid defensive end in the league before the start of last season. That experience leaves Lawrence with the feeling that the Cowboys are going to wind up paying Prescott now or later.

“All the chips are in his hands,” Lawrence said, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “He will do the same. Just having that pressure on you there is only one thing to do that is to achieve. I feel he is going to do that. . . . He knows the situation and what to prepare for. I feel he is the ultimate leader. Understanding his character, I know Dak is going to be ready for this position. When he thrives there is nothing nobody can say, y’all are going to have to pay him his money.”

Why the Cowboys’ top-heavy roster will count on a strong draft - Todd Archer, ESPN

The Cowboys have a lot of big contracts for their superstars meaning that they bet hit on some winners in the draft.

If the Cowboys’ salary structure seems a little top-heavy, that’s because it is.

Ezekiel Elliott is the NFL’s highest-paid running back, averaging $15 million per season. DeMarcus Lawrence is the highest-paid defensive end at $21 million a season, and Zack Martin is the fourth-highest paid guard at $14 million per season.

Jaylon Smith is the sixth-highest-paid inside linebacker ($12.75 million per year), Travis Frederick is the 10th-highest-paid center ($9.4 million), Tyron Smith is the 11th-highest-paid left tackle ($12.2 million) and La’el Collins is the sixth-highest-paid right tackle ($10 million).

Even if Prescott plays on the franchise tag this season, he will be among the top 10 in quarterback compensation. At best, he could top Seattle’s Russell Wilson, who makes $35 million a season, as the highest-paid quarterback.

Mailbag: What’s the Medical Status of LVE? - Lindsay Cash Draper & Rob Phillips, The Mothership

The Cowboys re-signed Sean Lee and Joe Thomas, and it’s good that they did as the health of Leighton Vander Esch is a question at the moment.

What’s the medical status for Leighton Vander Esch? –GARET TANAKA / WAILUKU, HI

Rob: The Cowboys remain confident that Vander Esch will make a full recovery from his January neck surgery, but I would anticipate they will be deliberate with his offseason work until training camp.

Lindsay: Time after time, we’ve been told that Vander Esch is recovering well. Maybe not at the speediest rate, but it’s happening. Unfortunately, it seems to be a wait and see situation until Oxnard.

Cowboys free agency grades: What experts are saying about Amari Cooper — and why Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is Dallas’ top move - Staff, DMN

The Dallas Morning News has a grades roundup for some of the Cowboys signings, including Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Deal: One year for $4 million, with $2.5 million guaranteed, according to The News’ Calvin Watkins

Elite — Pro Football Focus: “Clinton-Dix is capable of making plays on the ball and limiting big plays for the opposing team. For a team that had a need at the safety position, this deal is about as good as the Cowboys could have hoped for.”

A-plus — “I’m actually a bit surprised Clinton-Dix had to take a “prove it” deal once again. He performed very well for Chicago in 2019, so the Cowboys are getting an amazing bargain.”

A-minus — SBNation: “This is a solid, underrated signing for Jerry Jones, who’s been very busy.”

Note: SBNation is giving out long-term and short-term grades. Since Clinton-Dix’s deal is for one year, we’ve listed the short-term grade. Their long-term grade is also an A-minus.

B — ESPN’s Bill Barnwell: “Run defense has historically been Clinton-Dix’s weakness, but at this price, getting a solid defender against the pass makes sense for the Cowboys.”

10 things to know about new Cowboys safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, like why his nickname stuck - Staff, DMN

Get to know Clinton-Dix.

2. Reunited with Mike McCarthy

Clinton-Dix will see at least one familiar face when he comes to Dallas.

The veteran safety was a 2014 first-round pick of the Packers and played for current Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy when he was the head coach in Green Bay. He has spent the majority of his six-year career with the Packers and started 55 straight regular-season games. Clinton-Dix was with Green Bay for four-and-a-half seasons before being traded to the Washington Redskins in October 2018.

4. The meaning behind his nickname

Clinton-Dix’s nickname, Ha Ha was given to him by his grandmother when he was 3 years old. His first name, Ha’Sean, was often mispronounced by people outside of his family.

“Ha Ha was a cool name, so I said, ‘All right, cool,’” Clinton-Dix told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “People have called me Ha Ha since I was in elementary school, so that’s just what it’s been. And I think it really blew up when I was in college and Coach (Nick) Saban was having a press conference. He said, ‘Ha Ha,’ and everybody was like, ‘Who the heck is that?’”

CowBuzz: Frederick, The HotBoys Staying Busy - Taylor Stern & Mayan Meza Tovar, The Mothership

Some Cowboys players are doing good works during these trying times.

While the sports world has hit a collective pause, several Dallas Cowboy players have taken this to use their platform and give back to the community.

Last week center, Travis Frederick, announced that through his Blocking Out Hunger Foundation, he and a group of Cowboys teammates and coaches would commit to match up to $40,000 in public donation through a partnership with the Sharing Life Community Outreach.

The mission of the foundation is to provide support for inner-city and low-income children throughout Metro Dallas who struggle with hunger. With the school closures Frederick is helping the families who are struggling to have food for their families that the school would regularly supply.

This past weekend, the “HotBoyz” took their time to step up in a big way in order to both support locally-owned businesses and provide food to first responders and hospital employees who are still working during the global pandemic.

BTB Podcast

Travis Frederick’s retirement stunned Cowboys fans everywhere. We give our thoughts on the latest episode of The Ocho.

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