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Cowboys News: Free agents still on the market that could interest the Cowboys

Plus, why Andy Dalton chose the Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Introduce Head Coach Mike McCarthy Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Should Dallas Cowboys Reunite DT Mike Daniels With HC Mike McCarthy? - Brian Martin, Inside the Star

With the draft completed and undrafted free agents mostly signed, the only real way to add talent now is through the remaining free agents on the market or a trade. And if the Cowboys want to continue to build their defensive tackle depth, they could turn to someone Mike McCarthy is pretty familiar with.

From 2012 to 2018, Mike Daniels bolstered the Green Bay Packers defensive line under the guidance of then HC Mike McCarthy. Things changed in 2019 though. Daniels would spend the season with the Detroit Lions, while McCarthy took a nearly year-long sabbatical away from the game altogether. Fast forward to present day, and it’s Daniels who is looking for a job.

Daniels, who turns 31 today (May 5), is an eight year veteran who has 235 tackles and 30 sacks to his name, along with a Pro Bowl appearance in 2017. He may have only appeared in nine games with the Lions last season due to injuries, but I believe he still has plenty left in the tank. In fact, he still managed a respectable 70.1 grade from Pro Football Focus in his shortened 2019 season.

The Dallas Cowboys currently have Gerald McCoy (3-tech) and Dontari Poe (1-tech) penciled in as the starters on the interior their defensive line, but behind them things are far less clear. Trysten Hill – last year’s second-round pick – and Neville Gallimore will likely duke it out to become McCoy’s primary backup, but right now there’s really no one on the current roster behind Poe.

Dallas Cowboys: A valuable free agent the team should sign - Anthony Penna Jr., The Landry Hat

There had been rumors that the Cowboys may look to upgrade their linebacker corps in the draft, but they ended up not selecting a single linebacker. With several interesting free agents still out there, Mike McCarthy could look to yet another player he has history with.

So, the Boys need to be prepared for when or if this may occur. And I’m a believer in Joe Thomas as he did get valuable reps over the course of last year. But there is one free-agent linebacker out there who can be very dynamic in new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan multiple scheme and who also has had experience playing under head coach Mike McCarthy. And that’s Clay Matthews.

Under McCarthy and his 10-year stint with the Green Bay Packers, Matthews racked up 482 tackles, 83.5 sacks, 15 forced fumbles, and six interceptions. A hybrid linebacker who can play on or off-the-ball is something that can become of great value for this Dallas defense down the stretch.

Matthews is the type of player who can rotate to multiple positions, drop in coverage or rush the passer. He brings value inside the locker room as well with his leadership, experience, and, of course, talent.

I’m not saying Matthews should take the place of a starter in Dallas. But he would be a great insurance policy for the team’s top three linebackers as he’s a proven veteran who still has a lot left in the tank. Last season, Matthews racked up 37 total tackles, 8.0 sacks, three pass deflections, and two forced fumbles in 13 games for the Los Angeles Rams.

Giants claiming Cooper Rush off waivers isn’t a surprise as Jason Garrett talked highly of QB with Cowboys - Jeff Kerr, CBS Sports

Jason Garrett may be just the offensive coordinator for the New York Giants, but that clearly hasn’t stopped him from having influence in personnel decisions. Shortly after the Cowboys waived backup quarterback Cooper Rush, he reunited with his former head coach in the Big Apple.

Bringing Rush to New York shouldn’t be surprising in the least with Garrett running the offense. When Cowboys franchise quarterback Dak Prescott was battling a shoulder injury in December of last season and his consecutive-starts streak appeared to be in jeopardy, Garrett had no issue giving Rush the start and trusting him to lead the Cowboys in a playoff race.

“There’s a lot to like about Coop. He’s one of those guys that came in as a free agent and basically just earned his way based on how he’s played,” Garrett said in Week 16 of last season with the Cowboys. “His approach is outstanding. He’s a real pro in terms of his preparation. He’s always ready for his opportunities and just handles situations well. He’s a smart player. He’s an instinctive player. He’s a good decision maker. He’s probably a better athlete and has a better arm than people give him credit for. He’s just done a good job when he’s gotten chances. We like him a lot.”

A former undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan, Rush spent his first three seasons with the Cowboys. He has played just five games in the NFL and attempted just three passes, largely in part due to Prescott’s availability every week. Rush has been the No. 2 quarterback in Dallas the past several seasons, but the Cowboys decided to upgrade at the position by signing Andy Dalton to a one-year deal to back up Prescott.

Andy Dalton had ‘several options’ before choosing Cowboys - Samantha Previte, New York Post

Andy Dalton has been a starting quarterback for all nine of his years in the NFL, so it was a little surprising to see him take a clear backup role in Dallas. But Dalton explained some of his reasons for choosing the Cowboys despite having other options.

With the future in mind, Dalton said coaching and the organization’s caliber played a big role in his decision, which is all part of a “big-picture plan.”

“I wanted to join a high-class organization team that’s ready to win and be with Mike McCarthy — his history with quarterbacks — it gives me a chance to come to a new place, a chance to learn, to help Dak out any way I can and just to be an asset for this team,” he said.

“For us to stay close to home… We already have a house here and not have to move, not have to figure out the whole logistics of that transition especially during a time like this when there’s a lot of unknown with what’s going to happen and when things are going to start up and all that stuff,” Dalton said. “I think that was definitely part of it.”

Will training camp return to Oxnard? Cowboys are working through unprecedented issues to make it happen - David Moore, Dallas Morning News

Training camp in Oxnard, California has become a staple for the Cowboys, as one of the few teams to not hold training camp at their own team facilities. But with the complications from coronavirus, it’s unclear if the team will be able to show up this year.

The deadline to commit to holding camp in Oxnard has been pushed back to June to give the Cowboys more time. City officials have made it clear they are willing to accommodate whatever the Cowboys require — delaying the start of camp, altering its length or not allowing fans to watch practice — to keep their relationship intact.

“On our side, we will assure we will meet whatever needs they have regarding their safety,’’ said Alex Nguyen, Oxnard’s city manager. “A training camp that is not open to the public, that would make sense. Only a certain number of people attending, that would make sense.

“The fields we have and the hotel adjacent to it are completely conducive to a closed and secure compound. It can definitely work.

“We are waiting to hear.”

Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys are at an impasse over nothing - Reid Hanson, Sports DFW

It seems to be a given that the Cowboys will eventually get a deal done with Dak Prescott, but unlike most other situations like this, the two sides aren’t negotiating over price. Instead, the argument seems to have come down to the difference a single year makes.

So contrary to popular belief, it’s not Dak’s outrageous demands or selfishness or greed that’s holding this up. It’s the length of the deal. Rather than asking for more Dak’s actually asking for less. Try that on for size, Dak haters.

Now before we throw him a parade and add him to the Christmas card list, let’s be clear: this isn’t about sacrifice or altruism. This is good business from Dak Prescott’s camp. A short-term deal may offer less overall dollars, but if Dak continues to perform as he’s been, he stands to make considerably more overall getting to the free agent market again as quickly as possible.

That’s where the two parties are at the impasse.

Early predictions for Cowboys 55-man roster - Ben Grimaldi, Cowboys Wire

The Andy Dalton signing showed the Cowboys aren’t done adding players to the roster, but it does seem to be set for the most part at this point. That means it’s time to start predicting who will make the final roster and who won’t.

Dak Prescott, Andy Dalton, Ben DiNucci

Dak Prescott will play for the Cowboys in 2020, forget any other noise. Dalton makes a perfect backup and DiNucci hopefully shows enough in preseason to stick.

Under former boss Jason Garrett the Cowboys have gone with just two quarterbacks recently, but Mike McCarthy likes to have a young QB to develop. Dallas could try to sneak him through final cuts and add him to the practice squad, but it’s doubtful they’ll temp fate. McCarthy will choose to keep him.

BTB Podcast

We have a lot of Cowboys interviews available for you on the BTB podcast feed this week.

You can listen to Ben DiNucci right here or UDFA Rico Dowdle right here. Our episode of Talkin’ The Draft with both Neville Gallimore and Reggie Robinson II is below.

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