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Cowboys news: Speculation on the status of players like Amari Cooper and DeMarcus Lawrence picks up

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NFL: NFC Wild Card Playoff-San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

DeMarcus Lawrence vs. Randy Gregory: Can Dallas Cowboys Only Pick One? - Mike Fisher, Cowboy Maven

Would you take Randy Gregory over DeMarcus Lawrence if it came down to it?

FRISCO - In this corner, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.

In that corner, defensive end Randy Gregory.

Is this a fight? A competition? Do the 2022 Dallas Cowboys have to choose one or the other?

A team source tells that re-signing coming free agent Gregory is “a major priority” - and we think that might take a $15 million APY deal.

Meanwhile, Lawrence is coming off a season in which he missed 10 games with a broken bone in his foot and hits the salary cap this year at a whopping $27 million.

So … “Tank vs. Randy’’? Right?

Not yet.

Amid wild speculation (of the sort that’s also included receiver Amari Cooper), the Cowboys have finalized almost nothing here.

They are hoping Gregory gives them a “hometown discount,” owner Jerry Jones saying, he had a “good visit” with Gregory’s agent at the Senior Bowl.

“Knowing our time together,” Jones added, “and some of the pluses and some of the times that we’ve had to work through some of the not-so-fun things, that will serve us well.”

Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones throws shade at Amari Cooper - Lauren Barash, The Landry Hat

The Jones’ should stop talking.

Shortly after the Dallas Cowboys disappointing loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card Game, team owner Jerry Jones went on 105.3 The Fan to talk about a plethora of his various frustrations with the team. Jones expressed anger about not making it further with the current personnel, uncertainty about coaching, what moves need to be made, and more.

But Jones also specifically mentioned his frustration with wide receiver Amari Cooper. He felt Cooper should have had far more of an impact this season than he did, especially considering the fact that the receiver earned $20 million this year.

The words from Jones sparked conversation about the possibility of Dallas cutting Cooper to save money in salary cap. Much of this was overshadowed by the drama of Jones figuring out how to re-sign Dan Quinn and go back on his initial refusal to confirm Mike McCarthy’s future.

Now, a week later, Jones’ son and the team’s executive vice president Stephen Jones was throwing shade at Cooper, too. When Steven was talking with reporters at the Senior Bowl in Alabama, it was hard to tell whether his quote was blaming play calling, Dak Prescott, or Cooper. But he definitely wasn’t shy about saying that any player who gets a salary that big should be expected to produce.

5 reasons why the Cowboys could be considering moving on from DeMarcus Lawrence and Amari Cooper - Dan Rogers, Blogging the Boys

They don’t have to do either of these things, but it sounds like there is a discussion going on.

3. They like their “next man up” options

When Tank and Coop were signed to their big deals, both CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons weren’t on the team. And if they were, would the Cowboys have resigned them? Over the past two drafts, the Cowboys have used their first-round pick on Lamb and Parsons respectively. Nobody expected Lamb to be a Cowboys draft option in 2020 and nobody expected Parsons to be such an edge-rushing beast. These are new factors that have entered the equation and maybe the front office feels comfortable enough with these rising stars to move away from their high-priced veterans.

4. They want some valuable draft capital in return

If we concluded that (1) Lawrence and Cooper are worth their upcoming base salaries, (2) the Cowboys are looking to save some money, and (3) the front office is comfortable with their replacements, then maybe they want to cash in on the value of these stars by collecting some nice draft picks? What would they be able to get in return? We know there are some teams who love having proven stars over premium draft capital, so maybe this presents an opportunity to haul in some picks? We also know that the Cowboys have been pretty darn good with their drafting ability as of late, so reloading Will McClay and company with an arsenal of draft capital wouldn’t be a terrible thing.

Mailbag: Should Pollard Get More Snaps Than Zeke? - Rob Phillips,

Yes, Pollard should get more touches than he has.

I often hear that Tony Pollard didn’t get enough touches. What’s the answer? Should Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott each get the ball about 50% of the time? Should Pollard have been the starter? Thanks. — MARK WHITT / MULLENS, WV

Rob: No, I wouldn’t go that far as make a starter change. I think Pollard is terrific in his role as a change of pace. To me, the ideal balance is what we saw early in the season when the run game was humming and chewing up clock — Elliott’s 74 carries to Pollard’s 58 in Weeks 2-5. That’s more in line with what Mike McCarthy suggested in training camp about keeping Zeke fresh from the playoffs. One can argue that Pollard should have taken more of the load in the middle of the season when Zeke was clearly banged up. Then again, Elliott is better in terms of pass protection, which can’t be overstated when you look at how much Dak Prescott was pressured down the stretch. No matter who’s in at running back, winning the line of scrimmage is the biggest factor to me.

How Much Should LB Jabril Cox Factor Into Cowboys Offseason Decisions? - Jess Haynie, Inside the Star

Jabril Cox is an intriguing prospect for the 2022 season.

The Cowboys could be busy this offseason at linebacker. Several key players are about to become free agents, but one guy you may have forgotten about is 2021 rookie Jabril Cox. How much should the second-year LB factor in Dallas’ decisions?

Cox didn’t get much in his rookie season; only nine total snaps from Weeks 1-8. He then suffered a torn ACL against the Vikings and was lost for the remainder of the year.

But between his strong preseason play and a TD-saving stop on Giants’ QB Daniel Jones during Dallas’ Week 5 victory over New York, Jabril flashed his future potential. He validated the consensus opinion that he was a big steal for the Cowboys as a 4th-Round pick in the 2021 Draft.

Athletic and rangy, Cox could be seen as an ideal compliment to likely Rookie of the Year Micah Parsons. But now with a major injury to come back from and little experience from his first season, Jabril may not be trustworthy enough to be a focal point of Dallas’ offseason.

It would be nice if the Cowboys could lean on Cox as a major piece for next season. Leighton Vander Esch and Keanu Neal are both unrestricted free agents, Luke Gifford is restricted, and Francis Bernard is an exclusive rights, free agent.

Even assuming Gifford and Bernard return, that would leave Dallas with just those developmental projects, Parsons, and Cox as their linebacker corps for 2022. They would obviously have more work to do to field a fully group for the season.

Dallas’ trust in Jabril will be a big factor in how much they try to retain Neal and Vander Esch, if at all. Both had good moments last season but neither was consistently impactful in large roles.

Dallas Cowboys’ backup plan if Kellen Moore leaves is uninspiring - Zach Ragan, A to Z Dallas

What happens if Moore gets the Miami job?

If Moore leaves for the Dolphins, the Cowboys feel like they have a safety net in place.

Dallas executive vice president Stephen Jones said this week that if Moore leaves, the Cowboys’ plan would be to turn to head coach Mike McCarthy, who called plays for the Green Bay Packers during most of his tenure there.

“The great news is, Mike is an offensive football coach,” said Jones this week (via the Cowboys’ official website). “He’s called plays for Super Bowl teams and Championship teams. It gives you a little more safety net vs. where we were on the defensive side of the ball.”

I’m not sure this is the strategy the Cowboys should be moving forward with if Moore leaves for Miami.

McCarthy may have extensive experience calling plays, but that doesn’t mean he’s the best option to call plays for this offense.

The former Packers head coach was repeatedly blasted for his play-calling efforts toward the end of his tenure in Green Bay.

Specifically his conservative play calling.

If Moore leaves, Dallas needs to find an innovative play-caller to take his place (go get Joe Brady, who was just hired as the Buffalo Bills’ quarterbacks coach). Letting McCarthy handle those duties and expecting different results than what we’ve seen from him over the last five to six years doesn’t seem like a wise idea.

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