There was a time when NFL fans couldn’t picture the draft being held anywhere outside of New York, but as popularity has grown, even the Combine could be on the move from Indy.
If the NFL were to move the combine, it would be the first time since 1987 that Indianapolis would not host the over 330 annual prospects and all 32 organizations. Additionally, “I think it would be great for our fans,” Jones said. “To have it in our market, have the experience of being around it. It’s a positive thing. I think people can’t get enough of the NFL and football. It’s great for them to see these young players in our market and be a great experience for them.”
There has not been a formal proposal to the league office from the Cowboys organization to this point. However, the wheels have been turning in the right direction to bring one of the league’s more notable events. The league has announced that the 2023-2028 events are available to bidding and so far, only Dallas and Los Angeles have placed a formal bid, along with current host Indianapolis. Dallas has the benefit of both the Arlington and Frisco areas to host such a large event with meeting spaces for interviews, hospitals for medical checks, and of course a playing surface for drills.
Stephen Jones met with the media as the NFL Combine gets underway from Indianapolis, and his answers sound eerily familiar.
In order to pay the cream of the club’s current free agent crop- Randy Gregory, Dalton Schultz, Michael Gallup, Jayron Kearse- it would take restructuring several other big-money contracts in order to get under the cap, and/or simply unloading players whose stats are no longer on par with their production. Two names that have popped up in that latter category are wide receiver Amari Cooper and running back Ezekiel Elliott, after a disappointing season for each. Jones was asked about both high-priced veterans but offered two very different levels of commitment.
These household names would help the Cowboys deal with potentially losing Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randy Gregory, or DeMarcus Lawrence this offseason.
In addition to free agents they may lose, there have also been talks that the Joneses may cut star receiver Amari Cooper. This decision would strongly help the Cowboys cap space, but does seem to mostly be out of anger that Cooper didn’t perform as well as he should based on his pay raise before last season. The point is, there is no way the Cowboys keep all five of these names, which means they need reinforcements at receiver. Houston Texans WR Brandin Cooks is a great option. Even on a brutal Texans team, Cooks recorded 62 receptions, 704 yards and three touchdowns.
While they do have Anthony Brown, Cowboys fans likely know him as the guy that continually got burned or the guy who had four penalties in the Thanksgiving game against the Las Vegas Raiders. A seasoned veteran and three-time Pro Bowler like Marcus Peters would provide an upgrade for Dallas. Peters could also help shape younger corners and safeties in the depth chart. Although Peters did tear his ACL last season, reports say that he will be ready for training camp.
One of the biggest Cowboys stars heading into free agency is Randy Gregory. The defensive end was a big piece of the defensive turnaround for Dallas in 2021 and has been a Cowboy since 2015. While many fans want to see Gregory stay, Packers DE Preston Smith could be an excellent replacement option. Gregory is expected to go for a very large contract, but he is also expected to sign a multi-year deal.
The Cowboys have work to do up front, but not at right guard with Zack Martin.
Indeed, Zack Martin is still rockin’ his peers and provides incredible stability for the Cowboys on their offensive line. He’s a stalwart presence who not only helps the players around him but also gives Dallas confidence to restructure his contract to fund other roster renovations. You could reasonably put a question mark next to every other spot on the offensive line this offseason.
Tyron Smith and La’el Collins are still under contract for next year, but between Tyron’s chronic health issues and Collins’ mercurial status with the organization it’s hard to say with absolute certainty where they both stand. Even if Collins remains in Dallas next year, could a move to left guard be in the works? Connor Williams is a free agent that nobody seems to want back and Connor McGovern did nothing with his starting opportunity last year.
Bumping La’el back to guard and starting Terence Steele at right tackle may be the Cowboys’ best option in 2021. Things are also rocky at center where Tyler Biadasz was a low-graded and highly-penalized performer last. He’s still just 24 and only entering his third season, but the Cowboys could be intrigued by potential upgrades in the coming months over the former 4th-Round pick. Again, thank goodness for Zack Martin!
Top 101 NFL free agents of 2022: Davante Adams, Chris Godwin lead off ranking - Gregg Rosenthal, Around The NFL
Randy Gregory, Michael Gallup, Connor Williams, Jayron Kearse, and Bryan Anger all make the list for Dallas.
Gregory was an All-Pro candidate before suffering a calf injury in Week 9, after which he never quite looked the same. He underwent knee surgery after the season. Betting on 16 games is a bit much, but he’s a difference-maker when right.
Outside starting receivers are so hard to find in free agency that Gallup should have a strong market, even coming off a torn ACL.
Williams’ PFF grade has improved significantly over his last three seasons. Cowboys fans and smart analysts are consistently less impressed. The truth is usually in the middle, though Williams always seems to underperform in big moments.
I can’t quite believe I’m ranking Kearse this high, but I also can’t quite believe how great of a find he was for Dan Quinn in Dallas last year.
Could I interest you in the best (or second-best) punter in the NFL last year?
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