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Cowboys news: Mike McCarthy comments on the loss of Amari Cooper and La’el Collins

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NFL Combine Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Mike McCarthy: Trades of Amari Cooper, La’el Collins were difficult decisions - Charean Williams, PFT

Coach McCarthy seems to be towing the company line about Amari Cooper and La’el Collins.

“We’re still in the first 15 (minutes of the offseason),’’ Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said Saturday, via David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. “The first quarter is not even completed yet. If people are frustrated, well, sometimes games are a little frustrating. We’ve definitely come out with a run the football and take care of your own mindset. Outside of our own roster, we have a mindset where we’re not going to throw the ball deep with every snap.

“How’s that for a football analogy?’’

So are the Cowboys better right now than when they ended the season with a loss to the 49ers in the wild card round? It’s hard to argue they are.

“I mean, Amari Cooper is a fantastic football player,’’ McCarthy said. “He does some things clearly that put him with the best, particularly his quickness at the lateral release is about as good as I’ve ever worked with. That was a difficult, difficult decision.

“Same with La’el. You don’t want to lose those sort of players. But when you talk about competition, there is also competition and a challenge in the financial arena. You have to make business decisions that are in line with the dynamics of your cap.’’

Randy Gregory free agency 2022: Russell Wilson helped poach veteran pass rusher from Cowboys to Broncos - Patrik Walker, CBSSports

Russell Wilson played a factor in Randy Gregory’s decision to join the Broncos.

Russell Wilson is already having a huge impact on team-building with the Denver Broncos, something that eluded him greatly during his time with the Seattle Seahawks. The veteran quarterback is wasting no time helping his new team recruit headline talent in 2022 NFL free agency, and that includes defensive end Randy Gregorywho stunned the entire NFL by reaching an agreement with the Dallas Cowboys on a five-year deal before a contractual implosion fueled by a last-minute clause the team attempted to insert after the fact subsequently thrust him into the arms of the Broncos.

Gregory has now signed a five-year, $70 million deal in Denver that will play him in tandem with former fifth-overall pick Bradley Chubb, and achieves a mission set out by the Broncos in free agency when they emerged as the frontrunner to steal Gregory away from the Cowboys, a curveball CBS Sports initially reported Monday. Highly sought after by several teams, it was Gregory’s first actual taste of NFL free agency, and the offers came in hot and ready.

But, with the added help of Wilson, the former second-round pick is now a Bronco.

“Initially, [free agency] was really hectic,” Gregory said, via the Broncos official website. “Pretty painful, but the Broncos really sweetened it and made it worthwhile — so did Russell — so like I said, I’m really excited to be here. ...I’m excited for the future.”

Updated 2022 draft needs for every NFL team through early free agency - Gary Davenport, Bleacher Report

What are the Dallas Cowboys current draft needs?

Dallas Cowboys: EDGE, DT, CB

Things are never boring in Dallas, and the 2022 offseason has been no exception. At wide receiver, Amari Cooper was traded to Cleveland while Michael Gallup was re-signed. Tight end Dalton Schultz got the franchise tag. Edge-rusher Randy Gregory was set to re-up with the team as well, but a dispute over a clause in his deal that would have voided the guarantees if he were suspended resulted in Gregory signing with the Denver Broncos instead.

That kerfuffle opened up a hole on the edge opposite Demarcus Lawrence. The team signed Dante Fowler Jr. on Friday in an effort to fill that hole, but after logging 11.5 sacks with the Rams in 2019, Fowler has just 7.5 sacks over the past two seasons combined.

He can’t be counted on.

There’s also a need along the interior of the defensive line. Dallas was light-years better defensively in 2021 than the year before, but the Cowboys still ranked in the middle of the pack against the run, surrendering 112.8 yards per game.

Also, while cornerback Trevon Diggs led the league in interceptions last season, the pass defense was just 20th in the league.

Getting Diggs some help on the back end is advisable.

2022 NFL Draft: 2 Prospects the Cowboys could trade up for - Rocky Garza Jr., Inside The Star

Are Derek Stingley Jr. or Tyler Linderbaum worth trading up for?

Tyler Linderbaum, Center, Iowa

Once touted as the best offensive line in the league, it’s crazy to see the Dallas Cowboys’ big nasties up front go from an elite group to just okay in a span of three years.

After losing franchise Center Travis Frederick to retirement two years ago, the Boys have Guard Zack Martin and Tackle Tyron Smith who remain, but besides them two, they were a shaky group.

You would think the franchise who understood that their offensive line was an issue would either upgrade or retain some of their core pieces, but after the release of Starting Tackle La’el Collins and departure of Guard Connor Williams in free agency this offseason, the line looks worse heading into next season.

Enter Linderbaum, who is considered as the top center of this class, and gives you an immediate boost on the line.

Dante Fowler: What coach Dan Quinn says about Dallas Cowboys new signing - Mike Fisher, Cowboys Maven

Dan Quinn sounds excited about reuniting with Dante Fowler.

FRISCO - The Dallas Cowboys were ”all-in’’ on pass-rusher Randy Gregory, until he and his agent decided that the language in his contract stated otherwise.

On Friday, the Cowboys went “somewhat in’’ on another edge rusher in free agency, signing former top-three pick Dante Fowler to what sources tell is a one-year deal.

And Dan Quinn is a driving force here.

“He can roll!’’ Dallas defensive coordinator Quinn told his Cowboys bosses in an endorsement of the signing of Fowler.

Mailbag: Gholston’s role? NFC East closing the gap? Cowboys Staff, The Mothership

Are the Cowboys division rivals gaining ground on them?

With the cap-related attrition to the Cowboys roster, New York and Philadelphia each having multiple first-round picks and Washington getting Carson Wentz, I can’t help but draw the conclusion that the rest of the division will close the gap on the Cowboys next year. Any reason for me to think otherwise? – PETER MALLIRIS / EUGENE, OR

Nick: They probably have closed the gap. But here’s the thing, it’s a pretty big gap. It was a three-game lead over the Eagles, five games over Washington and eight games over the Giants. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be concerned but just because those teams might get a little better, it doesn’t mean the Cowboys won’t be the favorites to win the division again. I think they’ve got the best quarterback in the division and I think they’ve got the best defensive player as well. You obviously need more than that but I think Dallas is still the best team in the NFC East.

Rob: I still think the Cowboys are the best team in the division on paper, mainly because Dak Prescott is still the division’s best quarterback in my opinion. And they’ve still got a nice foundation on defense, despite Randy Gregory expected to sign with Denver. But there’s no denying there are a lot of gaps to fill on offense, defense and the kicking game in order to stay competitive within the entire conference. There’s also time to do that, though at the moment I wonder about the depth at wide receiver, defensive end and now offensive tackle following La’el Collins post-June 1 release.

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