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Cowboys news: Jerry Jones and the Cowboys must stop playing by the NFL’s old rules

Your Wednesday edition of news on America’s Team.

NFL: OCT 17 Cowboys at Patriots Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jerry Jones, Cowboys must stop playing by NFL’s old rules and change offseason approach - Jean-Jacques Taylor, Dallas Morning News

A push for the front office to change the strategy.

The goal is to win games - not have a palatable salary cap situation. This isn’t necessarily about spending big money on free agents such as 32-year-old linebacker Bobby Wagner. But it’s not enough to tell us every year that signing your own free agents is the best you can do. Not when you haven’t been to the Super Bowl since the 1995 season, which is also the last time the Cowboys played in the NFC Championship Game.

Only raggedy franchises like Detroit and Washington have longer droughts. Sometimes, you need to supplement the roster with players who can come in and help right away. Draft choices are hit or miss. The Cowboys need to do better. For the Cowboys, it’s about taking advantage of the window to win right now with players such as linemen Tyron Smith, Zach Martin, running back Ezekiel Elliott and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence before they move out of their prime.

But the Cowboys have been so consumed with balancing their salary cap situation they’ve short-changed the roster.

Stephen Jones On Why Wagner “Didn’t Work Out” - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys.com

The Cowboys seem to be out of the Bobby Wagner race.

Jones explained why "it didn't work out" in adding Wagner to the defense and reuniting him with Dan Quinn, who coached the eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker in Seattle. "Obviously Dan's had a history with Bobby knows him well," Jones said. "But it was one of those situations where you look into it – great football player, Hall of Fame football player. But as it turned out, it didn't work out with us."

Wagner, who serves as his own agent, is reportedly looking for a deal in the neighborhood of $11 million a season. As of Tuesday, he was linked to having mutual interest in signing with the Ravens and Rams. Wagner has played his entire 10-year career with the Seahawks, including two seasons under Quinn as the DC. He was recently waived by Seattle for salary-cap reasons.

When asked about the linebacker position for his own team, Jones said he's not as concerned with the depth, that currently includes Micah Parsons, Leighton Vander Esch, Luke Gifford and Jabril Cox.

Possible Pick: Kenyon Green Has O-Line Versatility - Rob Phillips, DallasCowboys.com

There’s a good chance Green could be the Cowboys pick at 24.

Where He's Projected: Most outside draft observers seem to think Green will get drafted somewhere in the top 50 picks – as early as the back half of the first round, but if not, he likely won't be around long on Day 2. Green, former Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum and ex-Boston College guard Zion Johnson are generally considered the top three interior linemen in this year's class. (Rank them however you wish.) Green's run-blocking for All-SEC running back Isaiah Spiller stood out at Texas A&M, and so does his versatility. He filled in wherever needed over three seasons, playing both guard spots and tackle spots at different spots in college.

How He Helps The Cowboys: The Cowboys recently released veteran right tackle La'el Collins with a post-June 1 designation, but the club's most immediate need appears to be at guard, where four-year starting left guard Connor Williams recently signed a two-year, $14 million deal with the Miami Dolphins. Connor McGovern, a four-game starter at left guard last season, is the most likely candidate on the current roster to take Williams' spot, but the Cowboys could look to sign a veteran for depth, and Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said offensive line help is likely to be a target somewhere in the first three rounds, too. As mentioned above, Green played every spot but center in college but most likely projects best at guard.

Could DT Akiem Hicks Solidify the Cowboys Defensive Line? - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

The veteran defensive tackle could be a nice addition.

But veteran Akiem Hicks, a longtime run-stuffer and former Pro Bowler with the Bears, presents another opportunity. And as we move into April, the 32-year-old’s asking price may be dropping closer to Dallas’ range. Hicks has primarily played as a 3-4 DE in Chicago and in former stops with New England and New Orleans. Akiem transitioned to DT last year under new Bears head coach Matt Eberflus.

Listed at 6’4″ and over 330 lbs., Hicks is a true space-eater in the middle of the line. And unlike second-year prospect Quinton Bohanna, Akiem has a proven track record of NFL performance that could help bolster Dallas’ defense in the trenches. From 2016-2018, Hicks had at least seven sacks each year and graded out as one of, if not the best, run defenders in football. He can be highly disruptive even as a run-stuffer; a rare and valuable commodity.

Has the Dallas Cowboys' free agency really been that bad? - Tyrone Starr, The Landry Hat

An interesting perspective on Dallas’ free agency.

To be a Cowboys fan is like being the poorest kid you know at Christmastime. I imagine it rivals being a sober, agoraphobic, introvert on New Year’s Eve. Each and every year, the Dallas front office seemingly lives to deliver nothing but socks and underwear under their fans’ Christmas trees. They make sure fans’ refrigerators have nothing but a single non-alcoholic beer to sip on. Even the most prepared, most cynical person can still be Charlie Brown’d by Lucy that apparently has the last name “Jones.” In full disclosure, I would consider myself both prepared and cynical. Prior to the official start of free agency, I discussed what to expect.

I fully expected to lose defensive end Randy Gregory because I thought teams would throw too much money at him. I did not expect Dallas to lose him because of some ridiculous 25th-hour paperwork shenanigans. I also did not have the Cowboys as the last team to sign a free agent that did not play for the team the prior year. Dallas, to not be underestimated, waited six days into free agency before bringing in former Steelers receiver James Washington.

Big names, big money, or quick deals for other teams’ free agents will just never be what the Cowboys choose to prioritize. That does not necessarily mean that their free agency period has been a complete trainwreck, however. Before we go any further, this is not an attempt to make you feel better. It certainly is not about to be a puff piece either. Talk revolving around trades or releases will be minimal.

3 best things that have happened to the Dallas Cowboys this offseason - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys

What do you think is the best thing that has happened to the Cowboys this offseason?

DeMarcus Lawrence is still on the team. For a little while it seemed like the Cowboys were going to give DeMarcus Lawrence the same treatment that they gave Amari Cooper. Both are talented players but were making money that the organization did not feel comfortable carrying.

Obviously Dallas wound up trading Cooper away but was able to negotiate a new deal with DeMarcus Lawrence. There is a debate around Lawrence being overrated and not worthy of top-tier money because he does not have the highest sack numbers in the league (a topic Dave Halprin explored recently here at BTB), but he is an elite run defender and staple on the defense as a whole. While the team did not suffer without him this past season. having to play regularly without him would be a very difficult thing, especially with Randy Gregory now a member of the Denver Broncos.

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