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Cowboys news: Hall of Famer Rayfield Wright passes away at the age of 76

Plus other news from around the Dallas Cowboys.

Class Of 2006 Pro Football Enshrinement Ceremony Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Rayfield Wright, longtime Cowboys tackle and Hall of Famer, dies at 76 - Michael Baca, NFL.com

Dallas Cowboys great and NFL Hall of Famer Rayfield Wright passed away on Thursday.

Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle Rayfield Wright passed away Thursday, the Hall of Fame announced. He was 76 years old.

“Over the past few weeks, it has become abundantly clear the love that so many Hall of Famers and others around the NFL felt toward Rayfield, his wife, Di, and the extended Wright family,” Hall of Fame President Jim Porter said in a statement. “His gentle nature away from the game belied his commanding presence on the field. All fans, especially those of the Cowboys, will remember fondly his dominance on the offensive line in the 1970s and how he took protecting Dallas quarterbacks as his personal mission.

“We will guard his legacy in Canton with equal tenacity. The Hall of Fame Flag will fly at half-staff through Rayfield’s services next Friday as a tribute to the many lives he touched.”

Wright, a Griffin, Georgia, native, was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in 2006 and inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor in 2004.

Those accomplishments came after Wright played all 13 of his NFL seasons in Dallas for a grand total of 182 games before his retirement in 1980. He earned the first of six straight Pro Bowl nods and three consecutive first-team All-Pro honors in 1971. Wright was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1970s.

Brandt, Computer Helped Revolutionize Scouting Jeff Sullivan, DallasCowboys.com

A look at how the Cowboys ended up with guys like Rayfield Wright.

As the Cowboys president and general manager, one of the tasks Schramm gave Gil Brandt, his chief scout, was to find some way to use computer technology similar to what IBM did at the Olympics, so that the upstart team might gain an advantage when it came to acquiring football players.

The task was the beginning of two NFL pioneers collaborating to build the foundation of what would become one of the game’s iconic franchises. And both Schramm and Brandt went on to be honored in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for helping innovate many aspects of building a successful football team from the ground up, as well as for their overall contributions to the sport.

NFL scouting at the time the Cowboys came into existence consisted of scouts using contacts and relationships to find players. The job was more subjective and antidotal than analytical.

“(The Cowboys) started using computers as far back as 1962. Our stuff was computer driven and we had a ton of data,” remembers the now 90-year-old Brandt during a recent telephone interview. “The first thing we did was we wanted to find out what were the characteristics that made up a good football player.”

Cowboys ‘Trade Call’? Texans Sign WR Brandin Cooks to New Deal - Mike Fisher, Fresnobee.com

The Cowboys showed interest in the Texans wide receiver, but it is all for not as Cooks is not going any where.

1) As we wrote it on Thursday morning: Cooks is a $12.5 million receiver now on the last year of his deal. He’s going to want a new contract along with any trade, and given the price of receivers now, we’ll bet he’s going to want $20 million APY. He has played for four teams in eight years, but that is not indicative of any negative. The negative for Dallas is that $20 million APY should, in their view, go to a “No. 1 receiver’’ (think D.K. Metcalf, think A.J. Brown, think of how Cooper was deemed something short of that).

Dallas isn’t going to rent Brandin Cooks for a year. And Dallas isn’t going to pay Brandin Cooks $20 million APY.

2) In Houston he is considered an asset as a locker-room leader as well as a perennial 1,000-yard receiver. His 4.33 40 time is part of the package as well. Our sources in Houston via TexansDaily.com tell us that the Texans do not plan on parting with Cooks for the rumor/report compensation of a third-round pick. Indeed, the plugged-in Aaron Wilson of PFN reports to not expect Houston to part with Cooks at all.

We are told they might listen if teams offer a second-rounder. But the smart money is that Houston will work with Cooks to give him his new deal.

And ... bingo. By Thursday afternoon, Cooks had agreed to a new two-year extension to stay in Houston.

A Look At Kicker Options Heading Into The Draft - Dallascowboys.com

Last year the team had kicking issues to put it mildly, this year it is still a need.

However, with under a month until the picks are made, there is one position group on the roster that sits completely unaddressed this offseason:

Kicker.

Greg Zuerlein was released in March after his second season with the Cowboys and his 10th season working with Cowboys special teams coordinator John Fassel. The veteran connected on 63-of-73 attempts over the last two seasons and missed a total of nine extra points over that span.

Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones told reporters last month that the club will look to address kicker after parting ways with Zuerlein. The question now becomes, where does Zuerlein’s replacement come from?

Dallas did preface the move with the signing of former SMU and University of Texas kicker Chris Naggar to the Reserve/Future list in February. Though Naggar remains on the roster, he only has one career field goal make in his NFL career and doesn’t necessarily provide any confidence to the kicking situation in 2022.

The Cowboys could look to free agency to sign a veteran before training camp. The next option, and probably the most popular, is finding talent in the upcoming NFL draft class.

Redrafting the 2012 NFL Draft: Colts select Russell Wilson No. 1 overall - Adam Rank, NFL.com

Oh what could have been if they would have taken the right cornerback.

Pick 6 Dallas Cowboys Stephon Gilmore CB

Original No. 6 pick: Morris Claiborne

As they did originally, the Cowboys go cornerback with this pick — but instead of missing on Claiborne, they strike gold with Gilmore. I’m not saying Gilmore is better than Luke Kuechly. But given what the Cowboys needed here (they traded up with St. Louis for this pick), Gilmore would be the — somewhat — obvious selection. Corner tends to be an ongoing need for the Cowboys, and this would have been a great pick.

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