Tag:Dallas Cowboys
Posted on: March 6, 2012 11:45 pm
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: NFC East preview

Can Jerry get Tony enough help in 2012? (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas 2011 season reeked of redemption for a lost 2010 season much of the way through. Despite close (and awkward) losses to the Patriots, Jets and Lions, the Cowboys rolled into December on a four-game winning streak, with a shot at closing out the NFC East. Then things absolutely fell apart: Jason Garrett iced his own kicker in an overtime loss to Arizona, Tony Romo overthrew Miles Austin in a tight Week 14 loss to the Giants, Romo was injured the next week in a meaningless game against the Eagles and Dallas got pounded by the eventual Super Bowl champs on New Years Day. Then Jerry Jones team had to watch the 9-7 Giants march to a Super Bowl victory. Not a fun couple of months for them. And though most of the blame usually finds its way onto Romo or Garrett, significant upgrades on the offensive line and secondary could go a long way towards fixing the Cowboys problems and making them a legit contender.

Free Agents of Note
Linebacker Anthony Spencer was tagged on Monday by Dallas, so he'll be back at least one more year and could get a longer deal ... Tight end Martellus Bennett is a good blocker but hasn't panned out the way Dallas wanted ... Linebacker Keith Brooking is 36 but has drawn interest from Dallas to return in 2012 ... FB Tony Fiammetta is an RFA and needs to be retained, especially given the work he did for DeMarco Murray last year ... Linebacker Bradie James is 31 and could be gone ... Wide receiver Laurent Robinson really clicked with Tony Romo in 2012 and would be a big re-addition ... Punter Mat McBriar could be done in Dallas if the 'Boys want to move forward with Chris Jones.

Needs
Secondary
: Terence Newman, 33, could be a cap/age casualty and Abram Elam, Frank Walker and Alan Ball are free agents. If Dallas plans on remaining as aggressive as defensive coordinator Rob Ryan wants them to be, they'll need to drastically improve the secondary.
Guard
: Tyron Smith and Doug Free flipped sides and are locked in at tackle, but the interior of the line needs improvement.

Targets
Brandon Carr or Cortland Finnegan would be an ideal target for Dallas as longer-term options. Neither is expected to remain with their respective teams. But if the Cowboys can't get Carr, they'll need to pursue some shorter-term options like Carlos Rogers. Guard is deep in free agency too, and it would behoove the Cowboys to invest in a stud like Carl Nicks. Getting Spencer signed to a long-term deal, rather than give him $9 million in 2012, would do a lot for their cap space.

New York Giants

It's crazy to think that the Super Bowl champion Giants looked DOA by the start of the regular season; an almost unbelievable (were it not true) string of injuries hit the team before the season began. The Giants looked even worse off in the middle of a late-season swoon that featured some of the toughest

Free Agents of Note:
Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham is going to get overpaid somewhere else based on his postseason performance ... Secret Super Bowl hero Steve Weatherford got the franchise tag Monday, so he'll be back in 2012 ... Wideout Domenik Hixon's already been re-signed ... Cornerback Aaron Ross says he wants to return but won't commit to a "hometown" discount ... Terrell Thomas was lost in the preseason but is closing in on a deal with the Giants ... Deon Grant is scheduled for free agency as well ... Both Jake Ballard and Bear Pascoe tore their ACLs in the Super Bowl, so the Giants have to sign someone to play tight end ... Kareem McKenzie is 32-years-old and the Giants could be ready to move on after he struggled last season.

Needs
Tight End: This seems like a classic "address it at the end of the first round" issue, since the Giants could have their pick of Cody Fleener, Orson Charles and Dwayne Allen at No. 32. If not, they'll need to get someone from a not-so-attractive free agent pile.
Offensive Line: This is a unit that's getting older quickly. David Deihl can work anywhere on the line, but he's 31.
Secondary: If the Giants get Thomas, they could be fine here, as they've already got Corey Webster and Antrel Rolle. But last year proved how important depth really is, so it wouldn't be surprising to see them beef up the position.

Targets
The Giants are tight up against the salary cap this offseason, but are also coming off a year where they won the Super Bowl. The pressure isn't too intense on them to make a big splash with outside guys in free agency (nor should it be). If they can find value in a some cheaper offensive line options with a little upside (Geoff Schwartz anyone?) that would make the most sense in terms of an outside pick up.

Philadelphia Eagles

You know what happened here: a dream-team season quickly turned into a nightmare out of the gates, and the Eagles were the laughingstock of the NFL as they fell to 1-4. They finally turned things around with a four-game winning streak to close out at 8-8, giving Philly fans plenty of hope for 2012. (Not to mention helping Andy Reid's job security.) But there are still concerns here, because the Eagles have to get some linebackers and safeties in order to stop the run, manage their high-priced cornerbacks in a more efficient manner and keep Michael Vick from getting tattooed by opposing defenders. It's unlikely that Philly will make the same splash in free agency as they did in 2011, but that could actually be a good thing.

Free Agents: Running back Ronnie Brown might've thrown away (literally) any chance he had of returning to Philly ... DeSean Jackson got the franchise tag, and the team could still sign him long term or seek to trade him ... King Dunlap and Evan Mathis are both free agents on the offensive line; Mathis wants to return and should be priority No. 1 ... Trevor Laws, Juqua Parker and Derek Landri would depart the defensive line's depth if they all left ... Vince Young and Steve Smith, two big-name additions that didn't contribute much in 2011, seem likely to bolt.
Needs
Linebacker: Luke Koechly is the hot name for the Eagles in the draft, but his stock is rising and might not be available. Getting a middle linebacker who can stuff the run is absolutely essential for the Eagles defense in 2012. Adding some help at outside linebacker would be a bonus; acquiring linebackers isn't really Andy Reid's forte though.
Defensive Line Depth: The Eagles still have Mike Patterson, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin and Trent Cole starting, but as noted above, they're going to need depth to keep those guys fresh throughout the year.

Targets
Linebacker, as noted, is the biggest need. Fortunately for the Eagles, there are some nice names out there. Stephen Tulloch and Curtis Lofton represent pricier, albeit talented, options at middle linebacker. Dan Connor's a name that's been rumored with Philly and he could make sense as a run-stopping specialist who doesn't cost that much.

Washington Redskins

As Clark Judge recently wrote, the Redskins are running out of options for 2012. Either get Peyton Manning, Robert Griffin III or prepare to move on from Mike Shanahan. They'll have their chance at each, as Manning will be a free agent soon and the Rams are willing to deal the No. 2 pick in April's draft. And the Redskins success really could come down to the quarterback position: if they can get Manning or RG3 and put suitable weapons around one of those guys (I personally prefer RG3 for them), Washington could net a few more wins and at least challenge for the division title that Rex Grossman guaranteed before 2011 started.

Free Agents
Fred Davis was franchised and remains the team's most explosive offensive weapon but he needs to stay out of trouble ... Tim Hightower fits what Mike Shanahan wants to do but wasn't as effect ... London Fletcher is old but remains effective and the Redskins need him back ... Rex Grossman seems destined to remain with Shanny forever, even if it's just on one-year deals ... Graham Gano was tendered and should be back ... Washington's already re-signed center Will Montgomery ... LaRon Landry can't stay healthy but Washington might gamble on him at a cheap price ... Roy Helu makes Tim Hightower expendable, though Hightower was decent in his five starts before being injured.
Needs
Quarterback: Quite obviously.
Wide Receiver: Jabar Gaffney shouldn't be anyone's No. 1 wideout. If the Skins go with the Manning route, it's entirely possible they can lure other free-agent wideouts into town. Either way, reports indicate they want to get a "high-profile wide receiver" and that's a good thing. Pairing Manning or RG3 with a viable wideout could make this offense explosive in 2012.
Offensive Line: Washington's set at several slots on the front, but could use an upgrade on the right side, where Jamaal Brown in particular has not been as good as they'd hoped.
Targets
Manning's the main target here. If they can't get Peyton, then the Skins have to get RG3. Both are attainable, it's just whether or not the cost is prohibitive. Vincent Jackson, Reggie Wayne and Marques Colston would all qualify as "marquee" wideouts. Ben Grubbs and Carl Nicks would be obviously be tremendous adds and allow the Redskins to shift some personnel and improve their line. Evan Mathis would take away from a division opponent as well.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: March 5, 2012 3:24 pm
 

Anthony Spencer gets franchise tag from Cowboys

The NFL denied Harrison's appeal of his one-game suspension(Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Monday afternoon, the Cowboys officially placed the franchise tag on linebacker Anthony Spencer, the team announced. That means if Spencer signs the deal, he'll receive a one-year deal with a guaranteed $8.8 million in 2012.

As noted by our Cowboys Rapid Reporter Nick Eatman, the Cowboys "beat the NFL deadline to tag Spencer by nearly an hour." In other words, the Cowboys weren't locked into doing this like the Ravens were with Ray Rice.

Which is understandable: Spencer hasn't been entirely productive since the Cowboys drafted him with the 26th overall pick in the 2007 draft, recording just 21.5 sacks in that time. But he's a pass-rushing outside linebacker, and Dallas likely felt it would be difficult to retain or replace him. Spencer understands that, telling Eatman that it's a "good and bad thing" to get the franchise tag.

"That's a good thing and a bad thing," Spencer said. "It's good because it shows how much they think of me. But you don't want to be playing on a one-year contract. You want a longer deal and the security that gives your family. But hey, I understand. It's a business.''

Spencer would've attracted some interest on the market, for sure. And he'll probably attract some long-term interest from the Cowboys too: the Cowboys won't be thrilled at the idea of taking a cap hit of nearly $9 million.

And since Dallas until July 15 to work out a deal with Spencer, don't be surprised if they wait to see who they acquire in April's draft before deciding to pour money into such a deal.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: February 29, 2012 9:57 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 9:59 pm
 

Jones wants Romo, not trading up for Luck, RG3

The only way the Cowboys will have RG3 under center is if Tony Romo changes his name. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

There's a perception that Tony Romo isn't an elite NFL quarterback and it comes primarily from one thing: he's been underwhelming in big moments. The Week 1 fourth-quarter interception against the Jets, the two pick-sixes against the Lions, not to mention head coach Jason Garrett opting to run instead of pass late in the game against the Patriots. These are three examples from the 2011 season (all three losses, by the way) and it's enough for some fans to give up on Romo altogether.

One enterprising soul even asked DallasCowboys.com writer Josh Ellis about the possibility the team would trade up in April's draft and take Robert Griffin III.

Ellis' answer, in part: "(Owner and GM) Jerry Jones explicitly said last week he wouldn't trade Romo for Griffin or Andrew Luck. So on draft day, just hope Griffin doesn't end up in Washington."

The best response to Jones' decree comes courtesy our buddy, PFT.com's Michael David Smith: "Some might see that as further evidence of Jones’s 50 concussions…"

But Jones' son, Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones, said as much in comments to the Star-Telegram.

"There are not many better than him out there," he said. "I hear it -- he hasn't gotten it done yet. I hear it, all of that. But you are not going to find much better than Tony Romo. Every year he improves. As he gets better, our chances get better."

Wait, Tiger isn't a Navy SEAL? (US PRESSWIRE)
Jones, it turns out, it's just making stuff up. Romo ranked fourth in Football Outsiders' QB efficiency metric behind Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. The difference: those players have combined for five Super Bowl rings and their teams all made the playoffs last season. The Cowboys went 8-8 and lost four of their last five games (and their Week 17 no-show performance against the Giants cost them the division and a spot in the postseason).

Romo, meanwhile, has two years left on the six-year, $67.4 million contract he signed in 2007. Although the two sides have yet to discuss an extension, Stephen Jones' comments to the Star-Telegram says plenty.

"Tony is going to play a lot more than two more years," he said. "We are going to take care of Tony. Tony is going to be a Cowboy."

Silver lining: maybe some of Tiger Woods' Navy SEALS training rubbed off on Romo during the Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this month. It can't hurt, right?

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
Posted on: February 26, 2012 2:56 am
Edited on: February 26, 2012 2:58 am
 

Owens catches 3 TD passes in IFL debut

Posted by Eye on Football staff

Terrell Owens, looking to get back into pro football, did just that Saturday night in his debut for the Allen (Texas) Wranglers of the Indoor Football League, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Owens caught three passes for 49 yards and three touchdowns in Allen's 50-30 opening victory at home over the Wichita Wild.

“I think I did all right,” Owens told the Morning News. “I’m just really trying to keep myself in shape for the most part. I feel like I’m healthy enough to play football. There’s not anything that I can’t do.”

The 38-year-old was on the field for 38 plays and was targeted five times in front of a crowd of 5,711. Wranglers owner Jon Frankel told the Morning News that the crowd was larger than the total home attendance for the 2011 season.

Owens hasn’t caught a pass in an NFL game since Dec. 12, 2010 and is using the IFL club as a hopeful springboard to an NFL tryout. He possesses an opt-out clause, in case an NFL franchise offers him a contract. However, after having a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee repaired last year, he hasn’t received much interest from NFL teams.

Facing some press and man-to-man coverage, Owens did not catch a pass in the third or fourth quarters.

 

Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:12 am
 

Tyron Smith, Doug Free to switch sides for Dallas

Dallas coach Jason Garrett said Thursday he would move Smith to left tackle next year. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

When the Cowboys selected Tyron Smith with the No. 9 pick in the 2011 draft, they certainly didn’t make that move to keep him at right tackle. So, after only a season in that position while Doug Free manned the left side, Dallas coach Jason Garrett said the team has decided to make a change, moving Smith to the left side and returning Free back to the right.

"The versatility that Tyron has coming out is something that we were really attracted to,” Garrard said Thursday at the scouting combine (via the Fort Worth Star Telegram). “He was a right tackle in college. We felt like he had the physical traits to play left tackle and the same thing with Doug Free. We felt like he could play either side."

While Smith was playing well enough to be considered one of the top right tackles in the game last year, according to Pro Football Focus, Free struggled on the left side, allowing 10 sacks and 34 quarterback pressures. The Cowboys also gave Smith a few snaps at left tackle last year, and obviously, he impressed Dallas enough to make the move a permanent one. 

While CBSSports.com’s Andy Benoit pointed out in December that Smith was exploited at times early in the season by “wily defenders,” Benoit also wrote that Smith improved faster than some could have expected.

"We feel like he is ready to make that move now,” Garrett said. “We're just trying to come up with the best combination."

As PFF writes, it’s the move that makes the most sense, writing in December, “Regardless of how Dallas’ season ends they will feel reassured in the knowledge that  they’ve found a stud of a tackle for the future in the shape of the youngest player in the league, Tyron Smith … The rookie right tackle has been exceptional all year …  It’s rare to see a tackle come out and play so well, but Smith has been just that good. A move to the left side next year will surely provide him with some new challenges. If he handles the transition in the same manner that he’s handled his move to the NFL coming from Southern California I’ll be betting on him to succeed.”

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: February 14, 2012 10:55 pm
 

Jerry Jones wants Super Bowl 50 in Dallas

Jerry Jones 'absolutely' wants Super Bowl L at Cowboys Stadium. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

We said the entire week leading up Patriots-Giants and have been telling anybody who'll listen in the days since: Indianapolis knows how to put on a Super Bowl. Everything went smoothly, the people couldn't have been nicer, and aside from the Peyton Manning drama, the execution from start to finish was flawless.

So it stands to reason that the NFL would be back, perhaps soon, for another Super Bowl, right? Well, maybe not. The Indianapolis Star's Bob Kravitz, appearing last week on The Tony Kornheiser Show, said that one drawback could be the capacity of Lucas Oil Stadium. It holds somewhere in the neighborhood of 68,000 people; Cowboys Stadium, by comparison, is expandable to more than 100,000.

Which means that, despite a mostly forgettable Super Bowl experience last year, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has every intention of bidding for Super Bowl L (yep, that's 50). That's still four years off, but the next three Super Bowls are set: New Orleans in 2013, New York/New Jersey in 2014 and Arizona in 2015. SportsBusiness Journal's Daniel Kaplan notes that the announcement for the next unawarded venue customarily takes place in May (even though the league has yet to send out request for proposals for said announcement).

Either way, Jones' has told Kaplan that he will "absolutely" make a bid for NFL championship game slated to be played in February 2016.

Other possible destinations (per Kaplan via PFT): Santa Clara (at the site of the new 49ers stadium), New Orleans, and Tampa. Kaplan adds that Miami, Indianapolis, and L.A. have a “slight” chance, while London's prospects are "extremely remote."

It's criminal to think that Dallas (specifically, Arlington), which turned into a slapstick comedy routine last February because of once-in-a-lifetime ice storms coupled with no real ice-removal strategy, would be more likely to land a Super Bowl before Indianapolis, but that's what an extra 30-40,000 seats will do for you.

In completely unrelated news (or perhaps very related given some of Jones' personnel decisions over the years), we were shocked to learn that Jones admitted earlier this month that he's had "50 concussions." He joked that had he not taken so many blows to the head he might be president of the United States instead of owner of the Cowboys.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
Posted on: February 14, 2012 9:33 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 9:34 pm
 

Report: Cowboys not interested in Randy Moss

For the second time (that we know of), Jerry Jones isn't interested in Randy Moss. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Randy Moss, 35 years young on Monday, has had an epiphany. Or maybe it's a mid-life crisis. Whatever, one of the NFL's most explosive receivers wants back in the NFL. Moss played his last game in 2010, when he caught passes for the Patriots, Vikings and Titans before deciding to retire. Now, after a year away from the game, he's ready for a comeback.

The biggest obstacle, of course, is the same one that faces 38-year-old Terrell Owens: are any teams interested in his services? (If not, Moss could probably make some pocket change by hosting his own show. In a short time, he's proven he's clearly capable of pulling it off. Seriously, this is comedy gold.)

Moss admitted that he had regrets in New England and Minnesota, and the Jets and Eagles are reportedly "curious." (As we joked in the latest Pick-6 Podcast, "curious" sounds like something you'd read in a Craigslist ad.) One team that won't be in the running for Moss' services? The same team that said "thanks but not thanks" in the 1998 NFL Draft when they selected Greg Ellis with the No. 8 pick and Moss fell all the way to the Vikings at No. 21: the Cowboys.

A source tells ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins that the team will again pass on Moss 15 years after initially doing so.

"This shouldn't come as a surprise because the Cowboys have some talented and young wide receivers in Miles Austin and Dez Bryant," Watkins wrote Tuesday night. "The team also wants to re-sign Laurent Robinson, who led the team with 11 touchdown receptions in 2011."

So where does that leave Moss? Glad you asked because we talk about it below:


For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
Posted on: February 14, 2012 8:14 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 8:16 pm
 

T.O., nearly broke, doesn't want your pity

Owens says he trusted the wrong people and now he's nearly broke and facing mounting bills. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

The NFL season may be over but that doesn't mean there's no football on the horizon. Yes, the NFL Combine is less than two weeks away but the same day that offensive linemen and tight ends go through their on-field paces at Lucas Oil Stadium, Terrell Owens will be making is IFL debut with the Allen Wranglers.

Okay, you were probably expecting a bit more in the "Wait, there's still football!" build up. And we suspect that, come Februrary 25, many of you will opt to watch 350-pound guys run 40 yards in a straight line (possible unintentional comedy value) over T.O.'s not-so-triumphant return to football (if you're into tragicomedy, then maybe Owens and the Wranglers are for you).

Part of the reason T.O. signed up for IFL duty is because he had burned a lot of NFL bridges. And of those left standing, no one was interested enough in a 37-year-old wide receiver with behavior-management issues to give him a shot. So the Wranglers, where Owens is also co-owner, was his only football-playing option. Exacerbating matters: T.O., who was in the NFL for 15 seasons and signed contracts worth $80 million, is nearly broke.

Appearing on ESPN Radio recently, Owens, however, said people shouldn't feel sorry for him.

"Absolutely not," he said via Sports Radio Interviews. "As far as my situation? The thought that I’ve lost $80 million dollars? That’s a little bit skewed considering like you said if you look at the years and the contracts that I have had and me not actually completing a couple of those contracts in their entirety.

"Again no matter what I have lost money," he continued. "It’s partially my fault because I didn’t manage and I wasn’t on top of my financial people as I should have. Again who’s to say how much I lost? Have I lost money? Yeah. Was it $80 million? I doubt it. But at the same time I feel like this is a situation for me to go out and speak and let a lot of guys know that are coming into the National Football League or any league for that matter … When you have financial advisors that you’re dealing with and that are on their team that are supposed to be taking care of their finances … I feel victim to it because I had heard about these stories prior to it happening to me and there’s going to be some other stories after me. The fact that I took for granted the orientations and the seminars that we had during the course of football season where these guys basically came in and tried to help us, facilitate us and educate us on your financial matters. I didn’t take advantage of that because I was referred to this guy that mismanaged my situation by my agent and my marketing guys."

Owens first spoke publicly about his financial situation in the January issue of GQ, even recounting one story where a friend, "a guy who I'd helped when his grandmother passed," drained one of his bank accounts of more than $270,000. He says the bank returned the money but "it pretty much destroyed whatever trust in people I had left." The article says that Owens never had many friends — teammates never called him to party, he says, wrongly assuming that he was "too big" to socialize — and now, "I don't have no friends. I don't want no friends. That's how I feel."

His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, called when he found out Owens had taken huge finiancial losses.

"When Drew heard about what had happened with my money, he said, 'Oh man, is there anything I can do?' " Owens told GQ. "And I said, 'Dude, are you going to give me my money back? I don't think so, so why bother trying to appease me?' " (Rosenhaus' response: "In my opinion, the conversation did not go down that way." )

Now T.O. is left with barely anything in the bank, plenty of Bills -- including child support payments to four women that total $44,600 a month -- and until he signed with the Wranglers, no discernible income.

"Now I’m even hungrier to get back on top and do the things I think the way I should have been doing it," he told ESPN Radio. "I’ve had some people who have supposedly been in my corner that have my bests interests in heart and I’ve come to find out that’s not what happened. Again I will reiterate it is partially my fault because I wasn’t doing my due diligence to be on top of my own finances and it’s a sad situation.”

And that brings us back to the Wranglers. T.O. will make his debut in 11 days.

"…I’m using this as a platform really to keep myself in shape. The business side of it too is something that intrigued me, being a co-owner with the team, so again this is me transitioning into life after football. That’s the business side of it, obviously football doesn’t last forever and I feel I’m physically fit and can play at a productive level to where I can play a couple more years in the National Football League and that’s what I’m pushing for," he said. 

"Other than that I’m not going to give up hope just because somebody says that I’m 38 and I just had a knee injury. Injuries are part of the game. I think everybody knows my track record … I work out hard, I’m going to do whatever I can to get back on the field and get back to 100 percent and I’m doing that.”

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com