Here are some of the key things we learned during NFL Combine week.
Dez Bryant drama
There hasn’t been much contract talk between the Cowboys and Dez Bryant’s representatives since the star wide receiver switched agents in November. If a deal is not reached by March 2, the Cowboys will use the franchise tag on Bryant, preventing him from entering free agency. Bryant has said he would be “highly disappointed” by that result.
Then there were rumors of a troubling video tape involving the receiver that are affecting contracting negotiations. Two high-ranking Cowboys officials said they have no knowledge of such a video.
This is creating all sorts of drama, from Bryant tweeting his displeasure to analysts discussing the hot-button topic.
- Dez Bryant airs frustration over perceptions of ‘past incidents’
- Charles Barkley: If Dez gets raise and DeMarco walks, Cowboys are irrelevant
- Dez Drama: What experts, analysts and Bryant are saying about contract situation
- Bob Sturm: Dez Bryant already in ‘Dirk neighborhood’ in Dallas culture
- Cowboys fans start #pay88 Twitter hashtag to support Dez Bryant
- Sturm: How powerless is Dez Bryant in talks with Cowboys?
DeMarco Murray contract chatter
The NFL’s leading rusher from last season will become a free agent next month if a contract extension is not reached.
What is the number owner Jerry Jones is willing to pay the 27-year-old running back?
“I don’t see a number,” Jones said. “I see a range. We want DeMarco enough that I got some serious flexibility in my bracket.”
The Cowboys owner and general manager also talked about reducing Murray’s workload if he is re-signed.
- Jerry Jones: I want DeMarco Murray with the Cowboys for his entire career
- Machota: If Murray departs, this guy would be next best option in free agency
- Sabin: What’s the right mark for DeMarco? Rail-thin running backs won’t cut it for Cowboys
- Bob Sturm: Odds of re-signing DeMarco and Dez; Michael Sam, Tim Tebow in same boat
McClain faces four-game fine
Free agent Rolando McClain is facing a four-game fine for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, ESPN and the NFL Network reported.
Both news outlets said the Cowboys linebacker, an impending free agent, is appealing the penalty. Besides McClain, the free agents at linebacker include Justin Durant and Bruce Carter. So the fine could affect the Cowboys’ decision to re-sign them. Then there’s Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens, the pleasant surprise of the last rookie class.
- Sherrington: If report is true, Rolando McClain may have made Cowboys’ linebacker decision for them
- Report: Cowboys free agent Rolando McClain violated NFL substance abuse policy
Wonderlic performance and Cowboys’ interest in players
Every year around this time, the Wonderlic test scores of several NFL Draft prospects are leaked.
Some of the chatter was on players whom the Cowboys wanted to study and meet with:
- Report: Cowboys requested shoulder exam on Florida State QB Jameis Winston
- Gosselin: Why pro prospect Joe Cardona would be wise to touch base with Cowboys special teams coach at combine
- Ameer Abdullah, Jay Ajayi among running backs who have met with Dallas Cowboys
Adrian Peterson drama
Sources told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that reports are inaccurate that running back and Texas native Adrian Peterson is seeking a trade to the Dallas Cowboys. But will Minnesota really want to pay the $12.75 million he is due?
- Moore: Need a name other than Adrian Peterson to replace Dallas’ DeMarco Murray?
- Ex-NFL coach, GM: Peterson vs. Murray is easy Cowboys choice
- LaDainian Tomlinson: Adrian Peterson to the Cowboys could be a ‘no-brainer’
- Cowlishaw: It’s fun to talk about Adrian Peterson, but I don’t think he’s in the Cowboys’ future
The Cowboys have had talks with cornerback Brandon Carr’s agent. A pay cut for Carr has been hinted at as a possibility. He is scheduled to count $12.7 million against the salary cap in 2015 after producing no interceptions last season.
Complicating the Cowboys’ dicey cornerback situation is the status of Morris Claiborne, who ruptured the patellar tendon in his left knee last September. Earlier this week the Cowboys said they were only “hopeful” he would be ready for training camp.
“Mo has created a problematic situation for us,” Jones said. “Mo didn’t create it, but his circumstances are problematic for us as we approach what we’re doing in the off-season at that position.”
Romo makes pleas to Jerry
The quarterback, soon to turn 35, told Jones he had three to five years left to realize his championship dreams. He added — jokingly — that his 72-year-old boss was on the same timeline.
Combine performance by local and area colleges
- NFL Combine: Baylor LB Bryce Hager turns heads with athleticism
- NFL Combine: Texas’ Malcom Brown solidifies first round projection; Jordan Hicks shows off speed
- How have local players performed at the NFL Combine?
5 interesting items you might have missed
- Host of ABC’s ‘The Bachelor’ wants Cowboys’ Dez Bryant in show’s key role
- Michael Sam dishes on time with Dallas Cowboys, says being gay has not kept him off NFL roster
- See what an alternate Dallas Cowboys helmet could look like
- Dallas Cowboys think ‘sky is the limit’ for second-year DE DeMarcus Lawrence
- Cowboys close to finalizing new training camp deal with Oxnard
David Moore released his list of the five Cowboys who exceeded expectations most during the 2014 season. Check out the list:
- No. 1 was key to playoff run
- No. 2 proved Jerry Jones wrong
- No. 3 is now a fixture in the defensive front
- No. 4 started as an insurance policy
- No. 5 finished season on tear
March 2 — Deadline for the Cowboys to tag franchise or transition players — potentially a big day for WR Dez Bryant.
March 10 — The league year and free agency begin. The Cowboys have 16 unrestricted free agents.
April 20 — Clubs with returning coaches may begin their offseason programs. LB Sean Lee, who missed last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, is expected to participate.
April 30-May 2 — The NFL draft. The Cowboys will have seven picks, including the 27th choice in the first round.(Courtesy of DallasNews.com)