10 things Cowboys fans need to know from NFL Combine week

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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.

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.

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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.

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Wonderlic performance and Cowboys’ interest in players

Every year around this time, the Wonderlic test scores of several NFL Draft prospects are leaked.

Check out the scores of past Cowboys and take a sample test.

Some of the chatter was on players whom the Cowboys wanted to study and meet with:

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?

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Cornerback issues

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.

Jerry Jones: Cowboys making decisions based on Tony Romo being QB for next 5 years

Sabin: What five-year timeline means for Cowboys

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Combine performance by local and area colleges

5 interesting items you might have missed

Top performers

David Moore released his list of the five Cowboys who exceeded expectations most during the 2014 season. Check out the list:

Key dates

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)
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