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Cowboys Re-sign McBriar, Patrick Crayton will be tendered

The Cowboys signed punter McBriar to a new contract, thus shifting priority signings back to Marc Colombo and Patrick Crayton.

The Cowboys are in deep negotiations with Colombo, so it would appear that he will be signed before free agency starts.

The contract for McBriar gives us flexibility in regards to what we do with Patrick Crayton who is a restricted free agent. Its probable that the Cowboys could use a 2nd round tender on Crayton, in doing this, the Cowboys can buy more time to negotiate a new contract for Crayton, but it would also guarantee a 2nd round pick if a team were to sign Crayton.

As of today, here's our current list of players set to hit free agency-

G Marc Colombo
C Al Johnson
LB Al Singleton
DE Kenyon Coleman
K Martin Gramatica
S Tony Parrish

WR Patrick Crayton
CBs Jacques Reeves and Nate Jones
LBs Ryan Fowler and Junior Glymph TE Brett Pierce.


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Brad Johnson to Dallas? Get it done.

Apparently the Falcons will continue to stunt Schaub's growth as a legitmate starting QB. The Falcons will tender a qualifying offer to Schaub, which basically means giving up a high draft pick to snatch him away. What a complete gross mis-allocation of resources in Atlanta. The Falcon's rather roll with an overhyped-overrated QB in Mike Vick than Matt Schaub. What a bunch or idiots in Atlanta. It doesn't matter who's coaching in Atlanta, the result will be the same. Vick sucks.

So, who could the Cowboys be targeting for a backup QB?
Here are a few names to watch:

Brad Johnson - Vikings
Tim Rattay - Buccaneers

I like Johnson as the Backup QB spot because he provides year's of experience and lots of knowledge for Tony Romo to pull from.


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Cowboys to Name Brian Stewart Defensive Coordinator

It appears that the Chargers have let Stewart fly for bigger and better things, as he is coming to Dallas. Its believed that Stewart will be named the Cowboys Defensive Coordinator. This addition pretty much completes Wade's Staff.

From Union-Tribune:

Chargers defensive backs coach Brian Stewart has been released from his contract and will become the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator.

Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips was the Chargers defensive coordinator from 2004-06. He has been trying to hire Stewart since he left.

The Chargers had initially balked at letting Stewart out of his contract but relented today.

Stewart joined the Chargers in 2004.

The team on Wednesday hired Bill Bradley to coach the secondary with Stewart. The team plans on hiring a replacement for Stewart.


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Cowboys Eyeing Justin Blalock

I had Justin Blalock pegged as our first round draft choice in our mock draft, and there's reason behind it. Blalock is at the NFL Combines and has turned in some impressive measurables thus far in addition, he managed to bench press 40 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press at the NFL Combine Friday, Feb. 23, just five short of the event record.

The FWST has this small blurb on Blalock as well:

INDIANAPOLIS - Texas offensive lineman Justin Blalock's experience and versatility are expected to get him drafted in the first round. His 51 starts are the most by any player at the NFL Scouting Combine, and he can play guard or tackle.

"Anytime they can find someone that is capable of playing four or five positions on the line, it's just an added bonus," said Blalock, who measured a shade over 6-foot-3 and weighed in at 320 pounds Thursday.

Some mock drafts have the Cowboys taking Blalock with the 22nd selection. It's not a bad guess. Though the Cowboys haven't drafted an offensive player in the first round since 1997 when they selected LSU tight end David LaFleur, they have concerns about right guard Marco Rivera's future. Rivera recently had a second surgery on his back in two years to repair a ruptured disk.

Blalock, a Plano native, wouldn't be sad if Dallas is where he ends up.

"Being from Dallas, it's hard not to like the Cowboys," Blalock said. "I've been a lifelong fan."

History would say we probably won't draft offense in the first round, but this may finally be the year where we do. The last offensive first rounder was LSU's David LaFleur - a certified bust, and while we're at it, can we please not blow anymore picks on LSU players...

Marco Rivera's status is still in the air, and how confident are you in Procter's ability to take over for Rivera? What we do know is that Blalock can come in and start immediately and provide solid blocking for years to come. We need more youth and more beef on the line and Garrett knows this - this could be the pick at #22 from an offensive needs standpoint.


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GM President's Day Campaign - Ultra Annoying

This is off topic, but is it me or is General Motors (GM) getting desperate. All week I've been tortured by those ultra annoying commercials. GM has obviously fallen by the wayside, and has invested millions of dollars in this President's Day Campaign. The music tune that is in the commercial is horrible as it mixes "hail to the chief" with a carefully orchestrated rearranged rip off of 50 cent's "In da Club" - this crap on the air in itself makes me NOT want to buy another GM product. Who is this campaign targeting anyway? Someone in GM's PR team needs to get the boot. Just horrible.

This is just blantant desperate measures from a failing company, its sad. As I write this off-topic piece, I've seen several other complaints in message boards and other blogs about this horrible GM President's Day Campaign. What a complete bust...


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Gurode Extended, Sparano and Garrett Updates

Andre Gurode was extended to a new contract, thus taking him off the market before free agency begins. Gurode is said to have received a new 6yr deal, which should pay him 4-5million a year, plus a sizable signing bonus.

A decision has been made as to what titles Tony Sparano and Jason Garrett will be given. Sparano has just been given a raise along with a contract extension through the 2009 season - he will be the Assistant Head Coach. Garrett has been named the Offensive Coordinator and now begins the test for the budding offensive mind. Whether or not Garrett will be given 100% control of calling plays has not be fully determined.

from DC.COM:
While both Sparano and Garrett figure to have major roles in the structure and organization of the offense, Phillips said he has not decided who will call the plays next season.

"We're not going to get into that right now," Phillips said. "We're setting up everything for the season. Actually, they just started working on the formations - what formations we're going to be in. It'll be a little while before we proceed there."

Jerry Jones has stated that the offense will not change, while I would agree with Jones, I'm certain we'll see more aggression and a few more schemes for the gameplan. Garrett wants to utilize the fullback, but he will need to find someone he feels comfortable using. Oliver Hoyte was turned into a FB under Parcells. At 6-3 250, he certainly has the size, and was a serviceable back, but I would imagine, Garrett would like a true FB, with solid blocking, bruiser running, and hands. Could soon to be free agent TJ Duckett fit into the mix at 6-0 254 lbs? We'll have to see how this all plays out.

Phillips Coaching Staff still has a few posts to be filled, that being, Special Teams, Defensive Coordinator, and possibly a Quarterbacks Coach. Its believed that Bowles is at the top of the list to become the DC, but nothing official has been announced which makes you wonder what the wait is? Is Phillips waiting to see how the coaching staff works itself out in San Diego? There's still a possibility that some of Phillips understudy's could come aboard if they are relieved in SD.


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Cowboys Add 3 Assistant Coaches

Through the course of the day the Cowboys have inked (3) new assistants. The most notable of the additions is that of former Cowboys LB, Dat Nguyen. In addition, the Cowboys added WR/RB Coach Ray Sherman and Wes Phillips as Offensive Assistant Coach/Quality Control.

Let's examine how these three additions will help the Cowboys:

Dat Nguyen was one of the most productive MLBs the Cowboys have ever had and his instinct in the game was top-notch, his credentials provide instant credibility to the LBs coaching staff; moreover, this fuels excitement for fans everywhere. Nguyen is a proven player who has a lot of respect from players, the organization, fans and he'll bring his cerebral skills to the LB corps. The Dat Nguyen addition is solid, but offers somewhat of a speculative back-drop...was this a true Phillips addition or was this more of a parting recommendation from Parcells. Parcells knew Dat wanted to coach LBs, and he played 3-4 at A&M, so who knows. In any event, whether this is a Phillips plucking or a Parcells recommendation, I love it!

Ray Sherman is steal for us, Sherman has been credited with developing several solid WRs in the game today, such as Jerry Rice, Javon Walker, and Donald Driver to name a few. Sherman also helped Jerry Glanville install the highly explosive Run-And-Shoot with the Oilers and the Falcons. The addition of Sherman bodes very well for our current crop of WRs along with our young promising WRs like Hurd, Crayton, and Austin. Sherman brings a lot of proven experience.

2005-06: Wide Receivers, Tennessee Titans

2000-04: Wide Receivers, Green Bay Packers

1999: Offensive Coordinator, Minnesota Vikings

1998: Offensive Coordinator, Pittsburgh Steelers

1995-97: Quarterbacks, Minnesota Vikings

1994: Offensive Coordinator, New York Jets

1992-93: Wide Receivers, San Francisco 49ers

1991: Running Backs, San Francisco 49ers

1990: Assistant Head Coach/Offense, Atlanta Falcons

1989: Wide Receivers, Houston Oilers

1988: Running Backs, Houston Oilers

1986-87: Wide Receivers, University of Georgia

1982-85: Running Backs, Purdue

1981: Running Backs/Slot Backs, University of California

1978-80: Running Backs, Wake Forest

1976-77: Tight Ends, Michigan State

1975: Defensive Backs, University of California

1974: Graduate Assistant, San Jose State

Wes Phillips, has been hired on as Offensive Assistant Coach/Quality Control, he'll breakdown game footage and basically absorb the offensive schemes from Jason Garrett, a great opportunity for the young assistant.

These three additions are very solid in my opinion and it exhibits the know-how from Coach Phillips. Phillips is surrounding himself with a solid quality staff. I like the moves this team is doing, and as a fan the excitement is mounting exponentially.

The Cowboys are also looking to interview a few more possible assistants, according to the FWST:

"The Cowboys will also interview Oakland Raiders running backs coach Skip Peete, Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and University of Virginia assistant head coach for offense/wide receivers coach John Garrett.

Peete joined the Raiders in 1998 as running backs coach. He is the brother of former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete.

Garrett is the brother of Cowboys assistant Jason Garrett.

Inside linebackers coach Vincent Brown will not return to the Cowboys staff."


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New Contract for Romo a Top Priority

Last August, Romo signed a 1 Year, $3.9 million contract extension, which pays out $900,000 for ‘06, $1 million for ‘07 and a $2 million signing bonus. This locks him up through the 2007 season, but what happens after that? Let's not get to that point, there's already talk that getting Romo a new contract is in the works, and rightfully so. I would believe the consensus of Cowboys Nation is that we have our QB for the present and future, he has the often mentioned "IT" factor. The Cowboys will get Romo a new contract, but the question is how much cash will he get?

This year it will cost clubs about $12,615,000 to slap a franchise tag on a QB and this will rise again for the 2008 season, so this is definitely not the route the Cowboys would want to go, nor would they want to let Romo test free agency next year which would, in turn probably mean a bidding war to re-sign him.

So, when you ask yourself how much is Romo worth, or how much and how long would you sign him for there are several factors you must add into the equation.

Let's take a look at some recent contract extensions of "upper echelon" QBs:

In 2002, Donovan McNabb signed a 12yr contract extension in September of 2002, netting him $115 million dollars

In 2004, Mike Vick signed a mega contract of 10yrs for $130 million dollars, there will be many that have an opinion on that, but at the end of the day he got paid huge.

In 2004, Peyton Manning signed a 7yr extension for $98 million dollars which includes the biggest signing bonus to date at $34.5 million dollars

In 2005, Tom Brady signed a contract 6yr deal for $60 million dollars, depending on how the money is spead out that's roughly $10 million yearly, pretty good for a damn good QB

Let's also look at some recent rookie QB contacts:

In 2004, Eli Manning signed a rookie contract for 6yrs for $54million dollars, lot of money for minimal production thus far

In 2004, Philip Rivers signed a rookie contract for 6yrs for $40.5 millions dollars

In 2004, Ben Roethlisberger signed a rookie contract for 6yrs for $22.26 million dollars

In 2005, Alex Smith signed a rookie contract for 6yrs for $50 million dollars

In 2006, Vince Young signed a rookie contract for 6yrs for $54 million dollars

In 2006, Matt Leinart signed a rookie contract for 6yrs for $50.8 million dollars

So, these are the payouts for Veteran QBs that have been extended with new contracts, and some recent Rookie QB contracts being paid out lately.

6yr deals appear to be the preferred length for both Veteran and Rookie contracts, with the exception of a very few.

So what's it gonna be for Tony Romo, a star on the rise for the most covered team in sport, the Dallas Cowboys? Did he prove enough for you, the fan, to deserve a big payout like the QBs mentioned in this piece. For me, I've seen enough to know Romo is the real deal.

Romo is a 4yr Veteran, who has been on the bench behind Quincy Carter('03), Vinny Testaverde('04), and Drew Bledsoe('05 & some '06), so in 2006 he played his first games as a starter, pretty much as a rookie quarterback. Romo was 6-4 as a starter, threw for 2904 yrds with 19TDs and 13INTs, compiling a QB rating of 95.1, not bad at all. Yes, he had a few hiccups here and there, but you're gonna get that from "rookie" QB in Romo, he'll recover and learn from his previous mistakes.

On a side note,What really impressed me was before the Pro Bowl, Sean Payton told Romo he was going to hold on FG/XPs, and he would get more playing time. This is first class all the way from Payton - he got Romo back in the saddle and that's what great coaches do for young players, and even though Payton is no longer with us, he still helped Romo get back and face something that is still fresh in Romo's head. Thank You Payton.

Romo has been blessed to have been mentored and groomed to be the next QB of the Cowboys. Bill Parcells and Sean Payton were instrumental in his progression, and Jerry Jones knows his continued development is needed, and this is why he brought in another of the leagues young rising offensive minds in the game, Jason Garrett.

With all this being said, I think Jerry knows he finally has a franchise QB, one that he hasn't had since Troy Aikman, and Jerry will take care of his guy. Many NFL clubs spend lots of money on early draft picks and free agents that never pan out, and the Cowboys may have missed on a few QB acquisitions, but they have an ultra-steal in Tony Romo. I expect Jerry to pay Romo a pretty good contract, we'll just wait and see how much.


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Parcells Instrumental in Phillips Hiring?

There's a strong notion that former Cowboys Coach, Bill Parcells was instrumental in the hiring process that ultimately lead to Jerry picking Wade Phillips. I thought this all along, and the proof is evident as Parcells stuck around for a week and a half after he declared his retirement. Jerry Jones asked for Parcells' input, his assistance, and he even had Parcells' involved in the screening process for the first couple of major candidates that came through the door. There appears to be other media pundits that think the same:

"Bill Parcells
' marinara-stained fingerprints are all over the decision to hire Wade Phillips. Owner Jerry Jones will argue otherwise, and it's somewhat true. But think about it. Do you really think that old-school Parcells' parting advice to Jones was to hire an offense-savvy California guy such as Norv Turner? As owner, Jones felt he had a choice to make. He chose defense over offense. DeMarcus Ware over Tony Romo.
-- Fort Worth Star-Telegram"


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Wade Phillips Plucked as Cowboys Next Head Coach

After weeks of wild rumors and speculation, Jerry Jones has made his decision and Wade Phillips is our next Head Coach. I have to admit when there was speculation of Wade being a candidate I was turned off by the thought. I remembered Phillips as a failed Head Coach in his past en devours, but upon further research, Phillips lead several of his former teams to the playoffs, and Phillips drafted some solid defensive players along the way.

Norv Turner looked to be a lock just a few days ago, but Jerry came full circle and hired the guy he interviewed first. I strongly believe that somehow someway this pick had some influence from our former Head Coach, Bill Parcells. Parcells is a 3-4 guy at heart, and I would think he gave some sort of blessing or nod on Wade Phillips possibly being the next guy in Dallas and Jerry trusts Bill.

Phillips will bring a dynamic innovative 3-4 to the front, and this bodes well for the players we have invested in. Parcells has drafted pretty good players, and Wade will bring his agressive 3-4 pressure oriented schemes to the table -very exciting, and I'm looking forward to the defense this coming year.

You already know what the next topic of conversation is going to be in the coming weeks, and that's Jason Garrett, how does Garrett fit into the scheme of the offense, will he be the top OC, or just positional offensive coach, is he indeed ready? I think we'll find this out soon.

And then there's the NFL Combine and NFL Draft. I fully trust that Wade and with the help of Ireland's Scouting Department he will make a solid pick defensively early if we go that route or will it be Garrett's input that gets us a big offensive lineman, or wide receiver early. What holes do we need to look at filling or upgrade at?

One thing is for sure, the Cowboys offseason is going to be exciting! Get pumped, let's get this thing going baby! Go Cowboys!


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Wade Phillips the Frontrunner Again?

ESPN, is reporting that Wade Phillips is the frontrunner. Can this be substantiated? How good is this intel? The first thing that comes to mind is the news that Turner does not believe Garrett is ready to be an offensive coordinator, and Turner does not want Terrell Owens here. These are bold declarations against moves that Jerry Jones has had a big impact on, mainly on the Garrett acquisition.

Could all this culminate in the reason why ESPN thinks Wade is the frontrunner again? Probably so, and we'll continue to hear more stupid speculation until the big boss makes his final decision.

At the end of the day I still believe this decision is still between Norv and Wade. We should know before the end of the week. Hopefully!


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New Regime Spotted At Irvin's HOF Conference

In one of the high points in Die Hard Cowboys History, Michael Irvin was voted into the NFL Hall of Fame. The voters finally got this one right after two consecutive colossal foul-ups. Irvin deserved to be in the HOF, and now he is among the elite. Irvin called this his "validation" and as fans we had validated his legacy in Cowboys Lore a long-long time ago. Congrats Michael, I look forward to your HOF speech!

The interesting backdrop story was Jerry Jones and "his entourage" in attendance. Behind the scenes, in the green room there was a quick glimpse of Jerry and Norv. Perhaps seeing these two was a coincidence, after all, Norv was a huge piece of the puzzle during those two SuperBowls with Jimmy, and he's a close friend of Irvin. But one could only put one-and-one together and see this as further evidence that Norv is going to be the next HC. Later, when Irvin arrived, the camera got another glimpse of what looked to be the new regime - Jerry was sitting in the back with Turner, and now Garrett. Hmmmmm, this makes a strong case for what sure appears to be the new regime.

This really seals the deal for me, and ends ALL other speculation on the next HC, this leads me to believe that Jerry has 75% of the key parts of his coaching staff in place, that being Norv and Jason on the offensive side, but now Jerry is interviewing for potential stars on the defensive side of the ball. Ron Rivera is that star on the defensive side of the ball, and getting Rivera on board as the DC could indeed bring the 2nd coming of the glory days of the '90s. That's what everyone has been waiting for since Jimmy and Switzer left, and that's what we had hoped when Parcells took over a dismal team, and now we can have some hope if Rivera takes over the defense. Think about what Rivera would bring to the defense: real discipline, proven defensive schemes, accountability, innovation, motivation and more.

Let's get the defensive side of the ball in the bag Jerry. Go Cowboys!


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Packaged Announcement From Jerry Next Week

It looks like Norv is still the preferred the choice, and the wait on the announcement is due to Jerry waiting to interview Rivera for the HC position, but probably more likely as s potential DC. This will bode well for Rivera, the Cowboys are more visible and demand more media attention than the Chicago Bears. A DC position with the Cowboys would continue to elevate Rivera into a HC within the next season or two. If Jerry can bring on Rivera as the DC, then there will be a packaged announcement from Jerry - They will announce the new HC and DC at the same press conference. I could live with Turner, Rivera, and Garrett.