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Jerry Jones Say Dez Bryant Won’t Be Making a Return to the Cowboys

Cowboys’ team owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday the timing of the release of Dez Bryant earlier this month was “as good a time as any from the end of the season,” the Dallas Morning News reports.

At the team’s pre-NFL draft news conference, Jones was asked about the release of the Pro Bowl receiver who played for the Cowboys for eight seasons.

“I have no thoughts about the timing of when we decided to move on,” Jones started. “For everyone concerned, that was as good a time as any from the end of the season.”

Jones added that he didn’t want to diminish the team’s feelings about Bryant as a person or his past contributions to the team.

Also, Jones appeared to shut the door on the idea of Bryant returning to the Cowboys if the free-agent market for him has indeed cooled off.

“I think a nice crisp time to call it a day is the way to do this. And I thought it was the case as far as when we discussed his future with the Cowboys, and I think that would pertain to your question about is the door still open,” Jones told reporters. “I think we need to keep this real crisp and the lines real bright. Consequently, we need to move on knowing that we don’t have Dez. And that sounds a little intangible, but it’s a little more than that.”

Cowboys DL David Irving Signs His Free Agent Tender

As the Cowboys’ offseason program officially opened on Monday, defensive lineman David Irving signed his restricted free agent tender, ensuring that he will return to the team for 2018, Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News reports.

Irving will receive $2.91 million for this season, and he’ll have plenty of motivation. A complete and solid season could help him demand a major payday when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

The Cowboys had placed a second-round tender on Irving last month, meaning any team competing for Irving’s services would’ve had to have given up a second-round draft pick for the three-year veteran. The Cowboys also had the right to match any team’s offer. In addition, an outside deal would’ve had to be substantial for Irving to agree to be locked up a year out from free agency.

Irving had seven sacks, 19 quarterback pressures and six deflected passes in just eight games last season. But he missed half the season — the first four games to suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs and the last four after suffering a concussion.

The deadline to sign the tender was Friday.

Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones to Meet with WR Dez Bryant on Friday

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will meet with Dez Bryant on Friday to discuss the receiver’s contract, Josh Clark of 105.3 the Fan in Dallas.

The timing couldn’t be any more important as the team will hold their first official workout on Monday.

105.3 The Fan’s Mike Fisher reported on Tuesday that the Cowboys could be prepared to say goodbye to Bryant in that meeting.

“The ‘Dump Dez’ concept was born about two months ago, when Cowboys COO Stephen Jones openly noted that Bryant’s contract needed to “be addressed.” Stephen at different times used the word “distraction” in conjunction with the player. At the time, I assumed Stephen was attempting to negotiate Bryant’s contract via the media, sure, but more, was attempting to “negotiate behavior,” Fish said in his piece.

Bryant, who has a $12.5 million base salary and a $16.5 million cap number for 2018, has been caught up in numerous rumors throughout the offseason. With the Cowboys signing receivers Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson in free agency, Dallas suddenly has a plethora of receivers on the roster.

Stephen Jones told 105.3 The Fan last week that the team had not yet met with Bryant but that his father, Jerry, would let everyone know when it happens.

“No, we haven’t. And when we (do), we’ll let you know, and the guy who will do that will be Jerry,” Stephen Jones told the Ben and Skin Show on 105.3 The Fan. “You’re talking to the wrong guy,” Jones added while chuckling.

Dez Bryant Rival Josh Norman Says the Cowboys Receiver Has a Lot ‘Left in the Tank’

Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and Redskins cornerback Josh Norman tend to make for must-see TV whenever their rival teams match up. And sparks can really fly now and again. The two men’s rivalry has even expanded into the commercial breaks in games.

But on Thursday, Norman said he has faith that Bryant, whose productivity has slid since his 2014 peak season, “has a lot left in the tank” if he can just access it, the Dallas Morning News reports.

“He has a lot left in the tank. It’s what he gets out of it, that’s the thing,” Norman said. “I mean he can be whatever he wants to be.”

“I’m not here to down the man, I’m not gonna down him. He plays the game at the highest level. I think for him, it’s all between here [points to brain]. Once he figures that out and once he feels that ‘When I step on the field I’m going to dominate whether it’s Josh Norman or a rookie coming into the league [lined up against me].’ … Everybody’s got to figure that out. I’m still figuring it out.”

Cowboys Come to Terms with Former Jets DE Kony Ealy

The Cowboys have added another piece to their defensive puzzle, as the team has inked free agent DE Kony Ealy, who formerly played with the New York Jets.

The Jets claimed Ealy off waivers after the Patriots cut him loose in late August. New England had acquired the former second-round pick from the Carolina Panthers in an offseason trade in 2017, but coach Bill Belichick told reporters upon Ealy’s release the pairing just “didn’t work out.”

Ealy recorded 14 tackles, one sack and one interception in his lone season with the Jets. Had New York not placed a claim on the edge rusher, he could have ended up in Dallas, which also placed a claim on him. Due to the waiver order at the time, the Jets were awarded Ealy.

Cowboys Jump to SeatGeek, Leave NFL’s Deal with Ticketmaster

The Cowboys announced on Tuesday that they have opted out of the NFL’s deal with Ticketmaster and have elected to give their primary box office business to ticket reseller SeatGeek, Darren Rovell of ESPN reports.

Terms were not disclosed. The Cowboys also have purchased an undisclosed stake in the company.

“We honestly thought we would continue with Ticketmaster,” said Chad Estis, the team’s executive vice president of business operations. “But we have a commitment to have the best in class and we thought that SeatGeek’s technology from a fan standpoint and the ease of use and flexibility on the back end with our folks internally made this deal the right one.”

The Cowboys aren’t the first team to opt out of the Ticketmaster deal. The Detroit Lions switched primary ticketing to Veritix for the 2013 season but will return to Ticketmaster for the 2018 season. The Cowboys and New Orleans Saints, who signed with SeatGeek in November, will be the only teams not currently part of the league deal.

The move is consistent with the history of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who famously struck deals with Pepsi and American Express in the 1990s, when the league had deals with Coca-Cola and Visa. The NFL sued but eventually dropped the case.

In 2002, Jones became only the owner to opt out of the NFL’s licensing deal, which split revenues equally. Jones felt that the Cowboys contributed a disproportionate share and sought to be rewarded by going on his own to distribute and choose where he wanted the Cowboys gear to be sold. Sixteen years later, the Cowboys are still the only team that does that.

“The financials had to be right, but we also have an owner who isn’t afraid to take a little risk,” Estis said of the SeatGeek decision. “We expect there could be a bump or two along the way.”

Cowboys to Visit with Jets Free Agent DE Kony Ealy

Jets free agent defensive end Kony Ealy is slated to visit the Cowboys early this week, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports citing source. He’s also remained in discussions with Jets over the past few weeks.

Ealy spent the 2017 regular season with the Jets. He was traded from the Panthers to the Patriots, but New England waived him in preseason. The Jets picked him up.

Kony only put up 14 tackles and 1 sack in a rotation role with the Jets, but he did his hands on passing attempts an unusual number of times. He ended 2017 with 9 passes defensed and 1 interception. This probably was an aberration as Ealy had only 5 passes defensed in the rest of his career combined. He also wasn’t consistent. All 9 of those defensed passes and the interception came before the Jets’ bye.

Cowboys Gab 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: USC QB Sam Darnold

The hype for USC quarterback Sam Darnold has b3en growing by leaps and bounds the last few weeks, to the point where many feel he’s going to be the first overall pick in the NFL Draft in April.

At 6-4, 220 pounds, he’s got the look of a player who with some time learning could be a very good to excellent quarterback in the NFL, but time will tell when he might get that chance.

In his final season at USC, Darnold threw for 4143 yards, with 26 touchdowns to go along with 13 picks. This after throwing 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions the season before.

Here’s a look at Darnold and what various places are saying about him in our latest scouting report.

Walter Football

Strengths:
Naturally accurate passer
Fits passes into tight windows
Excellnt ball placement
Throws a catchable ball
Pocket presence
Has poise
Advanced anticipation; instinctive thrower
Throws with good timing
Can accelerate his throwing motion
Quality arm strength
Pushed team to wins
Good internal clock
Mobility
Throws very well on the run
Throws accurately off platform
Displays some feel in the pocket
Not easy to sack
Can hurt defenses on the ground
Can make all the throws required
Can pick up yards on the ground
Threads passes into tight windows

Weaknesses:
Ball security
Too many interceptions
Too many fumbles
Had some confidence issues in 2017
Doesn’t secure the ball well when getting sacked
Good enough not doesn’t have elite arm strength
Throwing mechanics are a bit unorthodox
Needs to start games faster

Summary: Darnold took college football by storm during the 2016 season, and even though he wasn’t eligible for the 2017 NFL Draft, the redshirt freshman had scouts buzzing about his pro potential. After a 1-2 start to the 2016 season for USC, Darnold was made the starting quarterback. For his debut season, he was an extremely efficient passer who led the Trojans to a 10-3 record. Darnold lost his first-ever start against a good Utah team, but after that he led his team to ripping off a nine-game win streak to close out the year, including impressive wins over Colorado, Washington, and a comeback Rose Bowl win over Penn State. Darnold completed 67 percent of his passes in 2016 for 3,086 yards with 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

The 2017 season was more of a mixed bag for Darnold. The redshirt sophomore completed 63 percent of his passes for 4,143 yards with 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He had an up-and-down season with too many turnovers – fumbles were a particular issue beyond the interceptions. Darnold also made some beautiful anticipatory throws with excellent accuracy in just about every game.

There is a lot to like about Darnold as a future starter in the NFL. First and foremost, he is an accurate pocket passer who throws with good ball placement and is very precise in the short to intermediate part of the field. Darnold has excellent anticipation to know when and where receivers are going open. With his feel and timing, Darnold hits receivers on the run, leading them to picking up yards after the catch. He also regularly will throw receivers open and help them to find space to beat tight coverage. Darnold is a natural rhythm thrower who would fit best in a West Coast system to maximize his ability to throw accurately in the short to intermediate part of the field. He is a smooth precision passer who can be deadly when he gets into a good groove.

Darnold is comfortable in the pocket, but also has the ability to move around to buy time. While he is not a running quarterback, he is functional to avoid sacks and will move around to help his offensive line and receivers. Darnold made a number of really nice plays during the past two years when things went off script as he got creative to move the ball for his offense. Routinely, Darnold would buy time with his feet and then make an accurate throw downfield with the rush closing in on him.

The Drafster

In my eyes, Sam Darnold is a very odd prospect. Talked about as a number 1 overall draft pick. Talked about as the best Quarterback coming out of college this year. However, I am not seeing any of this. When I watch Darnold, I see one of the most streaky Quarterback play I think I have seen in awhile. At time looks very hesitant to throw, missing an opportunity. Other times he looks too eager and makes a bad decision. He has his good moments, but then a play later he will have a combination of bad plays. Moving in the pocket too early and too often, inconsistent accuracy, and staring down a play for too long are major turn offs to me.

The first thing I notice about Darnold when watching him is that he seems to ignore his dump off routes. He seems so locked in on making a big play, he forgets about the guys that are 5 yards away from him. I can respect wanting to make a big play for the team, but after staring downfield for eternity it’s time to hit your shallow routes. At least LOOK at them to see if they are open. There is no shame in taking an easy three to five yards. Not every throw has to get the crowd on their feet.

The second thing I notice is how much he likes to move around in the pocket. And that is just not his style. I get running to avoid a sack, but too many times I saw him run with a clean pocket. Multiple times he would take off to the outskirts of the pocket, making it easier for defenders to get off their block. He seems to just panic unless he has the cleanest pocket one could possibly have. If he would stand tall in the pocket and deliver, his accuracy issues would go down as well. His deep balls are inconsistent, and the times he does go to dump it off, those are not always pretty either. His best throws come from his 10-15 yarders. Which always happen to be when he stands his ground.

I will say though, 4th quarter Sam Darnold seems to be a better player than in other quarters. He reads the field better, has better ball placement, and doesn’t try to run around as much. It just seems something clicks a bit better for him during the 4th. Like he has calmed down. He just needs to be able to play similar to that all game if he is gonna be the number 1 overall pick this upcoming draft.

I think Darnold has a lot to work on. Personally there are 4 other Quarterbacks I would take before drafting him. He does good things, unfortunately, his good things just are not consistent enough and are overshadowed by his flaws. I believe if he can work on sitting in the pocket longer instead of trying to escape right away (while not holding the ball for too long), a lot of his issues will start fading. I think Darnold will have a real rough start to his career, but if keeps his confidence and keeps fixing his game, it will work out for him in the long run.

Cover 1 Scouting Report

Strengths:

Darnold’s entire game is predicated upon his ability to create. Darnold is an athletic player; he is able to pull the ball down and gain chunks of yardage with his legs. His agility and change of direction catch many defenders off guard.

That is why offensive coordinator Tee Martin built an offense that maximized his legs. USC ran a heavy dose of run pass options (RPOs), a concept that gave Darnold many options pre- and post-snap, and he absolutely flourished. On a majority of their plays, Darnold had the ability to give the ball to star running back Ronald Jones, keep it as a runner, or throw it to one of his many weapons outside. This multi-dimensional structure of a play was obviously super productive. His decision making was very good all season, especially on these RPOs. He can process the coverage, find the conflict defender, and distribute the ball quickly.

But what is often overlooked is the accuracy and velocity needed on these kinds of concepts. At times, after the mesh with the running back or play fake, the passing lane is cluttered with defenders coming downhill to defend what they perceive to be a run. Once they realize that it is a pass, they immediately try to get their hands up in the passing lanes. Darnold makes these throws look easy. Standing at 6’4? and 220 pounds, he is able to place the ball in optimal locations, allowing his weapons to make plays.

At the next level, Darnold is going to make his money in the short area. While his elongated release and sloppy footwork will cause issues at times, something I will cover later, it isn’t an issue from 0-9 yards. That bodes well for Sam, because that is where football is won and lost on Sundays. His mechanics aren’t an issue because he is throwing in rhythm and not having to worry about mechanics.

According to SportsInfo Solutions (SIS), Darnold’s short game is phenomenal. From 0-9 yards, he had the highest completion percentage (75.4%), the 4th-most passing yards (1,534), 12th-most touchdowns (10), the 3rd-highest yards per attempt (7.6), and the 5th-highest rating (107.2).

Weaknesses:

As productive as Darnold was over his 27 games at USC, he has some serious flaws that need to be addressed, the first of which is turnovers. Darnold threw 22 interceptions over two years and added another 20 fumbles. This lack of ball security will get you benched quickly.

While the offense surrendered an average of 2.14 sacks a game and a grand total of 30 sacks in 2017, he admitted that he was pushing it too much.

Many of his turnovers are linked to his mechanics. Darnold has some of the worst mechanics I have ever seen from a quarterback. Let’s start with his delivery. Typically, a quarterback with an elongated delivery like Darnold’s will struggle at the next level. From the time he begins his delivery to the time of release is often the difference between a tight window completion and an interception. Defensive backs are just too good on Sundays. If he is slightly late anticipating a throw and needs to drive a pass, the split second longer that it takes to release the ball due to his delivery could lead to an interception, much like it did versus Washington State. The safety bails post-snap, baiting Darnold to throw the speed out as he gets the 1-on-1 coverage. The defensive back reads the route, breaks, and picks him off.

What Matt Miller says about Darnold – Ranking him as the #1 QB on the board

1. Sam Darnold, USC

A two-year starter at USC, Sam Darnold is widely praised for his toughness, football IQ and leadership. A coach with the Trojans told me Darnold only cares about football and not the benefits of being a star quarterback. He did turn the ball over 22 times in 2017, which should at a minimum send scouts back to the tape to find the context of each turnover. But Darnold’s tangible and intangible traits are tops in the class.

Scout’s Quote: “Crystal clean off the field. Smart, poised, tough, accurate. He might be the only one that could work in Cleveland because he won’t let the pressure go to his head.”

Coach’s Quote: “The release and turnovers bother me, but he has the makeup to be good. He’s better than [Mitch] Trubisky was last year but he’s not on the level of [Carson] Wentz or Jared [Goff].”

Scout’s Comparison: Tony Romo, retired

Darnold impressed at his Pro Day, throwing in the rain back on March 21st