Extra Points: Cowboys, Wilkerson

The Cowboys made the wise decision to select ex-Notre Dame offensive guard Zack Martin 16th overall in the 2014 draft, but they did so against owner Jerry Jones’ wishes, chief operating officer Stephen Jones – Jerry’s son – told David Moore of the Dallas Morning News.

“Let’s go over this quarterback thing one more time,” said Jerry Jones, despite hearing endorsements of Martin from Stephen Jones, senior director of college/pro personnel Will McClay, head coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

The Cowboys then tried – and failed – to move down in the draft before settling on Martin.

“Son, if you want to do special things in life, you can’t keep picking and doing things down the middle,” Jerry said to Stephen afterward. “What we just did was down the middle.”

Martin did special things as a rookie, earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors. Quarterback Johnny Manziel, whom Dallas could have taken instead of Martin, had a poor first year both on and off the field and enters his second season backing up journeyman Josh McCown in Cleveland.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported earlier Saturday that the Jets and defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson are far apart on contract talks and unlikely to continue negotiating when the season starts Sunday. However, there is not – nor has there ever been – a hard Sunday deadline to get a deal done, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). That means the two sides could still hammer out a long-term extension during the season.
  • Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt, speaking to SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link), showered praise on rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota. “It was amazing how quickly our team bonded with Mariota. He has a businesslike professional approach. Doesn’t get rattled.” Mariota, the second overall pick in this year’s draft, will square off against the No. 1 selection, Bucs QB Jameis Winston, on Sunday.
  • The Browns won’t improve on their 7-9 record from 2014 without another big year from their defensive backfield, writes Tom Reed of Cleveland.com. The group includes three Pro Bowlers in Joe Haden, Tashaun Gipson and Donte Whitner. Gipson believes he’s part of the best secondary in the league. “Any time you get together this kind of talent nothing bad can go wrong in our eyes,” he said. “If we execute the game plan and play fast I feel there’s no better secondary out than us.”
  • The five-year, $45MM extension the Cowboys signed Tyrone Crawford to Saturday makes the Eagles’ recent four-year, $29MM pact with Mychal Kendricks look better, opines former Eagles and Browns executive Joe Banner. Kendricks’ deal is the best one any team has given out this year, Banner thinks (Twitter link).
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