Anthony Brown

Cowboys Players Frustrated, Team To Make Several Moves

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link), while Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has publicly supported head coach Jason Garrett and his staff, the players themselves are not so supportive. Last year’s NFC East champions are just 5-6 and are mired in a three-game losing streak during which they have looked lethargic and mediocre, and the players are frustrated that the coaching staff has not made proper adjustments to help resolve their issues.

Jason Garrett (Vertical)

For instance, Rapoport says players are angry that the coaching staff did not provide Chaz Green with enough blocking support when he filled in for injured left tackle Tyron Smith, and they are generally frustrated with the vanilla schemes on both sides of the football.

Some changes, though, are being made. We learned earlier today that the team elected to waive running back Darren McFadden, and Rapoport say Dallas also plans to bench cornerback Anthony Brown.

The team also plans to bolster its defensive line by signing veteran Datone Jones, as Todd Archer of ESPN.com writes. Jones, who was recently cut by the 49ers, is expected to ink a two-year deal with the Cowboys tomorrow. Jones is a former first-round selection who has already been a part of three organizations this year (the Vikings, Lions, and 49ers), though he only saw game action with San Francisco. He recorded six tackles in three games and offers help as a rotational piece.

Archer also reports that the Cowboys will release kicker Mike Nugent and will promote running back Trey Williams from the practice squad to take McFadden’s place on the roster.

The above transactions, however, are minor moves that are not likely to ease the tension that Rapoport says permeates the locker room. Indeed, as Clarence Hill, Jr. of the Star-Telegram tweets, the team is not making any play-calling or coaching changes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Rams, Cowboys, Eagles, Vikes

The Rams had been holding off on extension talks with franchise-tagged cornerback Trumaine Johnson because they wanted to see how he fit in new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ scheme during their offseason program. Well, Johnson and Phillips are apparently a match, as head coach Sean McVay said Thursday (via Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com) that he “fits any system. You’re talking about a big corner who can run, he’s physical, he can tackle and he has great ball skills.” The Rams have until July 15 to reach a long-term deal with Johnson, who’s currently scheduled to rake in $16.742MM this year. The same deadline doesn’t apply to superstar defensive tackle Aaron Donald, as he’s still under control for two more years. The sides have discussed an extension, though, and McVay is “optimistic that something’s going to work out.”

More from the NFC:

  • One reason the Cowboys are uninterested in free agent cornerback Darrelle Revis is because they view him as a “progress-stopper,” according to Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. The Cowboys used three picks this year on corners, including Chidobe Awuzie in Round 2 and Jourdan Lewis in Round 3, and seem content to lean on a group that includes those youngsters, second-year man Anthony Brown (whom they’re bullish on, per Williams) and the established twosome of Orlando Scandrick and Nolan Carroll.
  • After playing just 27 percent of the Eagles’ defensive snaps in 2016, linebacker Mychal Kendricks has been the subject of trade rumors throughout the offseason. For now, Kendricks is still in Philadelphia, and if he remains an Eagle this year, his role is unlikely to change, writes Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com. The Eagles used their nickel package over 70 percent of the time last season, and they’ll probably rely on it heavily again; if so, Kendricks will continue to watch from the sideline as fellow linebackers Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham receive the majority of snaps. The 26-year-old Kendricks still has three years left on his contract, but releasing him would cost the Eagles $9.15MM in dead cap this summer. Barring a trade, then, he figures to spend the sixth year of his career with his only NFL employer to date.
  • Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is finally poised to put his nagging right eye issues behind him. “We’re just about out of the woods,” said Zimmer, who has undergone eight separate surgeries over the past year to repair a detached retina. A checkup on Wednesday revealed that “the retina is perfect, the pressure [in my eye] is great,” Zimmer informed reporters, including Ben Goessling of ESPN.com. The 61-year-old’s doctor told him he’d be “absolutely shocked if anything else happened in this eye.” Zimmer’s eye problems led to his absence from the Vikings’ Week 13 loss to Dallas last season and forced him to miss the first two weeks of organized team activities this spring.

Cowboys Sign Ezekiel Elliott

The Cowboys have formally signed their presumptive running back of the future. The team announced today that No. 4 overall pick Ezekiel Elliott has put pen to paper. Ezekiel Elliott

In the weeks leading up to the draft, the Cowboys were heavily connected to both Elliott and FSU defensive back Jalen Ramsey with their top pick. Ultimately, Jerry Jones’ fondness for the Ohio State product won out, giving the Cowboys a well-rounded tailback to join veterans Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris. Elliott will receive a four-year deal worth nearly $25MM in accordance with his draft slot.

That deal comes with a healthy $16.3MM signing bonus and a cap number of $4.5MM that escalates all the way to $7.94MM in the fourth and final year. Of course, as a first-round selection, the Cowboys will reserve the right to retain Elliott for an additional year via his fifth-year option.

In addition to Elliott, the Cowboys have also inked sixth-round picks Darius Jackson, Anthony Brown, and Kavon Frazier.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.