Cowboys Rumors

Cowboys Work Out UFL DE Jonathan Garvin

Following a standout season in the UFL, Jonathan Garvin is attracting interest from NFL squads. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the defensive end worked out for the Cowboys today.

The former seventh-round pick out of Miami managed to stick on the Packers roster for the first three years of his career. His largest role came in 2021, when he got into about 40 percent of his team’s defensive snaps while compiling 19 tackles and 1.5 sacks. His defensive snaps were cut in half during the 2022 campaign, and the lineman ended up getting cut by the Packers last July.

Garvin didn’t get an NFL gig during the 2023 campaign, but he ended up reemerging with the Birmingham Stallions of the UFL. He had a productive season for the eventual league champs, finishing with 20 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

At only 24 years old, Garvin still has plenty of upside. The 6-foot-4, 257-pound defensive lineman would be hard pressed to earn snaps behind Micah Parsons and Demarcus Lawrence, and it’s worth noting that the organization recently used a second-round pick on defensive end Marshawn Kneeland. If Dallas ends up adding the UFL standout, the player will likely be competing with the likes of Sam Williams, Durrell Johnson, and Viliami Fehoko Jr. for one of the final DE spots. Garvin’s experience on special teams provides him with an additional path to a roster spot.

Cowboys Sign CB Gareon Conley, LB Willie Harvey Jr.

The UFL’s first season is complete, and teams can now officially sign players who took part in the merged league. The Cowboys are among those who will do so, and their effort will bring a former first-round pick back into the NFL.

Gareon Conley is signing with the Cowboys, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Calvin Watkins. This comes after the team worked out the former Raiders first-rounder last week. The Cowboys are also adding UFL linebacker Willie Harvey, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero. Harvey also auditioned for Dallas at its minicamp as well.

For Conley, this will be a path back to the NFL after a lengthy hiatus. Conley was last in the league as a Texan in 2020; he has not seen game action since 2019. The Cowboys have since announced the signing, which will reunite Conley with Paul Guenther. The new Dallas assistant served as Oakland’s DC from 2018-19. The Raiders drafted Conley in the 2017 first round and used him as a starter during the 2018 and ’19 slates, trading him to the Texans midway through the ’19 season. Guenther is the Cowboys’ run-game coordinator on defense.

Dallas worked out both Conley and ex-Giants first-rounder Deandre Baker. Both played for the D.C. Defenders during this UFL season. Conley, who will turn 29 later this month, intercepted two passes this season. Despite Baker earning All-UFL acclaim, he has not landed an NFL gig yet. As Conley earned a CB spot, Watkins adds no Baker deal is expected.

Part of a lengthy line of Ohio State first-round corners, Conley saw an injury interrupt his progress. He played in just two games as a rookie but received a long look during Jon Gruden‘s early seasons at the helm. The Raiders used Conley as a 20-game starter from 2018-19. Pro Football Focus assigned the 6-foot cover man mid-pack grades from 2018-19; he finished the ’19 season — after the Raiders and Texans agreed on a trade involving a third-round pick going to Houston — as a starting CB for a playoff team. Conley, who intercepted three passes in 2018, closed the ’19 season as a full-time Texans starter who worked with the first-stringers in both Houston playoff tilts that year. Conley missed the 2020 season due to a nagging ankle injury and fell off the NFL radar soon after.

This certainly represents an interesting comeback opportunity, seeing as it has now been more than four years since Conley last logged NFL game action. But the Cowboys have shown an eye for talent out of the spring leagues in recent years, having found Pro Bowlers Brandon Aubrey and KaVontae Turpin via the USFL.

The Cowboys are planning to use a Trevon DiggsDaRon BlandJourdan Lewis trio atop their CB depth chart, and the team has some recent draftees — former third-rounder Nahshon Wright and recent Day 3 investments Eric Scott Jr. and Caelen Carson — as backup options. Veteran C.J. Goodwin, 34, remains on Dallas’ roster as well. While teams can stash more vested vets on practice squads compared to the setup when Conley last played, his age would complicate that route. Still, Dallas will give the former top prospect an opportunity to make an unexpected return.

Several teams showed interest in Harvey, per Pelissero, but the Cowboys workout will lead the UFL linebacker to the NFC East. Harvey, who led UFL LBs in tackles (76) while tallying four sacks, last played as a Browns reserve in 2021. Harvey, 28, played four NFL games after entering the league as a UDFA out of Iowa State in 2019.

Cowboys Aiming To Finalize Dak Prescott Extension Before CeeDee Lamb?

With minicamp now in the books, the period leading up to Cowboys’ training camp will be dominated by progress on extension talks for Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons. The latter is under contract for two more years, so he is not as pressing of a financial priority this summer.

Prescott has firmly remained in Dallas’ plans beyond the 2024 campaign, one in which he is set to carry a cap hit of $55.13MM. With no-tag and no-trade clauses in his deal, last season’s MVP runner-up has plenty of leverage in a potential bid to reach the top of the quarterback market. A report from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler earlier this month indicated the Cowboys are set to make a “strong offer” to keep Prescott in the fold.

To little surprise, that has placed the 30-year-old at the top of the pecking order in terms of lucrative Dallas extensions. Fowler noted in a recent SportsCenter appearance that the Cowboys want to work out the Prescott accord before those of Lamb and Parsons (video link). Such an approach would come as little surprise, considering the respective cap situations of the three players and the nature of the quarterback (as opposed to receiver and edge rush) markets.

Prescott is a candidate to set a new standard in terms of annual average compensation on his next deal; both Joe Burrow (Bengals) and Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars) are currently at $55MM in that regard. The former fourth-rounder has publicly stated that his latest round of negotiations will not be as centered on finances as the last one, and the extent to which that holds true will be a key factor in this process. As Fowler confirms, the Cowboys have not yet aggressively engaged in extension talks with Prescott.

If that continues for the time being, Lamb will be left to wait for serious negotiations of his own. The three-time Pro Bowler did not take part in OTAs or mandatory minicamp as he continues to seek out an extension. Lamb has seen Justin Jefferson reset the top of the receiver market with his $35MM-per-year Vikings pact, and his own value could be similar. Given the surge in lucrative receiver pacts signed by other top producers at the position recently, Lamb will have significant leverage after any potential Prescott deal is hammered out.

Of course, new agreements for either member of that pair will have to be made with Parsons in mind as well. Under contract in 2025 via his fifth-year option, Parsons is aiming to usurp Jefferson as the league’s top paid non-quarterback. The resources Dallas has available to meet that goal (likely next offseason) will largely depend on the progress made with Prescott and Lamb – in that order – during the near future.

NFL Contract Details: Rookies, Andrews, Shepard

Normally, the details of rookie contract signings don’t draw much note from the media. Most facets of the rookie contract are not up for negotiation, so by the book numbers don’t tend to interest the NFL world. Lately, though, NFL teams have gotten creative with how they deal with rookie deals, usually rewarding first- and second-round picks with guaranteed money.

Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 noted three second-round picks whose deals were reported recently. New Commanders cornerback Mike Sainristil out of Michigan’s rookie deal will see the base salaries of his 2024 and 2025 seasons fully guaranteed and $897K of $1.5MM guaranteed from his 2026 salary. Dolphins rookie offensive tackle Patrick Paul from Houston will see similar guarantees. All of his base salary for 2024 and 2025 will be guaranteed along with $413K of his 2026 salary worth $1.42MM. Lastly, Cowboys rookie pass rusher out of Western Michigan, Marshawn Kneeland, will see his first two years fully guaranteed, as well. Kneeland will also see $322K of his 2026 base salary (worth a total of $1.42MM) guaranteed.

Here are some other details from recent contracts around the NFL:

  • We recently saw the Patriots grant center David Andrews a raise in a new extension. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe gives us further details on the new contract. He notes that Andrews was guaranteed $1.75MM of his $5MM for 2024. He also reports that the deal will reduce Andrews’ cap impact next year from $8.43MM to $6.68MM.
  • The Buccaneers recently signed former Giants receiver Sterling Shepard to a one-year, $1.38MM deal. Wilson of KPRC2 tells us that Shepard will be able to earn a $50K roster bonus if he’s on the active roster by Week 1 of the season. He’ll also have the opportunity to earn an additional $6,911 per game in active roster bonuses for a potential season total of $117,500.

Cowboys Sign DE Marshawn Kneeland, Complete Draft Class

The Cowboys have completed their draft class signings. The team announced that they’ve signed second-round defensive end Marshawn Kneeland.

The defensive lineman spent five years at Western Michigan, collecting 148 tackles, 27.5 tackles for loss, and 13 sacks. He earned second-team All-MAC honors this past season after setting career-highs in tackles (57) and sacks (4.5). That performance helped make him the 56th-overall pick, with Kneeland representing the sixth defensive end off the board.

With Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence in place, the Cowboys won’t need to lean on the rookie in 2024. Kneeland will likely be competing with 2022 second-round pick Sam Williams for any leftover snaps.

Kneeland was the last of the Cowboys’ eight draft picks to sign. The rest of the team’s draft class includes:

Cowboys Audition CBs DeAndre Baker, Gareon Conley

Neither DeAndre Baker nor Gareon Conley‘s initial NFL runs lasted too long. Both first-round picks did not play a fourth NFL season, but each wound up in the UFL. Spring leagues have provided a springboard for second chances, and the Cowboys — who have led the way in value gained from the recent batch of American minor football leagues — are looking into both players.

NFL teams cannot sign UFL players until next week, as the merged league’s championship game is set for Sunday, but workouts are permitted this week. Several UFLers are receiving chances with NFL teams, and ESPN.com’s Todd Archer indicates the Cowboys are taking a look at Baker and Conley at their minicamp this week.

A 2017 Raiders first-round pick, Conley will turn 29 later this month. He has not played in an NFL game since Week 15 of the 2019 season. Conley spent the 2020 season on the Texans’ IR list. Houston had acquired Conley via trade from Oakland in October 2019. The Raiders had used the former No. 24 overall pick as a starter in every game that season leading up to the trade deadline but unloaded him for a third-round pick. This came early during the Jon Gruden-Mike Mayock years; Conley arrived during the Raiders’ final Reggie McKenzie-run draft.

Like Conley, Baker wound up with a second team after washing out early with the club that drafted him. An arrest led the Giants to waive Baker, a 2019 first-round pick, before the 2020 season. Robbery charges against the young cornerback ended up being dropped, and the Chiefs took a flier on the struggling defender. Baker played in 10 Chiefs games from 2020-21; the team waived him in August 2022. Baker allowed six touchdown passes as the closest defender in a 15-start rookie season.

Both Baker, 26, and Conley caught on with the D.C. Defenders before the inaugural UFL season. Conley intercepted two passes this season, while Baker landed on the All-UFL team last week. Neither player played in the XFL or USFL in 2023. The Cowboys have benefited considerably from the latter league, with both KaVontae Turpin and Brandon Aubrey becoming Pro Bowlers in their first seasons in Dallas. Aubrey earned first-team All-Pro recognition in his Cowboys debut.

Dallas is also working out the UFL’s tackles leader, Willie Harvey Jr., per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero. The St. Louis Battlehawks defender totaled 76 tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles and nine tackles for loss this season. Harvey, 28, previously saw NFL time with the Browns from 2019-21, playing in just four games as a backup. Cleveland cut Harvey after its 2022 training camp. The Cowboys will see if Harvey’s UFL work has made him a better candidate for an NFL role.

Latest On Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs

Trevon Diggs‘ 2023 campaign came to an unexpected end. The Cowboys’ highest-paid corner suffered an ACL tear during a September practice, sidelining him and leaving the team shorthanded in the secondary.

The 25-year-old is making progress in his recovery. To little surprise, though, Dallas will take a cautious approach with him in terms of usage during this offseason. It remains to be seen if Diggs will be available once training camp begins in July.

“Maybe,” the former second-rounder said when asked about his training camp readiness (via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News). “Maybe not. But I’m feeling comfortable. I feel good.”

Diggs’ injury left the Cowboys notably thin at the cornerback spot even with Stephon Gilmore playing at a high level and DaRon Bland enjoying an historic season in terms of pick-sixes. The latter is still on the books for two more years, but the former is among the most high-profile players still on the open market. Gilmore has expressed a willingness to re-sign in Dallas, but little movement has been seen in his case this offseason.

Even if the former Defensive Player of the Year lands elsewhere in free agency, expectations will be high for the Cowboys after they ranked fifth in the NFL in passing yards against last season. A healthy Diggs would certainly help the team given his status as one of the league’s top ballhawks. The Alabama product has racked up 18 interceptions and 52 pass breakups in 47 games, figures which helped him secure a five-year, $97MM extension last summer.

Three other Cowboys – linebacker DeMarvion Overshowntight end John Stevens and receiver David Durden – also suffered ACL tears last year. Like Diggs, their respective rehabs are progressing with an eye on a patient approach from the team’s perspective. Diggs is nevertheless currently in a good place with respect to his recovery.

“We’ll respect the timeline, but Trevon looks great,” head coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s in a good spot…. As far as when he gets back, let’s be honest, we’re going to be very cautious with those guys. We’re not going to put them out there too soon. Better later than too fast.”

If Diggs is not fully recovered by the beginning of training camp, he will be a candidate for the active/PUP list. Players can be activated from that list at any time during the summer, and the point at which the Cowboys do so with Diggs (if necessary) will be a key storyline to follow.

Cowboys’ Micah Parsons Expects To Become NFL’s Highest-Paid Non-QB

Micah Parsons is probably the Cowboys’ best player, but he appears to sit third in the team’s latest extension queue due to contract timelines. Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb‘s contract-year statuses make their situations front-burner matters. Parsons appears fine waiting.

Rather than push the issue ahead of his fourth seasons, Parsons is prepared to see where the market will go once his time to see market-changing money comes. During the fifth-year option era (2011-present), the Cowboys have paid three first-rounders (Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Ezekiel Elliott) before their fourth seasons. Dallas exercised Parsons’ fifth-year option, but it does not seem like an early deal — given the Prescott and Lamb matters — is coming.

[RELATED: CeeDee Lamb Not Present At Cowboys’ Minicamp]

I’m patient. Patience is a virtue,” Parsons said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill. “I’m waiting my turn. Let CeeDee go get whatever. Let Dak get whatever. I kind of know where the money is. It’s not like I see the Cowboys with $90MM in cap space.

This market is going to just jump up and the cap goes up again next year. They’re talking about these contracts might for a high-caliber player might be up to $40MM by then.”

When asked if he expected to become the NFL’s highest-paid non-quarterback on his second contract, the All-Pro Dallas defender replied, “I mean, yeah.” Parsons, 25, will have a clear-cut case to surpass Nick Bosa‘s $34MM-per-year deal and Justin Jefferson‘s new $35MM-AAV accord. While the cap might not take another $30MM jump in 2025, it will check in higher than its $255.4MM place next year. This bodes well for Parsons, who has displayed transformative abilities during his rookie contract.

Frequently battling double-teams, the 2021 first-round pick is 3-for-3 in All-Pro nods (two first-team selections) and is one of just five players in the sack era (1982-present) to record 40 sacks over his first three seasons. The Cowboys did well by nabbing Parsons following a trade down to No. 12, which helped the Eagles outflank the Giants for DeVonta Smith; they will need to reward their impact defender in the not-too-distant future.

The 49ers’ Bosa extension talks came down to the wire last September, with the former Defensive Player of the Year inking a deal that placed him nearly $6MM north of previous top edge earner T.J. Watt. Although Brian Burns and Josh Allen have signed extensions this offseason, their deals barely outpace Watt’s for AAV. No one is within $20MM of Bosa’s guarantee number ($122MM); the San Francisco dynamo’s $88MM full guarantee checks in $8MM higher than Watt’s. The Bosa deal should set the floor for the Cowboys, who should have more financial clarity by the time they enter serious extension talks with Parsons (likely in 2025).

Parsons is tied to a $2.99MM 2024 salary and a fully guaranteed $21.32MM fifth-year option number. The Cowboys are in the rare position of needing to consider record-setting QB, WR and defender payments on one cap sheet. The team is expected to make a strong Prescott extension offer — one that would reduce his 2024 cap hit from its eye-popping $55.13MM place — this summer and has viewed 2024 as the Lamb extension window. Jefferson’s guarantees will complicate Lamb talks, which will occur as Prescott carries considerable leverage against his team.

Despite their past early extension efforts, the Cowboys have taken some heat for creating this situation. While this can be dubbed a good problem due to the talents of Prescott, Lamb and Parsons, the team will certainly see its depth tested if it opts to pay all three players. No trade rumors have emerged regarding the trio; Prescott holds a no-trade clause.

For now, Parsons appears set to play a fourth season on his rookie contract. Bosa and Aaron Donald did so in the past. But the Cowboys waiting with the Penn State product runs the risk of upping his asking price when negotiations commence.

Zack Martin To Consider Retirement After 2024 Season

While Micah Parsons might be the Cowboys’ most talented player, Zack Martin is easily the most accomplished performer on Dallas’ roster. A surefire future Hall of Famer, Martin has been one of the NFL’s top guards since being a 2014 first-round pick.

Year 10 brought an interesting chapter for Martin. The decorated blocker held out and saw his tactic produce a solid reward, with the Cowboys greenlighting a raise and a substantial guarantee bump. Martin rewarded the club with a seventh first-team All-Pro season. One year remains on Martin’s deal, and the Canton-bound guard is unsure he will follow Tyron Smith in pursuing another contract. Martin said he will consider retirement following the 2024 campaign.

[RELATED: Cowboys Expected To Make Dak Prescott Strong Offer]

I’m not saying 100%, but I think it’s definitely in the realm of possibilities,” Martin said, via the Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken, of the possibility 2024 is his last season. “And that’s one thing I don’t want to do. For myself, I don’t want to be thinking, ‘Oh, this is it. This is it.’ I want to stay in the moment, and I want to play the best that I can play at this point and be the best right guard this team needs on a weekly basis. And then after the season, we’ll figure out what’s going on.”

Despite coming into the NFL two years after Smith, the acclaimed right guard is a month older than his longtime teammate. Drafted at 23, Martin will turn 34 in November. Martin signed a six-year, $84MM extension before the 2018 season. The extension ties the cornerstone lineman to the Cowboys for seven years. While the team revised Martin’s deal to end his holdout last year, the parameters of the 2018 agreement still shape his path to free agency.

Martin remaining at or close to his All-Pro form would, even at 34, make him an attractive free agent — particularly for contending teams — in 2025. Guards rarely receive the franchise tag, due to all O-linemen being under one umbrella on the tag, and the Cowboys’ contract situation has produced complications to the point a 2025 tag for anyone might not be in the cards. The team has Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb deals to complete, with a monster Parsons payday likely coming next year.

Restructures also stand to make matters difficult for the Cowboys regarding Martin, as a $26.5MM dead money hit would come to pass if he is not re-signed before the start of the 2025 league year. As the Tom Brady Buccaneers contract showed, a retirement would also stick the Cowboys with that void years-driven bill.

ESPN’s run block win rate metric slotted Martin fifth last season, though his 18th-place Pro Football Focus finish marked a career-low ranking. The 2014 first-round pick said his holdout, along with nagging injuries, hindered him — to a degree, as an All-Pro nod still commenced — in 2023. That said, Martin is in rare territory among guards. Even counting pre-merger players, Martin’s seventh first-team All-Pro selection tied him for first all-time at the position — with Hall of Famers John Hannah and Randall McDaniel.

The Cowboys did not re-sign Tyron Smith and, after the Tyler Guyton first-round choice, are expected to keep All-Pro Tyler Smith at left guard. As the team breaks in a new center post-Tyler Biadasz, Martin remains the team’s anchor piece up front. The Cowboys will count on the Notre Dame product again in 2024, but with his contract expiring and retirement under consideration, the All-Decade-teamer’s future is uncertain beyond the upcoming season.

Cowboys Prepared To Make Strong Dak Prescott Offer

Plenty of extension candidates and recipients have come through Cowboys headquarters in recent years, as the team has strung together three straight 12-win seasons. But this profiles as a unique offseason for the oft-discussed franchise, as three cornerstone players — Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons — are each extension-eligible.

Both Prescott and Lamb are in contract years; the latter has not shown for minicamp this week. Two seasons remain on Parsons’ deal, via the fifth-year option. Prescott resides in the most interesting situation — due to the terms of his current contract.

Dallas’ QB cannot be franchise-tagged, and a no-trade clause gives the MVP runner-up security on that front as well. As of now, Prescott’s cap number ($55.13MM) trails Deshaun Watson‘s ($63.77MM). Both numbers would shatter an NFL record for a cap figure in-season.

Absent another restructure, the Browns could be ready to take some medicine on their Watson contract. The Cowboys, however, have a clear motivation to complete an extension. Although a report in the spring suggested Dallas was open to having Prescott reach free agency, pushback emerged soon after pointing to the team — as should be expected — having no desire to move to the free agency cliff with their QB. The team is “all in” on a Prescott extension, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler noted during a recent Get Up appearance.

The “all in” phrase has become a bit tiresome when connected to this Cowboys offseason, but the team has made clear it wants to do a third deal with Prescott. Thus far, however, Fowler notes the team has taken a passive approach here. The Cowboys waiting with Lamb has likely cost some money, especially considering the monster guarantees the Vikings gave Justin Jefferson. As more quarterback deals are completed, that will certainly affect Dallas-Dak talks. The sides have been in discussions since March, though it is clear these talks have not reached the serious stage.

As the offseason winds down, the Cowboys will need to operate in a more urgent fashion with their ninth-year QB. They are planning to make a strong offer at some point this summer, Fowler adds. Considering the way Prescott operated during his first negotiation, the numbers associated with these discussions remain a central 2024 NFL storyline. Prescott bounced back from a down 2022, throwing an NFL-most 36 TD passes (compared to just nine INTs) and ranking second in QBR, to boost his market. Though, it would have been strong regardless.

While the 30-year-old passer downplayed his desire for a market-setting contract, the shrewd negotiations that led to his four-year, $160MM extension in March 2021 point have the Cowboys battling uphill. The team’s inability to tag Prescott and a recent restructure inflating the void years-driven penalty to $40.1MM in 2025 dead money leave the former fourth-round pick in the driver’s seat.

How the Cowboys handle this Prescott-Lamb-Parsons situation will be one of the more interesting contract chapters in recent league history. A quarterback on a deal at or near $60MM per year and a wideout on track for a near-Jefferson-level payment would be difficult enough, but Parsons having a clear case — thanks to his accomplishments and the cap increase — to top Nick Bosa‘s defender-record contract by a notable margin creates quite the crunch for the Cowboys, whose depth will be tested should the team indeed go through with extensions for all three.