Cowboys Rumors

Jerry Jones Says Cowboys Will Pursue Safeties

Jerry Jones only helped add fuel to the fire today regarding Earl Thomas potentially joining the Cowboys. When asked if the organization would pursue some help at safety, the team’s owner made his answer pretty clear.

Of course, it’s important to note that Jones never explicitly mentioned Thomas, but it’s pretty easy to assume that the organization will pursue the veteran defensive back. The mutual interest between the two sides has been covered extensively, although the NFL recently made it clear that the Cowboys didn’t tamper when it came to the 29-year-old.

Of course, Dallas ultimately may look to leverage Thomas’ interest in joining the Cowboys. The team is projected to have around $50MM in cap space, but a solid portion of that total will go towards a DeMarcus Lawrence franchise tag and other extensions. As a result, the team may not have a whole lot of money to give Thomas.

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Cowboys Not Ready To Spend Big On Thomas?

Linked for more than a year now, Earl Thomas and the Cowboys could be a match soon. Thomas seems certain to hit the market, and the Cowboys offered a second-round pick for him last year. It would only take money to bring Thomas to Dallas this year, but the sides may not be as strong of a match. The Cowboys hold nearly $50MM in cap space, but a big chunk of that will likely go to another DeMarcus Lawrence franchise tag. Other funds will be earmarked for extensions for several young talents. The Cowboys could use safety help, but Albert Breer of SI.com does not get the vibe the organization will be ready to shell out top-end safety money to bring Thomas to Dallas.

Cowboys To Re-Sign LS L.P. Ladouceur

The Cowboys’ long snapper since the Bill Parcells years, L.P. Ladouceur will not be hitting free agency.

Another deal for Ladouceur is expected to commence soon, Calvin Watkins of The Athletic reports (on Twitter). This would be Ladouceur’s 15th NFL season. He has played only for the Cowboys as an NFL snapper.

Ladouceur, who will turn 38 next month, made $1.1MM last season on a one-year agreement. Given the going rate for long snappers, it won’t be expected the 2019 accord will be too far north of that figure.

With Jason Witten having retired, Ladouceur is the longest-tenured Cowboy — by a considerable margin. He has played in 230 straight games (counting the Cowboys’ nine playoff contests since 2006). Witten’s 239 regular-season games represent the most in Cowboys history, so it would take Ladouceur coming back in 2020 to eclipse that. Ladouceur will be in position to pass Ed “Too Tall” Jones on the franchise’s games-played list by October, however.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys To Let David Irving Walk?

The Cowboys are planning to let David Irving hit free agency. The mercurial defensive tackle who played in just two games last season, after registering seven sacks in an eight-game 2017, will be allowed to walk, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News reports.

Although the Cowboys currently hold nearly $50MM in cap space, they have much higher priorities than retaining an often unavailable defensive tackle. Beyond another franchise tag situation with DeMarcus Lawrence, Dallas has complex contract math upcoming. Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Byron Jones and Jaylon Smith are extension-eligible.

Additionally, the Cowboys were not pleased with how Irving handled his high ankle sprain last season, Moore adds, noting the talented interior defender only occasionally appeared at the team facility for rehab after receiving a second opinion on his injury.

Irving began a second straight season with a drug suspension, after missing time in training camp to deal with a custody battle over his daughter. Personal issues extended into the season for Irving as well.

While it won’t be hard to imagine another team taking a chance on the 25-year-old talent, the Cowboys do not appear ready to make an effort to prevent that from happening.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Decline Terrance Williams’ Option

The Cowboys have declined the option on Terrance Williams’ contract for 2019, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Williams will hit free agency in March and the Cowboys will save $2.25MM in cap space in the upcoming year. 

The move does not come as a surprise – Williams caught just two passes for 18 yards last season and spent the bulk of the year on injured reserve. He also served a three-game suspension in connection with a May car crash.

Had the Cowboys exercised Williams’ option, they would been on the hook for $4MM in 2019. Given his lack of production and the presence of Amari Cooper atop the WR depth chart, this was pretty much a no-brainer for Dallas.

Williams, 30 in September, will have a market for his services, but he’ll probably fetch offers below that $4MM figure. Before his ill-fated ’18 campaign, he was averaging 46 catches for 672 yards and four TDs per season with the Cowboys.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys To Wait On DeMarcus Lawrence Tag

On Tuesday, NFL teams can begin placing the franchise tag on pending free agents. The Cowboys, however, will not be taking that step right away with pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence, Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram hears. 

[RELATED: Latest On Travis Frederick]

Lawrence has already made it clear that he will not go along with a second consecutive tag, so the Cowboys are looking to avoid a contentious negotiation with the 26-year-old (27 in April). Instead, they will take a wait-and-see approach while keeping the tag option in their back pocket up until the March 5 deadline.

If tagged, Lawrence would make $20.5MM in 2019 per the terms of his second-time tender. From there, they’ll have a few months before the franchise tag extension deadline in the summer to hammer out a long-term deal.

Last year, the Cowboys pushed Lawrence to prove himself all over again with a productive and healthy year. He delivered with 10.5 sacks, 39 quarterback pressures, and a second consecutive Pro Bowl nod.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Travis Frederick Expected To Participate In Cowboys’ Offseason Program

After losing one of his prime years to a battle with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Travis Frederick may be close to returning.

The Cowboys’ All-Pro center is expected to participate in at least some of the team’s offseason program, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News reports.

Now it’s just about working in the weight room to try to continue to increase my strength and work with the team in the offseason as far as conditioning and getting myself ready come March and April,” Frederick said, via Moore.

Although Frederick has done light running, he has not been cleared to sprint yet, Moore notes. While tabbing his upper-body strength at 90 to 95 percent of what it once was, Frederick also is not sporting the limp he did during last season.

Once you get to a certain point then you’re regaining your strength that you lost vs. the electrical connection that you lost,’’ Frederick said. “I certainly hit that point in my upper body, which is actually a good thing when you hit that point where you slow down because that means the electrical connection is there and now it’s just building back any strength that you’ve lost. We’re at a point that’s very passable and very usable.

As far as lower [body] goes, I’m at the point [where] I was missing a little bit of explosion but that’s the last part of it. The connection is there, now we’re just speeding up the connection. That’s the last part of the healing process.”

This auto immune disorder has sidelined the 27-year-old snapper since August. In the event Frederick’s recovery hits a snag this offseason, the Cowboys still have Joe Looney under contract at a $1MM 2019 base salary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys’ Sean Lee To Play In 2019

Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee expects to play in 2019, according to a source who spoke with Calvin Watkins of The Athletic (on Twitter). This jibes with an earlier report that Lee was leaning towards returning for the ’19 campaign

Lee is scheduled to make $7MM in base salary, so it’s not a certainty that the Cowboys will have him back. But, at least from Lee’s end, he feels certain about wanting to move forward in football. After the end of the ’18 season, the veteran said he’d discuss his future with his family before making a determination.

I want to continue to play the game, but I have to evaluate physically where I’m at. I definitely have some decisions to make,” Lee said in January. “I’m leaning toward playing for sure.”

Lee was sensational for the Cowboys earlier in his career and managed four interceptions in both the 2011 and 2013 seasons. He later missed all of 2014 with a torn ACL, but bounced back to earn a Pro Bowl nod in 2015 and had a Pro Bowl/First-Team All-Pro season in 2016.

Thanks to hamstring injuries, Lee appeared in only seven games in 2018 and was leapfrogged by rookie Leighton Vander Esch. If he comes back to Dallas, he’ll be looking at a smaller role than what he has enjoyed in years past. He may also have to take a pay cut in order to stay.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Murray, Eagles, Redskins

With Eli Manning entering a contract year and his age-38 season, the Giants will be connected to a few quarterbacks this offseason. Now that Kyler Murray has spurned baseball for the NFL draft, he may be one of them. But Big Blue is not known for non-traditional quarterback types, and one Giants source told SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano that the 5-foot-10 Murray is “probably a little too small” for the team to consider. Murray’s suitor list will become clearer as pre-draft workouts commence, but the Giants are in the thick of the market in holding the No. 6 overall pick and needing a Manning heir apparent. They appear readier to select a passer with a high draft choice this year than they were a year ago, but the Giants have been a traditional quarterback franchise. Manning is 6-foot-3. The Giants deployed 6-5 Kerry Collins and 6-3 Phil Simms. The starting passers that filled the gaps in between the franchise’s three most prominent signal-callers were also north of 6-3. So are top 2019 passing prospects Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock and Daniel Jones. Pat Shurmur said last year he prefers taller quarterbacks.

This could be music to the ears of quarterback-seeking teams who are intrigued by Murray, who will now be dissected as a prospect after committing to football. Murray could join Michael Vick and Johnny Manziel as the only sub-6-foot-1 passers selected in Round 1 (h/t ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini, via Twitter) in the past 51 years. Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Redskins video assistant Jack Gruden, the son of head coach Jay Gruden, was arrested Saturday and charged with being drunk in public, NBC 4 Sports reports (on Twitter). This occurred in Ashburn, Va., at the same area where Washington safety Montae Nicholson was arrested. Gruden, 22, was involved in three separate arguments, according to NBC Sports Washington. The Redskins are looking into the arrest. Gruden has been a Redskins staffer since 2018.
  • The Giants made another addition to their coaching staff, hiring Mike Dawson to be their outside linebackers coach. Dawson spent most of his career, including the past three seasons, at the college level. He followed Scott Frost from Central Florida to Nebraska. His lone NFL coaching experience was a three-year stay on Chip Kelly‘s Eagles staffs earlier this decade.
  • While the Eagles may use 2019 to draft a later-round quarterback and attempt to develop him behind Carson Wentz, the team still likes what it has in Nate Sudfeld, Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia writes. Sudfeld should be expected to be Wentz’s backup post-Nick Foles, Zangaro adds. The former Redskins draft choice served as Foles’ top backup after Wentz went down in 2017 and did so again this past season.
  • A five-year, $100MM deal with $60MM guaranteed would be reasonable for DeMarcus Lawrence‘s long-term Cowboys terms, Todd Archer of ESPN.com writes. Lawrence can be expected to slide into the $4MM-plus-AAV gap between Khalil Mack and Von Miller, but with the cap expected to approach or exceed $190MM, the sixth-year defensive end could land a pact closer to Mack’s than Miller’s. Archer’s proposal would guarantee Lawrence 60 percent of his deal; Mack received a 58 percent guarantee. Melvin Ingram signed for 65 percent guaranteed.