Cowboys Rumors

LB Eric Kendricks Addresses Cowboys Deal

Eric Kendricks had a deal in place to sign with the 49ers this offseason, but he ended up backing out of that agreement to join the Cowboys. The veteran linebacker reunited with Mike Zimmer in the process, and that was a factor in his decision to sign with Dallas.

“Yeah absolutely, I always appreciated Zim,” Kendricks said (via Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News). “Just the amount of defense I learned when I was underneath him. The way I watch film, the way we break things down, the install, a lot of things I learned from Zim and we had some good years and I can’t wait to continue that.”

Zimmer’s head coaching tenure of the Vikings came to an end when he was fired following the 2021 season. His dismissal (along with that of general manager Rick Spielman) came amidst reports of a rift between that pairing and the players. Kendricks himself publicly lamented the “culture of fear” which was in place under Zimmer. The latter was out of coaching for two seasons before taking the Cowboys’ DC gig.

Zimmer will be charged with replicating the success Dallas saw with Dan Quinn at the helm on defense; the unit ranked no worse than seventh in points allowed over the past three years. Linebacker is a spot filled with question marks going into 2024, though, and Kendricks figures to serve in a starting role. The 32-year-old took less money to join the Cowboys, eschewing what would have been a short-term gig as a first-teamer in San Francisco.

Kendricks had an eight-year run in Minnesota, starting 127 games along the way. He earned first-team All-Pro honors along with a Pro Bowl nod in 2019, and he has recorded at least 107 tackles every season since. The UCLA alum will see plenty of playing time in a linebacker unit which no longer includes the retired Leighton Vander Esch. Dallas will depend on Kendricks as an experienced producer alongside the likes of Damone Clark, DeMarvion Overshown and Marist Liufau. Any potential tension with Zimmer has been dealt with by now.

“I respect him fully,” Kendricks added. “We’re going to get this thing going. I had a talk with him this past weekend. We’re excited to have this opportunity to work together again and play off each other.”

Latest On Cowboys, Dak Prescott

Wideout CeeDee Lamb is absent from the Cowboys’ OTAs as he seeks a new contract. Quarterback Dak Prescott is likewise a pending free agent, but he is in attendance amidst questions regarding his future in Dallas.

The 2023 MVP-runner up has no-trade and no-tag clauses, giving him considerable leverage in talks with the Cowboys. Prescott is not close to a new agreement being worked out, and owner Jerry Jones is remaining patient with respect to the top of the quarterback and receiver markets shaking out. Prescott appears to be open to reaching free agency next offseason, and his most recent comments confirm he is not focused on his contract at the moment.

“I don’t play for money. Never have never cared for it, to be honest with you,” the 30-year-old said, via ESPN’s Todd Archer“Would give it up just to play this game. So, I allow that to the business people to say what it’s worth, what they’re supposed to give a quarterback of my play, a person of my play, a leader of my play. For me, it’s about, as I said, control what I can control and handle that part and the rest will take care of itself.”

Four quarterbacks reached the $50MM-per-year mark last offseason on extensions representing their second NFL contracts. Veteran Jared Goff recently joined that group; his new Lions pact (the third of his career) carries an annual average value of $53MM. That contract, coupled with the continued growth of the salary cap, offers reason for Prescott to anticipate a major raise compared to the four-year, $160MM deal he signed in 2021.

Both team and player will be hoping for a smoother negotiating process this time around, but Archer confirms there have still yet to be “meaningful discussions” on a Prescott accord. The Cowboys envision the three-time Pro Bowler remaining as their signal-caller beyond 2024, and ensuring that will require the parties gaining traction later this offseason for this storyline to be resolved before the campaign starts. Dallas’ financial planning, of course, must also take into account deals for Lamb and edge rusher Micah Parsons, both of which will at least bring them close to the top of their respective markets.

“I think it depends on personal relationships and position and how much that pay can affect others, understanding where I am, what my pay means to a team and to an organization,” Prescott added. “I don’t really take things personal. Maybe in my first deal, maybe things were a little different than they are now. One, it’s my age and who I am, where I am in my life… The understanding that I have a lot of decision in this, too. I have a lot of say-so, too.”

The extent to which Prescott wields his leverage will be a key factor in contract talks. His remarks demonstrate an awareness of the impact his next deal will have on the Cowboys’ cap situation, and with the Goff according providing a measuring stick the parties could have starting point for serious negotiations. When those take place and the progress they provide will be worth monitoring closely.

The Biggest Wide Receiver Contract In Each Team’s History

This offseason has brought changes to the wide receiver market, but a host of wideouts chosen early in the 2020 draft have taken center stage. Additional raises to the WR market’s ceiling are likely on tap, with the Vikings (Justin Jefferson) and Cowboys (CeeDee Lamb) employing a pass catcher due a monster raise.

Most NFL teams have authorized a big-ticket (by today’s standards) deal for a wide receiver. Ranked by guaranteed money and excluding rookie contracts and accords acquired via trade, here is the most lucrative WR deal in each franchise’s history.

Arizona Cardinals

Larry Fitzgerald‘s seven-year, $113MM extension (August 2011) holds the Cardinals standard for total value, but Hopkins’ pact checks in higher in terms of guarantees and AAV.

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

In total, Michael Crabtree‘s 2018 deal (worth $21MM) and Derrick Mason‘s 2005 agreement ($20MM) surpass Beckham’s. But the 2023 Baltimore rental’s guarantee came in higher.

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

The Browns have featured three higher-paid receivers on their roster since Landry’s contract, but both Odell Beckham Jr. and Amari Cooper arrived via trade and played on contracts designed by other teams. Jerry Jeudy‘s AAV ($17.5MM) on his 2024 extension also outpaces Landry’s, though the recent trade pickup’s total guarantee falls short here.

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Courtland Sutton‘s 2021 extension carries a higher AAV ($15MM) but included $18.85MM guaranteed.

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

DeAndre Hopkins‘ 2017 re-up included more in total value but a lower AAV and guarantee

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Tyreek Hill‘s 2022 extension tops his teammate for AAV ($30MM) but came in just south for guarantees ($72.2MM)

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

JuJu Smith-Schuster‘s 2023 deal trails Agholor’s in AAV but carried the same full guarantee. Danny Amendola‘s full payout ($28.5MM) in 2013 tops both deals.

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Allen Lazard‘s 2023 deal and Santonio Holmes‘ contract back in 2011 brought more in total value ($44MM and $45MM, respectively) but did not match Davis’ for guarantees.

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Antonio Brown‘s four-year, $68MM extension in 2017 also included a $19MM guarantee at signing but trailed Johnson’s in terms of total guarantees.

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chris Godwin‘s 2022 deal beats Evans’ for at-signing guarantees ($40MM), while the all-time Bucs receiving leader’s 2024 agreement leads the way in AAV ($20.5MM).

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

NFC Rumors: Cowboys, Tepper, Greenlaw

The Cowboys hit on quite a few of their picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, with first-rounder Tyler Smith reaching second-team All-Pro status last year, fourth-rounder Jake Ferguson earning the starting tight job halfway through his rookie season, and fifth-rounder DaRon Bland leading the NFL in interceptions, interception return yards, and pick sixes last season. Their second- and third-round picks from that draft, though, are still struggling to make a similar impact two years in. That may be changing soon.

Former second-round edge rusher Sam Williams found his name getting called fourth on the depth chart last year, behind Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Dorance Armstrong. It’s hard to imagine being disappointed with a fourth-place finish in that situation, considering Parsons has become a perennial DPOY candidate, Lawrence is a four-time Pro Bowler, and Armstrong is a veteran with 21.0 sacks in the last three years. Still, per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, Williams wants to play more, and director of player personnel Stephen Jones claims that, thanks to Armstrong’s departure in free agency to Washington, those opportunities will come this year, though he will be competing now with this year’s second-round pick Marshawn Kneeland.

Likewise, third-round wide receiver Jalen Tolbert has seen limited production behind CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, Noah Brown, and Michael Gallup. With Brown gone last year, Tolbert stepped his role up a little bit. After the team released Gallup, Tolbert is, once again, expected to step his game up in 2024. With Lamb and Cooks returning, Tolbert will now be given a larger opportunity to step in as WR3, per David Moore of the Dallas Morning News.

Here are a few other rumors from around the NFC:

  • Many have looked at the Panthers‘ decision to draft Bryce Young over C.J. Stroud in the 2023 NFL Draft as a gigantic misstep, given the vast difference in success each team saw last year. According to Joseph Person of The Athletic, some in the Panthers organization point to the S2 cognitive test as the main reasoning for the decision. Per Person, team owner David Tepper, a hedge-fund billionaire and a proponent of analytics, took the S2 test results very heavily into consideration when helping the team to make their decision. The test of processing speed and reaction time has been looked at as a potential indicator of future success at the quarterback position. Young scored extremely well (in the 98th percentile), while Stroud did not (18th percentile).
  • 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw notoriously missed a good mount of the team’s Super Bowl loss after tearing his Achilles tendon in the big game. According to a report from Matt Barrows of The Athletic, Greenlaw told the media that he had been experiencing some soreness in his Achilles for about a month or so before the game. He recently was able to shed his walking boot as he continues in recovery.
  • It’s been over a year since Steve Keim stepped down as general manager of the Cardinals following an indefinite leave of absence due to “an undisclosed health-related matter.” According to a recent interview Keim did with Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, the Cardinals administration advised Keim to check into a rehab while he was still general manager of the team. Of course, the situation eventually resulted in the two sides parting ways, but Keim continues to work on himself following the conclusion of his NFL career.

Latest On Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb

Like a number of other players around the league, CeeDee Lamb is currently away from his team with a new deal forthcoming. The Cowboys’ record-breaking wideout is on track to miss OTAs with no extension in hand.

Lamb is set to earn $17.99MM in 2024 while playing on his fifth-year option. A multi-year pact will check in at a much larger price tag, as he is one of a few wideouts expected to reach the $30MM-per-year mark on an extension. The 25-year-old, along with Justin Jefferson (Vikings) and Ja’Marr Chase (Bengals) could each reach that plateau at any time this offseason.

Quarterback Dak Prescott and edge rusher Micah Parsons are also in line for monster deals in the near future, though, and Dallas’ cap outlook will change dramatically regardless of how their financial futures are handled. With respect to Prescott and Lamb (who, unlike Parsons, are pending free agents), owner Jerry Jones has endorsed a patient approach while evaluating other teams’ investments around the league.

Presuming that remains the case, Lamb will likely proceed without a deal for the time being. Indeed, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News writes the expectation remains an agreement will be worked out this offseason, although one may not be finalized until the summer. It was not until July or August that many of the Cowboys’ top contractual situations were dealt with last offseason.

Extensions for the likes of cornerback Trevon Diggs, safety Malik Hooker and right tackle Terence Steele all came about last summer. That was also the time at which a restructure was worked out with right guard Zack Martin, ending his training camp holdout. All parties will no doubt look to avoid a repeat of that situation in Lamb’s case, but pressure will likely not ramp up on Dallas if and until he skips out on mandatory minicamp in June and/or training camp one month later.

“It doesn’t matter right now,” Cowboys OC Brian Schottenheimer said of Lamb’s absence during voluntary workouts (via Gehlken). “CeeDee’s a pro. He’s going to know what to do. I know Dak and the guys have some communication with him. We know he’s taking care of business, and when he gets back here, we’ll certainly be able to find ways to get him the ball.”

Lamb led the NFL in receptions last season (135), posting 1,749 yards and 12 touchdowns. Those career-high numbers put him the Cowboys’ record books and upped his market value on an extension. Tyreek Hill‘s standout Dolphins accord – which carries a $30MM AAV based in part on a backloaded final season of non-guaranteed money – has recently been surpassed by Amon-Ra St. Brown and A.J. Brown‘s deals with the Lions and Eagles, respectively. Whether or not Lamb joins them atop the WR market (and the process by which he gets there) will remain a key Cowboys storyline.

Latest On Cowboys’ RB Plans

Leading up to the draft, the Cowboys were frequently linked to selecting a running back relatively early. Dallas eschewed a number of opportunities to add a rookie to the backfield, though, and immediately following the event a reunion with Ezekiel Elliott was finalized.

Owner Jerry Jones’ comments about Elliott’s ability to remain a starter at this point in his career were matched by the former rushing champion himself. Elliott is by far the most experienced back on the Cowboys’ roster, but head coach Mike McCarthy revealed at the team’s rookie minicamp that a committee approach will be used in 2024.

“I don’t think that’s fair,” McCarthy said about Elliott resuming his previous role as a workhorse back. “What do you mean? The guy carried the ball more than anybody in the history of football in the first couple of years. That’s not going to be his role, we’re a running back by committee. He’ll definitely play at the level that he’s played at in my time here. I anticipate that. I don’t see any drop off in the way he moves” (h/t Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News).

After allowing Tony Pollard to depart in free agency this offseason, Dallas has Elliott (who averaged a career-worst 3.5 yards per carry with the Patriots last season), Malik DavisRico Dowdle and free agent addition Royce Freeman as current running back options. As EVP Stephen Jones noted, however, the team is still open to further backfield additions. One back (Nathaniel Peat) was brought in as part of the Cowboys’ UDFA class. In terms of experienced candidates, Dalvin CookLatavius Murray, Cam Akers and Jerick McKinnon top the list of unsigned free agents.

Cook – like Elliott – was named as a back interested in a Cowboys deal earlier this offseason. It remains to be seen if that feeling is mutual in Cook’s case, something which is especially a question mark with Elliott now in the fold. Dallas currently has only $3.86MM in cap space, so moves at the running back position or any other would need to be inexpensive.

In 2023 (McCarthy’s first season as offensive play-caller), the Cowboys led the NFL in scoring while ranking third in passing yards. The team was mid-pack on the ground (14th), though, leaving plenty of room for improvement this season. Elliott will have a significant role to play upon his return to Dallas, but it will be interesting to see how the rest of the backfield shakes out over the coming months.

Cowboys Sign Round 1 T Tyler Guyton, Six Other Draftees

With some teams set for rookie minicamps this weekend, a flurry of draft pick signings is transpiring Thursday. The Cowboys are in on the action; all but one of their draftees is now under contract.

This includes a deal with first-round tackle Tyler Guyton, ESPN.com’s Todd Archer tweets. Dallas inked the Oklahoma prospect, whom the team drafted at No. 29 overall. Holdouts involving first-rounders are much rarer now thanks to the NFL’s slot system, which came to be as part of the 2011 CBA. Guyton’s four-year deal (feat. a fifth-year option) will be fully guaranteed.

The Cowboys have also signed offensive lineman Cooper Beebe (Round 3, Kansas State), linebacker Marist Liufau (Round 3), cornerback Caelen Carson (Round 5), wide receiver Ryan Flournoy, tackle Nathan Thomas (Round 6) and defensive tackle Justin Rogers (Round 7). Only second-rounder Marshawn Kneeland is unsigned. The second round has featured the longest waits in recent years, due to each draft seeing guarantee gains made by second-round picks.

Guyton looks to have a clear path to being the Cowboys’ Week 1 left tackle. Although the prospect of the team moving Tyler Smith back to left tackle surfaced earlier this offseason, it looks like — for the time being, at least — the team plans to keep its versatile left-sider at left guard. The Cowboys saw both Smith and Zack Martin earn All-Pro honors last season, helping the team withstand the losses of All-Decade LT Tyron Smith and center starter Tyler Biadasz. Beebe, chosen out of Kansas State, has a decent shot at taking over at center.

Dallas held the No. 24 overall pick but moved down five spots (via Detroit) and landed Guyton at 29. The extra selection turned into Beebe. Guyton will be asked to make the less common transition from college right tackle to NFL LT. The Saints may well ask Taliese Fuaga to do the same this year, though that is not certain just yet. Guyton stands 6-foot-8 — three inches taller than Tyron Smith — and 322 pounds. This year’s draft featured one of the best tackle crops in recent draft history; Guyton became the ninth tackle — if Duke LT (and likely Buccaneers center) Graham Barton is counted — chosen this year.

A TCU transfer, Guyton only made 14 college starts and did not earn first- or second-team All-Big 12 acclaim while a Sooner. But he checked in as a first-round-caliber talent. And the Cowboys have found a number of standouts in Round 1 — from Martin to the Smiths to Micah Parsons to CeeDee Lamb — over the past several years. They will hope Guyton can become a long-term blindside presence post-Tyron Smith, who joined the Jets in free agency.

Cowboys Expected To Sign 12-Man UDFA Class

The Cowboys were able to address some big needs in the 2024 NFL Draft, adding to both the offensive and defensive fronts with an eight-man draft class. Thanks to 12 undrafted free agents expected to sign with Dallas on Thursday, the Cowboys anticipate heading into the summer with a rookie class of 20 players. Here are the undrafted additions:

On offense, Peat brings some serious speed to the table. After three years at Stanford and a season at Missouri, the son of two college track athletes posted a 4.37-second 40-yard dash at his pro day.

Two receivers join on offense, as well. Johnson finally found the best place for his production with the Wildcats after four years at Vanderbilt and one at Arizona State, catching for 715 yards and six touchdowns in Evanston. Crooms transferred to Minnesota after two impressive years at Western Michigan, in which he combined for 1,582 yards and 11 touchdowns, but he failed to match that production with the Golden Gophers.

Croom’s teammate, Spann-Ford, comes out of free agency as one of the top run-blocking tight ends in the draft class. The Cowboys had to spend a bit to ink him, promising a $20K signing bonus and fully guaranteeing his base salary of $225K, per Aaron Williams of KPRC 2. He didn’t add much to the receiving game in Minneapolis, though. Neither did Holler in Orlando, but he did have some circus catches here and there to go along with his strong blocking profile.

Some productive players could contribute on defense, as well. Vaughns didn’t get a chance to shine at Texas but showed how disruptive he could be at Utah State and Baylor, combining for 27.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks in three seasons at the two schools. At linebacker, Johnson was a tackling machine, recording three straight 100-plus-tackle seasons at Eastern Illinois in 2021 and UCF the past two years. He was one of the top undrafted linebacker options following the draft. Mogensen contributed back-to-back 100-plus-tackle seasons himself for the Coyotes.

The team also adds three capable safety options. DeBerry was one of the top secondary players in the ACC at Boston College before transferring to College Station. Johnson spent six years at Nevada but only got to start in 2023 for the Wolf Pack. He made the most of the opportunity with 99 tackles, three picks, and four passes defensed. Lastly, Wood was a menace for the Pirates in two years as a starter, delivering bone-crunching hits and showing a strong nose for the football at East Carolina.

Cowboys, Giants Had RB MarShawn Lloyd On Day 2 Radar

Linked to running backs during the pre-draft process, the Cowboys instead passed on drafting one and followed through with what became a much-discussed reunion with Ezekiel Elliott. The Giants waited until the fifth round to add a back to their group.

This RB class did not generate too much hype, with only one player — Texas’ Jonathon Brooks — going off the board in the first two rounds. Closely connected to Brooks, the Cowboys also did plenty of work on one of this class’ second-tier options. MarShawn Lloyd‘s camp viewed Dallas as one of the teams that could take the former USC and South Carolina back, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler notes, adding the Giants also carried interest in the recent Pac-12 RB.

Lloyd ended up going 88th overall to the Packers, making him an intriguing backup in a contingent housing free agency pickup Josh Jacobs and the recently re-signed AJ Dillon. Both the Giants and Cowboys carry more questions at the position, seeing as each team refrained from high-end investments this offseason.

The Giants were not willing to go near where the Eagles did for Saquon Barkley, failing to make an offer despite having submitted a proposal that included more than $20MM fully guaranteed last summer. They gave Devin Singletary a three-year, $16.5MM deal ($9.5MM guaranteed at signing) to replace Barkley, and the team has 2023 fifth-rounder Eric Gray and rookie fifth-rounder Tyrone Tracy Jr. as Singletary’s top backups. The Giants eyed Lloyd, per Fowler, but he landed between the team’s third- (No. 71) and fourth-round (No. 106) picks. Before the draft, a report indicated the Giants were eyeing veteran RB help. They may, however, be content once again to roll with an experienced starter and unseasoned backups.

Passing on Derrick Henry and other available RBs early in free agency, the Cowboys re-signed Elliott to a one-year, $3MM deal. Dallas has Royce Freeman and 2023 Tony Pollard backups Rico Dowdle and Deuce Vaughn among its backfield options. This plan (as it stands now, that is) has generated some scrutiny. The team showed interest in Lloyd, doing plenty of pre-draft work on him, and Tennessee’s Jaylen Wright, Fowler adds. The Cowboys, however, did not carry a fourth-round pick. Wright went to the Dolphins, who traded up to acquire the SEC product at No. 120.

Lloyd transferred from South Carolina to USC in 2023, totaling a career-high 820 rushing yards (7.1 per carry) last season. Lloyd tallied nine rushing touchdowns with the Gamecocks in 2022. He will be among the rookie RBs attempting to prove teams wrong for their pre-draft outlook on this class.

Cowboys To Release WR Martavis Bryant

Bringing in Martavis Bryant as a flier who could potentially help as a supporting-caster late last season, the Cowboys never ended up activating the ex-Steelers starter.

Despite signing the formerly suspended wideout in early November, the Cowboys ultimately did not view Bryant as ready to contribute. The team gave Bryant a reserve/futures contract in January, but NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero notes the team is releasing him Wednesday.

[RELATED: Cowboys To Meet With WR Zay Jones]

Bryant’s stock has not approached the level that once featured him being traded for a third-round pick, as the 6-foot-4 weapon has not played in a regular-season game since 2018. But Pelissero adds other teams have shown interest. While it would not necessarily surprise to see Bryant given another opportunity, he is running out of time to reignite his NFL career at age 32.

The NFL reinstated Bryant from a yearslong suspension on November 4, 2023. This came years after the NFL loosened its drug policy — which led Bryant out of the league in the late 2010s — to cut down on suspensions for non-PED offenses. The 2010s featured harsher punishments for substance abuse, and Bryant ran afoul of these standards at multiple points during his initial NFL run. He missed four games in 2015 due to substance-abuse ban and was sidelined throughout the 2016 season. Bryant’s subsequent penalty — levied in December 2018 — ended up lasting for nearly five years. The ex-Ben Roethlisberger target scored 17 touchdowns from 2014-17 as a Steeler, adding a spectacular TD grab in the 2015 wild-card round.

Bryant remained in redevelopment mode as of late November of last year, and the Cowboys went with other options as CeeDee Lamb wingmen. The team released Bryant from its practice squad in early January but circled back via the futures deal. The Titans also had Bryant on their radar last year. It will be interesting to see if the Clemson alum — who also stopped through the CFL, XFL and Fan Controlled Football League — receives another NFL opportunity.

This move clears a spot for Jones, who is visiting the Cowboys today. The son of Robert Jones — a former Super Bowl starter for the Cowboys in the 1990s — Zay is a Dallas native who has seen one of his free agency doors (the Titans) seemingly close due to the Brian CallahanTyler Boyd reunion. The Cowboys still have Brandin Cooks in place as their top Lamb complement, but they remain on the hunt for more help.