Cowboys Reach Deal With Doug Free, Could Spell End For Colombo?

Last night, the Dallas Cowboys agreed to a  very reasonable 4 year, $32 million dollar contract with left tackle Doug Free.

Free, who was an unrestricted free agent, will get $17 million dollars of that deal guaranteed.

The deal is a great one for the Cowboys and it would appear that he gave the Cowboys a hometown discount based on much higher deals for offensive linemen in the NFL. The savings could give the Cowboys some added flexibility to go out and fill some other needs through free agency.

It was clear that Jerry Jones made re-signing Free a top priority, but this may spell the end for Marc Columbo’s days with the Cowboys.

After reports surfaced yesterday that Colombo would be released, further clarification said it was dependent on whether or not Dallas could retain Doug Free.

There is still a slim chance that we may be able to hang onto Colombo to give us some depth, if he is willing to restructure a new deal.

We’ll keep you updated.

That said, it’s certainly great news that we were able to keep Free who is emerging as a top talent on the Cowboys O-Line. Somewhere, Tony Romo smiled when he heard the news.

Jerry Jones Releases Roy Williams, Marion Barber, Leonard Davis

Updating this post with this breaking news on wide receiver Roy Williams:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/AdamSchefter/status/95920030000218112″]

A total misfit from day one, Williams scored a huge payday in Dallas and never lived up to his hype, his ego or his cost to the team in money and draft picks. Good bye.

Original Post 1:00 PM

The Cowboys have cut right guard Leonard Davis and running back Marion Barber Jr. today according to ESPN.

For those of you who read my posts, the Barber cut should come as no surprise to any of you as he was overpaid and unproductive in my opinion.

Since Barber was given the opportunity for increased playing time after the team cut ties with Julius Jones, Barber’s yards per carry went into steep decline as I chronicled season after season.

As for Davis, his production tailed off last season and in his last six games he yielded no sacks and was flagged for one penalty.

Both moves should clear up some salary cap room for the Cowboys who were about $13 million dollars (ESPN estimate) over going into the new season.

Offensive lineman Marc Colombo and kicker Kris Brown have also been cut this afternoon as well.

Jerry Jones is conducting all the separation interviews himself.

Cowboys Sign Nine Undrafted Free Agents Today

The Dallas Cowboys have reached agreements with nine players so far. They are:

  • K Dan Bailey, Oklahoma State
  • S Justin Taplin-Ross, Utah
  • C Kevin Kowalski, Toledo
  • C Jose Acuna, Nevada
  • G Leupapa Letuli, Hawaii
  • WR Lyle Leong, Texas Tech
  • CB Mario Butler, Georgia Tech
  • CB Chris Randle, Utah State
  • QB Zack Eskridge, Midwestern State

The Cowboys have had some great luck with UFA’s in the past including current starting quarterback Tony Romo and Pro Bowl wide receiver Miles Austin.

Other notables include Chris Gronkowski, Barry Church, Bryan McCann and Stephen Bowen.

Cowboys Release Tentative Training Camp Schedule

The Cowboys have announced tentative plans for training camp in San Antonio that will start Thursday and run through Aug. 10.

Players will report to San Antonio on Wednesday for physicals, starting with the rookies early in the morning, and the first practice will be Thursday.

By league rule, the first three practices will be conducted without pads, so the first padded practice should come Saturday.

The Cowboys will hold walkthroughs from 10-11 a.m. and then practice 2:30-5:30 p.m. each day, except for Sunday and Aug. 7, when they will have only the afternoon practices. The Cowboys will leave San Antonio on Aug. 10 and open the preseason vs. Denver at Cowboys Stadium.

Practices will resume on Aug. 14 at the stadium.

It’s Official – NFL Lockout Is Finally Over!

According to the Associated Press, people familiar with the negotiations told them that the NFL and players have reached a deal to end the lockout.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is supposed to remain secret and no formal announcement has been made.

Owners overwhelmingly approved a proposal last week, but some unresolved issues still needed to be figured out to satisfy players.

The sides worked through the weekend, finally finishing the deal Monday morning, one of the people told the AP.

The NFL Players Association’s executive committee is meeting later today and is expected to begin the voting process.

What’s more, it’s being reported that teams can begin signing free agents starting today according to Adam Schefter via Twitter.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/AdamSchefter/status/95474630550224896″]

Here is a tentative schedule as to how things will shake out, although it has yet to be finalized by the Players Union.

  • The new season officially starts August 2nd, next Tuesday.
  • Teams can sign their own free agents today, July 25th, at 4:00 PM EST.
  • Teams can start talking to unrestricted free agents today and sign them tomorrow, July 26th.
  • All new contracts would not go into effect until August 2nd.
  •  Teams can now negotiate trades with each other effective immediately, deals become official on Saturday.
  • Players will begin reporting to their teams beginning on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.
  • Every team will then play their first pre season game 14 days after their official team reporting date.

Get ready for some football everybody!

New To The Silver & Blue: Tyron Smith – OT

By now, every Cowboys fan knows that the team selected offensive lineman Tyron Smith with their 1st round draft pick earlier this year, but did you know that it had been 30 years since the last time the Cowboys drafted that position with their first round pick? It’s true, the Dallas Cowboys selected offensive lineman Howard Richards with their first round selection 1981. That was the year that we were all was introduced to Indiana Jones and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” topped the box-office.

Whenever I write something about the newest Cowboy, Tyron Smith, I’m tempted to type in all caps because he is such a monster when it comes to his size!  The young tackle out of Southern California checks in at 6’5  and weighs 307 pounds.  Tryon’s hands were each measured at 11 inches.  The former USC star acknowledges his size as one of his main assets:

” My strength is my size,” I intimidate other guys because I’m big and I’m working on getting bigger. I want to work on my footwork. Since I’m so big, sometimes I get off balance.” 

Tyron was born December 12, 1990 in Moreno Valley California. He attended Rancho Verde High School where he played offensive and defensive line.  He earned numerous honors.  Even as a kid, Rivals.com listed him as the #1 offensive tackle prospect in the nation.  They nailed it on this one.

The analysis from USC pro-day reported that his pass blocking is his best trait,  saying he’s quick off the snap and can catch and turn his opponent away from the play. His athleticism enables him to explode out of the gate and make down-field blocks.

In his last season at USC, the Trojans allowed only 18 sacks, and averaged 189 yards per game in 2010, both were conference bests.

At Pro-day he ran the 40 yard dash in 4.91 and just as impressive for his size was his broad jump at 9-1 and his vertical at 29 inches. The ground must have shook when he landed. :-)

Smith is very comfortable blocking in an open space.  He can sink his hips to counter the bull-rush. He moves his feet well to shadow quicker speed rushers. 

It’s no wonder Smith was by far the number one offensive tackle in the draft – nobody else even came close. Romo must have been doing cartwheels on Draft Day! (Don’t strain yourself Tony!) 

Blessed with the prototype combination of size, balance and agility, he has the potential to develop into a top-flight left tackle in the NFL. He emerged as a standout in the Pac-10, winning the Morris Trophy as the conference’s top offensive lineman as voted by the league’s defensive linemen.

Among his weaknesses (hey, nobody’s perfect!) some experts say he needs to develop his football instincts, so that he won’t easily be baited by stunts. He must also key in on recognizing the blitz.  Right now, they seem to think he can be beat by speed to power  rushing moves.  But with that said, let me add that the Cowboys defense is known for their speed, so working against them in camp will help him improve on defending against a speed/rush offense. (It’s all good!)

Here are some highlights…

  • Smith was the country’s highest-ranked offensive linemen. 
  • Smith made a huge impact in his two seasons as the Trojans starting offensive tackle, before declaring early for the 2011 draft.
  • Consensus All-Pac 10 first-team choice, named the Trojans’ Offensive Lineman of the Year
  • The only player in the Pac-10 Conference to register 100 knockdowns for the season, receiving first-team all-league honors.
  • Smith had thirteen touchdown-resulting blocks and allowed only one quarterback sack in his final season. He had 23 blocks for touchdowns in his two years as starter.
  • Tyron was the recipient of the Pac-10 Morris Award, given to the league’s top lineman.

After watching video of him, and with Coach Ryan coming in, it will be interesting to see if the coaching staff can help him with his football IQ and quickly get Smith up to speed and make the improvements that will make him a starter. I believe they will.

There’s a lot to like here!

Were these players really Cowboys?

Over the years the Cowboys have drafted some of the very best players that have ever played the game. Players like Bob Lilly, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Randy White, Tony Dorsett, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin just to name a few. All these players have helped make the Cowboys what they are today, which is one of the most successful and popular franchises in NFL history.

I started to think about some players that were not drafted by the Cowboys, but have still worn the star on their helmets. Players that may have been forgotten over the years because they contributed nothing to the Cowboys. Players that would make you scratch your head and wonder why they decided to wear the Cowboys colors. And players who were stars for the teams that drafted them before leaving. To see these players names as Cowboys is strange even if some of them were Cowboys for only a short time.

Harold Carmichael, Drafted by the Eagles in 1971 and played 13 seasons for the rival Eagles. He joined the Cowboys in 1984 and only played in two games.

Duriel Harris, Drafted by the Dolphins in 1976 and was part of the famous hook and lateral play in the Dolphins-Chargers playoff game in 1981. He joined the Cowboys in 1984 and played in five games.

Alonzo Highsmith, Drafted by the Oilers in the first round in 1987. He joined the Cowboys in 1990 and played in nine games.

Timmy Smith, Drafted by the Redskins in 1987. As a rookie for the Redskins he started in Super Bowl XXII and rushed for 204 yards and scored two touchdowns. He joined the Cowboys in 1990 and played one game.

Bernie Kosar, Drafted by the Browns in the 1st round in 1985. He led the Browns to three AFC Championship games in the 80’s. He joined the Cowboys in 1993 and played in four games. One of those games was the second half of the NFC Championship in 1993. He then earned a Super Bowl ring with the Cowboys in Super Bowl XXVIII.

 

Blair Thomas, Drafted by the Jets in the first round in 1990. Joined the Cowboys in 1994 and played in two games.

Broderick Thomas, Drafted by the Buccaneers in the first round in 1989. He joined the Cowboys in 1996 and played two seasons.

Anthony Miller, Drafted by the Chargers in the first round in 1988. He joined the Cowboys in 1997 and played one season.

Rocket Ismail, Drafted by the Raiders in 1991. He joined the Cowboys in 1999 and played three seasons. His big moment for the Cowboys was his game winning 76 yard touchdown reception in OT from Troy Aikman in the season opener against the Redskins in 1999.

Alonzo Spellman, Drafted by the Bears in the first round in 1992. He joined the Cowboys in 1999 and played two seasons.

Randall Cunningham, Drafted by the Eagles in 1985 and played 11 seasons for the rival Eagles. He joined the Cowboys in 2000 and played in six games.

Chris Warren, Drafted by the Seahawks in 1990. He joined the Cowboys in 1998 and played three seasons.

Ernie Mills, Drafted by the Steelers in 1991. Mills played against the Cowboys in Super Bowl XXX. He joined the Cowboys in 1998 and played two seasons.

Joey Galloway, Drafted by the Seahawks in the first round in 1995. He joined the Cowboys in 2000 and played four seasons.

Ryan Leaf, Drafted by the Chargers in the first round in 1998. He joined the Cowboys in 2001 and played in four games.

La’Roi Glover, Drafted by the Raiders in 1996. He joined the Cowboys in 2002 and played four seasons.

Eddie George, Drafted by the Oilers in the first round in 1996. He joined the Cowboys in 2004 and played one season.

Out of the 17 players that I have listed nine of them were first round draft choices.  Some of these players made an impact for the teams that drafted them and some of them were draft busts. Although they are listed as being part of the Dallas Cowboys, one thing is certain is that these players will never be considered true Cowboys.

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The Saddest Thing In Life Is Wasted Talent

After getting an earful from Hall of Famer Deion Sanders over the weekend, Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant countered Deion’s critical statements by saying that he’s ready to move on from any negative perceptions that exist about him.

Sanders, a former mentor to Bryant, told Atlanta’s WCNN on Tuesday that the Cowboys are more concerned than he is about the young player.

“It’s hard to talk to a person when they have millions, man, because there is so much noise in their life,” Sanders said. “Everybody around them is employed, and they have ‘yes men.’ You gotta start hiring a ‘no man.’ Somebody who is going to tell you no and somebody who is going to tell you the truth, and a lot of these guys don’t, and when it comes to him with a lot of things, I had to cut my umbilical cord with him because a lot of things people do not know about.”

But the 22-year-old receiver told 103.3 FM’s “Ben and Skin Show” that there is no reason to worry.

“All I know is everybody’s entitled to their own opinion,” Bryant said. “In my eyes, I feel like the Cowboys have nothing to worry about. I’m getting everything done like I’m supposed to do. I’m ready to go out and play football and do what I do best.”

Bryant congratulated Sanders for his upcoming induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and insisted that he’s not caught up in any differences between himself and the former NFL cornerback.

“My focus is on the Cowboys,” Bryant said. “Whatever is said about that situation that can be said, I’m done with it, I’m just ready to move on.”

I came across a cool piece on ESPN.com in which they listed who they believe will be the next wave of superstars in the NFL. At wide receiver they chose Dez Bryant. Here is what they wrote:

Fact is, Dez Bryant has got as much pure talent as any young wideout in the division. And if you read that list two paragraphs back, you know I’m not saying that lightly. If he can stay healthy, stay out of trouble and refine his skills as an NFL route-runner, Bryant can be the kind of star that makes other stars stop what they’re doing to watch him play. He’s got a fine quarterback in Tony Romo and only Miles Austin and tight end Jason Witten in front of him in line for catches in Dallas as of now. And he’s already a game-changer on special teams. So the opportunity is there, and all the pieces are in place. It’s up to Bryant to make it happen.

One of my favorite movies of all time is a “A Bronx Tale”. There’s a great line in that movie that comes to mind whenever I read some of this crazy stuff involving Dez Bryant or any young talented players that are focused more on living large than they are respecting and playing the game.

The main character in the movie, a kid everyone calls “C” for short, walks out of a funeral where he just paid his final respects to his friend and mentor, a gangster called Sonny. Waiting outside for him is C’s father, a bus driver, played by Robert DiNiro who spent his whole life trying to steer his kid into doing the right things and making the right choices. In that one climactic moment, C finally figures it all out and puts it altogether…

“Sonny and my father always said that when I get older I would understand. Well, I finally did. I learned something from these two men. I learned to give love and get love unconditionally. You just have to accept people for what they are, and I learned the greatest gift of all. That the saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever. “

Cowboys Ranked No. 2 In Forbes 50 Most Valuable Sports Franchises

Forbes magazine has released this years list of the “The 50 Most Valuable Teams In Sports”, and the Dallas Cowboys were ranked No. 2 in the world behind the English soccer club Manchester United. The New York Yankees followed the Cowboys at No. 3.

Dallas is the highest ranked of the 32 NFL teams. The Washington Redskins ranked second in the NFL behind Dallas in overall worth, but are considered to be the most profitable franchise in the NFL.

The Cowboys team value is estimated to be at $1.81 billion dollars and of course that includes Cowboys Stadium, one of the most expensive stadiums in the world. The state of the art stadium has 15,000 club seats that sell for $340 each and they are sold out for every home game.

Now that’s all fine and dandy, and I congratulate Mr. Jerry Jones on such a great honor, but I’d rather see us ranked as the No. 1 team in the NFL Standings rather than topping some list that’s gawked over by the Billionaires Boys Club.

How about we spend some of those mega-dollars on putting a better product on the field and not wasting so much money on over-the-hill and unproductive players. It’s time to start spending those millions wisely and put an end to spending foolishly on players who are unworthy of wearing the proud uniform of the Dallas Cowboys.

NFL Lockout: Finally, A Light At The End Of The Tunnel

So far, this NFL Lock-out has been a huge drain on the fans this year. There’s been no off-season trades, no free agents signings, and nothing to get very excited about.

The players don’t seem to care as most of them are enjoying life laying out on private beaches, living large at night clubs and casinos, or spending countless hours on the internet chatting with friends or having fun playing online blackjack or poker.

The owners haven’t been in any real rush to get a deal done either, while the union just bides their time urging their players top play hardball rather than football.

What a mess…

Well… From the “believe it or not” files, there might just be a breakthrough in the negotiations. Citing sources familiar with negotiations, ESPN is reporting that sentiment is growing that an NFL labor agreement can be ratified on July 21 at the league meetings.

Essentially, this means that a handshake deal could be in the offing in the next few days that would allow teams to begin preparing for training camp while the fine details are ironed out.

It also means that the pre-season opener scheduled for Thursday, August 11th will not be wiped out as so many have feared. The Cowboys will play the Denver Broncos to kick off the pre-season schedule.

According to ESPN, the only game that could still be in jeopardy is the August 7th  Hall of Fame Game between the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams.

The big issues that they are still trying to work out is finalizing a new rookie wage scale which could see those waged get cut in half or even more.

Jerry Jones has said that one of the reasons he stayed in the first round this year, taking offensive tackle Tyron Smith with the No. 9 overall pick, was in anticipation of a revised rookie wage scale, and he is counting on not having to pay him the $30-$40 million dollars it would have cost the team under the old rules.

As far as the rookie wages go, I am clearly on the owners side on that issue. So anyway, it looks like things are finally starting to move and that it won’t be long until we see our boys back on the gridiron getting banged up and dirty.

40 Bill Bates – Special Teams – 1983-1996

Bill Bates started his career while playing as a safety for the University of Tennessee. While he was there he was named second-team All-Southeastern Conference his junior and senior seasons, and developed a reputation as the team’s hardest hitter and quickest tackler.

Bill Bates was much smaller than other safeties in the league and for that reason he was not drafted in the NFL Draft. However, the Cowboys were so impressed with his sheer determination and heart that he displayed in college, that they decided to sign him as an undrafted free agent in 1983… Great move!

Bill immediately became a visible figure on the field with his ferocious special teams play. It was due to his amazing season as a fierce special teams player that the NFL changed the rules and added a spot on the Pro-Bowl team for a special teams coverage player. In 1984, Bill Bates became the first NFL player to be so honored.

Bill was also an inspirational leader both on and off the field, and in 1990 Head Coach Jimmy Johnson named him the Cowboy’s Special Team’s captain. He held that position for the duration of his career with Dallas Cowboys, a career that spanned from 1983-1996.

Bill was a big part of the 1992, 1993 and 1995 Super Bowl Champions team, and has been a long time favorite of Cowboys fans.

While playing linebacker, Bate’s last minute interception at Chicago’s Soldier Field preserved Dallas’ 17 – 13 win in the team’s triumphant return to the playoffs after a six year absence. That play was one of the signature moments in a new era of Dallas Cowboys NFL supremacy.

Bill was selected to the All-Madden Team for twelve years in a row, and was named the winner of the Bob Lilly Award four years in a row, from 1990 – 1994. This award is selected by a vote of the fans and annually goes to the Cowboy player who displays leadership and character on and off the field.

One of the all time great Cowboys, Bill Bates now enjoys life as a high school coach in Knoxville that won the Florida State Championship in 2005. He is also a successful motivational speaker and has released an autobiography entitled “Shoot for the Star”.

Q & A with former Cowboys QB Danny White

In March of 1980 Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach retired from the Dallas Cowboys. There to step in as the next Cowboys quarterback was Danny White. It was Danny White who served as Staubach’s backup from 1976-1979 and now it was his turn to lead the Cowboys. I’m sure it wasn’t easy following Staubach after the career he had with the Cowboys, but Danny White took full control of the team and became a leader. It was even Coach Landry who said…

“I don’t think anybody could have followed Roger and done as well as Danny”

“Danny is a solid Winner”

Growing up a Cowboys fan in the early 80’s it was Danny White who I looked up to because of the way he played the game and because of the way he became a leader of the Cowboys. He easily became my favorite player during his career and to this day at the age of 43 I still have his jersey hanging in my closet.

Danny White’s career record with the Cowboys was 62-30. He threw for 21,959 yards (3rd on the Cowboys all-time list). He threw 155 touchdowns (2nd on the Cowboys all-time list). He also threw 1,761 completions (2nd on the Cowboys all-time list) to go along with his 59.7 completion percentage. Let’s not forget his 40.2 yard career average as the Cowboys punter from 1976-85.

Numbers aside Danny White was a great player for the Dallas Cowboys. If I had my wish his name would be hanging up there in the Ring of Honor with the other great Cowboys. He simply does not get the credit he deserves for his time with the Cowboys. Whether it was his great 30-27 comeback win against the Falcons in the 1980 playoffs, the 31-30 comeback win against the Redskins in 1983 or even the five touchdown pass performance in beating the Giants 38-20 in 1983. These are only a few of the Danny White highlights that come to mind. There are so many more in his career that I could probably go on writing forever.

Over the years I’ve made it clear how much of a fan I am of Danny White during countless football conversations with people and even in posts here on LoneStarStruck over the last two years. I’ve always wanted to sit down with Danny White and talk football with him, even if it was only for a few minutes. There are just so many questions I’ve wanted to ask him. Well, this week I was lucky enough to get that opportunity and was beyond excited to exchange a few messages with Danny White.  He took some time from his busy schedule to answer a few questions for me, which I am very thankful for and I’m happy to share his answers with everyone.  

What are some of the things you are involved in currently?

Danny White: “I will be broadcasting all the Cowboys games this fall on their new National Syndicated Radio Broadcasts. Also, I’m building a team of marketers in BodHD (www.globalteam11.bodhd.com)”

Do you ever see yourself involved in coaching in the NFL?

Danny White: “It would be tough to start in the NFL at my age (59) but in the right situation I would love to”

Was there one person, coach or teammate who helped you more than anyone while playing for the Cowboys?

Danny White: “Coach Landry of course. He was a GREAT teacher. Also, Roger was an unbelievable influence on me”

Do you think the 1981 team had the best chance to make the Super Bowl and win it?

Danny White: “I think 80, 81 and 82 would all have won the Super Bowl if we had played the Championship games at home”

Being a starter for the Cowboys for so many years what are your thoughts on Tony Romo as the current Cowboys starter?

Danny White: “I think Tony is a Championship QB. Put the rest of the pieces together and he can get them there”

Watching the 1981 Championship game recently, I’ve always wanted to ask you if you thought your arm was going forward on that last play?

Danny White: “It was. However under the rules at that time I think it was the right call. Today it would definitely be an incomplete pass”

Looking back on your Cowboys career is there one game that stands out as far as being special to you?

Danny White: “There were a number of very special games but the Falcons playoff game in 1980 with Drew making 2 great catches in the last 4 minutes was the first big comeback and was very special”

I want to thank Danny White for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. It was very nice of him to do so and made a dream of mine for a long time come true. Considering how involved Danny White was with the Dallas Cowboys as well as playing alongside so many great players, my questions could have gone on for a long time.  Mr. White, you will always be a true Dallas Cowboy and will always be a part of their history. I thank you once again for you time.