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Competition is Everywhere for Dallas Cowboys: Part 1-Offense

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Cowboys Blog - 2013 Dallas Cowboys Season Predictions: Projecting Awards, Record and Stats 2

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When Jason Garrett speaks, rarely does he give the fans any real knowledge about what's going on with the Dallas Cowboys (unless he's cleaning up a Jerry Jones mess). Instead he chooses to talk about "The Process" for the Cowboys and ways they are hoping to get better.

Lost in all the bore of Garrett's words, however, is something he preaches on a daily basis, competition. Garrett constantly talks about the competition on the Cowboys roster and letting it dictate who's going to play. And in case you've missed it, much to Garrett's delight, there is competition throughout the Cowboys roster; today we'll focus on the offense

Obviously we know who the Cowboys quarterback will be heading into 2013 and that is a good thing because if there's one place you don't want  competition, it's at the QB spot. As the old saying goes, if you have two quarterbacks you really have none. However, verywhere else there is going to be a battle for playing time. DeMarco Murray will be the starting running back but all reports are that Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner have looked great this offseason so they might be competing for carries, and maybe even a roster spot.

Dallas also drafted Joseph Randle to backup Murray but he hasn't been through the offseason practices because of a thumb injury so there's no guarantee he'll be the main guy behind Murray. The Cowboys will have three talented backs fighting for carries and a spot on the roster when training camp comes around.

The same thing can be said for the wide receiver and tight end positions. Dallas is set with their startering receivers being Dez Bryant and Miles Austin but there is plenty of competition for the third receiver spot. In today's NFL, the third wide receiver sees a ton of playing time and the Cowboys will have rookie Terrance Williams battling it out with Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley for playing time.

At tight end, Dallas has second-year pro James Hanna trying to hold off Gavin Escobar for reps as the second tight on the field in the Cowboys two tight end sets. Hanna showed great promise down the stretch last season and the Cowboys still drafted Escobar in the second round. They will be in competition all summer long to find out who will be the main second tight end for the Cowboys.

Dallas also brought in veteran Dante Rosario to compete with them, and to compete with Lawrence Vickers, for a possible roster spot. Again, no one's job appears safe and it's about getting the best players on the field.

Of course, then comes the Cowboys offensive line, where will there be greater competition this training camp. The Cowboys are set at left tackle with Tyron Smith but the rest of the positions along the line are up for grabs. Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings were the starters last year but soreness and surgeries have limited their work this offseason, allowing Ronald Leary, David Arkin and Kevin Kowalski to get plenty of looks as starting guards. Leary in particular is primed to take one of the starting guard spots for the Cowboys.

Then there's the Doug Free/Jeremy Parnell battle at right tackle. I don't care how well the split time worked last year, the Cowboys should not be rotating their right tackle this season. They need one player to win the job and keep it for the year, unless injury forces the Cowboys hand.

There's even competition at the center spot where it looks as though Travis Frederick will be the starting center, however, former Cowboys scout Bryan Broaddus reports that Phil Costa has done a better job in his technique than Frederick has done at times. It doesn't mean Costa will start at center in 2013 because the Cowboys drafted Frederick to start at that position but as I mentioned the a few weeks ago, it isn't a stretch to say that both Costa and Frederick could start. If the Cowboys find out in training camp that they need better guard play, don't be surprised to see Costa, or more likely Frederick, starting at guard while the other player starts at center.

As you can see almost every position on the roster has competition in some form. Jason Garrett and the Cowboys have made it clear that they wanted more competition and better depth throughout the roster and that's exactly what they've gotten. There shouldn't be any more entitlement from the Cowboys players and they will have to earn their playing time or roster spot in Dallas.

All of the NFL is a competition and the battles from within should make the Dallas Cowboys a better team in 2013.



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Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp

Sean Martin

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Will the Dallas Cowboys "Get Lucky" at Defensive End?

The Dallas Cowboys patience with Defensive End Randy Gregory has paid off. Suspended for the better part of 2016 and all of 2017, Gregory has officially been reinstated to join the team for their 2018 training camp. The projected starter at RDE, Gregory will report to Oxnard with the rest of the team on July 25th.

From here, it will be all hard work for Gregory to reconnect with Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and get his promising career back on track. The last time Gregory suited up for the Cowboys, he managed to sack Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz in a week 17 win. The Cowboys will be expecting much more of this from a player they've supported through multiple violations of the league's heavily criticized substance abuse policy.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys pass-rusher Randy Gregory's petition for reinstatement was not opposed, according to lawyer Daniel Moskowitz. He's back. "I've never been more proud of any individual in my life. I'm very excited for Randy and his daughter and the rest of the his family.

Among this support staff for Gregory were a number of teammates that wrote formal letters to the NFL as part of his bid for reinstatement. These last few days of preparation before the Cowboys are together again as a team will surely be uplifted by Gregory's presence.

They say no news is typically good news at this point in the offseason, something the Cowboys have come to realize far too often. Today's news shouldn't be confused with a pleasant surprise however, rather something the Cowboys were committed to in getting another premier pass rusher on the field.

Here is the NFL's official press release on their reinstatement of Randy Gregory:

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

https://t.co/za0u3lWgaY

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Cowboys, Elliott Should Keep Close Tabs on Le’Veon Bell’s Situation

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys, Elliott Should Be Keeping Close Tabs on Le'Veon's Situation
AP Photo / Don Wright

The deadline for reaching an agreement with franchise tagged players came to an end last Monday, in what turned out to be a pretty uneventful day all around the league. No agreement was reached by any of the teams with their respective players, including the Dallas Cowboys and their promising "War Daddy," DeMarcus Lawrence.

But the Cowboys' front office have something to learn in this process that doesn't involve a player of their own. Something that both the front office and Ezekiel Elliott should be keeping a close eye on.

The Pittsburgh Steelers also failed to secure their franchise tagged player: Running Back Le'Veon Bell. Really, no one expected a deal to be reached among the two parties. The 26-year old football super star is asking for too much money, which has led to the Steelers tagging him twice in consecutive years.

Bell, conscious of his abilities on the field, is asking for a lot of money from his football team. In 2018, he's set to earn over $14.5M under the tag. That's more than twice the money that Devonta Freeman averages per year - 8.25 million - who's next on the list of highest paid running backs in the league and the highest paid on a long-term contract.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

Just to clarify: Steelers' offer to Le'Veon Bell last year averaged $13.3 million per year. Steelers' offer to him this year averaged $15 million per year. But Bell does not believe he should be paid as a RB; he believes he should be paid as an elite offensive weapon.

Le'Veon, whose agent has said 2018 will likely be his last season playing as a Steeler, was reportedly offered $15M per year but that wasn't enough for him. Bell wants to get paid as an elite offensive weapon, which he is. But it turns out he's also... a running back.

It's a complicated situation and one that, if it turns out well for him in free agency next year, could revolutionize the entire running back market in the NFL. If it doesn't, he might end up regretting passing on the Steelers' offer for he won't easily find that kind of money with a team that seems to be a Super Bowl contender on a yearly basis.

The Dallas Cowboys' priorities will rely on other players during the next couple of years, but that shouldn't keep them from keeping close tabs on these events since they could be dealing with a similar scenario when Ezekiel Elliott's turn for a new deal comes around.

Jerry Jones, Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, RB Ezekiel Elliott (Joe Robbins / Getty Images)

Fairly assuming that the fifth year option on Zeke's contract will be picked up after the 2018 season, locking him up through 2020, it's a problem that will be down the road for the Cowboys. But it will have to be dealt with at some point.

When his time is up, Elliott should undoubtedly be looking to become the highest-paid in the game, but the amount of money he gets will depend on the outcome of this whole Le'Veon-Steelers thing. David Johnson and Todd Gurley will also play an important role in determining the future of the running back market.

While Elliott hasn't been used as a receiving threat during his first two seasons in the league, he's still an elite offensive weapon for the Cowboys. The team's offense is based around Zeke and the running game, so it will make sense if his demands are somewhat similar from those by Bell.

Elliott might even be franchise tagged once or twice by the Cowboys if things get complicated in the future. Unlike DeMarco Murray in 2014, surely they won't be willing to let him walk in free agency once his contract comes to an end.

For now, it won't be just the Cowboys who will be keeping close tabs on this situation, but also Ezekiel Elliott and his agent. Hopefully, both parties will manage to handle things better than what we're seeing right now in Pittsburgh.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys, Elliott Should Keep Close Tabs on Le’Veon Bell’s Situation" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Dallas Cowboys

What’s Left for Cowboys to Offer in Deal for Earl Thomas?

Sean Martin

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What's Left for Cowboys to Offer in Deal for Earl Thomas? 1

Earl Thomas' latest subtle reference to the Dallas Cowboys on Instagram was not so subtle. In fact, Monday's post was more inspired by Thomas' actions at AT&T Stadium back in December. The Seahawks week 16 win had just eliminated the Cowboys from playoff contention, as Thomas tracked down Dallas Head Coach Jason Garrett in the tunnel afterwards.

Thomas' Christmas Eve wish to the losing coach, who finished 9-7 last season? "Come get me," which is well out of both Garrett's and Thomas' reach. Within reach has been Thomas' social media accounts, which he's used to stir up his displeasure with the Seahawks entering the final year of his contract.

Already seeing four time Pro Bowl Safety Kam Chancellor announce the end of his career this offseason, the Seahawks are going through a transition they have every right to include Thomas in.

The Cowboys, and several other teams around the league that undoubtedly have interest in Thomas, could also help the Seahawks speed up their rebuild by offering a package of young talent or draft picks.

The Cowboys last known offer for Thomas came during the NFL Draft. As first-round talent Connor Williams out of Texas waited patiently at AT&T Stadium, the Cowboys made his dream of playing for America's Team come true instead of sending that 50th overall pick to Seattle.

With their new starting left guard in the fold, the Cowboys came back on the clock at 81st overall in the third round. Still in need of a wide receiver, the Cowboys stole Colorado State's Michael Gallup -- with a pick that the Seahawks reportedly turned down as compensation for Thomas.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlTn5c9lygu/?taken-by=earl

Now, the Cowboys are preparing for their 2018 training camp with both rookies Williams and Gallup expected to start and contribute right away. The Seahawks will be expecting the same from their veteran in Thomas, as his post above makes it clear he's looking for an extension from the team prior to showing up for camp.

Whether or not Earl actually passes on the money he's due to play this season prior to hitting the open market is a different story. It should be one of little concern to a Cowboys team with expiring contracts on Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence and other key players next offseason.

So what does the optimal (and rare) late-July trade for a star player look like for the Cowboys landing Thomas, and dealing with his contract situation afterwards? Here are a few scenarios that the team could see play out in training camp.

Confidence in Kris Richard Enough for Cowboys to Trade Young Secondary Piece?

Thomas' appeal as a member of the Cowboys goes far beyond his own interest in the team, his roots in Texas, or Dallas' old habit of bringing in premier talent at any cost.

The cost here for Thomas is whatever the Seahawks hold over the Cowboys head, relying on him being a starter in their secondary for the ninth consecutive season. The 13th overall pick at the 2010 draft could come the Cowboys way if they're willing to also help the Seahawks patented "Legion of Boom" secondary remain a strength of that team.

Is Kris Richard Actually Jason Garrett's Replacement, Not Rod Marinelli's?

The Cowboys already have a key member of this Super Bowl winning Seahawks defense, their Secondary Coach Kris Richard. Richard takes over as the Cowboys Passing Game Coordinator, setting expectations sky-high for young starters like Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Xavier Woods.

Letting Richard coach up this unit for a full year before the Cowboys part with anyone is a smart approach. Given the impact Thomas would have from the safety position in Dallas though, a spot the Cowboys currently lack a true difference maker at,  moving on from some depth at cornerback could get a deal done with the Seahawks.

Players like Lewis, Marquez White, and Duke Thomas were all used sparingly as backup players in the Cowboys OTAs and mini camp. Knowing what Lewis can give them still as an outside or slot cornerback, the Cowboys may see their strength at CB as enough to upgrade significantly at safety.

Offering the Seahawks an athletic defender like Byron Jones, the converted safety that's projected to start on the boundary at CB for Richard's secondary, could be the most mutual trade these two teams make.

The Seahawks need a lot more than just a cornerback for Thomas, and the Cowboys need a more fortified reason to move on from any secondary players before a deal like this gets done.

Thomas agreeing to an extension with the Cowboys or the team not being able to get a Lewis or Anthony Brown on the field in Oxnard would be one thing to look for if actual trade talks are going to rekindle between these clubs.

Can Connor Williams Follow in Zack Martin's Footsteps?

Future Draft Compensation, Riskier for the Seahawks or Cowboys?

Let's preface this look at the Cowboys draft capital by remembering how high the team themselves -- and not just draft scouts, analysts, and college coaches -- are on Connor Williams.

Holding the Cowboys rookie offensive lineman to the standards of Earl Thomas, with 25 career interceptions and 11 forced fumbles, is preposterous.

The certainty Williams may offer the Cowboys at LG could ultimately be the key to getting Thomas in the silver and blue however.

Also committing to swing tackle Cam Fleming and backup Guard Marcus Martin in free agency, the Cowboys offensive line is looking as deep and talented as ever.

The team would obviously like it to stay this way, especially after seeing Dak Prescott sacked 32 times last year. I wouldn't anticipate the Cowboys trading away anyone of value on their offensive line for Earl Thomas, despite how much a need this is for the Seahawks.

The Seahawks did spend a fifth round pick on Ohio State OT Jamarco Jones. It was the only investment the team made into their offensive line, doing so with their fourth and final pick of that round.

Just how much a future second-round pick would mean to the Seahawks is impossible to define. For the Cowboys, it currently means Connor Williams, Chidobe Awuzie, and Jaylon Smith. Their three most recent selections in this round should put a rest to the narrative that they consistently blow this pick by taking massive risks.

What's Left for Cowboys to Offer in Deal for Earl Thomas?

Thus, sending away any pick that Will McClay and the Cowboys can get their hands on is risky for the Cowboys. Being one they were willing to take back in April, the pressure remains on the Seahawks to trust their draft process and get compensation at the end of Thomas' career.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Earl Thomas being traded to the Cowboys remains a story for Dallas because they are constantly the team expected to make a move like this. Few players have been as public about the team they want to join than Thomas bartering the Cowboys, and even fewer can believe that Jerry Jones has not gotten a deal done for him because of this yet.

With plenty still to offer and the 2018 season rapidly approaching, the Cowboys have time to wait this out -- so much so that Thomas could happily play for the Seahawks this season and become a free agent in 2019.

Enough waiting is going on throughout Cowboys Nation though. The Cowboys don't arrive in Oxnard until next Wednesday, with Thomas no closer to arriving then, later in training camp, or never.

Tell us what you think about "What’s Left for Cowboys to Offer in Deal for Earl Thomas?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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