Sixth grade can be a rough time for a guy.
You're getting acclimated to middle school, and is it me or did the concept of "class periods" confuse anyone else? The first time that bell rang and I had to pack up to leave my current class I was in a state of complete bewilderment. It must've taken me a full month to learn my schedule, but I digress.
Beyond social studies, science, and math... the toughest subject to tackle is girls. You're a sixth grader so you're innately awkward, that's just the way it goes. The best part about the whole experience is that someone came up with the idea of school dances for us to all partake in. Thanks a lot, whoever that was.
We've all been there. Leaning up against a wall, punch in hand, longingly (that's a pun that'll come back around soon, I promise) staring out at the dance floor. We hope and pray that somehow a girl will instinctually know that we want to dance and everything will work out like in the movies.
Then that one song comes on and the intensity rises. You know that this is your one shot, your one opportunity (shout out to Eminem!). For me that song was "All Or Nothing" by O-Town. I make no apologies as that is an epic song to this day.
The bass starts booming and the never-ending strobe lights go round and round. The butterflies in your belly start running rampant and you finally get enough courage to start just thinking about asking a girl to dance.
You scan the perimeter. "Well she might say yes... I have a class with her... She shared a Dunkaroo with me once... Oh gosh no not her..." Ultimately though you just want to Whitney Houston this thing and dance with somebody.
Finally it's 4th and Long. You've got to make a decision because the game depends on it. You didn't come here to punt so you take a deep breath and somehow put one foot in front of the other. Just as you come within striking distance you remember that this is the worst idea ever and you completely bail!
It feels like that's how the Dallas Cowboys have handled Free Agency this offseason.
Olivier Vernon was the most beautiful girl in school, but they lost out on him to their arch nemesis. The girl that they'd had a crush on forever, Lamar Miller, somehow slipped through their fingers towards a guy in their homeroom. It was tough to watch.
Sure the Cowboys made some noise by re-signing some of their own (Rolando McClain, Kyle Wilber, Morris Claiborne, James Hanna, Charles Brown, & Josh Thomas) and wooing Defensive Tackle Cedric Thornton away from the Philadelphia Eagles down to Big D. But those don't really count. That's like "dancing" with a girl to the YMCA or Cupid Shuffle, it's not the same!
Even after the Cowboys lowered what might have been lofty expectations down to Adrian Clayborn and Matt Moore... the two decided to stay with their current dance partners and not hit the floor with America's Team. Late Tuesday night the Cowboys reached a new level in terms of unwilling dance partners.
Chris Long, who was scheduled to have dinner with the Cowboys on Tuesday evening, decided that he'd rather blow them off entirely and signed with the New England Patriots. That's like asking a girl to dance and her saying, "Oh yea we will next song!" and then you see her twirlin' round the bend with someone else! It's humiliating!
Many have justified the unwillingness of Cowboys dance partners as the Front Office being wise and responsible financially, and that very well may be true. That song and dance seemed more believable before Chris Long decided that being wined and dined by Jerry Jones and Co. wasn't even worth his time. You can call it fiscal responsibility, but it also looks like no one wants to dance with the Cowboys.
The Cowboys are sorely in need of some help at multiple positions on their team. Sure the NFL Draft a month and a half from now will help fill some of those holes, but the NFC East isn't waiting like the Cowboys. The Giants, Eagles, and Redskins have all been wheelin' and dealin' their way through Free Agency like the kid who's asking every girl to dance (You can see every NFL Free Agent Acquisition right here).
So the Cowboys are currently playing the wallflower role at the 2016 Free Agency Dance. They're leaning up against the wall and acting cool while everyone else shakes, shimmies, and boogies the night away. They seem to be looking at the success of 2014 and treating 2015 as an aberration due to injury.
When O-Town spoke the immortal words "There's nowhere left to fall, when you reach the bottom its now or never," I thought that they were just trying to motivate me to ask a girl to dance. I now know that even back then they were giving advice to the 2016 Cowboys.
We would all be living in denial if we said that current Cowboy legends Tony Romo and Jason Witten are going to play forever. Even Dez Bryant is about to enter his sixth NFL season. Time is ticking, and it seems like the Cowboys are either being perhaps too stubborn with their willingness to pay players or they are simply being outdone by the competition.
I'm not advocating an "all-in" approach to this thing by any means. I'm not saying that there's a "window" or any other sort of cliche.
I'm saying that there's a dance happening right in front of us. Let's get off the wall and find a partner.
Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick
After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.
I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.
This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.
Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.
In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.
Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.
Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line
There are a lot of positions being talked about right now for the Dallas Cowboys. Upgrades are needed at several spots, but one critical position needs even more than that. Left guard is completely unmanned, and that could be a big problem for the 2018 offensive line if it's not addressed soon.
Last year's starter, Jonathan Cooper, is currently an unrestricted free agent. So are backups Joe Looney and Byron Bell.
Right now, Chaz Green is the only other non-starter under contract who has any NFL experience at left guard. Nobody wants to see him on the field next year.
Dez Bryant may be a big topic but at least he's under contract. The same goes for safety, where we at least have options to turn to if free agency or the draft don't yield anything.
Left guard, though? The cupboard is bare.
One option could be to move La'el Collins back to guard, where many feel he has the most upside, and then find a new right tackle. But that would be changing two positions to fill one hole, and Collins was playing well at tackle by the end of the year.
And obviously, we don't want to see Chaz Green playing that spot either. Or any spot. Ever.
No, at this point it makes sense for Dallas to leave Collins where he is and either sign or draft a starting LG. The question is how much do they want to invest?
The Cowboys are already shelling out big bucks to Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. Even Collins counts about $7 million against the cap. They have three first-round picks already tied up in the offensive line.
Some thought veteran free agent Josh Sitton would be a nice option, but he got picked up by the Dolphins today for about $8-9 million per year. That's more than Dallas can afford given their limited cap space and other needs.
No, the LG in 2018 is going to need to be a salary cap bargain. That means either re-signing Jonathan Cooper or Joe Looney on the cheap, or perhaps paying a rookie salary to a high draft pick.
Last year's 19th overall pick, O.J. Howard, counted just $2 million against the Bucs' salary cap in 2017.
There are some older veterans who could be cheap band-aid options, such as Matt Slauson or Evan Smith. But you don't get very far down some lists of available guards before you see Jonathan Cooper's name, and continuity is always a plus.
The point here is don't expect any big move, even with the enormity of the need. Dallas will likely reach an agreement with Cooper after he's tested the free agent waters a bit, assuming nobody else scoops him up.
If not, the need at left guard will become increasingly dire the further we get into the offseason.
Dallas Cowboys Restructure Travis Frederick’s Contract, Clear Cap Space
Patience is a virtue for football fans everywhere this time of the year, especially those of the Dallas Cowboys. A team known for using free agency to deal with their own expiring contracts and players, Cowboys Nation has been anxiously awaiting an addition to improve this roster before the draft. While the wait will continue for outside help in Dallas, the Cowboys have created $7.5 million in cap space by restructuring the contract of Center Travis Frederick.
C Travis Frederick will restructure his deal to help clear up roughly 7.5M in cap space for the #Cowboys per source informed
Restructuring the contracts of their cornerstone players is nothing new for the Cowboys. Rarely doing so with a clear "next move" in sight, the market for top FA talent at WR and OL may have already passed the Cowboys.
Having the space to negotiate with available players now opens the door just slightly further for Earl Thomas or Tyrann Mathieu acquisitions to become realistic. Reportedly, the Cowboys have inquired about both safeties (Thomas via popular trade talks and Mathieu as a free agent, released by the Cardinals) and have been met with price tags the Jones' were forced to turn away.
Giving up assets for players that will warrant large future contracts is not currently the Dallas Cowboys' way, but being able to sign somebody in free agency has been. To avoid a repeat of 2017, a season arguably derailed as soon as the team's free agent class failed entirely, the Cowboys will need to find proven players that can contribute on the market in the coming weeks.
With the help of the anchor to their star-studded offensive line, the Cowboys can come to this market with slightly thicker wallets now. Keep the optimistic tweets alive, and tip Travis Frederick accordingly.
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