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Dallas Cowboys Approach To Free Agency Shows Faith In Will McClay

Brian Martin

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Will McClay

The Dallas Cowboys approach to free agency over the past couple of years has been somewhat frustrating for a lot of fans. A lot of that is because the team is staying away from the overpriced big name free agents and then bargain shopping for players to fill holes in the roster.

The strategy is a smart approach considering the salary cap hell in which the team has found themselves in the past, thus requiring them to hold on to aging players that have seen a decline in their play.

Still, fans like their new toys and are always hoping the Cowboys will bring in one of those high-priced veteran players, mainly because they are household names. They fail to realize that these players are on the market for a reason and the money required to sign them to a contract rarely meets their production level. Take Brandon Carr for instance.

But if you were paying attention to what Jerry Jones and his son Stephen said earlier in the off-season, you wouldn’t be surprised by the way the Cowboys have patiently waited for the free agency period to work itself out and let it come to them.

“I’m not a big fan of free agency; I’ll be the first to admit it. Unfortunately, good players get paid like they’re great players, average players get paid like they’re good players and it’s a Domino effect. It’s not a great way to put your team together. Obviously you’d like to build your team through the draft and keep your players that hopefully you drafted well and keep those type of players so we’re not out there in free agency.”

~ Stephen Jones

America’s Team has done exactly what Stephen Jones said and have quietly been able to not only bring back some of their own free agents, but sign some new players that should be immediate upgrades to the roster.

I can understand the frustration from a lot of fans, but I think this relatively new strategy is due in large part to one person within the Cowboys organization, Will McClay, Dallas’ Senior Director of College/Pro Personnel.

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Approach To Free Agency Shows Faith In Will McClayWill “The Architect” McClay

It’s my honest opinion that McClay and the work he’s done within the Cowboys organization is one of the soul of reasons that Jerry and Stephen Jones feel comfortable enough to sit back and wait for free agency to play itself out, and then find reasonably priced veterans to fill holes and hopefully upgrade the roster.

If you’re not familiar with McClay, then you’re missing out and are not likely to know exactly how valuable he is to the Dallas Cowboys.

McClay is a meticulously detailed person who is responsible for making sure that the entire scouting department for the Cowboys is on the same page when it comes to free agency, as well as building the draft board in preparation for the NFL Draft.

McClay’s value cannot be stated enough.

He knows how to build a roster and understands the types of players that the coaching staff is looking for. This, in large part, is due to his background as a player at Rice University and then in the Arena League for the Detroit Drive, where he first received a coaching opportunity once his playing days were over.

McClay bounced around the Arena League for several years before getting his first taste of the NFL working for the Jacksonville Jaguars as the Assistant Director of Pro Scouting.

He then moved on and joined the Cowboys player personnel department before coming full circle and becoming defensive coordinator of the Dallas Desperadoes, where he would stay until he eventually was named head coach in 2004. He remained the head coach for the Desperados for five seasons before once again joining the Cowboys staff.

As you can see, his background might not be the most impressive, but he does understand the game and what it takes to build a roster.

It is something that the Cowboys truly value, and other teams around the NFL have started to take notice of McClay’s work as well. In fact, McClay is largely responsible for bringing in players off of the street that no other team in the NFL wanted, and they ended up contributing for the Cowboys. Players such as Nick Hayden, and George Selvie immediately come to mind, but there are several others.

His name has already come up a few times as being considered for a general manager’s job in the NFL, but thankfully he has decided to stay with the Cowboys for now.

Although his days with the Dallas Cowboys may ultimately be numbered, the organization will continue to rely upon his knowledge and opinion on who the team should target in free agency and in the draft.

We can only hope that Will McClay will remain with the Cowboys organization for years to come and that he continues to help build the roster the right way.

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Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

Dallas Cowboys

Can Cowboys Trust Guard Jonathan Cooper in 2018?

Jess Haynie

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Jonathan Cooper

One of the big decisions facing the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 offseason is at left guard. Veteran Jonathan Cooper started 13 games last year and is now a free agent. Should Dallas bring Cooper back, or should they look elsewhere for next season’s starter?

With a lot of money already being spent on the rest of the starting offensive line, the Cowboys need a bargain at left guard. They didn’t re-sign Ronald Leary in 2017 for that very reason, hoping Cooper or Chaz Green would be able to handle the job for a fraction of what Leary got from the Denver Broncos.

Cooper took over for Green in Week 4 and held the job the rest of the season. The Cowboys rushing attack remained one of the league’s best, even performing well later in the year when Ezekiel Elliott was suspended. It looked like Jonathan could become part of future plans.

However, in Week 17, Cooper went out of the game with a knee injury. It thankfully wasn’t serious and he is expected to be ready for 2018. However, it was a reminder of the injury-plagued past that has caused the former first-round pick so much trouble.

Jonathan Cooper

Dallas Cowboys Guard Jonathan Cooper

Taken seventh overall in 2013 by the Arizona Cardinals, Jonathan Cooper was one of the true blue-chip guard prospects in recent draft history. He seemed like a can’t-miss pick, and interior linemen don’t often go that high in the draft. The Cowboys have even said they coveted Cooper in that class.

But constant battles with injuries caused Cooper to be traded, released, and discarded by the Cardinals, New England Patriots, and Cleveland Browns over his first four seasons. While 2017 was looking like a turning point for him, Jonathan’s injury in the season finale was a sobering reminder of why he’s become a bargain-bin player.

Still, at just 28-years-old, Cooper has good years left and will now have another offseason for continuity and chemistry development with the Cowboys.

Dallas should have to pay more than a few million to keep Cooper on the roster.

If Dallas is leery (no pun intended) of Cooper, they will have options. La’el Collins could move back to the guard position, allowing the Cowboys to go find either the best guard or tackle who would fit with their existing group.

Given so many other considerations this offseason, Dallas will likely try to simplify things by giving Jonathan Cooper another chance. His history is a red flag, but sometimes you have to take those gambles and save salary cap space to handle other needs.

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Orlando Scandrick Talks Cowboys’ Disappointing Season on FOX Sports

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Headlines - Forget the Triplets: Cowboys Need The Underrated to Shine in 2016
Ashley Landis / The Dallas Morning News

For better or worse, the Cowboys don’t even need to play football to be all over national TV. I guess it’s just part of being the one and only America’s Team. For the second consecutive week, Fox Sports had a Dallas Cowboys’ player on set for Fox’s “Undisputed.”

Just a week ago, Brice Butler made waves with some controversial comments that failed to make him look like a “great teammate.”

This time, Fox’s guest was Cowboys’ Cornerback Orlando Scandrick. Unlike Butler, I really think we should give Scandrick credit for being a very good teammate, and acting like one on his TV appearance.

Throughout the segment, it feels as if Orlando is being tricked into saying something against his teammates. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe start bashing on Dez Bryant‘s performance and the fact that he should be replaced.

Of course, this is the kind of stuff fans in Cowboys Nation are thinking about. Heck, I really wouldn’t even mind if Dez isn’t wearing a star next season. However, I really disliked Butler’s comments when asked if he would’ve done a better job if given the same opportunities as Dez.

Scandrick’s responses were awesome though. When asked if he would defend Dez, he didn’t even hesitate.

“I don’t think he’s lost any confidence. He’s one of the most confident players I’ve ever been around. I think it can all be fixed. I think he just needs to get back to work and get back to the basics.” – Orlando Scandrick on Dez Bryant.

Scandrick also answered questions about what went wrong with the Cowboys this season by pointing out the fact they lost one of their best players because of a suspension, and some injuries. But he also said what’s been in our minds for a long time. When asked what was the biggest reason they struggled, he said some painful, yet truthful words: “We played some bad football against some very good teams.”

Later, he was asked about how Sean Lee’s absence affected the defense, he insisted they didn’t step up. At the end of the day, the NFL is a league in which you can’t be that dependent on a single player.

Sean Lee is an awesome player, but I think we’d all like to see this defense be a little less dependent on him.

Scandrick even had to defend Dak Prescott.

Dak was highly criticized after a sophomore season in which he struggled, alongside the entire team. But in the words of Orlando, we should “give him time.” Dak had a lot on his plate, but he made a lot of progress for the Cowboys.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

Orlando Scandrick’s time in Dallas may be coming to an end, especially with young guys like Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis taking over. He’s signed through 2019, so who knows; maybe we see him wearing the star for a bit longer.

“It’s always a possibility.” – Orlando Scandrick on potentially not returning to Dallas next season.

Even still, it’s nice to see him support his football team and his friends on a show which featured a non-starting Cowboys’ wide receiver taking shots against his team. Orlando Scandrick deserves an applause.

Tell me what you think about “Orlando Scandrick Talks Cowboys’ Disappointing Season on FOX Sports” 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

Should Cowboys Pursue Veteran Backup at Quarterback?

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys en Español: Cooper Rush
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys only have two quarterbacks under contract right now, starter Dak Prescott and backup Cooper Rush. With only three years of combined experience between them, one could argue that a veteran presence would be useful. Should Dallas make a veteran QB a free-agent priority in the 2018 offseason?

Of course, there’s plenty of other QB experience on the Cowboys staff. Head Coach Jason Garrett played professionally from 1989-2004, and started his coaching career with quarterbacks.

Scott Linehan has been coaching offense with an emphasis on the passing game for 30 years.

Kellen Moore, who is taking over for the departed Wade Wilson as quarterbacks coach, has played very recently and will bring a fresh perspective.

However, losing Wilson’s experience from the room, and the lack of any veteran player at QB, shouldn’t be dismissed.

Dak Prescott has said veteran Mark Sanchez — who was with Dallas in 2016 — was a major help during his whirlwind rookie season. Tony Romo enjoyed veteran advice from guys like Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, and Kyle Orton throughout his playing career.

This isn’t to say Dallas would want to bring in a veteran to knock Cooper Rush down the depth chart. After a surprising preseason, Rush took the backup job from Kellen Moore and certainly has intriguing upside.

If the Cowboys were to add a veteran, that player would have to come in with the understanding he’s competing with Cooper and may not be guaranteed a job.

The good news is that it’ll be a buyer’s market for veteran quarterbacks this offseason.

Guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, and Matt Moore could all be available. Even a player with more pedigree, such as Sam Bradford, may have trouble finding starting work with many jobs taken among the NFL’s 32 teams.

Dallas could even consider bringing back Mark Sanchez, given his previous relationship with Dak Prescott. He only had a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears.

Given Prescott’s seeming durability, Dallas will likely only keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster in 2018 and for years to come. Because of that, they may be content to focus on Dak and Cooper Rush, and just get through the offseason with training camp bodies.

However, the case can certainly be made for adding another veteran player with the desire to teach to help these young quarterbacks develop. Prescott was not the same guy in 2017 that we saw as a rookie, and perhaps the absence of guys like Sanchez and Tony on the sideline had something to do with that.

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