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Important 2017 Off-Season Dates To Remember For The Dallas Cowboys

Brian Martin



Cowboys Draft - Cowboys Draft Day: On the Clock In Review

The Dallas Cowboys have been in off-season mode for a couple weeks now after the unfortunate Divisional Round loss to the Green Bay Packers.

This week Jason Garrett and his coaching staff are in Orlando, Florida coaching for the 2017 Pro Bowl, although I’m sure they would prefer being in Mobile, Alabama coaching for the  Senior Bowl instead. We all know that the Pro Bowl has become somewhat of a joke, but the Cowboys coaching staff is there “coaching” nonetheless.

With the 2017 NFL off-season just getting underway, I thought it would be a good time to share with all of you some of the important dates to remember for not only the Dallas Cowboys, but the rest of the league.

January 28 – Senior Bowl, Ladd-Pebbles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama

January 29 – Pro Bowl, Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida

January 31 – Deadline for NFL teams to try out and a negotiate with CFL players whose 2016 contracts have expired

February 5 – Super Bowl LI, NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

February 6 – 2017 Waiver system begins

February 11 – NFL Regional Combine, Virginia Mason Athletic Center, Seattle, WA

February 14 – NFL teams can sign CFL players whose 2016 contracts have expired

February 15 – NFL teams can designate Franchise and Transition Players

February 18 – NFL Regional Combine, Methodist Training Center, Houston, Texas

February 25-26 – NFL Regional Combine, Inova Sports Performance Center, Washington, D.C.

February 28-March 6 – NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana

March 1 – Deadline for teams to designate Franchise and Transition Players

March 4 – NFL Regional Combine, Minnesota Vikings Practice Facility, Eden Prairie, Minnesota

March 7-9 – Teams are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with agents of players who are Unrestricted Free Agents, but the contract cannot be executed until March 9.

March 9 – Teams must exercise all 2017 options on all players who have option clauses in their 2016 contracts.

The change of the NFL league year

Teams must submit qualifying offers to Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts to whom they desire to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.

Teams must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players who have expiring 2016 contracts that have less than three years of free agency credit.

All teams must be under the 2017 salary cap.

All 2016 player contracts will expire.

2017 league year in free agency begins.

The trading period officially begins.

March 11 – NFL Regional Combine, New Orleans Saints Practice Facility, Metairie, Louisiana

March 26-29 – Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona

April 3 – Teams with new head coaches can begin off-season workouts.

April 17 – Teams with returning head coaches can begin off-season workouts.

April 21 – Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheet.

April 27-29 – 2017 NFL Draft, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

May 5-8 – Teams can hold their three day rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.

May 12-15 – Teams can hold their three day rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.

May 15 – Rookie Football Development Programs begin.

May 18-21 – NFLPA Rookie Premiere. All invited rookies have to be permitted to attend by their respective teams.

May 22-24th – Spring League Meeting, Chicago, Illinois

June 15 – Deadline for teams to sign their designated Franchise Player to a multiyear contract. After this date they can only sign them to a one-year deal.

Sometime Late June – Rookie Transition Program to be held by individual teams. Attendance is mandatory by all rookies.

Mid-July – Teams can open up preseason training camp for rookies and first-year players beginning seven days prior to the mandatory reporting date for veterans.

July 22 – Signing period ends for Unrestricted Free Agents and Transition Players.

August 3 – Hall of Fame Game, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio

August 5 – Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio


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.

Game Notes

DAL 20, OAK 17: Cowboys and Playoff Hopes Survive Wild Game

Jess Haynie



Jason Witten, Dak Prescott

On a night when almost everything seemed to bounce the Raiders’ way, the final crucial play went in Dallas’ favor. That proved to be all the difference, allowing the Cowboys to improve to 8-6 and keep their playoff hopes alive in a pivotal road game in Oakland.

After a 55-yard pass interference penalty on cornerback Jourdan Lewis moved Oakland 15 yards from the endzone, Oakland had a few shots at a game-winning touchdown before they’d attempt a tying field goal. On 3rd-and-3, Derek Carr scrambled and went for the score. He dived along the sideline and stretched the ball out toward the pylon, only to lose control. The ball left his hands, crossed the goal line, and went out the side of the endzone.

Cowboys ball. Cowboys wins.

That fumble was Oakland’s fourth of the night. Cordarrelle Patterson fumbled on two of his kick returns but both times the ball rolled out of bounds. Michael Crabtree also fumbled after a catch, but Dallas failed to recover it before the receiver could get back on top of the ball.

Both teams were playing for their playoff lives. When the game was tied 10-10 in the 3rd quarter, Dallas faked a punt from their own 24-yard-line as Chris Jones kept the ball and ran 24 yards. The very next play, the Cowboys attempted a flea-flicker to Terrance Williams that was incomplete. It was perhaps the most aggressive series of calls we’ve seen from Dallas all year.

It was a tough, ugly game. There were 21 total penalties, 14 of which surprisingly belonged to the Raiders. Oakland’s offense executed more consistently while the Cowboys still made crucial stops when needed.

In the end, Dallas survived and advanced in their efforts to sneak back into the NFC playoffs.

Other Notes

  • Dak Prescott had a rough night with two interceptions and no passing touchdowns. One of those picks was due to contact on the throw, but he also missed some opportunities with errant throws and bad reads. He did run one in, though, and had 32 rushing yards total for the game.
  • Alfred Morris and Rod Smith combined for a woeful 74 yards on 23 carries. After a few weeks of big production, this was a good reminder of why we’re so happy to have Ezekiel Elliott returning next week.
  • While Dallas was unable to sack Derek Carr tonight, they applied a lot of pressure and forced several bad throws. Carr only completed 55% of his passes thanks to consistent heat from DeMarcus Lawrence, Sean Lee, and even Taco Charlton on a few plays.
  • It was another solid night from the Cowboys’ young cornerbacks. Despite the big penalty on Oakland’s final drive, Lewis had a solid night all around along with Chidobe Awuzie. Anthony Brown also showed up, having a few nice deflections in crunch time.
  • The Cowboys will head back to Dallas to reunite to with Ezekiel Elliott and prepare a welcoming party for the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday. Seattle was humiliated at home today, losing 42-7 to the visiting Rams. With the Cowboys and Seahawks now tied at 8-6, Dallas can bury them next week with a victory.


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Game Notes

Cowboys and Raiders Offer Many Parallels

Jess Haynie



Dak Prescott, Derek Carr

For only the 12th time since their first meeting in 1974, the Dallas Cowboys and the Oakland Raiders will face off tonight in what will likely be a season-ending game for the loser. Two of the NFL’s premiere franchises, the Cowboys and Raiders have lived almost entirely separate lives throughout their history. Despite that, the two organizations in many ways seem like mirror images of each other.

The Raiders are up by one game, 6-5, in the previous 11 games between Dallas and Oakland. The Cowboys have won the last two matchups, both of which were in Dallas. This will be the first they’ve played in the Raiders’ stadium since 2005.

Oakland is one of only a few NFL franchises the Cowboys have a losing record against. Dallas is .500 or better against 26 the 31 other teams in the league. The only other franchises with winning records against the Cowboys are the Baltimore Ravens (4-1), Cleveland Browns (17-14). Denver Broncos (8-5), and the Green Bay Packers (19-17).

Throughout NFL history, perhaps now two owners have challenged the establishment more than the Cowboys’ Jerry Jones and the late Al Davis of the Raiders. Davis sued the NFL in 1980 when his efforts to most the team to Los Angeles were blocked. This year, Jerry Jones threatened litigation against the league for how the commissioner’s contract negotiations were being handled.

in 2017, the Cowboys and Raiders were both Super Bowl contenders who have had disappointing the seasons. They go into this week at 7-6 and 6-7 respectively, nearly even, and with similarly slim hopes of still making the playoffs. Both may be still be able to sneak in if they keep winning, but help from other teams is also needed.

Even their quarterbacks can be compared. Dak Prescott and Derek Carr are two of the top young stars at QB in the game but have had adversity this year.  Carr has been trying to bounce back from a major leg injury last year that cut short his breakout season. Prescott, a rookie sensation in 2016, has had to fight the sophomore slump while also dealing with the loss of offensive MVP Ezekiel Elliott.

If that wasn’t enough, both their first names start with a “D” and end with a “K.” Mind-blowing stuff, huh?

All kidding aside, both Dallas and Oakland entered 2017 with championship goals and have had tough blows along the way. Both will be without key players tonight; Dallas still missing Elliott while the Raiders won’t have franchise receiver Amari Cooper. These personnel issues have plagued their seasons and left both on the brink of playoff elimination.

Who stays alive tonight? For two teams that only see each other every four years, this reunion is of incredible importance to both their immediate futures.


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Game Notes

Cowboys, Raiders Week 15 Injury Report

Jess Haynie



David Irving

Tonight’s game between the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders features two teams still hanging on to slim playoff hopes. Both will have to try to keep their seasons alive without some key players, according the final injury report for Week 15.

Dallas Cowboys

  • WR Brice Butler (foot) – OUT
  • TE James Hanna (knee) – Questionable
  • OT Tyron Smith (back) – Questionable
  • OT La’el Collins (back) – Questionable
  • DL David Irving (concussion) – OUT
  • DT Maliek Collins (foot) – Questionable
  • LB Sean Lee (hamstring/back) – Questionable
  • LB Justin Durant (concussion) – OUT
  • CB Orlando Scandrick (back) – OUT

Don’t be worried by any of the key “questionable” players. They’re all dealing with nagging injuries and will likely be on the injury report the rest of the year. There is no indication that Sean Lee, Maliek Collins, or either of the starting offensive tackles will miss the game.

Brice Butler will miss his return game against his former team, which is more sad for him than any real issue for the Cowboys. Ryan Switzer and Noah Brown could see some more usage on offensive as a result.

Missing David Irving will hurt as Dallas needs to get pressure on Derek Carr. Coupled with Orlando Scandrick’s absence, the Raiders could be dangerous with their passing game. Thankfully, some of this is offset by their star receiving also missing the game.

Oakland Raiders

  • WR Amari Cooper (ankle) – OUT
  • TE Clive Walford (concussion/neck) – OUT
  • C/G Jon Feliciano (concussion) – Questionable
  • DL Mario Edwards Jr (ankle) – OUT
  • DL Denico Autry (hand/ankle) – Questionable
  • CB David Amerson (foot) – Questionable
  • S Ofi Melifonwu (hip) – OUT
  • DB Keith McGill (knee) – Questionable

The big news here is obviously Cooper being out. Michael Crabtree can still ball but Cooper is one of the top receivers in the game. Dallas’ young corners can breathe easier now.

The big injury on defense is Edwards, the son of the former Cowboys cornerback. He’s started all 13 games this year for Oakland. They also could be without starting corner David Amerson due to a foot injury. That could help Dak Prescott to keep the momentum going from his statistical breakthrough last week.

The rest of the players on the Raiders’ report are all backups.


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