It's the news none of us wanted to hear. Tony Romo has a broken L1 vertebrae in his back. it's the result of a hit he sustained on the third offensive play against the Seahawks on Thursday. Early indications are Tony Romo could miss 6-10 weeks.
According to ESPN, during a conference call Saturday, head coach Jason Garrett declined to rule out Tony Romo for the 2016 home-opener in Dallas, against the New York Giants. It is unclear at this time what type of fracture Romo suffered, and the type could affect his time-frame to return.
Tony Romo is widely considered the best quarterback the Dallas Cowboys have had since Troy Aikman, and we (Inside The Star) consider that a major understatement.
The Cowboys have been in "win now" mode for two, going on three years, with a strong feeling that a Super Bowl at this stage would be more for Tony Romo than perhaps any other player on the team, aside from maybe Jason Witten.
Heading into 2016 with a stacked offense, and rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys had high hopes of making a deep playoff run, led by Tony Romo. Now, once Romo returns from injury, it's not even clear what kind of shape he'll be in. Romo has played in only half a dozen games since the 2015 preseason.
Due to recent changes to league rules concerning the injured reserved list, teams can now place players on IR and, without prior designation, activate one player from IR during the season. This will help save the roster spot while Romo is out.
Options Without Tony Romo
Rookie quarterback, Dak Prescott, has looked far superior than his experience would indicate. Even though it's only been preseason action so far, Thursday's night game in Seattle saw him playing the Seahawks' vaunted defense for all but three of the first half snaps.
Fans are heavily divided on whether or not Prescott is ready to see significant playing time in Romo's absence, but experts all agree that these early flashes are just that, flashes.
I'm of the opinion that Dak Prescott needs more time learning and preparing before getting the nod at QB, but that's a moot point now.
As it stands now, two of the four quarterbacks on the roster are going to be out until around the bye week. Kellen Moore broke his left ankle during training camp. That leaves just Dak Prescott and Jameill Showers, which will surely send the Cowboys' front office running for a veteran.
Jason Garrett is known for preferring veteran experience at perhaps the most crucial position on the team. In 2015, that veteran presence was filled by the combined efforts of Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel, and Kellen Moore. There are still several free agent quarterbacks, but none which instill the confidence we'd like moving forward.
Near the top of the list is probably QB, Josh McCown of the Cleveland Browns.
We'll stay on top of the situation and provide updates as they become available. For an up-to-the-minute look, follow us on Twitter at @CowboysNation for more throughout the day.
Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp
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.
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:
Cowboys & DeMarcus Lawrence Fail to Reach New Contract
DeMarcus Lawrence will definitely be a Cowboy in 2018, but now the future beyond that remains in question. The Dallas Cowboys and their star defensive end did not agree to a long-term contract by today's deadline for franchise-tagged players.
According to NFL rules, teams had until 4:00 pm EST today to reach contract extensions with free agents who'd been assigned the franchise tag earlier this offseason. Players who did not get new deals will have to play the 2018 season on their one-year franchise tenders.
DeMarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys were unable to work out a long-term contract by today's deadline. Lawrence will play the 2018 season under a one-year franchise tag that will pay him $17.1 million
This does not mean Lawrence will be a free agent in 2019. The two parties can still discuss the contract in the months to come, but the deal cannot be made until after the end of the regular season.
Dallas also has the option of giving DeMarcus a second franchise tag next year. However, that would come at a considerably higher price for a second-straight season.
This year, Lawrence will still make plenty with one of the highest cap hits of any DE in the league. He earned the franchise tag last with 14.5 sacks in a breakout season.
Today's news may not really be a big deal in the long run. As long as Tank wants to stay in Dallas after this, the two sides now have over five months to keep talking and will hopefully agree on a new deal for 2019 and beyond.
There is risk on both sides, of course.
Lawrence's leverage could be less if his productions drops or he gets injured. On the other hand, his position could be even stronger with a second-straight year of strong play.
Now everyone, from the team to player to fans, is in wait-and-see mode until the end of the season.
Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make the Roster?
The Dallas Cowboys aren't short on numbers at wide receiver on their current 90-man roster. Looking to replace Dez Bryant and reshape their offense, the Cowboys will have to find the right group of pass catchers for Dak Prescott at their upcoming training camp.
The odd men out from this group will likely be the ones that can't sustain a consistent level of play, doing so across multiple units if needed. All ten receivers will have their flashes, but with only four being true locks to make the team, new Cowboys Wide Receivers Coach Sanjay Lal will be in on some tough decisions right away.
One such decision may be moving on from last year's seventh round pick Noah Brown out of Ohio State. Vouched for by former Buckeyes teammate Ezekiel Elliott thanks to his blocking ability on the outside, it may now be this strength in the run game and deficiency as a pass catcher that spells the end of Brown's run in Dallas.
Normally, a seventh round pick being on the roster bubble wouldn't be this noteworthy, but Brown clearly showed the potential to outplay this draft status as a rookie. Appearing in 13 games, Brown is a true X receiver, although not the dominant one the Cowboys are searching for.
Moving away from fielding a true number one receiver, the Cowboys did sign Allen Hurns to play this spot while prepared to spread the ball around to Williams, Beasley, and Gallup after that.
This leaves Thompson, Wilson, Cannon, Lenoir, McCay, Murdock, and Brown to prove their worth in other ways to make the roster. I've written plenty about the potential rookie Cedrick Wilson has, so I'll be expecting a strong showing from him to earn a role in the Cowboys offense.
Wilson's skill set could push a depth signing like Deonte Thompson off the team, although his ability to back up Cole Beasley/Tavon Austin on special teams is important. The same can be said about Lance Lenoir, who like Brown has the advantage over first year players given his trials through training camp and the preseason a year ago.
Long shots to make the team, Cannon, McCay, and Murdock fall just below this group -- and somewhere in the middle is Noah Brown.
Increasing his role on special teams as the season went on last year, Brown had fans throughout a coaching staff that is now drastically changed for 2018. From their shift to more speed on offense, to drafting of both Gallup and Wilson, calling Brown a fringe player on the Cowboys roster really sets up the fiery competition to come at wide receiver.
Should the Cowboys find a spot for Brown, one can only hope it means this new coaching staff has a clear plan for him to contribute on both offense and special teams outside of being a run blocker. A potential niche for Brown is his red zone ability, not afraid to put his body on the line for jump balls and fight through contact in his routes.
It won't be long until we sort out if this is enough to make the Cowboys as a wide receiver ahead of Quarterback Dak Prescott's third season.
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