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Off-Season Progress Report: Cowboys Begin 2016

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Blog - Off-Season Progress Report: Cowboys Begin 2016 2

A week ago the Dallas Cowboys were preparing for the season finale against the NFC East Division Champion Washington Redskins. Today? They're chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool... welcome to the off-season.

There has already been a few tectonic shifts in the NFC East this off-season as some of our division rivals made some big moves.

Cowboys Blog - Off-Season Progress Report: Cowboys Begin 2016

You know already know how the Philadelphia Eagles waved the white flag and fired Chip Kelly. Well this week the New York Giants sang a similar tune when they said goodbye to their two-time Super Bowl winning Head Coach, Tom Coughlin.

Jason Garrett is now the longest tenured Head Coach in the NFC East, but one of his men may be on his way out. It was announced on Wednesday that secondary coach Jerome Henderson is expected to interview with the Cleveland Browns regarding their vacancy at Head Coach. Seriously. You do you, Cleveland.

There are other vacancies in the NFL besides those Head Coach gigs. The Detroit Lions have an opening at their General Manager position - which Will McClay declined to interview for. This is a big deal for all of Cowboys Nation as McClay has been the architect behind what the Cowboys have been doing for the past few seasons. He wants to get things right here in Dallas and it's great to know how committed he is to us.

In terms of player news... the Dallas Cowboys cleaned out their lockers on Monday. A few of them took to Twitter to express some thoughts regarding the 2015 season.

Cole Beasley on Twitter

Thank you #CowboysNation for all of your support through the good and the bad. We will get it right!

Mark Nzeocha on Twitter

Rookie year in the books! Couldn't be more fortunate and blessed to be a part of this team. We'll be back stronger in 2016. #CowboysNation

Mr. Mince CEO on Twitter

I want to genuinely thank The Dallas Cowboys Organization for the opportunity. Got chance 2 Live a childhood dream. #superhungryagain

The writing seems to be on the wall regarding Jeremy Mincey that he may not be back in the blue and silver come September.

Speaking of the guys that might not be back next year, Over The Cap is a great resource for all of those with questions regarding free agency.

Cowboys Blog - Off-Season Progress Report: Cowboys Begin 2016 1

Upcoming Dallas Cowboys Free Agents

Our own Bobby Belt spoke with Jason Fitzgerald, founder of Over The Cap, regarding what the Cowboys could be doing this year in free agency on Cowboys Cast. It's a great listen that'll help prepare you for the exciting days of March.

There are obviously free agents coming off of stints with other teams that the Cowboys will be looking to put a Star on this year.

My fellow Inside The Star Staff Writer Nick Cocchiaro wrote up a potential free agency plan that details who the Cowboys could target. If you've read any of my work before then you know how much I love "plans" and Nick's gets my official thumbs up!

Speaking of Inside The Star, the Dallas Cowboys are coming Inside The Star! Staff Writer Sean Martin tells you here all about how the Cowboys new home of all football operations, The Star, is opening in 2016. You're already Inside The Star... the Cowboys are joining you in 2016!

Regular X-Thrower-Upper (what?) Dez Bryant successfully had surgery on his foot and ankle on Wednesday morning. It became more and more obvious as the season went on that Dez simply wasn't right, and this surgery will go a long way in correcting that. He's already feeling better, too.

Dez Bryant on Twitter

Thank you everyone for the prayers...I'm already up and running baby #throwupthex lmao!!!

The 2015 season is over largely due to the ineptitude of the Dallas Cowboys Offense and the backup quarterbacks that were given the keys to it. It's no secret that this position is a high priority for Dallas this off-season and that they'll be looking for key ways to address it.

If the Cowboys choose to draft a quarterback there are plenty to choose from. Senior Analyst Ryan Ratty has film reviews on Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Connor Cook, and many others if you want to catch yourself up on the potential future franchise quarterback.

Of course Tony Romo will be the man at the helm of the Dallas Cowboys in 2016. Our own Jess Haynie wrote up a great piece here detailing how Carson Palmer's resurgence into NFL stardom gives Cowboys Nation and Romo hope for the future. It's one of those articles that's going to get you completely jacked for next year. Give it a read and thank me later.

Make sure and stay tuned to us here at Inside The Star as we'll be having this weekly progress report all throughout the off-season. It's a great way to catch up on what you might have missed or chat with your favorite RJ.


RJ Ochoa on Fancred

What are you excited about during this Off-Season? What moves do you want to see the Dallas Cowboys make? Let me know! Comment below, Email me at Roel.Ochoa.Jr@Gmail.com, or Tweet to me at @rjochoa!

Tell us what you think about "Off-Season Progress Report: Cowboys Begin 2016" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!



I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

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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 & DeMarcus Lawrence Fail to Reach New Contract

Jess Haynie

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Which 2018 Free Agents Will The Cowboys Retain? 1
Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportwire

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.

Jon Machota on Twitter

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.



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Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make the Roster?

Sean Martin

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Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make Cowboys Roster? 2
(Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

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.

This group includes Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Lance Lenoir, Deonte Thompson, Cedrick Wilson, Michael Gallup, KD Cannon, Mekale McCay, and Marchie Murdock.

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.

What Happens if WR Allen Hurns Doesn't Pan Out?

Dallas Cowboys WR Deonte Thompson, Cedrick Wilson, Allen Hurns (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

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.

Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make Cowboys Roster?

Dallas Cowboys WR Noah Brown (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

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.

Tell us what you think about "Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make the Roster?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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