Imagine if Rolando McClain showed up in Dallas today.
First, he'd probably show up over at Valley Ranch. Security would have to inform him that the team had moved to the new facility, The Star. Rolando would ask for directions and head 30 miles north to Frisco.
If he didn't get distracted along the way, Rolando would arrive to find out that the team had already departed for Seattle for tonight's game. Bemused and dejected, he would ask if he could at least check out the new facility. Someone would take pity on him and let him into The Star.
Rolando McClain would be in awe of the gorgeous new facility. He'd be so excited about being able to work here next week, then take a 10-week break, then come back in November.
Rolando would get to the locker room. Naturally, he'd start looking for his name and number. He'd look... and look... and look.
Eventually, Rolando would ask whoever was attending him what was up. Where was his locker? Had there been a clerical error?
Somewhere in that room is a locker for number 94, Randy Gregory. Both Gregory and Rolando McClain did not report to the Cowboys training camp. Neither is currently counted on the team's roster.
One guy has a locker at The Star. The other doesn't.
Some want to paint McClain and Gregory with the same broad stroke. They're both "knuckleheads" or "druggies." They're both hurting the image of the Dallas Cowboys and should be released.
Clearly, the Cowboys don't see it that way. Neither do I.
Rolando McClain is 27-years-old. This is his third team since entering the league in 2010. He's been out of the NFL and come back more than once, even having retired at one point and missing all of 2013. He is facing 10-game suspension this year for using a "purple drank" and was reportedly severely out of shape when he showed up for the team's summer practices.
Randy Gregory is still just 23-years-old and was a rookie last year. By all accounts, Gregory is a hard worker and was only held back last year by injuries. He faces his own suspension this year, still officially just four games, for repeated offenses with marijuana.
Both guys clearly have their issues and personal demons. However, there's a very important line that has to be drawn.
Gregory has a drug problem. McClain has an attitude problem.
McClain's two years in Dallas have been a testament to his incredible talent and yet a reminder of how much of it is wasted. He's never been "all in" with the Cowboys. He doesn't fight to play through minor injuries. One can only assume that his conditioning and preparation for games isn't what it could be.
And yet, when on the field, Rolando McClain can still be an impact player. His natural gifts are that strong.
Dallas clearly sees that they can't help McClain change who he is and how he views his football career. Rolando doesn't care about his teammates. He doesn't care enough to be here through camp and preseason and help guys like Anthony Hitchens and Mark Nzeocha be ready to play in his absence.
Rolando is a self-centered mercenary. He has been for two years. And now the Cowboys are done paying for his services.
If you've lived long enough to know the difference between 23 and 27, you know why the Cowboys may feel differently about Randy Gregory. You probably understand why he still has a locker.
Obviously, Gregory's story may not have a happy ending. He could wind up on that tall scrap heap of former NFL players who wasted their talent and fell out of the league, be it to their own selfish interests, personal problems, or a mix of the two.
But right now, Gregory seems to be acknowledging his issues and is taking steps to work on them. That's all the Cowboys can ask for now, and it's enough to merit their continued support and the hope for a positive outcome.
One guy's checked himself into rehab. The other's completely checked out.
That's why Randy Gregory still has a locker and Rolando McClain doesn't. Seems perfectly logical to me.
Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson
The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.
Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.
The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.
Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.
Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.
For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.
Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal
At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.
The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.
Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.
Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.
A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.
Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.
Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders
Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.
Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.
To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.
In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.
Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.
Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.
Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.
Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.
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