IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys swapped 2017 fifth-round pick for the Buffalo Bills' 2017 seventh-round pick in order to acquire Matt Cassel this week. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones broke down why Dallas made the trade and what the team likes about the Pro Bowl quarterback to backup now-starting quarterback Brandon Weeden. ... and while Jerry was holding court on the Valley Ranch track, Dez Bryant huddled with our Mike Fisher near the Valley Ranch weight room to discuss his return.
Jerry, you're first:
"Actually, it was an opportunity," said Jones. "The thing at Buffalo made itself available. Nobody wants to give up their No. 2 quarterback because they could have the same thing happen that we had happen. On the other hand, the young quarterback (Tyrod Taylor) really came through and won the starting job up there. So that made it talkable there in Buffalo. We obviously, I'm not trying to be defensive or anything like that, but Weeden has put the time in. He's got the reps. He's, frankly, got the experience with us, [our] system. That's where we want to go."
Jones dreams that Weeden is able have "a successful run of it" in light of franchise quarterback Tony Romo's eight-week absence due to a fractured left clavicle sustained last week in Philadelphia. Still, the Cowboys saw an opportunity to improve their depth at quarterback and decided to pursue it.
"On the other hand, to get an opportunity to back him up with Matt Cassel was just too good," Jones said. "And we were able to make it work in terms of the trade and so it just improved our team. That's how that happened. We had already been in communication several times before we had the workout with the other quarterbacks that were here. He was our guy going in if we could get him."
Cassel has had to work quickly to have a chance to be No. 2 this week behind Weeden (and to stay ahead of the called-up Kellen Moore. Cassel said his dad is from Texas and that he grew up a Cowboys fan ... and now he's bringing another Cowboys fan into the world as his wife is 36 weeks pregnant.
"She's coming here,'' Cassel said. "It'll be a Dallas baby.''
Meanwhile, another Texas kid, Dez Bryant, is talking to Fish one-on-one. Courtesy of 105.3 The Fan, that conversation ...
“Things are going perfectly,'' said My foot feels great. Feels like it’s healing great.’’
Bryant underwent a procedure to repair the fifth metatarsal in his foot, leading to all-over-the-map speculation about his return for the All-Pro receiver. Sources tell me it’s a "super-aggressive approach'' designed to speed healing, prevent a re-break, and have him back in six to eight weeks following the surgery . … And Bryant is nothing if not “super-aggressive.’'
“Yes, I want to come back faster than people expect,’’ Dez told me. "That (errant speculation) motivates me.’'
Bryant, amid a flurry of reports that suggested he did something wrong by removing his boot to walk through the locker room on Tuesday, assures he’s doing everything under medical supervision - including the occasional removal of his boot.
"But I’m not doing anything foolish and I’m not going to do anything foolish,’’ he told me. "I’m not even jogging yet! But I’m doing everything (the medical people) tell me to do, weight room, everything.’'
Added owner Jerry Jones, watching practice: “The pain is going away by the day, and that’s important.’'
Since 2004, 25 NFL players have undergone a procedure similar to Bryant’s. I’m told they were back on the field from between 5.9 weeks to 13.9 weeks — an average of 8.7 weeks.
Bryant has no intention of being “foolish’’ … but he has no intention of being on the backside of that average, either.
“We’re on track for where we need to be,’’ Dez said."It’s all good news.’'