Each Sunday I take 10 quick hits on the Dallas Cowboys. The news of the week, analysis of key events and a little humor as I wrap up the week with First and 10.
Rob Gronkowski may have just become Tony Romo's best friend in Romo's NFL lawsuit. You may have heard about Gronk's 700-person party cruise recently. Well it turns out there was a casino on the ship. Romo, as you know, in a story first reveled here on CowboysHQ.com, was prepared to host the National Fantasy Football Convention last summer in Las Vegas at the Sands Expo, which was gambling adjacent. The NFL put the kibosh on Romo's event, but not on Gronk's event. CHQ is told Romo's legal team is giddy at the contradiction. In fact, our Mike Fisher dug in deep about the possibilities earlier this week in our Premium section.
With the possibility of a Gronk deposition now in play, I humbly submit the following questions for Romo's legal team in the hopes that the answers will enrich the general populace:
"Mr. Gronkowski, is there a proper bikini-to-beer ratio for large-scale boat parties and, if so, what is it?"
"Mr. Gronkowski, what is your hangover cure recommendation?"
"Mr. Gronkowski, you played Family Feud during the cruise. Can you explain what the heck you were thinking?"
"Mr. Gronkowski, if you host a large-scale boat party and two of your guests agree to get married (a partygoer did, indeed, propose to his girlfriend during the festivities), does proper etiquette require you to go to the wedding?
"Mr. Gronkowski, do you have any video from your party that you would like to enter into the record? Any video? Any video at all? Please?"
This deposition must happen. It MUST. Get to work, Tony. And good luck on your "two-option/two-week-plan surgery,'' too. See you in May. ... or ...
... reflective of Jerry's Saturday on-the-bus talk with media in Indy, we'll see Tony Romo in each of the next four or five Mays. Or maybe forever!
Jason Garrett tells the media that Greg Hardy is a “free agent.” Well, not yet. That comes on March 7, when the league year turns over. But it was the subtext of what Garrett said. “Greg Hardy is a free agent.” It was as good as him just saying no. (Which is exactly what CHQ reported from the inside of Valley Ranch, the Cowboys telling us they are "done'' with the player. (This despite Jerry leaving the door ever so ajar.) And that is exactly what I wanted to hear. At some point that guy is going to be a train wreck again and the Cowboys should let that be someone else's problem.
The Washington Redskins do not plan to bring back Robert Griffin III next season. Washington's Bruce Allen made that clear earlier this week. So, now the countdown begins to bring Griffin to Dallas, right?
Uh, not so fast. First, RGIII is not a good fit for the offensive scheme. It demands a reliable pocket passer. Think about how many times you have seen Tony Romo move out of the pocket on a designed rollout. I think I can count it on one hand. Yes, Romo is cleverly elusive but only when he has to be. Anyone who thinks Jason Garrett is going to remake the playbook for a guy that you hope barely plays is not living in reality.
The second reason is money. The Cowboys, at this moment, are expected to have money to spend under the salary cap (and the NFL provided a little extra good news this week in word that the cap went up to $155.27 million for 2016). Now that does not include any contract restructuring the Cowboys might do to create more space. (See Fish's "Tyrone/Tyron Cap Secret'' here.) But there will be suitors for Griffin's services, despite the time he has missed the past two years and that interest will drive his price up. That is the quarterback position in the NFL. Talent, in any form, will get paid, no matter how out-of-whack it might seem.
I say someone will sign Griffin. I say it just will not be the Dallas Cowboys.
Randy Gregory will miss the first four games of next season due to a suspension related to the NFL substance abuse policy. Our Mike Fisher took you inside the impact earlier this week. So give it a read. His sources related that Gregory had a Cowboys-assigned buddy, part of a system that has impacted other players like Dez Bryant have in years past, and it still did not work. It just goes to show that no matter what aspect of life you are talking about, you have to really want it to get better at it. Gregory's issues require constant vigilance. Hopefully he learns from it.
Jerry's view? "Anybody who has had any type of substance treatment knows that Rome was not built in a day," Jones said. "That's not being too tolerant. That's being patient.''
Herschel Walker tells 105.3 The Fan that Jerry Jones is one of the best owners in the NFL. That is an interesting endorsement coming from a player who played for Jones for, what, eight months?
Great Moments in Headline Porn for this week? From CBSSports.com — "Report: DeMarco Murray Unhappy in Philly, Dallas Trade Possible?" It is actually a NFL.com report from Ian Rapoport and the story basically points out that while the Eagles are open to making a deal, any trade with Dallas is made difficult by the salary cap, the fact that the two teams are in the same division and that new Eagles coach Doug Pederson has to sign off on it. So, what is "possible" about that? In the realm of possibility? Sure. In the realm of realistic possibility, no.
Now, there are scenarios ...
If I just wanted to tease you, I would write about that every day.
Better just to tell you that Dallas is prioritizing running back help alongside Darren McFadden. That is a certainty.
Lucky Whitehead could be handing you your chicken at Popeye's later this offseason. Whitehead apparently went into the fast-food restaurant and, for whatever reason, procured a job application and filled it out. Crazy thing is, no one noticed he was a Dallas Cowboy.
Greatness. Just greatness. But I think Whitehead will be OK, given that the rookie minimum for an undrafted free agent is around $500,000. That is more than enough to buy chicken, not have to work for it.
Here is one Cowboys player whose progress this offseason I am looking forward to watching — cornerback Terrance Mitchell. I was quite impressed with the three games he played late with Dallas. He managed an interception, a sack and 12 tackles down the stretch and the Cowboys need defensive backs that can make game-changing plays. Mitchell showed just enough promise to pique my interest. Follow his progress with interest, as scenarios exist that the Cowboys could lose both Morris Claiborne (to free agency) and Brandon Carr (if Dallas chooses to make Carr a cap casualty).
Yes, Dallas wants to work out ways to retain both of those guys. Jerry on Carr: "He's certainly a player that the big issue here is the price. He's a good player. It's the price."
But Mitchell represents a "you-can't-have-enough-corners'' approach, and it'd be the right one.
A defensive end to think about outside the "usual suspects" of free agency is St. Louis end William Hayes. If the Cowboys are ready to move Demarcus Lawrence to the right side, and if they lose Jeremy Mincey in free agency, Hayes (6-foot-3, 278 pounds), could fill that void on the left side. He is a consistent rotation end who can start or come off the bench and be productive. He has had five or more sacks three of the last four years in St. Louis. I wouldn't give him a long-term deal, as he's 30 years old. But his age may scare some teams off and put Hayes in that affordable wheelhouse for the Cowboys.
Not as sexy as Olivier Vernon, Mario Williams or JPP, but ... the "affordable wheelhouse'' still.
One more thing — at least one Las Vegas oddsmaker has the Cowboys winning enough games to win the NFC East in 2016. R.J. Bell of pregame.com has the Cowboys over/under for wins at 8.5 games, better than anyone in the division. I assume he is aware of what happened last season? Of course, the Cowboys went from 8-8 to 12-4 to 4-12 in three years. So it would make sense that they return to 8-8 in 2016. It's the circle of life, NFL style.