Each Sunday I provide 10 quick hits on the Dallas Cowboys. Darren McFadden and Ron Leary are good examples of why you don't trade players without a need to trade them. Plus, Valley Ranch memories in this edition of First and 10.
1. Exhibit one for why you don't trade a player when you think you need to — Darren McFadden. McFadden's broken elbow will keep him out for two months, which means he'll be ready about the time Ezekiel Elliott has firmly entrenched himself as the starter. An injury like this is one reason why you don't trade players because you think you have enough players at a position. The Cowboys may have looked that way before McFadden's injury. They don't now, not with Elliott, Alfred Morris and, um, yeah exactly.
I'm sure you're thinking to yourself, "Well, the Cowboys could have gotten value by trading him before the injury." What kind of value might the Cowboys have gotten? No one needs a running back right now. Every team in the NFL is working to see what they have in-house before they look outward. Perhaps you could have gotten a sixth-round pick for McFadden, but that would have been giving him away.
McFadden will still have value by the time he's healthy. But, more importantly, someone will have a need because they will have experienced the same thing the Cowboys did this week — losing a potential starter to injury.
But perhaps the best way to make the argument is this:
What if it had been Zeke that suffered the injury? Then you would likely be thrilled to have McFadden waiting in the wings. I think it's the same principle with McFadden's injury. If you weren’t totally stoked about the Cowboys drafting Elliott before this week, you sure are now.
2. Mandatory mini-camp is complete and the Dallas Cowboys will reconvene in Oxnard, Calif., next month. Did you miss anything? We've got you covered. Below you'll find the links to all of our CowboysHQ.com mini-camp content:
No excuses for not knowing what's going on, people. It's all right there.
One of these pieces is a premium piece at CowboysHQ.com and I'll tell you why it's a great idea to get a premium subscription. It's $5.99 a month. That's less than the cost to power one of those environmentally-friendly light bulbs for three years (I'm running out of analogies, people). Great news is you don't have to sacrifice — keep the lights on and get a subscription today. And here's what they sometimes don't tell you — a premium subscription to CowboysHQ.com gets on access to premium content for every team in the Scout.com Network. So if you're an SMU fan and a Dallas Cowboys fan, or a Longhorns lover, or an Aggie faithful, or Notre Dame or USC or Mavs, it's an easy decision. Get one today.
3. Valley Ranch memories. So the first time I had to go to Valley Ranch for anything was when I was working in Tyler, Texas, for the Tyler Morning Telegraph. One day, in the throes of summer, my boss, Phil Hicks, asked me to go to Valley Ranch and pick up our season credentials. So I drove two hours to Valley Ranch and that was the first time I saw the inside lobby where you see the Super Bowl trophies and other team memorabilia. For someone who grew up watching the Cowboys it was something to behold.
Over the years I've covered the Cowboys for various entities (including the team's in-house magazine), been in the locker room, been on the practice fields for multiple workouts and watched the area around the practice facility grow into what we know today. It's a testament to how the old facility was designed by the old regime — you know Tex Schramm micromanaged that thing to death — that it served the team well for 30 years. But things change, as they always do, and I'm sure The Star In Frisco will serve the team and, perhaps as importantly, fans, well.
I wish I could have been there the final day for the group media photo. But many of the folks that I've had the pleasure to cover the team with over the years were, and it was a well-deserved honor. Our Mike Fisher and Mark Lane were in the photo (you can see Fish in the far left).
Happy Trails, Valley Ranch.
4. I did some time with Wess Moore and Game On up on Fox Sports Arkansas earlier this week. The main topic of discussion was Darren McFadden, the former Razorbacks running back who will miss two months with a broken elbow. But I also had time to update Moore and listeners across Arkansas on what happened at mini-camp this past week.
Listen to the appearance here and follow Wess Moore @WessMoore. He's an emmy-award winning broadcaster up in those parts and a native of Jacksonville, Texas.
5. Exhibit two for why you don't trade a player when you think you need to — Ron Leary. After skipping OTAs — which Leary was not obligated to show up for — he did show up for mini-camp and was a full participant. He told our Mike Fisher and there was never any doubt in his mind that he wouldn't be there, even though he has asked for a trade.
If you ask me, Leary and the Cowboys are both playing this perfectly. Leary asked to be traded. The Cowboys gave Leary and his agent permission to go find one. Either there are no takers yet or the offers Leary's agent brought to the Cowboys were, shall we say, no bueno. So Leary showed up at mini-camp and played the part of the good solider. The other 31 teams in the NFL saw that and made a note of it.
Just because Leary wants a trade doesn't mean the Cowboys are obligated to trade him. The offer has to be worth something to the Cowboys (I've felt since last month a fourth-round pick in 2017 is reasonable value for Leary). But, as with Darren McFadden, there is no demand for Leary right now. Wait until midway through the preseason, however, and teams may be knocking down the Cowboys' door to get to Leary. He's a former starter, he's making $2.5 million and he's showing everyone (or at least telling everyone) that he has a good attitude about the situation. Those are three things other NFL teams love.
The Cowboys will hang onto him as long as they can to get maximum value — or until someone gets hurt. And then Leary gets to play just like he wants.
There are no losers here right now, people, and they're all good reasons to hang onto Leary for now.
6. CowboysCast is wrapping up mini-camp and the final days of Valley Ranch this week. Host Bobby Belt has our Mike Fisher stops by to talk with Bobby about the final practices at Valley Ranch and some of the former Cowboys greats that stopped by for one final look at the place.
You may have also heard that the National Fantasy Football Convention, an event Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was heavily involved in, was slapped down the NFL once again this week. Bobby has some things to say about that, plus he talks with NFFC co-founder Andy Alberth.
7. Our Jordan Ross wrote earlier this week about Byron Jones and the move to the safety position. It looks like Jones is progressing nicely into the free safety role, which J.J. Wilcox has owned the past two years. Head coach Jason Garrett had good things to say about Jones' progress and you have to like the idea of Jones moving into a safety role so you can use corners Orlando Scandrick, Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne properly. And if one gets hurt, then you just move Jones back and you move Wilcox back to start. Win-win.
8. It's our Tweet of the Week:
Well played, Mr. Janga. Well played.
9. This week's Great Moments in Headline Porn? "Jerry Jones has brought the best and the worst out of the Dallas Cowboys" from CBSSports.com.
Meant to be a retrospective of Jones' tenure at owner and general manager, I think someone just copied and pasted a headline from 2001. I mean we couldn't do better than that?
10. Happy Father's Day everyone. A special shout-out to my dad, who lives in Gilmer, Texas, and took me to my first Cowboys game. It was a 49ers-Cowboys game at Texas Stadium on Oct. 12, 1980. We sat in the end zone and I watched as Steve DeBerg slung it for the 49ers. The next week the 49ers played the Rams and the Joe Montana era began. Yep, I missed the start of the Joe Montana era by one game. I also missed David Cone's perfect game by one day and Kenny Rogers' perfect game by one day. I mean, really, how does that happen three times?