1. CowboysHQ.com is your best source for all things Cowboys this offseason. Led by our man inside the Star, Mike Fisher, we’ll keep you ahead of the curve on where this offseason could lead and what players could be staying or going.
As part of that, over the next few weeks, I’ll be focusing on some of the players and storylines that could have an impact on next season. Some of those stories will come outside the 1st and 10 umbrella. Some will appear here. Today I rank the Cowboys free agents that I expect back in 2017, from most likely to least likely:
David Irving, DE (ERFA)
Richard Ash, DE (ERFA)
Both are exclusive-rights free agents, which means the only way they hit the market is if the Cowboys don’t tender them a contract. They’ll keep both, as they won’t cost them much to keep.
Morris Claiborne, CB
The injuries will keep him cheap, and I think the Cowboys were impressed enough with Claiborne’s play in 2016 to keep him around another year.
Barry Church, S
Church is the defense’s second most valuable player behind Sean Lee. I believe the Cowboys will make him a priority.
Mark Sanchez, QB
He’s not a great QB, but his relationship with Dak Prescott is like gold. The Cowboys may pursue another backup, but they’ll keep Sanchez for the mentorship. He’ll sign for cheap and a shot at a ring.
Jonathan Cooper, G
With Ron Leary probably not coming back and Chaz Green is coming off an injury, the Cowboys can probably keep the former first-rounder for the veteran minimum.
Lance Dunbar, RB
A third-down back at a reasonable cost will likely lead the Cowboys to keeping Dunbar another year.
Jack Crawford, DL
Terrell McClain, DL
Low-cost options with versatility who understand the scheme.
J.J. Wilcox, S
The Cowboys can get him for cheap, based on his play and the market. But will the Cowboys want him back with Jeff Heath waiting in the wings?
Brice Butler, WR
He’s the cheaper of the two free-agent WR options. He’s nothing more than a third WR option to me, but at a veteran minimum salary he’s worth bringing back.
Andrew Gachkar, LB
A solid, veteran backup linebacker who can help on special teams, Gachkar can also start in a pinch. But that will make him valuable to other teams, too.
Darren McFadden, RB
Alfred Morris is under contract for another year and if Durant returns, McFadden will have to shop around.
Ryan Davis, DE
The Cowboys will probably let him hit the market to see if he gets an offer. If not, they could bring him back.
Gavin Escobar, TE
It would be easy for the Cowboys to keep him. But when you consider that the Cowboys have Jason Witten, James Hanna and Geoff Swaim under contract, is it worth it for a couple of touchdowns a season?
Kellen Moore, QB
Moore spent all of last season on injured reserve. I think the Cowboys will let him walk.
Terrance Williams, WR
Spotrac.com estimates Williams’ market value as $8.5 million per year. He could get it. That’s way too rich for Dallas’ blood.
Brandon Carr, CB
He won’t get the kind of money he received from the Cowboys several years ago, but he’ll receive enough offers that the Cowboys will be OK letting him walk.
Justin Durant, LB
Durant served his purpose as a stopgap signing. The Cowboys will look for depth elsewhere.
Rolando McClain, LB
He’s suspended indefinitely. Forget it.
Ron Leary, OG
Think of it like Jermey Parnell a couple of years ago — someone is going to money-whip the Cowboys for his services.
2. Your Tony Romo update. This little time-lapse video will blow your mind.
Romo didn’t say much this week, but he did talk to Jerry Jones, and Jones did various interviews on the radio. He said that he wasn’t sure how the Romo situation would play out. He said that he wasn’t looking forward to seeing Romo in another uniform. He said that he and Romo have a foundation to work through. Meanwhile, everyone is writing about which team would be the best fit for Romo. I kind of feel like Jones is working through his broken heart in public.
We’re at least a month away from the Cowboys making some kind of decision on Romo. Stay tuned.
3. Our Mike Fisher talked with StarCast host Jamie Horton on a multitude of topics. They talked about Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones entering the Hall of Fame. Fish provides some amazing stories that you've (probably) never heard. Oh, and Terrell Owens got snubbed ... again. Why? DeMarcus Ware. Tony Romo. Adrian Peterson. All have made the news in Cowboys land this week, but is any of it "real" news? A D-Ware reunion could happen. Adrian Peterson could also become a Dallas Cowboy. And Tony Romo finally caught up with the Joneses. Listen to the entire podcast here.
4. In our Debate Camp piece this week, Matt Galatzan and I will square off on whether the Cowboys should lure DeMarcus Ware back to the Star. Matt G. is not on board with the idea, while I like the idea for the right price. Our debate comes on the heels of Fish’s piece on the Cowboys-Ware “love triangle.” Click below to read Fish's piece and head to CowboysHQ.com on Monday morning to read "Debate Team.''
5. Myles Garrett wants to be a Dallas Cowboy. In fact, he took to social media to pitch the idea to Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett. He even laid out a scenario that could get it done — trade Tony Romo for a couple of draft picks and then trade those picks to Cleveland to move up to get him.
I love it. Garrett is going to be one of the top picks of the draft and he’s having a little fun with it. He loves the Cowboys. He’d love to play in Dallas. Why not?
Garrett also said he planned to stay at home with his family on draft day instead of traveling to Philadelphia for the draft. He said he wanted to be close to his family. Nothing wrong with that, in my opinion.
Of course, Garrett’s comments turned into all sorts of stuff on Twitter.
I’d have to agree with Brugler on this one. Any GM who passes on Garrett because he made a little video and wants to celebrate draft night with his family shouldn’t be an NFL GM.
6. While Jerry Jones got into the Hall of Fame, Terrell Owens didn’t. Look I wasn’t always on board with Owens’ antics and I felt at times he was a real distraction for any team he played for. But his production is clearly Hall of Fame worthy. He will be in Canton one day.
I think the real problem lies in the way the Hall of Fame committee values wide receivers. I was at four Super Bowls — 39 through 42 — and during that time both Andre Reed and Cris Carter were up for the Hall. Both had great career numbers and were deserving of being in the Hall. Neither made it on their first ballot. In fact, Reed needed eight years to get in the Hall. Carter needed five years. Heck, Michael Irvin didn’t get in on his first year of eligibility, either. In fact …
Many wide receivers have huge numbers these days. It has nothing to do with talent; it has to do with the explosion of the passing game and I think some committee members have started looking at wide receivers as more a product of that explosion (which is true to some degree) than their standalone talent. While Owens’ reputation may be keeping him out of the Hall, you have to take into account the Hall’s sheer lack of respect for wide receivers in their first years of eligibility.
Owens will get in. It’s just going to take a little more time.
7. The Joseph Randle saga just gets worse. Randle was charged with assaulting an inmate earlier this week. Randle now has five criminal cases pending against him. At this point you just hope the guy pulls his life together, and it looks like he’s going to have a lot of time to work on it.
8. It’s our Tweet of the Week:
9. This week’s great moments in headline porn: “Dallas Cowboys: Making a case for signing Brian Hoyer” from foxsports.com
That sentence makes me want to yack.
10. And one more thing...
Coming next week is my first seven-round mock draft of 2017. Should be fun. Keep on the lookout for it.