The Dallas Cowboys are already making noise from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis ... and none of it even has to do with the draft-eligible players.
I'd encourage you to catch up with my thoughts and scoopage here on the 105.3 The Fan Facebook page, where I go live from The Star in Frisco with "Machine-Gun Fish'' ...
And then delve into more, position group by position group, below:
DEFENSIVE BACKS - I told an NFL team exec over the weekend that the Chiefs' Eric Berry would get $14 mil. ( I was close; he gets $13 mil). The exec's reply: "Berry is the No. 1 free-agent safety. No. 2 is Barry Church.''
That's how difficult it's going to be for Dallas to retain a team leader, good person, good player.
LINEBACKERS - I’ve reported it over and over and over. Jaylon Smith has dropfoot. There is “medical hope’’ regarding the nerve in his knee firing, but there are no guarantees. The suggestion that he can play with a brace on his foot and ankle to supplement the feeling in the knee and stabilize the dropfoot is a theory, not a fact.
What I've reported over and over and over is now being reported nationally. I'm glad, I guess. Not about Jaylon -- just about the continued education about the realities here. COO Stephen Jones says, "The sky's the limit'' for Smith.
But there are other "limits,'' too.
D-LINE - I didn't just get a "No'' on the concept of Dallas giving up a draft-day piece and $8 mil of cap room for the Jets' Sheldon Richardson; from here inside The Star, I got a "Hell, No.'' The scoop is here.
O-LINE - A source close to right tackle Doug Free tells me the 33-year-old, while likely to play his 11th season, is considering retiring from football.
There are Cowboys watchers who oddly think this is a good thing, failing to realize that, as Shan Shariff and I discussed on Wednesday morning on 105.3 The Fan, "Free is a '7' in a roomful of '10's.'"
There is enough uncertainly when it comes to the guys who supplement the All-Pro work of Tyron, Travis and Zack. You do not want more uncertainty.
RECEIVERS - "We don't have a No. 2 receiver on our roster,'' one Cowboys official admits to me.
Terrance Williams is going to get paid and Brice Butler, God bless him, does everything exactly right until the ball comes to him. Both are free agents. Dallas might have to answer this in the draft ... and consider whomever they pick as a Day-One starter.
QUARTERBACK - If you really believe the Cowboys and Tony Romo haven't, by now, given this deep thought -- some of that in the form of a face-to-face brainstorm session -- you are naive. Here's the scoop on Tony's "Come-To-Joneses'' meeting ... and here's the latest on just how widely Romo's casting his net.
Romo returning to the Cowboys? Stephen Jones nods his head to the idea ... but the Cowboys are also nodding their heads to the idea of Sanchez, Kellen, McCown, a draftee ... Guys. You can't have a 53-man roster and have 53 of them playing QB. Stop it.
The Cowboys have Alfred Morris under contract. Darren McFadden would like to re-up here. A backup running back can be had late in the draft or even off the streets. Unless the NFL throws Ezekiel Elliott in jail for stealing a pencil or something, this ain't happening.