1. Five things I think will happen on Draft weekend as far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned:
Jerry Jones will spend at least 10 minutes total talking about next year’s draft experience at The Star in Frisco with the national media (namely ESPN and NFL Network). Like anyone’s going to pass up that opportunity.
The Cowboys will make at least one trade, though I suspect it won’t be in the first round.
We’ll get at least one look at the Cowboys’ draft board, because for some reason Jones can’t seem to resist doing a national on-camera interview in the worst possible place.
The Cowboys will take a wide receiver or an offensive linemen, even though taking a player at either position group is a bit superfluous at this point.
The Cowboys will surprise us on Day 2. I’m not sure how, but I have a feeling they’re going to do something with one of those picks that none of us sees coming.
Yeah, vague predictions, I know. But here’s the thing about the NFL Draft:
And it’s still tons of fun.
2. So my final 7-round mock is up at CowboysHQ.com right now. It’s probably a little more pie-in-the-sky, but that’s how the draft board shook out. And frankly that’s the thing that few of us that do this can accurately take into account — how every team values certain players on their big board. I promise you that if you were to look at every team’s NFL board, a player like Tennessee’s Derek Barnett would be ranked in at least a dozen different places, if not more.
But in this mock he fell to No. 28 and I pounced. Couldn’t pass it up, given the need up front.
Also, coming early next week, we’ll release our Debate Camp piece on who Matt Galatzan and I believe the Cowboys will take at No. 28. Keep an eye out for it.
3. The NFL schedule came out this week. So now we know how the Cowboys will navigate the 2017 season — and I can start planning my college and pro football travel schedule. I’ve got my Cowboys road trip narrowed down to Atlanta or Oakland. The Falcons are getting their new digs, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and the Cowboys visit on Nov. 12. Meanwhile, the Raiders are starting the long walk toward the end of their time in Oakland and host the Cowboys at the Coliseum on Dec. 17. Truthfully, I may go to both stadiums, but go to the Dallas-Atlanta game — and hit the Varsity, of course — and then hit another Raiders game on their schedule (that Nov. 19 game with the Patriots is enticing). I know the Raiders have two more years left on their lease, but you never know what will happen. That’s exactly why I went out to San Diego last year to see the Chargers face the Titans, and I’m so glad that I did, now that the Chargers are in L.A.
As for the schedule itself, December is brutal, but it always is. The Cowboys also drew three back-to-back road trips during the season. Seems a bit unfair. It also includes four division champions and a fifth that shared a division crown (Oakland), but you expect that when you win your division. It’s competitive, but it’s manageable.
4. Back to the Draft, our Joey Ickes (@JoeyIckes on Twitter) focuses his energy on a pass rusher that visited Dallas recently — Tennessee’s Derek Barnett
Hand on a Bible, we did not coordinate our stories this week. It just worked out that way.
5. Twitter is an interesting thing. All sorts of things can happen, even when you’re paying attention.
Read Bryant’s words in this piece. They’re worth a couple of minutes of your time. And worth even more of your time pondering how they fit into a world that is supposed to thrive on diversity and discussion and NOT on thoughtless debate.
6. When we do a premium story at CowboysHQ.com, we do it for a reason. Our Mike Fisher was able to take you behind the scenes of Dak Prescott’s appearance at the 105.3 The Fan Mud Bug Bash last weekend, thanks to Fish’s connection with CowboysHQ and his daily updates with 105.3 The Fan.
Fish was able to get Prescott to expand on his radio interview and give you some great tidbits about how Prescott interacted with Cowboys fans during the event.
So what does a premium sub to CowboysHQ.com get you? Access to all premium stories at CowboysHQ, access to our premium message boards and discussions with thousands of Cowboys fans and access other premium stories on other Scout.com sites. All for a monthly fee that equals what you spend on a latte every day. That’s a bargain if there ever way one. If you want to try it out, click here to subscribe.
7. Robert Blanton is now a Dallas Cowboys safety. This is a solid pickup. He won’t light the world on fire, but he’s solid depth at a position where the Cowboys need it. He doesn’t change the Cowboys’ draft plan one iota, though. But if you can find a solid safety in this draft and put him in the mix as well, then you have Byron Jones, Jeff Heath, Blanton and a rookie, along with last year’s late pick, Kavon Frazier. You have some assets. You still have to develop them. But you have some assets.
8. Tweet of the Week
It’s not very often you get a visiting player jacked up about playing on Thanksgiving Day.
9. This week’s “Great Moments in Headline Porn: “Are the Cowboys planning for life without Dez Bryant?” From thelandryhat.com (Fansided.com)
The premise is that the Cowboys are planning for life without him because they haven’t restructured Bryant’s deal yet. So let’s look at this. Bryant’s cap hits are $13 million this year, $12.5M next year and $12.5M in 2019 (though there is an out in his contract after the 2018 season). Bryant will only be 31 when his contract expires and elite wide receivers usually play well into their mid-30s. Right now the Cowboys have $48 million committed in salary in 2020 when Bryant hits the free-agent market. He probably won’t. Jerry Jones and company will probably extend him in 2019 and push the money in that contract down the line where the cap space exists.
Tony Romo’s cap hits are also included in this logic of the Cowboys preparing for life without Dez. Those are already accounted for in 2017 and 2018 and completely go away after that. It’s not even an issue anymore, financially speaking.
You restructure contracts when you have to, not just because someone has a big cap number. They may tweak Bryant’s deal this year once they agree to their extension with G Zack Martin (and extending Martin helps Bryant, by the way). But if you can continue to pay any player their planned contract number, that’s always the best way to go. The Cowboys consider Bryant part of their future, and unless something cataclysmic happens, it’s going to stay that way.
10. One More Thing ….
Honestly, when this broke, I said to myself, “Who the heck is that?” So, just for your information, the former UCLA wide receiver is on his fourth NFL team, has never played in an NFL game and will now miss the first four games of the season due to this suspension. Mental note — when trying to impress your new employer, violating the league’s substance abuse policy in the offseason is not a good place to start.
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