Phase I is now complete; Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells has completed the complex task of finishing off his coaching staff. Over the course of three weeks, the newly appointed head coach added nine new assistants and kept 5 old coaches from the Dave Campo regime.
Now comes Phase II- roster analysis. This is the time when Parcells will meet with his staff and layout the groundwork for what will happen between now and the NFL Draft held on April 26th in New York City.
However, with Super Bowl approaching this Sunday, most of the big names around the NFL are already in San Diego awaiting kickoff, including future NFL Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith.
In other words, nothing notable, at least from the roster perspective, will come out of the meeting today.
"We've already had two or three sessions regarding the philosophy, looking at our needs, the roster strategies and his philosophy as a coach regarding the numbers at positions on the roster," Jerry Jones said yesterday.
Preliminary discussions about the future of Emmitt with the club all center around one important idea- that the NFL's all-time leading rusher takes a substantial reduction in salary next year.
Smith is penciled in to earn in excess of $9 million next season, but we all know that's not going to happen. That's simply too much to pay an aging veteran in the extreme twilight of his career. For the Cowboys' organization, the magic number is $2 million.
Whether or not Emmitt is willing to come down to that number has yet to be determined, but the smart money is that he'll likely do it just to be able to end his career wearing the silver star.
The next big question centers around the quarterback position, and as documented here on the Update early last week, the Cowboys are clearly headed in one direction here. Keep Chad Hutchinson and bring in a veteran quarterback to help the team in the short term.
"I don't view Parcells being hired as something bad for Chad Hutchinson. I think Chad is going to be given every opportunity to develop and, certainly if he can develop into a starter that would be our preference. That is our preference," said Jones in an interview last week.
Nothing has really changed here, Jerry Jones and most of the Cowboys' organization supports Hutchinson in Dallas at least for one for year with the idea that a veteran will be brought in next season to assist in his development.
One player that won't be assisting Chad is Quincy Carter. The former starting quarterback for the Cowboys and University of Georgia star appears to be the odd man out of the quarterback equation in Dallas this year.
Carter's salary for 2003 goes up to $389,000, not including any bonuses, and after the Cowboys bring in a veteran signal caller to sure up their quarterback situation, Carter will sitting at the #3 spot- which likely means he'll be cut.
Other players that appear to be on the bubble right now include wide receiver Rocket Ismail and offensive lineman Flozell Adams.
Ismail is facing the same situation as Smith, but sources say the Cowboys are interested in obtaining the services of younger wide receivers this year, with much of that focus coming in the draft. Even though Ismail may be willing to take a pay cut, it may not be enough, especially after coming off of such a tough injury.
Ismail could stay, but if he does, it won't even be for a third of the $4 million he's schedule to make next season.
Adams appears to be a lock to return next season, even as an unrestricted free agent. After all, it's hard to get rid of a 6-7, 340 pound offensive tackle. Those guys just don't grow on trees you know?
With the Super Bowl this weekend, there won't be a lot of personnel movement in the next few days. However next week, we should start to see players being released and a definite direction being established with the future of this franchise.
Parcells will move quickly in getting rid of the "bad apples" on the team, and after meeting with the staff today, and early next week, it will be clear who those players are. Stay tuned!
First Staff Meeting Today
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