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The Cowboys continued their practice of extending veteran players deep into their 30’s Sunday morning by agreeing to a new five-year deal with Jason Witten for $37 million. The deal reportedly includes $19 million in guaranteed money and will not even begin until 2013, meaning that Witten will be paid big money through his age 35 season.
It also means that Witten could now easily be a Cowboys for life, like teammate Jay Ratliff who extended his contract through 2017 on Friday. The Cowboys now know that Tony Romo and his three key receivers will be together long term.
Witten has been among the best tight ends in the NFL in his eight seasons and could be on the map for the hall of fame when he’s finished. After playing in 15 games as a rookie, Witten has not missed a game. He’s totaled 617 catches for 6967 yards and 36 TD, and he’s a quality blocker. He’s been voted to seven pro bowls and five all-pro teams (including the last four).
For more on the deal and the Cowboys in general, check out Blogging The Boys.
Thanks to Todd Archer of ESPN DFW, we have details of Jay Ratliff’s new contract. As previously reported, the deal is for five years and $40 million. Archer reports that it is in $18 million in guaranteed money (incluing a $10 million signing bonus), rather than the initally reported $19 million.
Archer reports that the extension does begin after the two remaining years on Ratliff’s current deal, in which he is scheduled to earn a base salary of $4.9 million in 2012. That means that the Cowboys will be paying Ratliff big money through at least 2017, when he will be 36.
Extending Ratliff into his late 30’s represents significant risk for Jerry Jones, who has been burned by overextending numerous players on sizeable deals. Ratliff is still considered one of the best nose tackles in the league at age 30, but the beating he takes from two interior linemen on many plays can take its toll.
An anticipated contract extension agreement between the Cowboys and Jay Ratliff is reportedly complete. According to local reports, Ratliff will receive a five-year extension worth $40 million. Of that $40 million, $19 million is reported to be guaranteed money, meaning that Ratliff will likely see the end of the contract.
Ratliff has long been regarded as one of two dominant players on the Dallas defense, along with DeMarcus Ware. He had a down year statistically in 2010 as the Cowboys defense plummetted from among the best in the NFL to among the worst, but new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has spoken in glowing terms about Ratliff, including expressing his comfort with the undersized Ratliff at the nose tackle position.
Because of Ratliff’s size, age (he just turned 30 two weeks ago) and the guaranteed money involved, the deal does carry risk. The Cowboys will have over $20 million in “dead” money on next season’s salary cap because of the releases of players like Roy Williams (29 years old), Andre Gurode (32), Leonard Davis (33), Marc Colombo (32) and Marion Barber (28). Ratliff will be older than all of those players before his deal is complete.
Courtesy of Calvin Watkins and ESPN Dallas, we have the list of Cowboys number changes:
FB Tony Fiammetta is No. 24
G Derrick Dockery is No. 75
WR Andre Holmes is No. 81
LB Alex Albright is No. 55
WR Dwayne Harris is No. 17
DE Kenyon Coleman is No. 99
LB Bruce Carter is No. 54
S Abram Elam is No. 26
Harris stays in the teens, while Holmes takes 81. Albright had to change from his 47 in the preseason. Elam swaps 24 for 26, and Fiammetti takes 24.
The Dallas Cowboys appear to have done the last of their roster maneuvering, at least for now, cutting Sam Young to keep their roster at 53 men. On Sunday the Cowboys claimed fullback Tony Fiammetta and released guard Montrae Holland. They also came to an agreement with guard Derrick Dockery, formerly of the Redskins, but they had to make an accompanying cut to make that move official. That casualty was Young.
The net of the offensive line move leaves Dallas with nine offensive linemen and just three true tackles. Only the raw Jermey Parnell remains to back up Doug Free and 20-year-old rookie Tyron Smith. Young’s uneven performance in camp wouldn’t have left them feeling much better about using him, though, so they stuck with Parnell, who has more updide, and center Kevin Kowalski, who showed fairly well in the preseason.
Kyle Kosier was back at practice Monday, but presumed starting center Phil Costa rode an exercise bike during the session as he tries to return from a knee injury in time for the season opener.
The Cowboys have named seven members of their initial practice squad, after players cleared waivers Sunday. Safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, the club's fourth round choice in 2010, will be joined by CB Mario Butler, FB Shaun Chapas, FB/LB Isaiah Greenhouse, WR Teddy Williams, LB Orie Lemon and WR Andre Holmes.
AOA will get a badly needed season of polish after spending all last season on the 53-man roster. He returned kicks for Dallas but was not able to turn his raw athleticism into polished safety play. With the Cowboys keeping just four safeties, he could be an injury away from a call-up.
Butler was a contender for a corner spot, but the Cowboys opted to keep five and cut Butler and draft choice Josh Thomas (who was lost on waivers to Carolina). Butler showed coverage skills in camp and could also see a call up to the regular roster if a corner is needed.
Chapas was the other draftee cut, as the Cowboys cleaned out their fullbacks before adding Tony Fiammetta via waivers. Greenhouse adds versatility as he added fullback to his skillset during camp. He and Lemon can both fill in for the understaffed inside linebacking group.
Williams is back for another season on the squad, this time at receiver. The Cowboys continue to try to turn his blazing speed and good length into football ability. He will be joined at receiver by Holmes, who the Cowboys tried and failed to sign as an undrafted free agent after having him in for a pre-draft visit. He was among the Vikings' final cuts.
The Cowboys have made at least one successful waiver claim on Sunday, a day after NFL teams cut their rosters to 53. According to fullback Tony Fiammetta’s agent, the Cowboys had the successful claim on him, after the Panthers surprisingly cut him Saturday.
The move will be accompanied by another release, as will any other successful claim, but neither move has been officially announced. Earlier in the day, the Cowboys released guard Montrae Holland after upgrading (in their mind) to Derrick Dockery for their reserve guard.
As noted on ESPN.com, Fiammetta has not been on good terms with coaches in Carolina.
The Panthers waived fullback Tony Fiammetta, their starter last season and the man who had the misfortune to replace fan favorite Brad Hoover. Fiammetta didn’t do a lot to endear himself to the old coaching staff and that didn’t change after Ron Rivera took over.
The Cowboys had gone with no fullback on their initial roster, but Jason Garrett’s running game operates well with a lead blocker. It appears that Fiammetta may handle that role.
The Cowboys cut Montrae Holland Sunday, but they didn’t stray far in finding his replacement. The club signed guard Derrick Dockery, who was cut Wednesday by the Redskins.
Like Holland, Dockery played his high school ball in Texas. Dockery, in fact, went to Lakeview Centennial in Garland. Unlike Holland, he stayed in state for college, attending the University of Texas. While Dockery never fit in Mike Shanahan’s mobile cut-blocking scheme (just like Holland), he’s more of an angular giant at 6’6". Holland is just 6’2" and outweighs Dockery.
Dockery, who will turn 31 this week, was owed $3.8 million by the Redskins, so the Cowboys are presumably getting him at a discount. He started 111 of his 117 career games for the Bills and Redskins after being drafted in the third round.
Meanwhile, Holland is back on the street after playing 14 and starting two games for the Cowboys last season.
Adam Schefter is reporting that the Cowboys have cut Montrae Holland one day after they made their cuts to slim their roster to 53. The obvious possibility is that the club has found another offensive lineman who was cut yesterday. Waiver claims were reportedly due at 10:00 CT this morning.
AdamSchefter Adam Schefter
Cuts still coming: Cowboys released G Montrae Holland today.
Holland barely practiced in training camp and only played in the last preseason game. He looked solid in that performance, though, and most assumptions were that the club would want to keep him as insurance for their young linemen, possibly even promoting him back to a starting role once he is 100%.
Instead, they will go with Bill Nagy at left guard and Phil Costa at center, and they will have only young backups – pending any moves made today.
The Cowboys take on the Jets in one week in their season opener.
The deadline for NFL teams to get their rosters down to 53 has come and gone, and as such, the Dallas Cowboys have announced their roster moves. Per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones have cut the following players:
Mike Balogun LB
Tom Brandstater QB
Mario Butler CB
Shaun Chapas FB
Kenwin Cummings LB
Isaiah Greenhouse FB
Shayne Graham K
Chris Gronkowski FB
Manuel Johnson WR
Chris Jones P
Orie Lemon LB
Lyle Leong WR
Pepa Letuli G
Lonyae Miller RB
Igor Olshansky DE
Akwasi Owusu-Ansah S
Jason Pociask FB
Tysson Poots WR
Chris Randle CB
Dave Rayner K
Jimmy Saddler-McQueen DE
Andrew Sendejo S
Josh Thomas CB
Brandon Williams LB
Teddy Williams WR
Collin Zych S
Cutting Gronkowski, Pociask, Chapas and Greenhouse leaves the Cowboys without a fullback on their current roster. There's plenty of time for that to change, though, as the Cowboys could be scouring the waiver wire for backs that have been released by the other 31 teams.
In addition to the cuts, the Cowboys have also placed Raymond Radway on injured reserve.
The Dallas Cowboys are expected to cut kickers Shayne Graham and Dave Rayner on Saturday as Jason Garrett continues to trim his roster closer to 53, per Tim MacMahon. Both David Buehler and Dan Bailey are going to be kept on Dallas' roster.
Jerry Jones wanted Buehler's leg on the team, thanks in part to the NFL moving the kickoff yard line up five yards, drastically increasing the number of touchbacks on kickoffs. Since Buehler has an extremely strong leg, he's almost a lock to kick it deep into, if not out of, the endzone on nearly every attempt.
This is likely going to be Buehler's only job, since Bailey is being kept on the roster. Buehler's downfall as a kicker is that he's simply inaccurate, as he missed 25% of his field goal attempts last year. Bailey will handle field goal and extra point duties for the Cowboys in 2011.
More roster cuts are expected on Saturday as the Cowboys must trim their roster down to 53, along with every NFL team, by 6 p.m. EDT.
Every NFL team needs to trim their roster down to 53 players by 6 p.m. today, The Dallas Cowboys are already hard at work with trimming their roster down on Saturday. Igor Olshansky, Chris Gronkowski and Teddy Williams have all been released by the Cowboys, per Calvin Watkins.
Olshansky, who signed with the Cowboys in 2009 after opening his career with the Chargers, is the most surprising of the first three cuts. Olshansky had been a starter for the Cowboys in his two years in Dallas – playing in all 16 games in both seasons. Rob Ryan moved Olshansky to left end this training camp, and the Ukrainian struggled with it in Ryan’s scheme, leading to his departure.
Gronkowski’s release isn’t terribly surprising. The undrafted free agent who signed with the Cowboys last year played in 14 games in 2010 with Dallas as a fullback.
Wide receiver Teddy Williams was released as well, but per his agent, the Cowboys are going to sign him to the practice squad – should he clear waivers.
More cuts are expected throughout Saturday afternoon.
The Cowboys will save big money in 2011 and 2012 by letting Gurode go, but there will be trade-offs on the field. He was the strongest of all potential starters at center, matching up particularly well with the heftiest nose tackles. Despit the fact that the club is giving up significant experience, second-year guy Phil Costa – who is expected to replace Gurode as the starter – is regarded as much stronger at making line calls. Costa is also much more athletic.
Costa taking the center job leaves Montrae Holland and two rookies – fourth rounder David Arkin and seventh rounder Bill Nagy – competing for the left guard spot. Holland has not practiced yet this camp, but he has lost considerable weight in his time off. Nagy has started the last two preseason games. Undrafted rookie Kevin Kowalski started at center Saturday night with Gurode held out and Costa still out with a knee injury. His chances of making the roster improved dramatically with Gurode’s departure.
Cowboys and CB Orlando Scandrick have reached agreement on a 5-year extension worth $27 million, including $10 million guaranteed.
Calvin Watkins, however, reports the total at $25 million.
Scandrick is scheduled to be a third corner this season, but with Terence Newman essentially missing all of training camp and Mike Jenkins out with a shoulder stinger for most of it, they’ve gotten a good look at Scandrick as a starter.
Dallas presumably didn’t want to face a 2012 summer with an aging Newman, an uncertain Jenkins, and a free Scandrick, so they now have one of their presumed starters locked up moving forward.
Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas cites multiple sources saying that the Cowboys will attend a “pro day” workout by former Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor in advance of his possible inclusion in a supplemental draft.
There is no guarantee the Cowboys would draft Pryor if he’s available because they have the ninth pick of the supplemental draft, which is set for Aug. 17. The pro day will be held in the Pittsburgh area, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
The Redskins and Browns are among the other NFL teams reportedly expected to attend the workout. The consensus seems to be that he is a mid-round prospect, but as we saw with Tim Tebow it only takes one team to fall in love.
The Cowboys have Stephen McGee as their developmental third quarterback, and they aren’t likely to cut Jon Kitna in mid-August, so Pryor would presumably need to convince them that he has a brighter future than McGee. They also brought in Tom Brandstater on a waiver claim this past week.
Elam and Sensabaugh figure to start at safety for the Cowboys. The one-year contracts allow them to have another shot at free agency next spring, while the Cowboys can bring along second year men Akwasi Owusu-Ansah and Barry Church in reserve roles for one more season.
The team had pursued safety Eric Weddle and corner Nnamdi Asomugha as high profile upgrades but lost out on both, settling on retaining their current group of corners and for lower budget safeties. The defensive secondary was arguably the club’s biggest weakness in 2010, as the Cowboys’ defense was 27th in the NFL in passing yards allowed and 29th in opponents’ QB rating.
Gerald Sensabaugh had hoped to finally sign a lucrative multyear deal after playing the last two seasons on one-year contracts. The glut of safeties on the free agent market helped kill his chances, and after flirtation with the Texans, Sensabaugh is back with the Cowboys on yet another one-year agreement. This one is for $2.5 million and gives him one more chance to prove that he is worth a commitment.
The Cowboys found the short term deal favorable because they like what they see in second year safeties Barry Church and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah. Bringing back Sensabaugh gives the pair one more year to develop but keeps open the possibility that one or both could start next season.
Dallas is still talking with Abram Elam, a former Cowboy whose experience with Rob Ryan makes his report date less of an issue. Newly signed players can practice Thursday, so Wednesday may be an important day for Elam in his search for a new team.
Colombo signed with the Cowboys during the 2005 season and remained with them through the 2010 season. Previously, Colombo played with the Chicago Bears - who had made him a first round draft selection in the 2002 draft.
Sparano was the offensive line coach in Dallas from 2003-07, spending a few years with Colombo. Of all the places for Colombo to sign as a backup/spell type of player, Miami makes a great deal of sense just for this reason.
Colombo's release also fits in with Dallas' plan that they began in April with the selection of Tyron Smith: the rebuilding of the offensive line. Colombo had been a familiar face for quite some while, but turnover is necessary if Dallas is truly looking to rebuild and reload on the line.
Nnamdi Asomugha is going to be wearing green after all - just not Gang Green. ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that the Philadelphia Eagles have swooped in and will sign the free agent cornerback, as both the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys are out of the Asomugha sweepstakes.
It's an unfortunate twist of events for the Cowboys and their fans, as not long ago the Jets filed that they were out on Asomugha, putting the Cowboys in the front seat to sign him. It didn't take long for a mystery team to swoop in - not unlike what happened with Cliff Lee and the Texas Rangers this past winter - and woo Asomugha. Once again, it's a team in Philadelphia - and unfortunately for the Cowboys, it's one of their biggest rivals in the form of the Eagles.
Philadelphia will now be seen as a legitimate Super Bowl threat once again, and the spotlight will be even brighter on quarterback Michael Vick in Philadelphia as expectations continue to pile up in the City of Brotherly Love.
The Dallas Cowboys look like they're in the drivers seat for landing star cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Albert Breer of NFL Network tweeted late Friday evening that the New York Jets are out - for now - of the Nnamdi Asomugha sweepstakes.
The Jets had been pegged as the frontrunners for Asomugha's services as soon as the lockout as lifted. The Texans, 49ers and Buccaneers all showed varying levels of interest in Asomugha, but the Jets and Rex Ryan's defense had been the clubhouse leaders.
The Cowboys emerged as a dark horse to land Asomugha earlier on Friday morning, but still, the Jets were supposed to have been holding the edge on the Cowboys. Earlier at Dallas' practice today, Stephen and Jerry Jones were seen sharing a fist bump on the sidelines before handing a cell phone to new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan - not long before the report was filed to the NFL Network that the Jets were out of the Asomugha sweepstakes.
All the signs point to the Cowboys being the team to sign Asomugha, barring a mystery team entering the sweepstakes late - ala Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies in the MLB over the winter.
Perhaps Asomugha realized that the Jets are second fiddle in both their own town and division, or perhaps he just sees Dallas - or another team, potentially - as the better fit. For now though, the Jets are out on Asomugha.
The drama increases in the Nnamdi Asomugha sweepstakes. ESPN Dallas' Todd Archer spotted Jerry and Stephen Jones sharing a fist bump on the sidelines of Dallas' practice today. This is in conjunction with numerous reports that the Dallas Cowboys had become serious players in the Asomugha sweepstakes, though all along it was believed that the Jets had the upper hand along.
Further, Nick Eatman spotted Rob Ryan talking to somebody on the phone - presumably an agent - as Jerry and Stephen Jones gave each other a fist bump. I don't think that the Jones' would be this excited over Dallas signing Marcus Spears - something that's a done deal anyway.
Talk on the Cowboys' flagship station 103.3 has the Cowboys in the lead for Asomugha's services as well - a reversal of how everything had been reported so far.
If it really is Asomugha getting ready to spurn the Jets for the Cowboys, it wouldn't be too surprising. The Jets are New York's second team after all, and despite their recent playoff success, they're still not even the best team in their division. It wouldn't be the first or last time that the Jets were used simply as leverage.
The Cowboys certainly have a better quarterback and offense than the Jets. Dallas' defense is ready to be retooled under Rob Ryan, and adding Asomugha would go along way to improving Dallas' defense.
Spears was placed on injured reserve last season with a calf injury following Week 9 last season. Known more for run stopping than pass rushing, Spears did not record a sack for the Cowboys last year and recorded 19 tackles.
Re-signing Spears means that there will be less money for Dallas to offer Asomugah, which keeps the Jets as the heavy favorites to sign the cornerback. Jerry Jones will certainly do everything he can to appease Asomugah and will offer everything including the kitchen sink.
Spears was drafted by the Cowboys out of Louisiana State University in the first round of the 2005 draft. This deal ensures that Spears' Cowboys career will span a decade - assuming, of course, he doesn't get cut halfway through the deal.
The Dallas Cowboys continue their courtship of the top free agent available, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. ESPN's senior NFL analyst John Clayton tweeted on Friday afternoon that the Dallas Cowboys have become real players in the Asomugha sweepstakes. Unfortunately for the Cowboys and their fans, Clayton also says that the New York Jets are still in the lead for his services.
That the Cowboys have come out of the blue to emerge as legitimate suitors for Asomugha is a bit surprising, despite Jerry Jones' penchant for making a splash. The Cowboys were strapped by the new salary cap and were forced to release veteran players such as Marion Barber, Roy Williams and Leonard Davis. The Cowboys, though, have cleared off some cap room and players on the Cowboys such as Tony Romo have said that they are willing to restructure their contracts if it'll benefit the Cowboys as a whole.
A decision from Asomugha should come sooner rather than later, as training camps are underway and an entire offseason of preparation is being crammed into a month. The Jets have reportedly been trying to squeeze an answer out of Asomugha, but Jerry Jones and the Cowboys certainly have his attention.
It's been believed all along that the Jets were the front runners to land Asomugha's services, especially after the Houston Texans signed Jonathan Joseph. The San Francisco 49errs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were said to be involved in the Asomugha sweepstakes, but bowed out over the past 24 hours while the Dallas Cowboys sneaked into the picture.
Freeman also said that Jerry Jones is putting on a "full court press" to land Asomugha. Dallas is likely able to offer more money to Asomugha, as well as the starring role in the secondary as Darrelle Revis would still be the No. 1 cornerback in New York.
If Asomugha heads to New Jersey, then the Jets are going to be a popular pick to win the Super Bowl. If he heads to Dallas, then the Cowboys will suddenly be back on everybody's radar in the NFC.
Here's hoping that Jerry Jones is able to convince Asomugha to come to Dallas.
Nnamdi Asomugha has whittled his suitors down to two as of Friday morning: the New York Jets and the Dallas Cowboys, according to Michael Lombardi. The Jets are considered the favorites to land Asomugha, but the Cowboys have entered the race to get him. It had been previously believed as of Thursday that the San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the competition for the Jets, but neither team is likely to ink the shut-down corner.
If the Cowboys are to sign Asomugha, multiple players would likely have to restructure their deals. Quarterback Tony Romo has already agreed to restructure his contract if it'd benefit the team as a whole. Signing one of, if not the, top corner in the league would certainly qualify as helping the Cowboys.
Signing Asomugha seems like wishful thinking on Dallas' behalf, as all signs all along have pointed towards Asomugha signing with the Jets and pairing up with Darrelle Revis. Still, Jerry Jones is apparently serious about signing Asomugha.
We'll see if the Cowboys can pull it off.
Just filed to ESPNDallas – Cowboys agree to 3-year deal with LG Kyle Kosier. Good signing 4 line. Kosier important 2 that group.
Kosier has been responsible for many of the line calls and has helped Doug Free adjust to the left tackle spot. Kosier and Free were thought by most Cowboys observers to carry the best grades among linemen last season.
Dallas has one more starting spot – right guard – to fill, after informing Leonard Davis that he would be cut on Thursday. They also have the added concern of Andre Gurode’s arthroscopic surgery on his knee in late June. He is expected to return in time for the start of the season. Stephen Jones said at the club’s “state of the team” address that the Cowboys expected to sign 2-3 offensive linemen in addition to Free.
Another day, another three cuts from the 2011 Dallas Cowboys roster. This time it's a few lesser known players, with Robert Brewster, Kelvin Smith and Travis Bright all being informed that they will be released by the Cowboys - at least according to Todd Archer.
Brewster was drafted in the third round of the 2009 draft by Dallas, 75th overall. Brewster missed his entire rookie year thanks to a torn pectoral muscle and seemingly never recovered as he made no impact with Dallas in his sophomore season. Now in 2011, the Ball State product has been informed that he'll be released by the Cowboys.
As Archer points out, Kelvin Smith and Travis Bright were signed to futures contracts, but both will be released this week by the Cowboys.
More good news for Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys: the team and first round pick Tyron Smith have opened up contract talks - and they're progressing rapidly according to Calvin Watkins. Per Watkins, Smith is scheduled to catch a flight to San Antonio so that he can participate when training camp practices open on Thursday.
Smith was selected ninth overall by the Cowboys out of USC. Signing him and Doug Free on consecutive days is excellent news for the Cowboys as they look to rebuild their offensive line.
Watkins also points out that the team and Marc Colombo are still working on possibly restructuring Colombo's contract. If Colombo doesn't agree to restructure his current deal, it's likely he'll be released by the Cowboys - joining Marion Barber, Roy Williams, Kris Brown and Leonard Davis as members of the 2010 Dallas team that have been cut since the lockout was lifted.
Tony Romo can breathe a sigh of relief and sleep a bit easier tonight. The Dallas Cowboys are set to re-sign Doug Free, who has agreed to a four year, 32 million dollar contract to remain a member of the Cowboys according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.The deal will reportedly contain 17 million dollars in guaranteed money.
It had been believed that the Cowboys were going to be in somewhat of a bidding war with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - who have lots of money to spend and need to hit the salary floor. The Cowboys, though, will retain Free for the next four seasons.
Had the Cowboys lost out on Free, that would be potentially three members of the offensive line gone from the 2010 roster with Leonard Davis having been cut, and with Marc Colombo's future in question.
Undoubtedly, this is huge for Dallas' offensive line as losing Free would have been extremely detrimental.
After Marc Colombo’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, told reporters early Tuesday that the Cowboys would be releasing Colombo, word came later in the day that the club has decided to try to work out a compromise with the tackle.
The #Cowboys are trying to work things out with Marc Colombo after his agent Jimmy Sexton said he was going to get cut.
The obvious connection here is that negotiations with Doug Free may not be going as well as expected. Colombo could have also surprised the Cowboys with his willingness to redo his deal. Cowboys fans will certainly hope for the latter, as Free figures to be the club’s top free agency priority.
On the first full day of the 2011 NFL season, the Cowboys have released word that they will cut veterans Roy Williams, Mar Colombo, Leonard Davis and Marion Barber. Joining them on the chopping block will be veteran kicker Kris Brown. Brown was brought in late in 2010 to provide an alternative to David Buehler, who had been struggling with his field goal kicking.
Brown made four of five field goals while with the Chargers in 2010, while Buehler made 24 of 32 for Dallas. Buehler’s ability on kickoffs will become even more important with the league’s new kickoff rules. Brown was scheduled to make $910,000 in 2011.
Dallas had traded for Williams in the middle of the 2008 season, acquiring him from the Detroit Lions. The Cowboys surrendered quite a bit to acquire him: a first, third and sixth round draft pick in the 2009 draft as well as a seventh rounder in the 2010 draft.
The former Texas Longhorn appeared in 40 games with the Cowboys, catching 94 passes for 1,324 yards and 13 touchdowns spanning three seasons.
Williams was set to earn 5.1 million dollars this year, and his play simply didn't warrant the paycheck.
With Williams out of the picture, Dez Bryant is now certainly the No. 2 wide receive on the Cowboys. If nothing else, Williams' release reaffirms Dallas' faith in Bryant as a football player, off-field antics (which have been blown out of proportion) aside.
It's a busy day for the Dallas Cowboys as anticipated. After informing offensive linemen Marc Colombo and Leonard Davis of their impending releases, the Cowboys have given the axe to another offensive player: running back Marion Barber.
The writing had been on the wall for Barber for quite some time. After averaging 4.8 yards per rush in 2006 and 2007, Barber's numbers declined to 3.7 in 2008 before rising to 4.4 in 2009, but falling once again in 2010 to 3.3 yards per carry. Injuries have accounted for part of the reason that Barber has declined seemingly so rapidly.
Much like with Colombo, Barber's fate was somewhat obvious after the 2011 NFL Draft. Dallas selected DeMarco Murray from Oklahoma in the third round of the draft, seemingly forcing Barber from the fold with Felix Jones and Tashard Choice due back on Dallas' roster this coming season.
Barber was set to make over four million dollars in 2011 with a roster bonus of half a million that the Cowboys no longer have to pay.
With the new CBA in place between the NFL and NFLPA, the league is now open for business. Players cannot be officially released yet, but they can be informed of their release, which is exactly what is happening with offensive lineman Mark Colombo. According to ESPN Dallas, Colombo will be released by the Cowboys later this week.
Colombo, who turns 33 in October, had a roster bonus of $500,000 headed his way if he remained on the roster. The Cowboys will not have to pay Colombo's roster bonus if he is cut this week.
The writing was on the wall for Colombo after the 2011 NFL Draft when the Cowboys selected Tryon Smith out of USC. Back on April 29, Jerry Jones conceded that Colombo was likely going to be cut and that Smith would start in his rookie season.
Plenty more moves from the Cowboys are expected this week, as the team (along with every other NFL team) has to work on signing all their draftees as soon as they possibly can - while re-signing their own players and talking to free agents.
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