2012 NFL Free Agency: Cowboys Salary Cap Penalty Appeal Will Be On May 10

The Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins will appeal the salary cap penalties given for their actions during the NFL's uncapped season to an arbitrator on May 10.

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Bradie James Signs With Houston Texans

Former Dallas Cowboys ILB Bradie James has officially moved on, agreeing to terms with the Houston Texans on Thursday:

James' familiarity with Texans DC Wade Phillips' defensive schemes undoubtedly played a role in the move, but he's no longer the player Phillips remembers being when he was the Cowboys head coach from 2007-2010.

A fourth round pick in the 2003 Draft, James emerged as one of the leaders of the Cowboys defense, starting ever game from 2005-2010 while averaging over 100 tackles a season.

However, at the age of 31, the 6'2 250 LB seemed to slow down last season, as Dallas pulled him off the field in nearly every passing situation. As a result, his production fell off a cliff, as James had only 44 tackles and 1 pass deflection.

And with the signing of Dan Connor in the off-season, the Cowboys no longer had much room for James on their roster.

For all the latest news and notes on the Cowboys off-season, check out SB Nation Dallas' exclusive storystream as well as Blogging The Boys.

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Former Dallas Cowboy Terence Newman Signs With Bengals

Former Dallas Cowboys defensive back Terence Newman has found a new new home and has signed a deal with the Cincinnati Bengals, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The Cowboys released Newman in March after former No. 5 overall 2003 draft pick had a poor 2011 season.

The Bengals are hopeful that Newman getting back together with Mike Zimmer who was the Cowboys defensive coordinator from 2000-06 and coached Newman for four years which were the best of his career. The contract is for only one season which is essentially an audition for the Bengals and have Newman prove he can still play at a high level.

Over at SB Nation's Bengals blog Cincy Jungle they like the signing as it gives them seven defensive backs and strengthens that position for them.

For the latest news and notes on the Cowboys free agency plans, check out SB Nation Dallas' exclusive storystream and head over to Blogging The Boys. For more on the Terrance Newman signing go check out Cincy Jungle.

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NFL Free Agency 2012: Cowboys Sign QB Rudy Carpenter

The Dallas Cowboys former practice squad QB Rudy Carpenter off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday.

Carpenter, who was with the team in 2009 after being undrafted out of Arizona State, spent the last two seasons in Tampa Bay shuttling back and forth between their practice squad and active roster.

With the signing of Kyle Orton earlier in the off-season to be Tony Romo's backup, bringing Carpenter into the fold seems to be an indication that the team has lost confidence in third-string QB Stephen McGee of Texas A&M.

McGee, a fourth round pick in 2009, hasn't put up terrible statistics in his first three years in Dallas. In spot duty, he's passed for 420 yards while completing 56% of his passes with 3 TD's and no INT's on a QB rating of 82.4.

The 6'2 215 Carpenter has thrown an NFL pass, but he was a talented, if inconsistent, star at Arizona State, where he started 31 consecutive games from 2005-2008.

For the latest news and notes on the Cowboys free agency plans, check out SB Nation Dallas' exclusive storystream and head over to Blogging The Boys.

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NFL Free Agency 2012: Brandon Carr Working Out At Left Cornerback For Cowboys

According to ESPN Dallas' Calvin Watkins, cornerback Brandon Carr, who signed a five-year, $50.1 million contract with the Cowboys this offseason, has been working out at left cornerback. However, according to owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett, it's currently unclear where he will be lining up.

In the past, with the Kansas City Chiefs, Carr has lined up as the right cornerback, but played on the left side and in the slot at times. Carr is working as the left cornerback now because he knows that if he wants to be considered an elite cornerback, he needs to be good on either side of the ball.

"If you want to be an elite corner you have to play both sides of the field," Carr said last week after a tour of the ESPN studios in Bristol, Conn. "And you have to challenge yourself and play outside your comfort zone and play the left or the right, play in the slot or play wherever is needed. That's why this offseason I got [to] adjust to both sides of the field, so come September 5 I can play on both sides and be comfortable. I've been pushing myself out of my comfort zone and playing on my left side."

If Carr plays on the left side, the team's right cornerback would be Mike Jenkins and the slot corner would be Orlando Scandrick. If Carr could make himself comfortable both on the left and right side, his value would be increased with the Cowboys.

For more on the Cowboys, head to Blogging The Boys, and for more free agency updates, follow SB Nation Dallas' StoryStream.

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NFL Free Agency 2012: Leon Lett Returns To Cowboys As Assistant Coach

The Dallas Cowboys have hired former defensive tackle Leon Lett as an assistant defensive line coach, according to multiple reports.

Last season, Lett helped with the Cowboys defensive line last season during training camp and periodically during the season. As an assistant coach, Lett is brought in to help out defensive line coach Brian Baker in working with the squad's younger players.

Lett was with the team in training camp last season as part of the NFL's Minority Coaching Fellowship Program and sometimes worked with players at Valley Ranch during the season, according to the Dallas Morning News. Head coach Jason Garrett was reportedly impressed with how Lett worked with Clifton Gathers and others, so he made the decision to create this position specifically for Lett.

Read more about the Cowboys at Blogging the Boys. For news, analysis and notes around the league, check out the SB Nation NFL hub page.

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Kyle Orton Interview: 'I'm Fine With My Role As A Backup'

In an interview with a local Dallas sports radio host, new Dallas Cowboys QB Kyle Orton discussed why he choose to come to a team with an established No. 1 QB instead of competing for a starting spot:

"Well I've kind of been in that situation the last three or four years just going into camp and competing. To be honest with you I don't think that situation has worked for me. I don't think it's worked out for the club. I think you need to know who your guy is going to be going right into the season and backing that guy. I don't think that's been the situation that I have been in and I really didn't want to get into that situation again. I'm fine with knowing my role as the backup on this team. I am going to be the best backup I can and support Tony [Romo] any way that I can."

Orton, at 29, has found himself in the middle of the media circus that is a QB controversy several times in his seven-year NFL career, most notably last season in Denver, where he was cut in order to free up a starting job for Tim Tebow.

That could be a very good thing for Dallas, as given the intense spotlight on the QB here, the last thing the Cowboys need is another signal caller looking for the limelight.

For the latest news and notes on the Cowboys free agency plans, check out SB Nation Dallas' exclusive storystream and head over to Blogging The Boys.

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Dallas Cowboys Free Agency: Mike Jenkins Wants A Contract Extension

According to ESPN Dallas, Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for Dallas Cowboys CB Mike Jenkins, has approached the team looking for an extension.

Jenkins is in the final year of the contract he signed as a first-round pick out of South Florida in 2008.

He's been extremely inconsistent in his time in Dallas, alternating a Pro Bowl season in 2009 before becoming one of the NFL's lowest-rated CB's in 2010.

In an interview with Calvin Watkins, Jason Garrett said that "the team values Jenkins, but you can't pay everybody, at least right now."

Dallas has sunk a lot of money into the defensive backfield over the last year, with newly acquired free agent CB Brandon Carr receiving nearly $50 million and nickel back Orlando Scandrick, who was drafted the same year as Jenkins, receiving a $27 million extension before last season.

If the Cowboys end up taking a CB in one of the first few rounds of the 2012 Draft, it's likely the end of the road for Jenkins in Dallas, as it wouldn't be feasible to invest a lot of money in four different CB's.

For the latest news and notes on the Cowboys free agency plans, check out SB Nation Dallas' exclusive storystream and head over to Blogging The Boys.

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NFL League Meeting 2012: Owners Vote To Uphold Cowboys Salary Cap Penalty

The NFL announced last month that it would levy penalties against the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins due to salary cap violations. The best chance that either had at a reprieve was during the 2012 NFL League Meeting, which began in Palm Beach on Monday. Several topics are open for discussion and voting, including the final decision of the salary cap penalties.

According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, the team owners voted on the salary cap situation on Tuesday morning. The decision to uphold the penalties was unanimous, with a final vote in favor of the NFL's judgment, 29-0. The Cowboys will be penalized $10 million, at least $5 million of which will have to be applied in the 2012 season.

For all news and information regarding the Cowboys, please visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging the Boys. For updates on Cowboys free agency, keep checking our StoryStream here, or to read about general NFL free agency, go to SB Nation's dedicated free agency hub.

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2012 NFL Free Agency: Salary Cap Expected To Jump In 2015, According To A Report

With a long term labor agreement in place and a new lucrative television contract set to kick in in 2014, a spike in the NFL salary cap within the next few years has become widely presumed to happen.

According to CBSSports.com's Charley Casserly, that jump is projected to take place in 2015. In the meantime, the cap will remain flat in 2013 and 2014 (with an estimated projection of $123 million).

Many have assumed that because of the TV deal the increase would be seen as soon as 2014, but Casserly's report seems to squelch that notion.

The Cowboys recently filed a grievance against the NFL after being punished for reported non-compliance during the 2010 uncapped year.

For more information on the Cowboys go visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging the Boys. For updates on Cowboys free agency, visit our story stream here and to read about general NFL free agency, go to the SB Nation NFL hub page.

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2012 NFL Free Agency: Tony Fiammetta Signs With The Patriots, According To A Report

Popular full back Tony Fiammetta - a restricted free agent who was not tendered by the Cowboys - has signed with the New England Patriots, according to a report.

After not being tendered, Fiammetta and Dallas were unable to come to terms on an extension, leading him to pursue other opportunities. The 25-year old has just 11 career carries to go along with 8 receptions in two seasons in the NFL, but played a pivotal role in lead blocking for both Felix Jones and DeMarco Murray during his standout rookie season.

In New England, Fiammetta joins recent signee Spencer Larsen as the two fullbacks on the roster. New offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels may look to use an increased number of two back sets, which were uncommon during the tenure of Bill O'Brien, who left the coordinator post to take the head coaching job at Penn State.

The Cowboys signed fullback Lawrence Vickers to replace Fiammetta.

For more information on the Cowboys go visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging the Boys. For updates on Cowboys free agency, visit our story stream here and to read about general NFL free agency, go to the SB Nation NFL hub page.

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2012 NFL Free Agency: Cowboys And Redskins File Grievance Against NFL Regarding Salary Cap Sanctions

NFL Owners are in Florida this week for the annual owners meetings, and one of the matters that will be discussed amongst certain individuals is the grievance filed by the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys regarding a recent ruling in which the league office stripped them of substantial salary cap space as a result of non-complicance during the 2010 uncapped year. According to Rob Phillips of DallasCowboys.com, the NFL confirmed that the grievances were filed.

Moreover, Albert Breer of the NFL Network says that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Redskins GM Bruce Allen were busy this morning stating their case regarding the matter.

The timetable with which the NFL will hear the entirety of the grievances and ultimately make a decision regarding how to proceed remains unclear. The ruling, which reportedly stripped the Redskins of $36 million and Dallas of $10 million in cap space, has not prevented either team from making a splash in free agency this offseason.

For more information on the Cowboys go visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging the Boys. For updates on Cowboys free agency, visit our story stream here and to read about general NFL free agency, go to the SB Nation NFL hub page.


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Interesting Rule Change Proposals Could Add Some Common Sense To 2012 NFL Season

It's not very often that an entity as successful as the NFL sits back and makes numerous changes to numerous small things that just don't make much sense. However, while Cowboys fans are awaiting the results of the co-grievance filed by Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder over lost 2012 cap space via collusion cap penalties, Rich McKay today announced several rule changes that will be voted on during this week's owner's meetings. To their credit, the majority of these seem to be brilliant-slash-no-brainers moves that will be welcome by most if passed.

1. Instant Replay will not be handled by an official in the booth, not the on field referee.

2. All turnovers would be auto-reviewed just like all scoring plays.

3. The trade deadline moved back from Week Six To Week Eight,.

4. Teams will be allowed to bring a player, if placed after Week 1, off of Injured Reserve after eight weeks. The player will be able to practice after six weeks.

5. Teams have ability to add to inactive roster, from 53 to 54, inactive roster spot is only for a player with a concussion.

6. Changes offseason roster size to 90 players, (last year was a temp rule to put at 90 but normally the roster limit is at 80.) Unsigned drafted players will count (hadn't before).

7. Pittsburgh has proposed to do away with the horse collar rule on QBs who are still in the pocket.

8. Pittsburgh is also asking postseason OT rule be put into regular season, essentially ending sudden-death field goal situations.

9. Illegal kicking of loose ball to delay game would cause loss of down in addition to a 10-yard penalty.

10. Too many men on field as delay of game, dead-ball foul. Currently, if a defense lines up with too many men on the field (a la Giants in the SB) the clock continues to run and the five-yard penalty doesn't do much to assist the offense. No more.

11. Expanding crackback protection, giving that player complete defenseless player protection. Now, you can't block him in the head, with your head or block him low.

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Pro Football Talk: NFL May Have Gone Behind Jones' Back To Impose Cap Penalties On Dallas

In the latest twist in what is becoming an increasingly byzantine story, it appears the NFL Management Council Executive Committee may have struck a deal to impose salary cap penalties on the Dallas Cowboys with the NFLPA.

There's only one problem: Jerry Jones is a member of the CEC and he reportedly had no idea that the deal was being made:

As we already know, the agreement regarding the imposition of the penalties was struck between the NFL Management Council Executive Committee and the NFLPA, making it a revision of the CBA without a vote of the league's owners or union leadership. That deal happened even though Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was and still is a member of the NFL Management Council Executive Committee.

It's one thing for the so-called CEC to use its delegation of authority to work out side agreements with the union. It's quite another for the CEC to do so without knowledge of one of the men who has secured membership on the CEC.

The more questions are raised about this deal, the more suspicious it looks. At this point, Jones and Redskins owner Daniel Synder have no reason not to challenge Roger Goodell and the other owners about what many are calling "illegal collusion".

For more information on the Cowboys go visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging the Boys. For updates on Cowboys free agency, visit our story stream here and to read about general NFL free agency, go to the SB Nation NFL hub page.

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Giants Owner John Mara: 'Lucky They Didn’t Lose Draft Picks'

The Dallas Cowboys are planning to file a grievance against the NFL for the $10 million penalty the league imposed for saying the Cowboys violated terms in the 2010 uncapped year. Now there is New York Giants Owner John Mara who also happens to be the president of the NFL NFL Management Council which placed the penalties on the two teams has come out and said that the Cowboys and Redskins got off light by not losing any draft picks:

"I thought the penalties imposed were proper."

"What they did was in violation of the spirit of the salary cap. They attempted to take advantage of a one-year loophole, and quite frankly, I think they're lucky they didn't lose draft picks."

First off there are a few things that do not seem right which is the owner of a rival club saying the penalties should have harsher. Having Mara who is the owner of the Giants come out and say this was not the best person to address the message. If something was to be said then maybe it should have been done by someone other than Mara.

Then there is 'the spirit of the salary cap' quote which sounds like a cop out, but if there was no salary cap in place then how does one violate a salary cap. There were limits in place for the uncapped year and the Cowboys happened to use that for their advantage.

Also to note is that the NFL has not officially said what rule that the Cowboys or Redskins broke, but they are hiding behind "competitive balance" to enforce these penalties.

For more information on the Cowboys go visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging the Boys.

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Cowboys Plan To File Grievance Against NFL

The Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins plan to fight the NFL over the penalties they received during the uncapped 2010 NFL season. Combined the two teams have lost $46 million -- $10 million for the Cowboys and $36 million for the Redskins -- in salary cap space in penalties for front loading players contracts in the 2010 season.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk provides some details of the grievance:

A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the Cowboys and Redskins have filed a formal grievance against the NFL, the NFL Management Council, and the NFL Players Association challenging the agreement to remove and redistribute cap space allocated to the Cowboys and Redskins in exchange for increasing the total salary cap for 2012 to $120.6 million per team.

[...]

It's currently believed that the grievance focuses on procedural defects, such as the failure to put the measure to a vote of league ownership or NFLPA leadership, without articulating the hot-button underlying argument that the Cowboys and Redskins are being punished for refusing to engage in illegal collusion in the year before the lockout began.

The way the grievance is presented it is going to be handled by an outside source by Special Master Stephen Burbank and review by an Appeals Panel which goes in line with Article 15 of the collective bargaining agreement.

With the issue revolving around collusion there could be a chance that a this issue could be brought forward through a federal lawsuit.

For more information on the Cowboys go visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging the Boys.

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Jerry Jones Plans To Fight NFL Against Salary Cap Penalties

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is not going down without a fight regarding the salary cap penalties that were levied on the Cowboys during the 2010 uncapped year. Jones made it clear that he does not agree with the actions against his club, and his biggest argument is that all player contracts were approved by the league:

"I don't want to make our case here," Jones added. "But all of our contracts were approved by the league and you can't approve a contract that is in violation of league rules. You can't even get it on the books if it isn't in sync with league rules. So you start there."

Jones also hinted about bringing a lawsuit against the league:

"We will and have expressed that we don't agree with that. What we're doing is a combination procedural and legal and all of that."

Even with the salary cap restrictions for this offseason, the Cowboys have essentially gone out and signed who they wanted.

For more information on the Cowboys go visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging the Boys. For updates on Cowboys free agency, visit our story stream here and to read about general NFL free agency, go to the SB Nation NFL hub page.

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According To Sources, League Forced NFLPA Into 'Collusion' Leading To Penalties For Cowboys

Yahoo! Sports' Jason Cole is reporting that, according to multiple sources, the NFL Player's Association was "strong-armed" into an agreement with the NFL that led to the penalties against the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins for going over the salary cap in an uncapped year in 2011. Those sources believe that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "openly promoted the idea of collusion" by keeping player salaries down which forced NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith to accept the terms for the Cowboys' and Redskins' punishments.

According to the sources, the league and the NFL were at $113 million for the salary cap instead of the $120.6 million where they are now. The NFLPA was in a position where they were going to make a lot of veteran players unhappy if they had stayed at the $113 million mark.

"If the cap had been $113 million, you would have had a lot of really unhappy veterans," a source said. "There are a lot of guys who would have been cut and salaries would have declined. It would have been a fiasco for both the players and the clubs because a lot of teams would have had to cut more players than they already did."

According to sources, the NFL agreed to the rise in the salary cap, but only if the NFLPA agreed to the punishments in which the Cowboys and Redskins would lose $46 million over the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Those sources say that the NFLPA agreed to the punishment because they had little not no choice.

"Why did we agree to it?" a former player said, rhetorically. "Because the league had us over a barrel. If we didn’t agree to the penalty for the Redskins and the Cowboys, the cap would have been $113 million, the players would have been [angry] and De would have gotten fired.

"What the league is doing is collusion, plain and simple."

More NFLPA representatives believed that the punishments levied against the two teams went against the whole purpose of the uncapped year and that everything that has happened has gone against everything the two sides have worked for.

"This goes against everything that we negotiated for in [the past]" a player said, referring to the previous CBA and subsequent extensions. "The owners were supposed to live with the realities of the uncapped season. That was supposed to make them afraid to go uncapped. Now, they’re telling the big spenders, ‘You were really bad boys, we’re going to punish you.’ What the [expletive]? What kind of fear are they going to have in the future?"

According to Cole, charges of collusion have had serious consequences in the past with other leagues. He used Major League Baseball as an example as the league owners had to pay the baseball union $280 million when they settled after the union filed collusion charges in 1988.

It remains to be seen what will come from this, but the league is safe now that the new CBA is in place. However, when the two sides sit down to negotiate again, this may come back to hurt the owners. It could hurt them before too. Either way, former players who were involved in the negotiation don't like what they're seeing from the NFL.

"You have to give the deal a couple of years to see where we’re really going to be, but things don’t seem to be going well when we allow collusion," the former player said. "Now, maybe that was a one-off situation where the union gave up something to get something. That’s all part of a bigger negotiation and you understand that when it’s explained to you.

"But nobody is really getting an explanation on this stuff. You have collusion going on over here and they’re manipulating the salary cap over there. There’s a bunch of stuff going on and you don’t know if it’s good negotiating or if people trying to cover their butts. All I know is, the precedent really bothers me."

For more on the Cowboys, head to Blogging The Boys, and for more free agency updates, follow SB Nation Dallas' StoryStream.

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Cowboys Free Agency Update: Brandon Carr Is Excited About Dallas Pass Rush

Brandon Carr realizes how critical his front-seven is going to be in his own success with the Dallas Cowboys. That's why Carr met several of his defensive teammates while on his free agent visit last week.

While there, Carr met DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee and the coaching staff at Cowboys Stadium. Then he met with the defensive linemen the next day, just to get familiar with the guys who are going to make it easier on him to live up to the expectations of his contract.

"Those guys are your best friends," Carr said of the front-seven. "When you get a big pass rush, it helps you out at cornerback. So I'm excited about what I see. I know I met a lot of big guys. What I see on film is everything I see in person. They showed me so much love. They were eager to have me here and I'm eager to show them what I can do."

Carr also talked a bit about the pressure of playing under a five-year $50.1 million contract, which automatically makes him the No. 1 cornerback on the team.

"When you sign for a deal like that, people are going to look at you," said Carr. "People are going to expect big things from you. But I expect that out of myself. If you want to be labeled as one of the best, and get paid like the best, then you've got to be at your best. I'm always striving for that."

To read more about the Cowboys, check out Blogging the Boys.

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2012 NFL Free Agency: Former Cowboys Cornerback Terence Newman To Visit Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals announced that four players - including former Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman - will be hosted for free agent visits.

The move makes sense for Newman, as the Bengals defense is coordinated by Newman's former defensive boss and position coach, Mike Zimmer. Beyond that, Cincinnati is looking to add depth as standout corner Leon Hall battles back from an Achilles' tear.

Newman was released by Dallas earlier this offseason after struggling in 2011 and with a lofty salary scheduled for 2012.

In nine seasons with the Cowboys, Newman amassed 542 tackles and 32 interceptions. He was originally drafted in the first round of the 2003 NFL draft out of Kansas State.

For more information on the Dallas Cowboys go visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging the Boys. For updates on Cowboys free agency, visit our story stream here and to read about general NFL free agency, go to the SB Nation NFL hub page.

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Free Agent Signings Continue Welcome Youth Movement In Dallas

While the Dallas Cowboys were active in the first week of free agency, they made a concerted effort to sign younger veterans as they continue the process of reshaping their roster.

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2012 NFL Free Agency: Cowboys Showing Interest In LB Erik Walden

The Dallas Cowboys could be heading after a former player in linebacker Erik Walden via free agency. There is mutual interest between the Cowboys and Walden making a deal. Walden was originally drafted by the Cowboys as a sixth-round draft pick in 2008, but he did not make the team.

Since then Walden has played for the Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins and most recently the Green Bay Packers. This past season was Walden's best as he started 15 games for the Packers and had a career-high with 60 total tackles, 41 being solo, earned three sacks, forced a pair of fumbles and knocked down three passes.

There have been no meetings scheduled between the Cowboys and Walden, plus the Packers want to bring back him back.

For more information on the Dallas Cowboys go visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging the Boys. For updates on Cowboys free agency, visit our story stream here and to read about general NFL free agency, go to the SB Nation NFL hub page.

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NFL Free Agency 2012: Kyle Kosier To Be Released, According To Report

The Dallas Cowboys will reportedly release 10-year veteran Kyle Kosier after he was made expendable by the signings of Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings. The Cowboys will earn $1.5 million in savings against the salary cap by cutting Kosier.

Kosier's departure will complete a transformation of the Dallas offensive line that began prior to the 2011 season.

Kosier's expected departure completes a massive overhaul of the offensive line which began before the 2011 season when the Cowboys released guard Leonard Davis, center Andre Gurode and tackle Marc Colombo. They had parted ways with tackle Flozell Adams the off-season prior.

Kosier played in all 16 games for the Cowboys in 2011. During his career he has also played for the San Francisco 49ers and the Detroit Lions.

For more information on the Dallas Cowboys, visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging the Boys. For updates on Cowboys free agency, visit our story stream here and to read about general NFL free agency, go to the SB Nation NFL hub page.

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NFL Free Agency 2012: Cowboys Reach One-Year Deal With Kevin Ogletree, According To Report

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal to keep one of their wide receivers.

Ogletree finished the 2011 season with 15 catches for 164 yards. He also returned two punts and six kick-off returns for a total of 149 yards. He had previously visited the New York Giants earlier in free agency, but decided to come back to Dallas.

Contract figures haven't been announced, but it's hard to see how this carries much risk for the Cowboys. At worst, Ogletree's another body on the roster for 2012. At best, he makes some solid contributions on offense and special teams.

For more information on the Dallas Cowboys, visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging the Boys. For updates on Cowboys free agency, visit our story stream here and to read about general NFL free agency, go to the SB Nation NFL hub page.


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NFL Free Agency 2012: Cowboys Reach Agreement On 5-Year Deal With Ex-Bengal Nate Livings

The Dallas Cowboys have reached an agreement with offensive lineman Nate Livings, reported by Adam Schefter to be worth as much as $19 million over five years, with $6.2 million guaranteed.

Livings spent the last six seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he started every game for the team in the last two seasons. With Tony Romo coming off one of his better seasons in 2011, the game against the Detroit Lions not withstanding, the Cowboys look to surround Romo with a sturdy line, unlike his situation last season when guys were in and out with injuries.

For more information on the Dallas Cowboys, visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging the Boys. For updates on Cowboys free agency, visit our story stream here and to read about general NFL free agency, go to the SB Nation NFL hub page.

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Cowboys Laughing At Cap Penalties, Signing Who They Want To

The salary cap penalty slapped on the Cowboys on the NFL had no effect on their ability to make moves in the first few days of free agency.

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NFL Free Agency 2012: Cowboys Sign Brodney Pool, According To Coach

The Dallas Cowboys are totally reshaping the cosmetics of their secondary, which few would argue was a much-needed move by the Cowboys this off-season. Former Jets safety Brodney Pool has signed with Dallas, according to Cavlin Watkins, this coming right after the Boys signed Brandon Carr to a major deal.

Watkins' report says that Dallas head coach Jason Garrett announced the signing in a Thursday morning conference call, but the terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Pool has played in 365 career games and grabbed 13 interceptions in his seven-year career out of Oklahoma. Pool played in 14 games last season for the New York Jets and started in six of them

For more on Cowboys free agency, visit our story stream here. Also visit Blogging the Boys. To read more on NFL free agency, go to the SB Nation NFL hub page.

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2012 NFL Free Agency: Brodney Pool Set To Visit The Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys have already upgraded their secondary this offseason, as the release of Terence Newman will feel like an "addition by subtraction" move paired with the $50 million signing of former Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Brandon Carr. With Carr locked in, now the Cowboys are taking aim at upgrading their last line of defense and their first target is former Jets safety Brodney Pool.

Pool started in 6 games for the Jets last season and played in 14 overall finishing with 25 tackles and one interception. The Cowboys did sign former Jets safety Abram Elam last year, and could look to add Pool to the roster as soon as Thursday.

For more on the Cowboys, visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging The Boys. For updates on all the free agents in the league, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NFL free agency hub.

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2012 NFL Free Agency: Brandon Carr, Cowboys Agree To 5-Year, $50.1 Million Deal

The Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday have hopefully made an addition to their secondary that fans of the Star can all feel good about. Per Adam Schefter, the Cowboys and Brandon Carr have come to a lucrative deal to acquire the services former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Carr.

With the signing, Carr will instantly be the Cowboys new lock down cornerback. After 9 seasons the Dallas Cowboys parted ways with Terence Newman, and the Cowboys will rely on Carr to continue the defending that he did in the AFC West. Carr was drafted by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft, and many believe that Carr is ready to breakout into the upper echelon of defensive backs in the league.

For more on the Cowboys, visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging The Boys. For updates on all the free agents in the league, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NFL free agency hub.

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Martellus Bennett Agrees To 1-Year $2.5 Million Deal With New York Giants

After four up-and-down seasons with the Dallas Cowboys since being a second round draft pick in 2008, Martellus Bennett agreed to a 1-year $2.5 million deal with their arch-rival New York Giants on Wednesday:

Bennett, a 6'6 270 TE from Texas A&M, was never able to utilize his vast physical talents in Dallas.

Not only was he behind All-Pro TE Jason Witten on the depth chart, but there were rumors about his attitude and professional throughout his stay with the Cowboys.

He never improved on his rookie season, where he made 20 catches for 283 yards and pulled down 4 TD's. In the ensuing three years, he never found the end zone again, a pretty damning statement for a player with his size and athleticism.

Bennett had been passed by third-year TE on the depth chart, which made his multi-million salary redundant. However his departure does leave Dallas thin at the position, with no one on the roster besides Witten and Phillips.

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Dallas Cowboys Sign Kyle Orton To Three-Year Deal

With Tony Romo missing games in each of the last two seasons and Jon Kitna retiring, the Dallas Cowboys clearly wanted to address the backup QB situation in free agency.

On Wednesday, they reportedly signed former Kansas City Chiefs QB Kyle Orton to a three-year deal:

Orton has had several stints as an NFL starter in his career in Chicago, Denver and Kansas City, but the 30-year old is probably resigned to being a backup at this point.

Last season, in nine games with the Broncos and the Chiefs, he had a QB rating of 77.8 while throwing for 1,578 yards, 9 TD's and 9 INT's.

What his signing means for the future of Stephen McGee, the former Texas A&M QB who the Cowboys had been grooming as a developmental option for the last three seasons, remains to be seen.

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2012 NFL Free Agency: Cowboys Release Kicker David Buehler

According to Sports Illustrated, the Dallas Cowboys have decided to release David Buehler, who was mostly a kickoff specialist for the team but missed the majority of the 2011 season with a groin injury.

A fifth-round draft pick out of USC in 2009, Buehler played in 36 career games for the Cowboys with 60 touchbacks. He made 24 of 32 field goals, 42 of 44 extra points and had 19 tackles on special teams.

Buehler played only four games last season before being placed on injured reserve Nov. 10. In 2009, Buehler led the NFL and set a single-season Cowboys record with 29 touchbacks on kickoffs.

In 2011, the kickoff responsibility was mostly handled by Dan Bailey, who averaged 65.3 yards per kick and had 24 touchbacks, so it's likely that the team is comfortable sticking with him. Having one kicker also will help the Cowboys stay under the salary cap in 2012.

For more on the Cowboys, head to Blogging The Boys, and for more on the NFL, check out SB Nation's NFL hub.

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2012 NFL Free Agency: Cowboys Will Reportedly Sign Brandon Carr To Contract Worth $7 Million Per Year

The National Football Post's Dion Caputi is reporting that the Dallas Cowboys are going to sign Kansas City Chiefs free agent cornerback Brandon Carr to a lucrative deal that would be in excess of $7 million per year, based on a quote from NFL Network's Michael Lombardi:

While the story has yet to be confirmed by the Cowboys, Carr would be a major upgrade for the Cowboys' secondary and could free them up to focus on the offensive line in the upcoming draft.

According to another report, the Cowboys were set to host Cortland Finnegan, another free agent cornerback, but it will be interesting to see if they do so if they do land Carr.

For more on the Cowboys, visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging The Boys. For updates on all the free agents in the league, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NFL free agency hub.

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2012 NFL Free Agency: Cowboys To Host Cortland Finnegan, According To Report

According to ESPN NFL Insider Tony Softli, the Dallas Cowboys are going to host Tennessee Titans free agent CB Cortland Finnegan, and are in a heated competition with the Rams, Buccaneers and a "surprise team":

Dallas is pursing both Finnegan and the Chiefs Brandon Carr, whom they are hosting on Tuesday, in an effort to shore up the glaring weakness that was the cornerback position for them last year.

Finnegan finished the 2011 season with 75 tackles, one sack, 11 broken up passes and one interception.

For more on the Cowboys, visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging The Boys. For updates on all the free agents in the league, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NFL free agency hub.

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2012 NFL Free Agency: Dallas Cowboys To Host Brandon Carr, According To Report

According to a report from ESPN Dallas' Todd Archer, the Dallas Cowboys will host free agent cornerback Brandon Carr, who played the last four seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Cowboys are reportedly planning on hosting the free agent CB on Tuesday in an effort to sign him to a "lucrative contract," which they failed to do last off-season when they tried to convince top free agent CB Nnamdi Asomugha that he should sign with Dallas.

Carr is considered one of the top free agent cornerbacks in this year's class along with Cortland Finnegan.

In 2011, Carr had 58 tackles, 13 pass deflections and four interceptions for the Chiefs, who opted to extend Brandon Flowers' contract and sign Stanford Routt instead of pay to keep Carr around.

For more on the Cowboys, visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging The Boys. For updates on all the free agents in the league, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NFL free agency hub.

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2012 NFL Free Agency: Martellus Bennett To Visit Division Rival Giants

Free agent tight end Martellus Bennett is taking a visit with the New York Giants, according to a report by Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas:

"Tight end Martellus Bennett is visiting with the New York Giants and wide receiver Laurent Robinson is visiting with Jacksonville, according to sources. The Cowboys would like to keep Robinson, who led the team with 11 touchdown catches last year, but the price tag might get too high, especially with Miles Austin and Dez Bryant on the roster." - Calvin Watkins

Bennett, despite having a world of talent coming out of Texas A&M as a second-round draft pick in 2008, has never lived up to expectations in Dallas.

The 6'6 250 TE has become known more for his off-field antics and Youtube videos than anything he's done on the football field, where he's struggled to develop any sort of connection with Tony Romo while being buried behind All-Pro TE Jason Witten on the depth chart.

To read more about the NFL free agency, visit the SB Nation NFL hub page. For more on the Dallas Cowboys, go to Blogging the Boys.

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2012 NFL Free Agency: Kyle Orton Visiting Dallas Cowboys

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, journeyman quarterback Kyle Orton will be visiting the Dallas Cowboys, who may be looking for a new backup quarterback behind Tony Romo since Jon Kitna is retiring:

Orton was released by the Denver Broncos after Tebow-mania took hold and then eventually made his way to the Kansas City. There, he led the Chiefs to two wins in their last three games, including a win over the Green Bay Packers, who were undefeated at the time.

The 30-year old QB would likely want a starting job, but a job is better than no job.

Romo has been banged up in each of the last two seasons and he missed 10 games in 2010. So if Orton took a backup job in Dallas, there's a chance he could make it on the field.

For more on the Cowboys, visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging The Boys. For updates on all the free agents in the league, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NFL free agency hub.

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2012 NFL Free Agency: Laurent Robinson Visiting Jaguars

According to a report from NFL.com's Jason La Canfora, Dallas Cowboys free agent wide receiver Laurent Robinson is on his way to visit the Jacksonville Jaguars:

Robinson, whom the Cowboys picked up off the waiver wires in 2011, filled in nicely for Miles Austin most of last season as Austin struggled with a lingering hamstring injury.

The 6'2 190 WR caught 58 passes for 858 yards and 11 TD's, displaying excellent on-field chemistry with Tony Romo.

Dallas will reportedly try to do everything they can to keep him, however, the salary cap penalties imposed by the NFL may weaken their ability to do so, especially if enough interested teams drive up his asking price.

For more on the Cowboys, visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging The Boys, and for updates on all the free agents in the league, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NFL free agency hub.

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NFL Free Agency 2012: Cowboys Release Terence Newman, According To Report

The Dallas Cowboys are readying themselves for NFL free agency, which begins on Tuesday. The team received word on Monday that they will be penalized for salary cap violations, which reduces their available and allowable offseason spending money by about $5 million. That may end up affecting the approach they were planning to take in pursuing players on the open market, but only time will tell.

Before free agency has even begun, the team made one significant move on Tuesday. According to Todd Archer and Calvin Watkins at ESPN Dallas, the Cowboys have released cornerback Terence Newman.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection had been with the Cowboys since being selected in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft as the No. 5 overall pick. He has 532 tackles and 32 interceptions in his NFL career.

For more on the Cowboys, visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging The Boys. For updates on all the free agents in the league, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NFL free agency hub.

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NFL Free Agency 2012: The Complete List Of Cowboys Free Agents

The Dallas Cowboys are preparing for NFL free agent season, which opens on Tuesday. The team just received word that they will be hit with penalties for salary cap violations, which will reduce their offseason spending money by about $5 million. That may end up affecting the approach they were planning to take in pursuing players on the open market, but only time will tell.

In regards to their impending free agents, the Cowboys have made only one significant move this offseason. The team opted to apply their franchise tag to linebacker Anthony Spencer, who was set to become an unrestricted free agent. The team will now have through the 2012 season to attempt to work out an extension to one of their key defensive contributors.

Here is the full list of impending Cowboys free agents, courtesy of Mac's Football Blog:

Exclusive Rights Free Agents (4)

RB Chauncey Washington
WR Jesse Holley
OT Jermey Parnell
DE Clifton Geathers

Restricted Free Agents (3)

QB Chris Greisen
FB Tony Fiammetta
WR Kevin Ogletree

Unrestricted Free Agents (11)

RB Sammy Morris
WR Laurent Robinson
TE Martellus Bennett
OG Derrick Dockery
OG Montrae Holland
LB Keith Brooking
LB Bradie James
LB Anthony Spencer - Received the franchise tag
CB Alan Ball
CB Frank Walker
S Abram Elam

For more on the Cowboys, visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging The Boys. For updates on all the free agents in the league, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NFL free agency hub.

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Cowboys Salary Cap: Dallas Must Pay Half Of Penalty In 2012, According To Report

It was reported on Monday that the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins were being hit with salary cap penalties by the NFL for cap violations. As a result, the Cowboys will be stripped of $10 million in cap space.

According to ProFootballTalk, the Cowboys must accept at least half of that penalty this season.

A league source tells PFT that the teams will be required to absorb at least half of the cap consequences in 2012. For the Cowboys, it means $5 million in lost cap room. For the Redskins, $18 million disappears.

They can each choose to absorb more of the cap penalty in 2012, or they can push all of the other half to 2013.

Although that is certainly a bit of a salve for the Cowboys, it likely throws a wrench into their offseason plans, particularly as the ruling comes just one day before free agency opens on Tuesday.

For more on the Cowboys and their salary-cap situation, visit SB Nation Dallas andBlogging The Boys.

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The Dallas Cowboys Issue Statement Denying That They Violated Salary Cap Rules

After being stripped of $10 million in cap space by the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys issued a statement on Monday denying that the team violated any of the league's salary cap rules.

"The Dallas Cowboys were in compliance with all league salary cap rules during the uncapped year," it read. "We look forward to the start of the free agency period where our commitment to improving our team remains unchanged."

The penalty seems to stem from Miles Austin's contract in which he was paid a base salary of $17 million dollars during the "uncapped" 2010 season. The National Football Post's Andrew Brandt reports that teams were warned about dumping contracts during the uncapped year but no warnings were made about loading up on contracts.

Still Miles signing and subsequent signings of Albert Haynesworth and Deangelo Hall in Washington angered the other owners and they have pushed for punishment on those contracts for which they have got.

For more on the Cowboys and their salary-cap situation, visit SB Nation Dallas andBlogging The Boys.

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The Dallas Cowboys $10 million Punishment Agreed On By NFL, NFLPA, According To Report

The Miles Austin's contract that the Dallas Cowboys signed the wide receiver to back in 2010, included a $17 million base salary. That contract is now being cited as the the prime example and the reason why the Cowboys are being docked $10 million in payroll over the next two years.

Collusion is the reason these penalties came about in the first place, not because the Cowboys and the Washington Redskins, but because of the collusion between the other 30 teams in the NFL. This decision was rubber-stamp by the Commissioner and the NFLPA, thus making the penalty official. The NFL released a statement late Monday afternoon.

"The Management Council Executive Committee determined that the contract practices of a small number of clubs during the 2010 league year created an unacceptable risk to future competitive balance, particularly in light of the relatively modest salary cap growth projected for the new agreement's early years. To remedy these effects and preserve competitive balance throughout the league, the parties to the CBA agreed to adjustments to team salary for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. These agreed-upon adjustments were structured in a manner that will not affect the salary cap or player spending on a league-wide basis." - Greg Aiello, NFL Spokesman

In short, through all the legalese the NFL put out in the statement, the league sided with the majority although they didn't have a rule that was actually broken. Maybe Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder had this coming, but it seems that the "assets" that the two owners wield on a continual basis for their franchises ultimately became undermined by the other 30.

For more coverage of the Cowboys, head over to Blogging the Boys. For all information on the NFL free agency season, check out SB Nation's dedicated NFL free agent hub.

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Cowboys Reportedly Stripped By NFL Of Millions In Salary Cap Space

The Dallas Cowboys are going to have to scale down its player payroll this season after the NFL stripped them and rival Washington Redskins of millions of dollars in salary cap space, according to a report by ESPN's Adam Shefter.

"NFL is taking away millions of dolllar of salary-cap space from Cowboys and Redskins for how they front-loaded deals during uncapped year." - @AdamShefter

A few minutes after that tweet, Shefter sent out another to explain a bit:

"Cowboys lose $10 million in cap space, Redskins lose $36 million in space. Can split it over 2012 and 2013 any way they want. More at ESPN." - @AdamShefter

Twenty-six of the remaining 28 teams (New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders excluded, but don't lose anything) will get the money that Dallas and Washington loses except, according to Shefter.

Dallas has at least 20 players set to make over $1 million in 2012, unless the Cowboys cut Terrance Newman's $8 million figure by Tuesday. The highest-paid salary for the upcoming season is DeMarcus Ware's $10 million.

Here is a look at the Cowboys' top salary figures of 2012, not including linebacker Anthony Spencer who was just recently hit with the franchise tag:

DeMarcus Ware $10.301 million

Marcus Spears $2.700 million

Tony Romo $8.060 million

Kenyon Coleman $2.345 million

Doug Free $8.060 million

Jason Hatcher $2.100 million

Terence Newman $8.016 million

Kyle Kosier $1.950 million

Orlando Scandrick $7.700 million

Felix Jones $1.884 million

Jason Witten $5.500 million

Gerald Sensabaugh $1.800 million

Jay Ratliff $5.291 million

Mike Jenkins $1.672 million

Dez Bryant $3.660 million

David Buehler $1.297 million

Tyron Smith $2.840 million

Bruce Carter $1.103 million

Miles Austin $2.721 million

For more on the Cowboys and their salary-cap situation, visit SB Nation Dallas and Blogging The Boys.

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BTB Hosts A Scouts Roundtable On Grading The Current Cowboys Roster

Have you ever wondered what a professional scout thinks about the Dallas Cowboys roster? Ever want to compare your evaluation of where the team is with someone who actually gets paid to rate players?

Well rabblerousr of Blogging The Boys has kicked off a multi-part series where he does just that; a round table discussion with two of BTB's most esteemed members. Professional NFL Scout "Birddog26" as well as Drafttek's offensive line guru "Long Ball" join rabble in Part One, Grading The Roster.

Here's what they think of the wide receiving corps:

Wide Receiver:
Long Ball: 7 - This score assumes Bryant and Austin are healthy, Robinson is re-signed, Radway comes back from injury and Holmes progresses.
Birddog: 9 - They have two solid starters in Austin and Bryant, and Robinson is already looking for a house in Dallas. I look for a hell of a battle for the other spots by the young guys.

As they go position by position, both have an issue with the depth at the inside linebacker position:

Inside Linebacker:
Birddog: 5 - They have a great player in Lee but he’s the only one who has proven he can play. I feel Carter will be a very good--if not great--ILB, but we have not seen it yet. Brooking and James are not good fits in Rob Ryan's scheme, so they need to find a starter (possibly Carter) as well as backups.
Long Ball: 5 - I’m splitting the difference based on "potential": Lee is a stud, and we hope Carter is too. But there’s no experienced depth (although I do want to see more of Lemon).

Head on over to Blogging The Boys to check out the entire article, and continue to check for the remainder of the series today and tomorrow.

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TE Martellus Bennett Prepared To Move On From Cowboys

Much-maligned backup tight end Martellus Bennett hit the airwaves today, in anticipation of next Tuesday's onset of the free agency period. Bennett has been the number two tight end behind Pro Bowl TE Jason Witten for the last four years, and hasn't exactly rolled up the scintilating stats that many expected when he was plucked in the second round of the 2008 amateur draft.

In speaking with Pro Football Talk Live (per the Star Telegram) Bennett admitted that his time in Dallas was at an end, and that he would pursue the opportunity to become a "No. 1 guy".

"I feel like I'm a 60-catch-plus guy on a team, so I want to be in a system where I could do (that). I think a lot of people say the hybrid tight ends or the new type of tight ends are the ones to catch the ball, but I think the perfect tight ends are the ones who could actually block and do things with the ball after they catch it."


Read more here: http://sportsblogs.star-telegram.com/cowboys/2012/03/te-martellus-bennett-not-coming-back-to-dallas-says-he-wants-to-be-no-1-60-catch-guy-.html#storylink=cpy

"Marty B" has made several waves since arriving in Big D, starting with the constant hammering he received from tight ends coach John Garrett in that season's version of HBO's Hard Knocks. "High and tight, Martellus!" He's had nude pics circulate around the internet, as well as numerous somewhat offensive internet rap videos that ruffled a few feathers. Not big deals in the grand scheme of things, but when there is no production on the field it tends to ruffle feathers.

On the field, Bennett hardly received targets as he was often the fifth or sixth option on the field. On the occasions he did receive them, he would often drop them, which didn't exactly endear him to Dallas fans. The Cowboys faithful would often give Bennett a hard time and towards the end of last season, he and his wife were already tweeting that leaving Dallas wouldn't be the end of the world.

The one thing Bennett always did well, was be a great blocker. When he's gone, Dallas will have to possibly change some strategies, because he was as good as a sixth offensive lineman in some cases.

Cowboys fans are already looking forward to John Phillips taking over the backup tight end role; now that he's two years removed from his ACL injury. However, they shouldn't be surprised if Dallas pursues a free agent or a draft pick at the position.

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NFL Free Agents 2012: Chiefs DB Brandon Carr Once Again Linked To Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys are well into the planning stages for their 2012 season. The latest free agent rumors link the Cowboys to current Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Brandon Carr, who will soon be hitting the open market.

Elliot Harrison of NFL.com took a look at six high-profile free agents on Wednesday, including Carr. Harrison did some speculation on where the talented DB could wind up. Harrison thinks Dallas is a fit for the free agent.

Brandon Carr to ... Dallas?

Another attractive corner is Brandon Carr, who has been one the AFC's better corners as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. With GM Scott Pioli opting to franchise WR Dwayne Bowe and sign CB Stanford Routt last month, Carr has been deemed expendable -- at least for the money he will be seeking, which will be in the Finnegan neighborhood.

Once again, the Cowboys are mentioned often in regards to Carr. That's the best option. The Joneses know the secondary killed their playoff hopes more than anything else, save maybe offensive-line play. If the Cowboys cut Terence Newman, they'll have enough room to make a push for Carr. If the money is in the same ballpark as an offer from, say, Tampa or Minnesota, the attractiveness of playing in Dallas, in that stadium, with a chance to win, should prevail.

It seems like Carr and the Cowboys will have mutual interest. We will have to wait and see how it all plays out.

For the latest rumors and analysis surrounding the Cowboys off-season, head on over to Blogging the Boys.

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NFL Free Agents 2012: Cowboys Reportedly Pursuing DB Brandon Carr

As anyone who watched the Dallas Cowboys latest December collapse could have guessed, Cowboys owner/GM/PR director Jerry Jones has been focusing on improving the team's secondary this off-season, either through the draft or free agency.

On Monday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Cowboys would have interest in Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Brandon Carr.

"The Dallas Cowboys are expected to have a heavy interest in Brandon Carr," Schefter said on SportsCenter. Schefter, ESPN Dallas' Calvin Watkins, and Pro Football Weekly have now all reported that the Cowboys will be in hot pursuit of Carr. Dallas is also expected to be in on free agent Cortland Finnegan, though Carr offers better size and superior tools for press coverage.

Carr is widely seen as the Cowboys top choice on the DB market, with Cortland Finnegan (Tennessee Titans) coming in as the consolation prize.

For the latest rumors and analysis surrounding the Cowboys off-season, head on over to Blogging the Boys.

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Cowboys Considering Bringing Back Keith Brooking

Fresh off the heels of watching Dallas slap the franchise tag on Anthony Spencer due to not having a viable, less expensive replacement on the roster, it appears the Cowboys could be regurgitating another internal free agent.

Keith Brooking, a 36-year-old veteran, has reportedly been contacted by the club to possibly return for the 2012 season.

Now, fans that watched closely last year saw Brooking get pushed backwards, sometimes as much as five yards, by running backs bulldozing through the hole. His previous calling card, pass coverage from the position, also abandoned him a bit last season.

In fact, Pro Football Focus gave him a cumulative grade of -7.9 on only 409 snaps; the second-worst grade assigned to any defensive Cowboys player. He scored negatively in both run support and pass coverage.

The Cowboys apparently have painted themselves into a corner at several positions on the club. By failing to develop anything more than situational substitutes at outside linebacker in recent years, Dallas had no choice but to franchise Spencer.

At least they can rescind the tag should he fail to sign the tender and a free agent target show interest come March 13th. Brooking's situation might be, "if we can't find anyone better, you want back in?"

The Cowboys have drafted inside linebackers in the second round of the last two drafts, so it's not as if they've neglected the position in the most recent years.

In both cases, bad drafting in previous campaigns has led to a lack of depth in the linebacking corps. Brandon Williams, Jason Williams, Bobby Carpenter, Victor Butler, Stephen Hodge, Erik Walden ... the list of busts is long. Only Victor Butler has risen from those ranks, and he plays primarily to give DeMarcus Ware a breather.

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Dallas Cowboys Officially Place Franchise Tag On LB Anthony Spencer

Linebacker Anthony Spencer has officially been hit with the franchise tag by the Dallas Cowboys just half an hour before the 4 p.m. ET deadline.

The deal guarantees Spencer $8.8 million in base salary for 2012, but for 2012 only. Spencer was hoping to have a long-term deal negotiated, which may still be on the table.

The only two times the Cowboys used the franchise player designation while under the ownership of Jerry Jones (Ken Hamlin and Flozell Adams), both times a long-term deal was agreed on before the start of that season.

Signing Spencer to a long-term deal could lower his base salary for 2012, while giving the Cowboys room to pursue other options under their salary cap as well.

The long-term deal would work in Spencer's favor as well, since he has said throughout the process that he would like to sign deal that promises a paycheck past 2012.

"That's a good thing and a bad thing. It's good because it shows how much they think of me. But you don't want to be playing on a one-year contract. You want a longer deal and the security that gives your family. But hey, I understand. It's a business.''

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Cowboys Are Likely To Place Franchise Tag On Anthony Spencer

The Dallas Cowboys have been trying to work out a new contract with outside linebacker Anthony Spencer, but it is now looking like the Cowboys will place the franchise tag on Spencer.

The deadline to franchise tag players is Monday at 4 p.m. ET.

If the franchise tag is placed on Spencer he will earn a guaranteed salary of $8.8 million for the 2012 season. Spencer would be only the third player that the Cowboys have franchised since Jerry Jones became the owner of the Cowboys.

Spencer has been a Cowboy for his entire five-year career and has played in all but four games during his career.

He has 21.5 career sacks and in 2011 Spencer racked up 66 tackles which was one away from his career high to go along with six sacks which matched his career best from 2009.

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Trying To Answer The Whys And Hows About The Cap Space The Cowboys Can Conjure

With the NFL choosing to wait until the 11th hour to unveil the 2012 salary cap limit, writers and fans alike all have been working under assumptions. This is no different in Cowboys land, where Executive Vice President Stephen Jones has worked masterfully in adapting to the new CBA and helping Dallas avoid salary cap hell in recent seasons.

Make no mistake about it; before the Purge O'August '11, Dallas was in danger of repeating the cap purgatory it suffered at the end of the '90's but without the rings to show for it. What the numerous releases did was free up Dallas in 2011, but put plenty of hurt on the 2012 salary cap total.

The first thing that needs to be established is the actual cap. Article 12 of the new CBA is a convoluted mess that I won't even try to dissect. It has been rumored that there is a clause somewhere in there that will not allow the salary cap to lower, but I can't find any verbiage of such. Recently, Pro Football Talk suggested that the delay in the league announcing the cap number is that it could, in fact, be less than last season's $120.375m.

Wait, the league going to the deadline to try and figure out a way to maximize profits? Who would've thunk it?

Assuming last year's total holds, Dallas enters the new league year approximately $5.9 million over the cap. Before you blow a gasket, there are many things put in place that actually give the team wiggle room.

Under a provision of the new CBA, teams can carry over unused cap space from 2011. Dallas is carrying over $17.1m of space from 2011, meaning they now have $11.2m to spend. It basically offsets most of the dad money from the releases of Davis, Gurode, Columbo, Barber and Williams.

They are also allowed to borrow $1.5m of future cap space if they want (down from $3m last year), as are all 32 teams, bringing them to over $12.7m – which is the number being reported in most realms.

Now how do they get more space? Dallas will need to release CB Terence Newman and escape his $8m hit. If they designate him a June 1st cut, they can spread his accelerated signing bonus hit over two seasons, and free up $6m of this year's cap. They can also release kickoff specialist David Buehler and save another $1.25m.

In addition to the releases, thanks to Stephen Jones' contract magic, recently extended players Doug Free and Orlando Scandrick can have their contracts redone as well. There are clauses built in that will allow the Cowboys to free up an additional $8.6m in space if they need it; and it will result in the players getting more upfront money for the upcoming season.

Now, there is a question as to whether Jon Kitna's retirement has been calculated in the cap space Dallas has. He had two years remaining on his contract, $3.1m in 2012 salary and $1.2m in remaining pro-rated signing bonus (signing bonus' are prorated over the length of the contract for salary cap calculations). This could result in even more space.

Dallas will need to earmark between $4.5m and $5m to sign their draft picks, resulting in the following amount of space once March 13th rolls around:

$12.7m + $6m + $1.25m + $8.6m -$4.75m = $23 million in free agent cap space, pending Kitna retirement clarification.

I think.

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2012 NFL Free Agency: Cowboys Have Not Talked To Anthony Spencer Since NFL Combine, According To Source

According to the Star-Telegram's Clarence Hill, the Dallas Cowboys have not talked to free agent outside linebacker Anthony Spencer since the NFL Combine last week.

Most believe that the Cowboys will apply the franchise tag to Spencer to keep him in Dallas for at least one more year, but as teams around the league have begun to use their tags, the Cowboys have been silent.

However, the last time the two sides talked, they said they would talk again before the deadline to place franchise tags came on March 5, two days from now.

If the Cowboys do use the franchise tag on Spencer, they would be forced to pay him $8.8 million for the 2012 season and they may feel that's a lot for a pass rusher who has never accrued more than six sacks in a season.

The Cowboys still have until March 5 to decide whether or not they'll use their franchise tag on Spencer but the fact that the two sides haven't talked since the Combine began.

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NFL Free Agency 2012: Ahmad Brooks Extension May Force Cowboys To Use Franchise Tag On Anthony Spencer

On Tuesday, it was announced that the San Francisco 49ers extended outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks to a deal that will pay him an average of $7 million a year over the next six seasons.

To the untrained eye, that has absolutely nothing to do with the Dallas Cowboys, specifically with Anthony Spencer, but in reality, that could force the Cowboys to use the franchise tag on Spencer.

Spencer, who is without question the best outside linebacker in this year's free agent class (that is if you call Mario Williams a defensive end), and the Cowboys may not be able to come to an agreement on a long-term deal, but the cost of a one-year franchise tag is $8.8 million is also a little pricey for a pass-rushing outside linebacker who has never managed to get more than six sacks in his five seasons.

Of course, that is until now.

ESPN Dallas' Todd Archer believes that the Cowboys will definitely use the franchise tag on Spencer now that he will likely use the Brooks deal as a measuring stick for what he feel he deserves.

Brooks has started 16 games in a season just once in his career. Spencer has done it in two of the last three seasons. He started 15 of 16 games in 2011.

Using the same press box stats for fairness to compare the players, Spencer has 266 tackles, 21.5 sacks, one interception, 10 pass deflections and 10 forced fumbles in 53 starts. Brooks has 139 tackles, 20 sacks, one interception, nine pass deflections and seven forced fumbles in 24 starts.

If Spencer wants the kind of deal that Brooks got, and there's no reason to expect that he wouldn't, the only way to keep him is likely to use the franchise tag on him.

If they don't, Spencer is likely heading for another team via free agency.

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Cowboys And Brandon Carr Seem To Be Destined For Each Other, For Now At Least

One of the great things about the Scouting Combine is that it brings the brass of each NFL team together to meet with not only potential draft picks, but the representatives of all of the free agents set to hit the market on March 13th.

Everyone and anyone associated with the NFL is in Indianapolis it seems, and this is the opportunity for teams to see if they have realistic shots at the players at the top of their wish lists.

There is no secret that the Dallas Cowboys have to add cornerbacks to their roster. They currently have three under contract; Mike Jenkins, Orlando Scandrick and Terence Newman, and Newman is widely expected to receive his walking papers after an illustrious career in Big D.

Illustrious too strong? Extremely competent? Naw, screw that. TNew was elite for 2-3 years, but just like they are doing with DeMarcus Ware and Tony Romo, Dallas is wasting the prime of talented amigos.

Anyways, word came out that Dallas "covets" Kansas City cornerback Brandon Carr, a 26 year old free agent to be. Carr stands at 6'0", 207 lbs and allowed less than a 50% completion percentage against him last season. The Chiefs have recently signed Stanford Routt to go along with emerging stud Brandon Flowers and may be looking to move on from Carr. Of course, with all their cap space they have more than enough wherewithal to have all three in the fold and this may be moot.

However last night, Sports Illustrated's Tony Pauline had the following exciting news for Cowboys fans:

Well if the other teams are so sure about it, there must be some indications from both parties that they would like it to come to fruition. Obviously, all of this can change in a flash, but for now this is something for Cowboys fans to rally around.

The question is, what does Kansas City want to do? A franchise tag changes everything, as I doubt Dallas is willing to give up the draft picks for Carr.

Now if you want to talk about giving up draft picks for Ravens restricted free agent cornerback Lardarius Webb, pull up a chair.

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NFL Free Agency 2012: Cowboys Can't Sign Laurent Robinson Until Free Agency Begins

The Dallas Cowboys are expected to make a run at re-signing wide receiver Laurent Robinson, who spelled Miles Austin during his hamstring injuries for a large amount of the 2011 season. Robinson was an unexpected boost for the Cowboys' offense (11 TDs in 14 games), but because they signed him to a league minimum contract, they'll have to wait until he hits the open market, according to the National Football Post:

The Cowboys can meet with Robinson’s agent Harold Lewis – and the hope is to do just that this week from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis – but a deal can’t be struck.

"The conversation with him goes more like, ‘What are you thinking and then we’ll think about it,’" Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said, according to Archer.

March 13 is the first official day of free agency in the NFL.

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NFL Free Agency 2012: DeMarcus Ware Thinks Cowboys Should Re-Sign Anthony Spencer

Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Anthony Spencer is set to become a free agent on March 13, that is if the Cowboys don't use the franchise tag to keep him around for at least another season, which is something some analysts expect them to do.

Spencer was selected in the first round of 2007 draft to give the Cowboys an outside pass rusher that would compliment DeMarcus Ware. However, while Ware continued to put up amazing numbers (19.5 sacks in 2011), Spencer hasn't been able to get to the quarterback more than six times in a season.

However, Ware believes that the Cowboys should still keep Spencer around because of his ability to stop the run.

"I think it's really important to get Spencer back because if you look back, he's not a guy who is probably going to have 40 or 50 sacks, but at the end of the day, he's a run-stopper," Ware said Saturday, per the Dallas Morning News. "He drops a lot and you see a lot of pass breakups and a lot of tackles for loss, so he's making a lot of plays for us but they are subtle plays. He's a solid player we need to keep."

The Cowboys have until March 5 to apply the franchise tag. If they don't use it on Spencer and they don't get him re-signed to a multi-year deal before March 13, they could have a hard time keeping him around, especially if other teams are interested.

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Chiefs Cornerback Brandon Carr A Good Match For Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys' biggest offseason need is in their secondary, which has been an issue now for the past few years.

The CB class in the 2012 NFL Draft is deep, but if the Cowboys want to bring in a player to make an immediate impact it might be best to go after a proven player in the free agent market.


Related: What positions will the Cowboys address in free agency

CBS Sports Pete Prisco put together a list of free agents that would be match with a team, and Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Carr is the best match for the Cowboys:

Dallas Cowboys Best match: Brandon Carr

They have to improve their corner play. It was a big problem last season. Carr could step in and be an immediate help -- especially in man coverage.

The Cowboys are not the only best match for Carr, as Prisco also has Carr matched up with the Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers.

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SI.com: Cowboys OLB Anthony Spencer Hurt His Chances Of Signing Big Contract In 2011

In a recent article on SI.com, Dallas Cowboys Anthony Spencer was one of several players listed that hurt his chances to sign to a major contract in 2012 free agency due to his play in 2011.

In fact, they say that the only chance he has to signing the kind of contract that he may want is if the team uses the franchise tag to keep him in Dallas.

There's one way, and one way only, that Spencer can cash in a big paycheck after a mediocre fifth season in the NFL - and that's if the Cowboys opt to use the franchise tag on him.

It's a move Dallas is reportedly considering, even if it's borderline lunacy to fork over $8.8 million for the former first-round pick, who has 17 sacks over the past three seasons but has yet to take the leap to the next level while playing opposite DeMarcus Ware.

If Dallas lets Spencer walk, he won't make anything near that franchise tag price.

Spencer, a first-round pick in the 2007 draft, has not become the player that the team hoped he would and hasn't given the team a solid pass rusher to play opposite of DeMarcus Ware.

While Ware gave the team 19.5 sacks in 2011 and hasn't had less than 10 sacks since his rookie year in 2005, Spencer hasn't been able to rack up more than six sacks, his season high, which he reached in 2011 and in 2009.

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One Man Gang: Augmenting The Cowboys Roster Through Free Agency

I penned a piece for Blogging The Boys, that took an overhead view of trying to improve the Dallas Cowboys for the 2012 season. All holes can't be plugged with big name free agents. However, the smart management in recent years of Stephen Jones and his salary cap team shows gives them a little flexibility in making decisions on theirs and other team's free agents.

This year returns to normal, augment through free agency and supplement through the draft.

For my take, I'd only resign four of the Cowboys pending free agents, after also releasing cornerback Terence Newman.

S Abe Elam, FB Tony Fiammetta, G Montrae Holland and WR Laurent Robinson are all invited to return at reasonable rates.

As for the true free agent market? The biggest splash I'd make is snatching C Chris Myers away from Houston and bringing in Kyle Orton to take on the Jon Kitna role. I'd also resuscitate the career of Channing Crowder to add to the inside linebacker mix, and steal P Steve Weatherford from the world champion New York Giants.

You can go to the original article, here, to read all of my rationales, how these players would fit under the cap and my seven draft picks that would round out the 53 man roster.

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2012 Free Agency: Cowboys May Use Franchise Tag On Anthony Spencer

According to the Star-Telegram's Clarence Hill Jr., the Dallas Cowboys could use the franchise tag on outside linebacker Anthony Spencer, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent on March 13, even though he hasn't been quite the force they expected him to be when they selected him in the first round of the 2007 draft.

The franchise tag would give Spencer a one-year deal worth $8.8 million.

Spencer is coming off a six-sack season, but the Cowboys want more production from the pass rusher playing opposite of perennial Pro Bowler DeMarcus Ware, who racked up 19.5 sacks in the 2011 season.

However, Spencer did have the team's fourth most tackles, with 74, on the team and was good against the run. He also had the second most quarterback pressures on the team with 31 behind Ware's 40. He also forced four fumbles and was tied for the team lead in tackles for loss with eight:

The main reason that the Cowboys may use the tag on Spencer, though, is because of a lack of potential replacements.But the bottom line with a potential franchise decision on Spencer is finding a potential replacement for him.

There are few options on the free-agent market _ unless you consider Houston's Mario Williams. He is likely the top free agent the market and will command a hefty price. He would be a huge financial risk for Cowboys considering his limited experience in the 3-4 _ especially at strongside outside linebacker which is Spencer's spot.

Another option is Indianapolis defensive end Robert Mathis, who could potentially make the move to outside linebacker in a 3-4. But again he has never played the position and he is 31 years old compared to Spencer who just turned 28.

The Cowboys need to address the offensive line and the secondary in the upcoming draft and if they don't re-sign Spencer and are unable to find his replacement in free agency, they would put themselves in a position where they would need to fill too many holes in the draft.

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Just Say No To The Go "Routt", Jerry

Despite what the major media outlets try to say, there are several options for the Dallas Cowboys should they choose to chase a free agent defensive back. There will be plenty of competition, to be sure, as the NFL is a pass-happy league meaning that secondary players are at a premium in a dilluted market. The onset of T.E.E., the Tight End Era, makes the job of defensive backs even more difficult, as you need size and speed to cover the Jimmy Graham, Jermichael Finley and Rob Gronkowski's of the world.

There are interesting players on the market. Brent Grimes of Atlanta has turned himself into a cover corner. Cortland Finnegan from Tennessee has skills and Brandon Carr of Kansas City is intriguing as well.

There is also a litany of cornerback prospects in this April's amateur draft; deep enough that immediate starters could be found throughout the second round.

With that, there is absolutely no reason for Dallas to invest any money in the recently released Stanford Routt, formerly of the Oakland Raiders. I know, he has a history with Rob Ryan. He also has a history of clutching and grabbing and getting beaten by receivers.

I won't pretend to be an expert on Routt, I've only watched him play a few times over the past few years. However, I remember the mockery and laughter when he was handed that ridiculous contract by the Raiders that seemed to be more of a Asomugha-intended backhand than a compliment to his own abilities.

Taking a look at Pro Football Focus' grades on the gent's last four years, there isn't much evidence to support any contention he is more than a third corner, at best. Dallas already has an overpriced one of those in Orlando Scandrick.

In 2011, Routt had more penalties called against him than defensive stops (offensive failure based on down/distance) credited. By a wide margin, 17 to 11.

Here's a look at his cumulative grades over the past four years. Remember, he had the most penalties called against him than any other corner in '11, and second most in '10. That greatly reduces the completion percentages and QB ratings against him.

YearCum. GradeRun GradePass Cov. GradePenalty GradePenaltiesStopsCompl % againstQB Rating Against
2011 -6.7 1.2 4.1 -11.9 17 11 51.1 82.4
2010 -9.3 -4 1.5 -7.2 11 8 42.4 69
2009 -7.6 -1.2 -3.7 -3.4 9 5 71.4 124.1
2008 0.01 -2.4 2.8 -0.1 2 2 48.5 89.2
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ESPN Dallas: Cowboys Show Interest In Released Stanford Routt

Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas says that the Cowboys have contacted Stanford Routt’s agent to express their interest. Routt was released by the Raiders quickly after signing a huge deal.

Last year, Routt signed a restructured contract for five-years worth $54.5 million with the Raiders, with at least $20 million in guarantees the first two seasons of the deal.

According to STATS LLC, opponents were held to a 47.4 completion percentage against Routt. But he allowed eight touchdown passes, tied for the second-most in the NFL, and led the league with 17 penalties committed. The Raiders had to make a decision regarding Routt because if he was still on the roster Friday, he would have been guaranteed a base salary of $5 million.

Watkins says that Routt has visits scheduled with the Bills and Titans so far. Routt was with Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan when Ryan was in Oakland, so there is a connection.

The Cowboys do have Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick returning at corner, but Terence Newman an expected casualty, and Jenkins and Scandrick weren’t enough to get it done in 2011. They clearly need at least one high quality addition at the position, either via the draft or free agency.

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