Cowboys players cleaned out their lockers last week, some for the final time ever. In this edition of News and Notes, we look at a few soon-to-be-free agents and discuss why one wants to come back, one probably won’t, and one who probably should be re-signed may surprise you. Micah Parsons downplays fiery comments made by a family member on social media, and Peter King reveals why his “agonizing” Defensive Player of the Year vote came down to either Parsons or one other.
Elsewhere, Dan Quinn has a busy week ahead (although one stop on his itinerary may have just been scratched), Cowboys fans have spoken loud and clear (and yes, still angry) in a recent survey, and what sobering message did America’s Team just get from the NFL’s (used-to-be) perennial doormats? We’ve got two mock drafts that agree on the direction Dallas should go with the 24th overall pick, a look back at what the Cowboys should have done with the benefit of hindsight, and an alternate-reality exercise that theorizes exactly what the Cowboys could get if they did the unthinkable this offseason. All that, plus one family is dealt a sudden tragedy and gets a special delivery from someone they never could have expected.
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FMIA Divisional: Inside Andy Reid’s notebook, Lamar locks in, Hutchinson’s hometown heroics :: ProFootballTalk
Peter King says he agonized over his vote for Defensive Player of the Year. He pointed out Micah Parsons’s “quick pressure” total being much higher than Myles Garrett, T.J. Watt, Maxx Crosby, and Khalil Mack and noted Parsons’s average pressure rate as leading the second- and third-place finishers by 4 and 8 percentage points. He says he could have flipped a five-sided coin, but voted for Myles Garrett in the end, with Parsons coming in second.
Micah 'more committed than ever' to the Cowboys :: The Mothership
Parsons’s brother stirred things up recently with a post on X that hinted at the three-time All-Pro linebacker’s possible departure from the Cowboys in the near future. Micah responded with an unequivocal statement professing love for his team, his teammates, the city of Dallas, and “the greatest fan base on earth.” He’s not going anywhere.
Report: Cowboys DC Dan Quinn set for second interviews with three clubs so far :: Cowboys Wire
Quinn was scheduled to travel to Tennessee, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. between now and Sunday for a round of follow-up interviews with those clubs. But the itinerary could change depending on how other candidates do with their second interviews (ed. note: the Titans are reportedly hiring Brian Callahan instead); the Chargers and Panthers could still ask to meet in-person with Quinn, too.
Is Mike McCarthy's contract situation motivation or lame-duck doom for Cowboys? :: Cowboys Wire
The ticking clock looming over McCarthy for all of 2024 could spark innovation. Or it could move him in the opposite direction, pushing him into the tried-and-true tactics that got him into the hot seat. As for the players, will they remain loyal to the well-liked coach or will his lame-duck status undermine his leadership at the first sign of trouble? As Jason Garrett showed- two times, with differing results- sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.
Cowboys fan poll results: Was keeping Mike McCarthy the right decision? :: The Athletic
The outlet got nearly 2,000 responses to a 12-question survey. An overwhelming 64.9% feel that keeping McCarthy was the wrong decision. Dak Prescott wouldn’t get a new contract that puts him among the league’s highest-paid players if 57.4% of respondents had their way. Over 57% also believe it will be six years or more before the Cowboys win another Super Bowl. And a surprising 45.1% say it will take a while to start caring about this team again.
2023 Hindsight: 7 things Cowboys should've done differently :: Cowboys Wire
Knowing what we know now, hiring Mike Solari to coach the offensive line didn’t pay off. The draft class was unremarkable in its first year. The front office should have made some moves at the trade deadline. And what if they had come right out of the box with Dak Prescott slinging, running, and targeting CeeDee Lamb instead of waiting five or more games to try those things? Those are just a few of the missteps that led to an ultimately disappointing season’s end.
When the Detroit Lions are sending wake-up calls, the Dallas Cowboys are in trouble :: Dallas Morning News
Now only Washington has waited longer to get back to the NFC Championship Game than the Cowboys. But the Commanders have new ownership, will have a new coach, and own the No. 2 pick in the draft. It’s not crazy to suggest that their days as the joke of the NFC might be coming to a close… which means Dallas had better get going on solving that drought.
The Cowboys are likely to lose their best free agent this offseason :: Cowboys Wire
Stephon Gilmore served an absolutely vital role for the Cowboys after Trevon Diggs was lost, allowing them to survive an otherwise catastrophic loss in the secondary. There’s no question the Cowboys would love to have Gilmore back in 2024, but with Diggs expected to be ready for Week 1 and DaRon Bland having long surpassed backup status, it would be a difficult signing to justify.
Free agent Johnathan Hankins: 'Just more motivated' to complete 'unfinished business' with Cowboys :: Cowboys Wire
The veteran says he contemplated retiring after 2022, but his first Cowboys training camp “lit a fire” that propelled him to a solid 2023 season. Now a free agent, he hopes to return to Dallas next season to get the Super Bowl he and the team missed out on this year.
Re-signing free agent OT Tyron Smith isn’t a gamble if the Cowboys do it right :: Cowboys Wire
The 34-year-old is still too damn good to put out to pasture, at least when he’s healthy enough to play. He graded out as PFF’s fourth-best tackle, certainly better than any other option the Cowboys have waiting in the wings. Drafting a left tackle should be a priority, but assuming the money is right, there’s no reason for the Cowboys to move on from Tyron Smith in 2024.
Bucky Brooks 2024 NFL mock draft 1.0: Rams pick QB; Bengals, Giants among 5 teams to select WRs :: NFL.com
Brooks likes the Cowboys to draft Oklahoma tackle Tyler Guyton with the 24th pick. He’s ideally suited to play the right side, but securing him would give Dallas options for a potential reshuffle if Smith does leave Dallas this offseason.
2024 NFL Mock Draft: Latest two-round predictions after divisional round :: The 33rd Team
This mock also has the Cowboys thinking O-line, spending the 24th pick on Duke tackle Graham Barton, who can also play center (Tyler Biadasz is a free agent, too). In the second round, Dallas takes Texas A&M linebacker Edgerrin Cooper.
The 'What If...?' Mock Draft: Cowboys, Bears swap Dak Prescott for Justin Fields :: Cowboys Wire
In this alternate-reality exercise, the Cowboys decide to move on from Prescott and trade for a new signal-caller. Recent comps suggest the team might get two first-round picks, a second-round pick, and a future fourth-round pick for him. Dallas could grab Fields from Chicago, letting him and Trey Lance compete for the starting gig, or even nab a top QB- like LSU’s Jayden Daniels- in the draft. It’s (almost assuredly) not happening, but it’s interesting food for thought.
Jerry Jones' touching gesture for grieving family of Cowboys fan :: Cowboys Wire
Timothy Washington was a hardcore Cowboys fan who, at 64, had never seen an NFL contest in person. Just before the Cowboys and Commanders kicked off in Week 18, he collapsed about 100 yards from the entrance to FedEx Field and passed away. Jones heard about the tragedy and sent Washington’s family a care package and hand-signed letter, calling him “an inspiration” and personally thanking him for his years of support.