Vander Esch stalemate, Wilson outlook grim, Jerry on Dak and Zeke

Lots of Cowboys buzz in Indianapolis to close out the work week, even as the scouting combine kicks into high gear. Jerry Jones held his annual bus chat, and had plenty to say about keeping Ezekiel Elliott, how good Dak Prescott can still become, and why doing the quarterback’s second contract when he did is having an effect on what the front office can do now.

Speaking of contracts, the club is having a tough time getting anywhere with two of its impending free agents on the defensive side of the ball, and the franchise tag appears to be imminent for another playmaker on the offense. The Jalen-Ramsey-to-Dallas talk is getting louder in the Circle City, and one outlet is still clamoring for the Cowboys to admit that Odell Beckham Jr. is a perfect match for them. All that, plus combine visits with wide receivers, tight ends, and quarterbacks; why evaluating prospects is a team effort in Dallas; and Emmitt Smith makes a sobering revelation about the likely outcome of his own Hall of Fame playing career. That’s all in this edition of News and Notes.

Report: Cowboys making no progress on deal with Leighton Vander Esch :: ProFootballTalk

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The team has reportedly made “no progress” in negotiations with 2018’s first-round linebacker; Vander Esch was on a $2 million, one-year deal he signed last year. The Cowboys front office is also said to “not have optimism” about reaching a deal with safety Donovan Wilson, who has now played out his rookie contract after a career season.

Report: Cowboys expected to tag Tony Pollard if no deal reached :: Cowboys Wire

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The Cowboys and Pollard’s agent are currently negotiating a deal, but if none is reached by the Tuesday deadline, the team will use the franchise tag to secure him for at least one more season with the club. The tag will cost Dallas $10.09 million in salary and require even more creative contract work to get the team under the salary cap.

Jones still hopes to keep Ezekiel Elliott, even if Pollard is tagged :: Todd Archer (Twitter)

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: Dak Prescott’s contract complicates QB’s supporting cast :: Dallas Morning News

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Jones told reporters that it’s difficult to surround Prescott with the kind of talent he had early in his career because Prescott himself is earning so much more money now. “You’re going to have to pick your spots,” he maintained.

Cowboys’ Jerry Jones says Dak Prescott can improve with age like Tom Brady: ‘Dak really has those qualities’ :: CBS Sports

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The Cowboys owner is so sure he’s got the right man at quarterback that he just compared him to the GOAT “I think just as Brady became, in my mind, better and better and more impactful on how they won as he got into his career, Jones said, “I think Dak really has those qualities.” He did, however, admit that Prescott’s availability is “something to think about.”

TCU’s Duggan talks meeting with hometown Cowboys :: Jon Machota (Twitter)

Howe: What I’m hearing about Mac Jones, Baker Mayfield’s options and a Jalen Ramsey trade :: The Athletic

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According to Jeff Howe, “all parties involved remain tight-lipped on the trade availability of Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, but there’s a rumor picking up steam in league circles that the Cowboys would be a good fit.”

2023 NFL Free Agency matchmaking: One fit for each NFC team :: NFL.com

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Kevin Patra still likes Beckham wearing the star, citing Dallas’s need to import “a legit pairing for CeeDee Lamb.” The 30-year-old Beckham “might not be the consistent target-gobbler he was early in his career, but he can give the offense a threat it is sorely lacking.” (Patra also matches Dalton Schultz to Carolina.)

Cowboys meet with several top WRs at scouting combine :: Cowboys Wire

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Among the receivers the Cowboys could be considering are USC’s Jordan Addison, Boston College’s Zay Flowers, Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt, Maryland’s Rakim Jarrett, and Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Each brings a different skill set that could be put to good use in Dallas.

McClay: Cowboys draft success is absent any ‘ego’ :: The Mothership

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The Cowboys’ vice president of player personnel, in his 14th year with the club, credits a team approach to identifying high-quality draft-day prospects. “Everybody has a grade,” McClay said of the Dallas scouts, who he likened to GMs of their geographical areas. “They put their grade [in] and we don’t talk about their grade and if there’s variance, you average it out and that’s probably where that player is. We value everyone’s input.”

Cowboys among teams to formally meet with Utah TE Dalton Kincaid :: Cowboys Wire

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The Cowboys under McCarthy have never shied away from collecting big-bodied tight ends. Utah’s 6-foot-4-incher won’t do drills in Indianapolis as he continues to rehabilitate a back injury, but his 16-catch, 234-yard performance against USC in the Pac-12 championship speaks volumes about his abilities.

Emmitt Smith worried about CTE, his brain health and Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa :: Palm Beach Post

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Speaking in his native Florida, Smith acknowledged sustaining two concussions during his playing days. “That I know of,” he added as a qualifier, “that I can recall when they were.” I also can tell you there’s a number of times I got hit and had to shake my head a couple of times to get the cobwebs out and get back focused.” He says he never had to stagger off the field like Tagovailoa did, but he assumes he suffered lasting damage to some degree. “I’d be naive to think if I keep living, I’ll have a normal life going forward.”

Texans sign DB Kendall Sheffield :: NFL.com

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Originally a Falcons draft pick in 2019 under Dan Quinn, Sheffield was signed by Dallas in October after Jourdan Lewis was lost for the season. He played out the remainder of the season on the practice squad.

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire

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