- Jon Machota of The Athletic notes that while QB Andy Dalton will likely find a better opportunity and move on from Dallas, there are several players on the Cowboys roster bubble such as DT Eli Ankou, CB Chidobe Awuzie, TE Blake Bell, WR Noah Brown, DL Tyrone Crawford, T Cameron Erving, WR Stephen Guidry, T Mitch Hyatt, LB Azur Kamara, LS L.P. Ladouceur, LB Sean Lee, CB Jourdan Lewis, C Joe Looney, LB Justin March, T Greg Senat, DE Aldon Smith, LB Joe Thomas, WR Malik Turner, and S Xavier Woods.
- Machota thinks that the team will address their cornerback need in the draft unless Awuzie agrees to return on an extremely team-friendly deal. He also sees a chance for Woods and Lewis to return, if the contracts suit Dallas well.
- The team would also like to have Looney back in a reserve role, according to Machota.
- The Cowboys have had some conversations with QB Dak Prescott‘s agent, Todd France, with the tone of talks feeling more productive even if the two sides haven’t really dove into anything meaningful yet. (Jane Slater)
- Dallas is still full steam ahead with Prescott and wants to sign him to a long-term deal now despite him coming off two ankle surgeries, indicated confidence in his recovery. (Ian Rapoport)
- Cowboys LB Sean Lee is still deciding whether to retire or try to play in 2021, while 16-year LS LP Ladouceur plans to return and 2020 opt-out CB Maurice Canady is staying in shape. (Calvin Watkins)
- Jimmy Kempski of the Philly Voice lists some affordable free agents for the Eagles to target given they won’t have a lot of cap space, including Colts S Malik Hooker, 49ers CB Ahkello Witherspoon and Bengals WR John Ross.
- ESPN’s Jordan Raanan writes that while keeping DL Leonard Williams on the franchise tag for the second straight year at $19.4 million wouldn’t be ideal for the Giants’ books, that’s about the number Williams is going to hit on a long-term deal, so the team could use the tag to buy them more time to negotiate if they need to.
- ESPN’s Mel Kiper doesn’t expect Florida TE Kyle Pitts to drop past the Giants at No. 11. (Peter King)
There were a lot of people who doubted whether Washington QB Alex Smith would ever really walk again, let alone return to play professional football. He revealed that his comeback attempt actually caught the team off guard and complicated whatever plans they had at the position. He wasn’t necessarily welcomed back with open arms.
“When I decided to come back, I definitely threw a wrench in the team’s plan. They didn’t see it, didn’t want me there, didn’t want me to be a part of it, didn’t want me to be on the team, the roster, didn’t want to give me a chance,” Smith said via GQ’s Clay Skipper. “Mind you, it was a whole new regime, they came in, I’m like the leftovers and I’m hurt and I’m this liability. Heck no, they didn’t want me there. At that point, as you can imagine, everything I’d been through, I couldn’t have cared less about all that. [laughs] Whether you like it or not, I’m giving this a go at this point.”
Of course, Smith ultimately ended up winning the backup role and entering the starting lineup late in the year but that was a whole process of convincing the team to give him a legitimate chance to prove himself.
“I mean, they tried to put me on PUP for two weeks, then they tried to IR me. I felt like I still hadn’t had my fair shake at that point,” Smith said. “I wanted to see if I could play quarterback and play football, and I feel like I hadn’t been given that opportunity yet to find that out. It’s like getting this close to the end line of a marathon and they’re telling you that you can’t finish the race. It’s like, f— that. I’m finishing this thing. At least I’m going to see if I can. So, I’m thankful we worked through all that stuff but no, it wasn’t like open arms coming back after two years. Like I said, new coaches, new faces, and I think I definitely surprised a lot of people that never thought I would even be trying it.”