Dallas Cowboys: Lyle Leong

Rules won't slow Cowboys free agent talks

April, 28, 2012
IRVING, Texas -- Over the years the Cowboys have been wildly successful finding undrafted free agents and turning them into starters. Tony Romo and Miles Austin are at the top of the list, but don’t forget about a guy like Stephen Bowen, too.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones anticipates the Cowboys adding 13-17 undrafted players.

The Cowboys have been willing to pay solid signing bonuses to undrafted players over the years, totaling more than $100,000 on occasion.

Those days are over.

According to the new collective bargaining agreement, teams can spend only $75,000 total in signing bonuses to undrafted players.

Will that discourage the Cowboys and other teams from signing players? Not really. What teams did last year to get by that rule was to guarantee a small portion of the player’s base salary so it would not count toward the $75,000 limit.

Last year the largest signing bonus the Cowboys gave was to offensive lineman Jose Acuna ($6,500). Wide receiver Lyle Leong received $6,000 to sign.

The four undrafted free agents who made the 53-man roster -- Kevin Kowalski, Dan Bailey, Alex Albright and Phillip Tanner -- combined to make $10,500 in signing bonus money. Bailey had a signing bonus of $2,500.

Todd Archer's practice observations

August, 15, 2011

** With Jon Kitna resting because of a back strain, Stephen McGee took the reps with the No. 2 offense and Tom Brandstater was able to get more work than he has received since joining the team. In on-air drills, McGee missed back-to-back throws down the field to Jesse Holley and Raymond Radway.

** WR Kevin Ogletree and CB Josh Thomas got into a little scuffle during the “blue” practice that features the younger players. There have not been many fights among players in camp.

** The situation of the day was fourth-and-short with the offense attempting to draw the defense offside. It worked for the first-team offense when Tony Romo was able to get NT Jay Ratliff to bite. The defense held strong on its next two tries, and if it hadn’t then the coaches might have been apoplectic.

** DE Kenyon Coleman blew up the first run of team period by pushing rookie RT Tyron Smith into the path of RB Felix Jones. Later, Coleman put rookie G David Arikin on his back, leading to a Chris Randle interception of McGee. This was Coleman’s first day working with the No. 1 defense.

** For the second time in camp, WR Dez Bryant was unable to pull off a double reverse to WR Miles Austin. Bryant’s flip was too fast to handle and led to a fumble. It might be time to switch the roles of Austin and Bryant on that play.

** Romo completed 10-of-20 passes during team drills. His best throw came on a deep out to Bryant, who made an incredible grab over Orlando Scandrick near the sideline. It even had S Gerald Sensabaugh praising Bryant.

** On the next play, Scandrick made a perfect read of a throw to Ogletree, who turned into a defensive back on the play and broke up the sure pick. Scandrick thought he was held.

** Romo was short on throws just over defenders shoulders to Jones and Austin. Jones would have run away from the linebacker with the middle of the field open and Austin would have had a touchdown.

** Dan Bailey has missed four of his last five kicks. He closed the two-minute drive led by the first-team offense by pushing a 45-yarder wide to the right. The second-team offense worked on closing out a game with runs, highlighted by three carries apiece by Lonyae Miller and Phillip Tanner before Mat McBriar had to punt.

** S Barry Church had another productive day. He hung on Jason Witten’s hip to force an incompletion, blew up a bubble screen to WR Lyle Leong and would have had a big hit on TE Martin Rucker.