Players will begin arriving at Valley Ranch today for the start of the voluntary offseason workouts. It's a three-phase, nine-week program.
This is the first time Cowboys players will be around the complex on a consistent basis since the end of the regular season. However, under the new rules of the collective bargaining agreement, Jason Garrett and the rest of the coaches can't be around the players for the next two weeks in phase one of the program.
Only the strength and conditioning staff, led by coach Mike Woicik can be around the players.
A few things of note:
1. Anthony Spencer. He's been franchised at $8.8 million and it's not known if he'll show up to the voluntary workouts. He doesn't have to because he's not under contract and it's voluntary. Miles Austin, who was given a first-and-third-round tender in 2009, didn't initially show up for the voluntary workouts but eventually did. (UPDATE: Spencer did not attend Monday's workouts.)
2. DeMarco Murray. The starting running back is recovering from ankle surgery and it's a chance for Woicik and his staff to get a look at how his rehab program is going and to judge how much running he should be doing.
3. Chemistry. Some say this is overrated, but there's nothing wrong with being around your teammates on the practice fields for the first time since the 2011 regular season ended. Tony Romo mentioned during last year's lockout how the practices at a local high school bonded the team. It doesn't mean more victories are coming for the Cowboys, but building relationships on and off the field are important.
The second phase of the offseason is three weeks where Garrett and the staff are permitted to work with players on individual drills. No helmets or physical contact is allowed during this phase.
The third phase is four weeks of organized team activities. Players can work out with coaches for three days per week for a stretch and then four days a week. Helmets are OK, but no pads.
Of course there will be the rookie minicamp following the NFL Draft, which is April 26-28. In mid-June, the Cowboys will also have a minicamp with the entire team.