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Thursday, March 25, 2010
Cowboys owners meeting wrapup

By Calvin Watkins

The owners meetings are over and now we'll tell you what we've learned from the Cowboys in regards to everything that happened in Orlando the last three days.

1. Overtime rule: The Cowboys are in favor of the overtime rule, mainly Stephen Jones, the executive vice president who serves on the competition committee. He thought it was fairly based on the statisical data provided by the league. Wade Phillips, who you might consider old school, also liked the rule.

2. Roy Williams is not going anywhere: Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips said Williams is staying with the club. Phillips even went as far to say the wide receiver wants a bigger role in the offense, and he wants that to happen. The Cowboys owe Williams close to $13 million in guaranteed money this season, and that's part of the reason he's staying. Those close to Williams say he wants to have a big season because he knows it could be his last with the team. Williams has even said if he doesn't perform well in 2010, the team might cut him.

3. The Cowboys might not draft a wide receiver: Yes, the Cowboys are interviewing wide receivers at Valley Ranch -- LSU's Brandon LaFell on March 31 and Dez Bryant from Oklahoma State on April 1 -- but Jerry Jones said he's just checking his options, especially in the case of Bryant should he fall in the draft. Phillips praised younger receivers such as Sam Hurd, Kevin Ogletree, Manuel Johnson and even Jesse Holley. The Cowboys like the depth they have here, and want one of these young guns to step up.

4. The draft is strong at outside linebacker: Phillips knows linebackers. He's coached quite a few, including Rickey Jackson in New Orleans, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer. Phillips also coaches DeMarcus Ware, by the way. Phillips said he's noticed more 3-4 type linebackers running around than in recent years. But this does not mean the Cowboys will draft one. Phillips said he's got hopes for Victor Butler and Brandon Williams to produce as backups at outside linebacker.

5. The Cowboys want to make a move in free agency but won't rush it: The uncapped year was thought to have pushed the Cowboys into Yankees-type territory. A deeper look, however, reveals the Cowboys have a payroll of $125 million, one of the highest in the league for the 2010 season. A bulk of the Cowboys' salary has gone to players they signed in the last few years, such as Flozell Adams, Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware, Ken Hamlin, Leonard Davis and Roy Williams, all who contribute to the club in a significant way. The current economic climate in the NFL also gives the team pause. Jerry Jones said the Cowboys could make a move once he sees where the market goes regarding several restricted free agents.

Also of note: The Cowboys gave first-round grades on safeties Taylor Mays, Eric Berry and Earl Thomas. ... The Cowboys are concerned about the age of left tackle Flozell Adams, who turns 35 in May, and could release him in June, though the team hasn't discussed it in full. Also, the ages of inside linebackers Bradie James (29, entering his eighth year) and Keith Brooking (turns 35 in October, entering his 13th year) concern the front office. The team is looking at some inside linebackers to draft for the future. ... Opening up the starting running back job is a possiblity, according to Jerry Jones. However, all three running backs -- Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice -- will remain with the club. ... Stephen Hodge, a sixth-round draft pick from TCU who missed last season to surgery, will not be ready in time for the OTAs or minicamps. Ware, Jay Ratliff and several other players who underwent surgeries should be fine for team workouts.