NFC East: Marcellus Wiley
For all that Ware accomplished (team's all-time sack leader) and for all that he meant to Jones, the owner stuck to the disciplined outline the Cowboys are operating under in 2014.
If he was "right" in deciding to part ways with Ware -- for the record, I think it was the wrong move and would have signed him to a re-worked deal although not at the level the Denver Broncos paid Ware -- then at least he is being consistent by not giving into the contractual demands of Melton and Allen.
At least for now.
We'll find out this season if Jones was "right" in holding strong if they don't end up joining the Cowboys and go to another team and either play well or they don't play well.
Generally speaking, the more visits a player makes the more it means he is not getting the deal he wants. It is well within the player's rights to shop for the best deal on the open market. Jason Hatcher met with the Seahawks, Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans. The one team he didn't meet with face to face, the Washington Redskins, made the best offer that even Hatcher said blew the other offers out of the water.
At the NFL scouting combine, executive vice president Stephen Jones said the Cowboys would be efficient spenders in free agency. Giving Melton, who is coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the moon, and Allen, who turns 32 next month, the stars would not be efficient spending.
When a team acts desperately in free agency, they tend to make a mistake. One of the best free-agent signings the Cowboys made was inking La'Roi Glover in 2002. One of the least productive was signing Marcellus Wiley to a four-year, $16 million deal in 2004. He produced three sacks, but the Cowboys had to have him.
In 2012, the Cowboys recruited Brandon Carr, Nate Livings, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Dan Connor and Kyle Orton in free agency. They were closers. They used the digital board to show the team's history and most of the players' highlights to help close the deal. They also paid an awful lot of money for them.
The Cowboys weren't able to close the deals for Melton and Allen on their visits, but that doesn't mean they won't sign them eventually.
And if they do, then it likely won't be for the stars or the moon.
On "SportsCenter" this morning, Herm Edwards and Marcellus Wiley shared their thoughts.
Edwards: "Know your role, do your job. He's a running back, not a scout."
I think this is an underrated part of this whole thing. Regardless of McCoy's intent to needle, is his assessment accurate? I'm sure Justin Tuck is the best defensive lineman on the Giants, but I'm having a hard time coming up with another I think is better than Umenyiora. Does McCoy think that much of Barry Cofield? Mathias Kiwanuka? Jason Pierre-Paul? I'm taking Osi over any of them. Of course, I don't compete against them as McCoy does.
Which brings me to Wiley's take: "This is some nonsense, right there. He didn't think this one through."
Wiley, a former defensive lineman, smiled as he imagined himself in Umenyiora's cleats the next time he had to get up after helping tackle McCoy. He said, instead of pushing himself up from the ground, he might find "a couple of body parts" of McCoy's to us to help himself up.
I expect this to be brought up again in the future. Maybe even on this blog. I don't feel as if I'm going way out on a limb with that prediction, either.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Former Cowboys defensive end and current ESPN analyst Marcellus Wiley has come up with an interesting theory. He took a look at the Cowboys' playoff drought dating back to 1996 and decided that the one common denominator was strength and conditioning coach Joe Juraszek. Marcellus, who only played in Dallas for one season, said he "personally loves" Juraszek, but it's tough to tell after reading the following quotes:
"The strength and conditioning coach is in charge of filling up your tank, getting you in shape and also keeping you at a great level of physical conditioning so that you can make it through the tough part of the season which is December and January," said Wiley on "NFL Live." "It's not about coaching. It's not about T.O. It's not about Romo. It's about the atrophy of these muscles and the conditioning of this team."
Wiley said he "uncovered the fact that there has been one guy in the building other than Jerry Jones that has been there since all these playoff troubles and it was the strength and conditioning coach ..."
Sorry, but I'm not buying this one. I've been around this organization for seven years and I've never heard a player question Juraszek's approach. In fact, he's been known to call players at all hours to make sure they're sticking with their diets. Even when players are off, he's on call to meet them for workouts at the facility. I know at least one member of the Cowboys' medical staff who was completely floored by Wiley's statement and was in the process of tracking him down. Juraszek has emerged as one of the most respected strength and conditioning coaches in the league. And Bill Parcells, a man who has a lot of thoughts on how players should condition themselves, was a huge fan of his.
I can point to several reasons for the Cowboys lack of playoff success (the search for Troy Aikman's replacement, poor drafts, poor coaching, etc.), but Juraszek is the last guy I'd point the finger at.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
I just spoke with NFL Live anchor Trey Wingo via phone and he said the show is hoping to go outdoors this afternoon (4 p.m. ET) to let viewers have a sense of what it's like to play football in the snow. Sunday's Patriots-Cardinals game in Foxboro is what inspired Friday's show in which former players Mark Schlereth and Marcellus Wiley will demonstrate the keys to performing in the snow.
The only problem is that it's not snowing in Bristol right now. I'm a little concerned about what role Wingo will play in this scenario. As a quarterback for the Baylor Phi Delt B2 team in 1985, he threw five interceptions in a narrow loss to the Sigma Chis.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
For a guy who hasn't made much of an impact on the field this season, Plaxico Burress has certainly grabbed a lot of headlines. Here's what folks around the nation are saying about Burress this morning:
- Here's the picture of Burress turning himself in Monday morning.
- Mike Lupica has been heavily involved in this one from the start. Sounds like he took a trip to the Latin Quarter.
- Gary Myers says the Giants are about to join the Cowboys and Bengals in terms of off-the-field behavior.
- This New York Post report has a few tidbits we didn't know about before Monday morning. Hopefully we'll hear from Harris Smith soon.
- Marcellus Wiley says he used to walk around with a .380-caliber pistol. That will obviously make for an interesting NFL Live segment. Here he is on "Outside The Lines."
- George Vecsey of the New York Times is saying what a lot of us are this morning: It's time to say goodbye to Plax.