NFL Nation: Miles Austin

Cowboys' biggest key to success

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
12:00
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- Since Tony Romo took over as quarterback, the success of the Dallas Cowboys has mostly centered on Romo's effectiveness.

Romo
He has played well enough in the past three seasons to throw 90 touchdown passes and get intercepted 39 times, but the Cowboys have not been able to finish better than 8-8 and have missed the playoffs. They have not qualified for the postseason since 2009.

As the Cowboys look to end the drought in 2014, Romo will remain the central part to their success, but the core of the team has changed.

While Romo and Jason Witten remain, the core of the team has become players like Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, DeMarco Murray, Orlando Scandrick, Barry Church and Sean Lee. The Cowboys have transitioned from an older team to a younger team.

Starting next year, the Cowboys will be in much better salary-cap space. The days of the Cowboys setting the market on free agents might be over. They signed cornerback Brandon Carr to a five-year, $50 million deal in 2011 and have not received the payoff. They parted ways with DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin this offseason. They did not attempt to re-sign Jason Hatcher. For a team that did not hesitate to pay age often, the Cowboys have turned almost frugal.

They have drafted better and smarter. Three of their past four first-round picks have been offensive linemen. Their drafting will never be perfect but it has been better. They have found more role players after a disastrous 2009 draft. They are trying to build the roster from the inside out as opposed to outside in.

For the Cowboys to make the jump from 8-8 to a consistent playoff team, they honestly need to continue down the same path. Patience has never been one of owner Jerry Jones’ strong suits, but the team has shown a willingness to change its ways.

If they continue to build smartly and avoid the costly mistakes that come about in free agency, the Cowboys could find themselves beginning to open up another window of opportunity as Romo and Witten wind down their careers.
IRVING, Texas -- If the Dallas Cowboys are to break out of their 8-8 doldrums, they will need younger players to grow up in 2014.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports has two candidates for breakout seasons -- Travis Frederick and Terrance Williams -- in his annual list.

Frederick
Williams
Williams
The Cowboys were one of four teams with more than one player. The San Diego Chargers had three: D.J. Fluker, Melvin Ingram, Keenan Allen. The New Orleans Saints (Kenny Vaccaro, Akiem Hicks) and Denver Broncos (Montee Ball, Sylvester Williams) also had two.

Here’s what Prisco said about Frederick and Williams:
Travis Frederick, C, Dallas Cowboys -- When the Cowboys picked him in the first round of the 2013 draft, there were snickers. But it was the right move. He showed last season as a 16-game starter that he has a chance to be a really good center. He is smart and athletic, two musts for the position these days.

Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys -- With Miles Austin now gone, this second-year player takes over as the starter opposite Dez Bryant. That should mean a lot of single coverage and a chance for big plays. Look for his numbers to go up dramatically from his 44 catches a year ago.

Defining how Frederick breaks out is tougher than Williams just because of the nature of his position. The Cowboys were stronger up the middle in 2013 than they had been in recent years because of Frederick. He did not miss a game as a rookie and carried himself as a veteran from the first day he arrived.

(As an aside, there is a similar feeling when it comes to this year’s first-round pick, Zack Martin.)

For Williams, it can be a little easier to define because his statistics will be there for everybody to see. He caught 44 passes for 736 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie.

With Austin gone, Williams will be the starter opposite Bryant in 2014. The Cowboys have no reservations about Williams. They believe he will slide into that role without any issues. In coach parlance, they don’t believe the game is too big for him.

He will get opportunities. Bryant will be the focal point of opposing defenses.

With Bryant catching 93 passes for 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2013, Austin caught 66 passes for 943 yards and six touchdowns as the No. 2 receiver in 16 games in 2012. The Cowboys would live with those numbers from Williams.

Cowboys' quarterbacks had 375 completions last year.

Pencil in Bryant for another 90-plus catch season. Jason Witten will catch 75-80 passes. The running backs will combine for 80. Cole Beasley should figure in that 35-45 catch range. Dwayne Harris and Gavin Escobar will have more than the 18 they combined for last year. Devin Street will be in that 20-30 range if things go well as well.

There will be opportunities for Williams to show 2014 will be a breakout season.
IRVING, Texas -- Part 2 of the Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag is ready.

In it we discuss:

If you want to read Part 1 of the mailbag, click here.

Away we go:

IRVING, Texas -- Part 1 of the Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag is ready.

In it we discuss:
  • When Dez Bryant might sign an extension.
  • Lance Dunbar’s roster spot with the addition of Ryan Williams.
  • The team’s best free-agent pickup
  • The state of the defensive line.
  • The best of the undrafted receivers.

Look for Part 2 of the mailbag on Saturday.

Away we go:
Ray Farmer does not rest.

The week after the draft, the Cleveland Browns' general manager signed Joe Haden to a contract extension and added two receivers.

As the world of folks who must keep track of the Browns turns, the team has almost completely remade its corps of receivers.

Bennett
Austin
Josh Gordon is facing a season-long suspension after another failed drug test, this time for marijuana. Let's assume that he is suspended, which is not a big leap -- especially after the news that Miles Austin agreed to terms and Earl Bennett signed. The talent of any one player does not approach Gordon's, but the Browns have more than they had at 3 p.m. Thursday. The fact that the Browns added two guys who have been on the market for months probably says all that needs to be said about Gordon's season -- and that is, he won't be with the team.

Austin immediately becomes a starter. Opposite him would be either Nate Burleson (if healthy) or Bennett, a productive slot guy who was stuck behind Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in Chicago.

Andrew Hawkins would be the third receiver, with either Burleson or Bennett seeing time as the fourth.

Bennett's situation is dicey. Most view him as a No. 3, though perhaps he's one of the guys Farmer had in mind when he said sometimes players just need a chance.

If -- and it's a gigantic and unlikely if -- Gordon can somehow reduce or avoid the suspension, the receiving corps might have more than something.

The problem is this: The hardest thing to do in the NFL is to bring a completely new group of receivers in with a new quarterback and expect it all to jell immediately.

The timing required is too precise, and understanding each other is too important to expect immediate results. Add in the fact that everyone involved is learning a new offense, and the challenge increases.

That reality should not, though, temper the reality that Farmer knew he had a need, and he tried to address it as best he could. He advised fans to be patient, and acted. And there's still time for him to address the position again.

Without Gordon, the Browns lose their best player and their big-play threat. They become a team dependent on defense and a physical running game.

But at least now the team has veteran receivers. Whether they can contribute remains to be seen.

At this point, this something is better than nothing.
IRVING, Texas -- In many ways a successful draft is measured by how well a team does in the later rounds.

Ben Volin of The Boston Globe put together a story about teams that draft well and poorly with an interesting graphic.

The Dallas Cowboys are one of six teams not to have a current starter they selected in Rounds 5-7, according to the chart, which means Volin did not count Orlando Scandrick (fifth round, 2008) as a starter even though he started most of the 2013 season. If Morris Claiborne performed up to capabilities and was not hurt, he would have been the starter. If you count Scandrick, then the Cowboys would be one of 12 teams to have one starter from Rounds 5-7.

The other five without a starter were the Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears.

Since 2010, the Cowboys have had 12 picks in Rounds 5-7 and only Dwayne Harris, James Hanna, Joseph Randle and DeVonte Holloman remain.

Hitting on late-round picks is guesswork in a lot of ways. In 2004, the Cowboys hit on three seventh-rounders in Nate Jones, Patrick Crayton and Jacques Reeves. They all had productive NFL careers and earned second contracts.

That’s the goal: find players who can fill roles. The Cowboys kept Crayton for a second contract, but Jones and Reeves left after their rookie deals expired.

Teams build their depth through late-round picks and the Cowboys have not hit enough in the late rounds to fortify their depth. The Seattle Seahawks had an NFL-best five starters from Rounds 5-7 in 2013. The Philadelphia Eagles were next with four.

Also in Volin’s chart is a look at undrafted starters. The Cowboys had a league-high five in 2013 with Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Barry Church, Ronald Leary and Jeff Heath. The Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins had four apiece to tie for second.

For years the Cowboys have excelled in finding undrafted free agents. In the last three years they have landed Dan Bailey, Phillip Tanner, Chris Jones, Ben Bass, Cole Beasley, Leary, Heath and Cam Lawrence.

They make up for the misses in Rounds 5-7 with hits in undrafted free agency. With three compensatory picks in the seventh round this year, the Cowboys will have the chance to draft what would have been their priority undrafted free agents.

They only hope they’re not just making up for misses in Rounds 5-7.
IRVING, Texas -- Two veteran wide receivers went off the market Monday when Nate Burleson and Jason Avant signed with the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers, respectively.

Both were linked to the Dallas Cowboys by the media (hello, that's me), but sources indicated the Cowboys had some interest in Burleson, who played for their new passing game coordinator, Scott Linehan, with the Detroit Lions. The Cowboys just were not willing to pull the trigger on a deal now, continuing their patient approach in free agency.

Could it mean the Cowboys are as content at wide receiver as owner and general manager Jerry Jones has said?

[+] EnlargeTerrance Williams
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY SportsTerrance Williams, a 2013 pick, started as the No. 3 receiver and also showed he could handle the No. 2 role. Is Dallas hoping for a repeat in the 2014 draft?
With Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams, the Cowboys are set at the top two spots. Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley would settle in as the No. 3 receiver, splitting the job depending on role. Harris has more big-play ability. Beasley is better in the quick-game routes.

I've long said the Cowboys do not need a true No. 3 receiver over the years because they have tight end Jason Witten, and the running backs have always figured prominently in the passing game.

The best performance by a No. 3 receiver for the Cowboys in the past five years has been Laurent Robinson, who caught 54 passes for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2011. But mostly the Cowboys need their third receiver to catch anywhere from 30 to 40 passes a season. Kevin Ogletree did that in 2012 with 32. Technically Roy Williams might not have been the No. 3 receiver in 2010, but he caught 37 passes. In 2009, Patrick Crayton caught 37 passes for 622 yards and 5 touchdowns.

So you’re looking for a No. 3 receiver to catch two or three passes a game when you look at the options available in how the Cowboys have constructed their offense.

But what if Bryant or Williams gets hurt? And there will be injuries. Can Harris be a No. 2 receiver and excel outside? Maybe for a few games. Beasley is just a slot receiver because of his size. That is why I thought Avant or Burleson would have been good fits. Other options remain, such as Earl Bennett and even Miles Austin, but that would be a long shot.

However, if the Cowboys were not willing to make a play for a free agent Monday, they're not going to get into the market Tuesday.

Last week, I wondered whether Gavin Escobar could be an option as the third receiver. The Cowboys like his athleticism and saw in glimpses his ability to make plays. His touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles in the season finale was an eye-opener. With the way the tight ends are used these days, Escobar has more receiver skills to him than tight end skills. He needs to get bigger and stronger to be an on-the-line tight end, but that part of his game will never be his strength. His strength will be working the seams and his ability to go get the ball.

But here is a thought: This is considered one of the deeper drafts in memory for wide receivers. Could the Cowboys be looking for their No. 3 receiver, who could be the No. 2 receiver, in the early to middle rounds of the draft?

Williams, a third-rounder last year, caught 44 passes for 736 yards and 5 touchdowns and showed he could handle the No. 2 role when Austin missed games with a hamstring injury. Williams' development played a part in the release of Austin.

If a Mike Evans fell, or if a Marqise Lee is there in the first round, could they be targets? It sure seems as if the draft is the Cowboys' preferred method to find their No. 3 receiver.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Dallas Cowboys had 12 players listed on their injury report because of hamstring injuries in 2013. In the season's final five weeks, the Cowboys lost starters Tony Romo, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Morris Claiborne and main returner Dwayne Harris to a variety of injuries.

Cowboys officials would like to solve the injury bug, though you can't predict when they may happen.

"We've looked at it not only through our viewpoint but from a league standpoint," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said. "And I think there are some issues in the fact that the clubs, with the new work rules, we get our hands on these guys a lot later now."

The new collective bargaining agreement gives players more time away from the facility during the offseason where they conduct their own types of workouts, which in some cases doesn't jive with the teams.

However, the Cowboys were frustrated with the hamstring injuries Miles Austin suffered last season and they shut him down for three weeks to recover.

Yet, there were other injuries; a quad that cost DeMarcus Ware three games (the first missed games of his career), a stinger to Jason Hatcher and Claiborne's own recovery from a hamstring injury that irked team officials because they were working hard to solve the problems.

"In the little bit of time you like to have them, in a competition strength and conditioning program before they start having their OTAs and minicamps," Jones said. "Obviously that window is shortened. We're trying to figure out (what to do). These guys need to do more work and get themselves prepared for the OTAs and minicamps."
IRVING, Texas – As the Dallas Cowboys ponder what to do with Henry Melton, Jared Allen and Brandon Weeden, let's clean up some salary-cap issues.

First the good news: Well, for Tony Romo and Sean Lee it's good news.

Romo and Lee will receive $5 million payments on their deferred signing bonus money this week. Romo received a $25 million signing bonus last year as part of his six-year, $106 million extension. Lee received a $10 million signing bonus last summer as part of a six-year, $42 million extension.

Now the bad news:

With last week's decision to designate Miles Austin a post-June 1 cut, the Cowboys created $5.5 million in salary-cap room in 2014 but they do not get the credit until June. Most of that money will go to their draft picks. But that move also created $5.105 million in dead money against the 2015 salary cap.

The Cowboys are also looking at $3.98 million in 2015 in dead money once the final two years of Doug Free's deal voids. There will be another $2.254 million in dead money once Kyle Orton's deal expires. The Cowboys could look to extend Free's contract this year, which could keep that nearly $4 million off the books.

And now some good news again:

One way to look at the release of DeMarcus Ware, which opened up $7.4 million in space this year, is that it created $17.5 million in cap room in 2015 because he is off the books.
IRVING, Texas -- Earlier today my guy, Calvin Watkins, brought you a post that says the Dallas Cowboys are rebuilding.

I don’t want to say Calvin is wrong, but, well, um, well, I don’t agree with that premise.

Romo
It’s not a rebuild the Cowboys are going through. And if you want to call it a rebuilding job, what exactly are they rebuilding from? They have won one playoff game since 1996. Teams that rebuild at least go to conference title games or Super Bowls -- and win Super Bowls.

I just don’t think you rebuild when you have a franchise quarterback that will turn 34 in April and is only in the second year of a six-year extension.

What the Cowboys have done the last few years -- and I wrote about it -- is re-tool. The departures of DeMarcus Ware, Miles Austin and Jason Hatcher are more evidence that the Cowboys are re-tooling. With Tony Romo, the Cowboys still need to win now. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said as much at the NFL scouting combine.

He doesn’t have time to wait three or four years to rebuild with Romo as his quarterback.

What the Cowboys are doing is changing their core. While Romo and Jason Witten are still the focal points of the team because of their play, status and production, the core of the team has moved on from guys like Ware, Jeremiah Ratliff, Austin, Andre Gurode, Marc Colombo, Bradie James and Terence Newman in recent years to newer players.

The core now is Sean Lee, Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, DeMarco Murray, Orlando Scandrick, Travis Frederick, Terrance Williams and Barry Church. They would love guys like Morris Claiborne, Tyrone Crawford and Gavin Escobar to join this list but they have not proven they can play yet.

The Cowboys have to maximize what they have left with Romo and Witten but not to the point where they are left in salary-cap shambles for when the “new guard” is in their prime.

Rebuilding, to me, is starting over. The Cowboys aren’t going to start over with Romo and Witten and they’re not exactly moving back to ground zero either.

What they are doing does not guarantee success or even something better than 8-8, but they are in the process of passing the torch, so to speak.
IRVING, Texas -- About three days into free agency and the Dallas Cowboys are not a better team today than they were on Monday.

They cut DeMarcus Ware. They cut Miles Austin. They have signed two defensive linemen in Jeremy Mincey and Terrell McClain that figure to be rotation parts, not cornerstone pieces.

Meanwhile elsewhere in the NFC East …

The Philadelphia Eagles have added Malcom Jenkins and Noland Carroll and traded for Darren Sproles. The Eagles also did some nice special teams' shopping with Chris Maragos and Bryan Braman and also re-signed their punter, Donnie Jones.

The New York Giants added a piece to their offensive line in Geoff Schwartz and brought in running back Rashad Jennings. The key move, however, was re-signing linebacker Jon Beason. They backed out of a deal with O'Brien Schofield.

The Washington Redskins have added wide receiver Andre Roberts, guard Shawn Lauvao and linebacker/special teamer Adam Hayward. Bruce Campbell is a low-risk help to the offensive line.

Too often we get caught up in the splashes in free agency only to see them not live up to the billing down the road.

Before free agency started Stephen Jones said the Cowboys would be efficient with their spending in free agency. To see them sit back and wait should not be surprising, but that doesn't mean fans can't be aggravated.

There are good players still to be had. The Cowboys could still re-sign Jason Hatcher or add Henry Melton. While they can afford both, I don't think signing both would make sense. They could keep Anthony Spencer and hope his repaired knee comes around. They could take fliers on some of the bigger names you want if those prices come down as free agency rolls along.

As maddening as the 8-8 finishes have been, the Cowboys have been the only team in the NFC East to compete for a division title the last three years. It's a hollow accomplishment for sure, especially when stacked up against the franchise's history, but spending for spending sake is not the best solution.

There is a plan and it has to be more than Mincey and McClain, right?
IRVING, Texas -- Having spent eight years with the Dallas Cowboys watching a number of players come and go, Miles Austin knew a day like Wednesday would come for him.

Austin
The Cowboys released the two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver after a meeting with owner and general manager Jerry Jones.

“I wasn’t completely blindsided,” Austin said. “I understood what the outcomes or scenarios could be. They let me know personally and it was handled really classy and I wouldn’t expect anything other than straight class. Now I’ve got a group of other scenarios that can come up and I’m looking forward to the next possible opportunity wherever it may be.”

Austin caught only 24 passes for 244 yards in 11 games last season and did not score a touchdown in 2013. Recurring hamstring injuries played a part in keeping Austin from matching the success he had in 2009-10.

In 2009, he took over for an injured Roy Williams and set a franchise record with 250 yards on 10 catches and two touchdowns in an overtime win at Kansas City. He finished the season with 81 catches for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns, good enough to make the Pro Bowl. A year later he signed a six-year, $54 million extension and caught 69 passes for 1,041 yards and seven touchdowns.

He missed six games in 2011 with hamstring injuries and was slowed to a degree by his hamstrings in 2012 but caught 66 passes for 943 yards and six touchdowns.

After catching 10 passes in the season opener, Austin caught only 14 passes the rest of the season.

“Anyone who knows me, any of the guys on the team, any of my friends, family, they know how much I care about how well I do for the team,” Austin said. “I want to be a complement to the team and be a contributor, regardless of what it is. Obviously it’s frustrating to deal with injuries. I wish it wasn’t the case.”

Austin was married two weeks ago. On Wednesday, his future took another twist.

“It’s been an eventful past couple of weeks,” Austin said.

What happened to Miles Austin?

March, 12, 2014
Mar 12
2:00
PM ET
The big news in the Dallas Cowboys universe on Tuesday was the release of defensive end and franchise sack leader DeMarcus Ware.

The sidebar, as we used to call it back in the newspaper world, was Miles Austin.

[+] EnlargeMiles Austin
Denny Medley/USA TODAY SportsMiles Austin spent all eight seasons of his NFL career with Dallas, catching 34 TDs for 4,481 yards.
Austin was released too, labeled a post-June 1 cut that gives the Cowboys $5.5 million in salary cap savings. It leaves the Cowboys with Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams as the projected starters at wide receiver for 2014.

What happened to Austin?

He was supposed to be this productive player with the high price tag whose average salary was $9 million per season. Hamstring injuries became more of his story than any Pro Bowl appearances.

The Cowboys valued Austin's skills but spent more time defending whether he even wanted to play than building him up.

Production is all that matters in the NFL and with Austin the 2010 season, his last Pro Bowl appearance, said it all. Austin's 1,041 yards were the third most among NFC East receivers. In 2012, Austin's 943 yards were also the third most in the division behind Bryant (1,382) and Victor Cruz (1,092).

Austin battled through hamstring injuries in 2012 and still came through with a solid season. Some wondered if Austin should remain with the Cowboys after that 2012 season.

But it all ended last season when Austin finished with just 244 receiving yards, that's the eighth-fewest yards among receivers in the NFC East. Austin battled hamstring problems and was shut down for three weeks so he could get healthy. He was just never the same explosive player last year.

He was productive, but you never got the feeling he was a dominant force like Bryant is. At times, Austin seemed to take defenses away from Bryant because of his own abilities to make plays in the open field. When defenses decided to place more defenders near Bryant last year, Austin was a ghost. Maybe his hamstring problems prevented him from making the plays that earned him two Pro Bowl appearances.

Austin was always this happy-go-lucky guy who was very smart and well liked in the locker room.

It was almost as if Austin was just happy to be here and was living the dream until somebody woke him up. Well the receiver from New Jersey should be wide awake now after the Cowboys sent him packing Tuesday.

Austin was never one to give you his thoughts totally on things. He would chat with you about the Yankees or Derek Jeter, yet when it came time for a real discussion about the Cowboys, he shielded himself by sticking with the company line.

The last moment of Austin's time with the Cowboys came on Kyle Orton's interception that sealed the victory for the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2013 regular-season finale.

Orton said he made a poor throw and took the blame.

I remember asking Austin to talk about what happened on the play and in a rare moment of insight, he said he should have done more to break up the pass. It was as if Austin didn't want his time with the Cowboys to end this way, second-guessing himself, about the final offensive play of the season.

Austin's production will be missed, but his inconsistency and hamstring issues won't.
A few thoughts on the New York Jets did (correction: didn't do) on the first day of free agency:

1. Rough start: It wasn't a productive day for the Idziks. They lost right tackle Austin Howard to the Oakland Raiders, watched as the three highest-rated corners came off the board and began to hear the rumblings of a Darrelle Revis-to-the-New England Patriots scenario -- a potential nightmare. But, hey, they re-signed kicker Nick Folk to a long-term deal.

2. Patience: The lack of activity set off a near panic among fans who wanted general manager John Idzik to put in dent in that $39.6 million cap surplus. Relax, people. It was only the first day, when desperate teams throw ridiculous money at players not worthy of superstar paychecks. Championships aren't won in March. Jets fans should know that better than anyone.

3. Howard's end: The Jets liked Howard, they really did, but they liked him only to a certain point. Idzik didn't want to match the five-year, $30 million offer from the Raiders, and that was that. His fallback option appears to be former Seattle Seahawks right tackle Breno Giacomini, who was good enough to start for the Super Bowl champions.

4. They like Mike: It has been rumored for weeks, but now it can be confirmed: Yes, the Jets have interest in quarterback Michael Vick (Philadelphia Eagles), according to a league source. They also scheduled a visit with Josh McCown (Chicago Bears), who also has visits set up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (the favorite) and the Houston Texans. Vick reportedly is drawing interest from the Buffalo Bills and Raiders. The Jets would like to get it wrapped up quickly, but it sounds like Vick will take his time. Meanwhile, Mark Sanchez is twisting in the wind, waiting to learn his fate.

5. Dangerous corner: It's too soon to say the Jets are desperate at cornerback, but I bet Rex Ryan is feeling a bit uneasy about his current situation. The Jets expressed a strong interest in Vontae Davis, but he re-signed with the Indianapolis Colts for four years, $39 million. Alterraun Verner was on the Jets' radar, but he signed with the Buccaneers for four years, $25.5 million. The Denver Broncos took Aqib Talib away from the New England Patriots with a crazy contract -- six years, $57 million. The cornerback market isn't barren yet, but the Jets might want to get busy. Keep an eye on Captain Munnerlyn (Carolina Panthers) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Denver Broncos). And, of course, Antonio Cromartie is out there. Remember him?

6. 'Folk Hero' gets paid: Folk wore the franchise tag for only two weeks. On Tuesday, he signed a four-year, $12 million contract. The deal reportedly includes only $2.1 million in guarantees, about $1.4 million less than what he would've received if he had signed the $3.55 million franchise tender. Folk wanted a long-term deal for security, but in reality, it won't be hard to cut him if he has a bad year. Good deal for the Jets.

7. Quiet at receiver: Not much action for the free-agent wide receivers. Here's a name to watch: Miles Austin, who was released by the Dallas Cowboys. The receiver-needy Jets are expected to have interest. They're also showing interest in running back Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars) at "the right price," a source said. They're eyeing other backs as well.
In the last 24 hours, Wade Phillips has become interested in his won-loss record with the Dallas Cowboys.

Phillips has spoken to the people through Twitter with these comments:

Then we have this:

And this:

Recently, Phillips said his age, 66, was holding him back from another head coaching job. Phillips is a good coach who achieved some success with the Cowboys in his four seasons. He was the perfect hire for the Cowboys after four hard years with Bill Parcells’ demanding ways.

Parcells, a Hall of Famer with two Super Bowl rings, has a style that grinds on players.

Phillips is more of grandfatherly type of coach whose style is the opposite.

Garrett, the current head coach, is somewhere between the styles of Parcells and Phillips, which might explain why the Cowboys have been mediocre under his tenure.

Garrett probably needs to grind on the players more, and while there is a healthy respect level for the man, his philosophy is not leading to positive results: meaning playoff appearances.

It was just interesting to see Phillips come out of nowhere to discuss his record with the Cowboys. I remember Jerry Jones saying a few years ago that Phillips never had a honeymoon as the head coach with the Cowboys.

Phillips' reign was always questioned about whether he had command of the team and if the respect was there.

If you look at core group of players, Tony Romo, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin, the most success they obtained was under Phillips.

There was the 2009 playoff win, the two division titles with a No. 1 playoff seed in the NFC in 2007, all under Phillips.

Yet, we had the Pacman Jones suspension, the 44-6 loss at Philadelphia, Terrell Owens’ antics and finally the 1-7 start to the 2010 season, which led to Phillips’ firing.

Maybe Phillips is just being passive aggressive with his Twitter thoughts about what he thinks of Garrett. The current coach of the Cowboys is entering the final year of his contract and there’s no guarantee he’ll receive an extension. (Phillips, by the way, received one extension from Jones).

Maybe Phillips is trying to remind everyone that his time in Dallas brought better results than Garrett’s. At least Phillips got to the postseason.

And in some ways Jones is mindful of this and probably can’t give Garrett the contract extension he wants until he can break the Cowboys cycle of 8-8 seasons.

If Garrett can’t do that, the tenure of the son of the late Bum Phillips will always have been a more successful period in Cowboys history.

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