Dallas Cowboys: Three offseason notes

dallas cowboys

Josh Brent (Photo credit: L.M. Otero/AP)

It’s been a full month since the agony of Week 17, and while the rest of the country looks to New York, the NFL’s favorite dysfunctional family is at it again. Here are three things to watch for as the Cowboys continue their offseason:

New play-caller

Though the team has yet to confirm the deal, former Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan was at Valley Ranch on Monday and appears to have accepted a position on the Dallas Cowboys’ staff. Linehan will likely be labeled the team’s passing game coordinator, but his main role will be as offensive play-caller, Dallas’s third in three years.

The deal appears to be something of a compromise between head coach Jason Garrett and headstrong owner Jerry Jones, who tactlessly stripped Garrett of his play-calling duties last offseason and gave them to OC Bill Callahan. Callahan has reportedly received support from key players like Tony Romo, but with Garrett insisting on a replacement, hiring Linehan may be the best solution to a tense situation.

Callahan, notably, is not on board with this plan. His role with the team is unclear at this point, though he remains under contract and widely expected to stay on the staff.

2  What to do with Josh Brent?

Last week former Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years probation for intoxication manslaughter, a sentence he earned after the 2012 car crash that killed his teammate Jerry Brown.

The Cowboys have been generous in their support of Brent, and it leads one to wonder—do they intend to bring him back? Although it seems at first implausible, Dallas has never really shied away from questionable characters, and it’s hard to believe that Brent would be so dense as to get himself in more trouble after his release.

His release, by the way, is set for July 23rd of this year, or just a few days before Dallas begins training camp. Hmm. With the way this line has played, the Cowboys can’t afford to rule it out.

The Draft

Speaking of the defensive line, it should be priority No. 1 for Dallas as the draft approaches. This year’s draft features a deep group of linemen, and depending on who’s left on the board by the time No. 16 or 17 rolls around, the Cowboys could land DT Timmy Jernigan of Florida State, DE Dee Ford out of Auburn or even DT Aaron Donald of Pittsburgh, fresh off his impressive week at the Senior Bowl.

One interesting mock draft from SB Nation has the Cowboys trading down to pick 29 and taking DT Ra’Shede Hageman out of Minnesota. And if the ‘Boys were to, for some odd reason, stray from the line with their first pick, they could opt for a safety like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama or Louisville’s Calvin Pryor.

Of course Dallas will address the defense first, but also worth following is whether it uses any picks on a quarterback. The time has certainly come to find an heir to Tony’s, um, throne. Jimmy Garoppolo, Derek Carr, A.J. McCarron and Tajh Boyd are all big-name quarterbacks who could be around long enough for the Cowboys to have them—if they want them.

Along with the hiring of tight ends coach Mike Pope, the perpetual uncertainty regarding the futures of Miles Austin and Jason Hatcher, and the possibility of a new role for much-maligned defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, these are just a few of the developments of the Dallas offseason, one that looks certain to entertain if nothing else. After all, as Jerry Jones has said, his team sure knows how to put on a “show.”

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