Eatman: From Contracts To Manziel To Late-Game Picks, Some Random Thoughts

IRVING, Texas – Football season is finally over. Wow, what a long year.

Remember when the Cowboys had Michael Sam on the team? Remember when Joseph Randle got into his odd off-the-field issues? Remember when Tony Romo was managing that back injury during the week? Yeah, well that could've been any moment actually.

But the point is, it was a long, long year for the Cowboys and the NFL, but it all ended in one of the best Super Bowls of all time.

Like anyone, I had some random thoughts on the game and other events regarding the team and league, so I figured I'd just share a few here on this quiet Monday at Valley Ranch.

  • For starters, anyone who has listened to the Cowboys Break lately knows my stance on Russell Wilson. I do think he's a great athlete and a smart young player who will get better. I compared him last week to Steven McNair – a guy who doesn't always look ideal in the pocket, but manages to move the chains. In this game, though, he did play very well. I've called Wilson "average" and overall I do think he's one of the Top-16 quarterbacks in the league, mainly because of his passing. On this night, he played well enough to win, but it was odd that the Seahawks decided to put the ball in his hands, rather than the Skittles-chomping back who couldn't be stopped most of the night.
  • Ironically enough, I thought it was strange that Wilson, who really isn't the most accurate of passers, especially over the middle, throws the game-losing interception on … an accurate pass. Think about it, he threw the ball exactly where you're supposed to with a crossing route. The problem was, Malcom Butler knew exactly what was coming and got to the spot first. But many of Wilson's passes are a bit behind his intended target. If this one would've been, Butler can't get to the ball and it likely falls right into the stomach of the Seattle receiver, who backs in for a touchdown.
  • While Wilson seemed very unlucky with that play, let's not forget what goes around usually does come around. That two-point conversion prayer he threw up in the NFC Championship Game was somehow answered. If that falls incomplete, Green Bay likely goes down and wins the game. So things usually work themselves out.
  • Speaking of, how coincidental of a domino-effect did we see this year in the playoffs, starting with the NFC. Detroit feels like it had a game stolen from them by the refs and the Cowboys. Dallas goes to Green Bay and gets robbed by a misinterpretation of the rulebook and a few guys sitting in the league office. Then the Packers don't get robbed, but have their hearts yanked out in the final minutes of regulation by the Seahawks and a misplayed onside kick. So Seattle goes to the Super Bowl, only to get 1 yard away from winning the game, but never even got to run their best play with their best player.
  • Oh, in a few weeks or so we'll hear more about the deflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game. Maybe some do, but I don't really care. My take hasn't changed: If the balls were so bad then why in the world didn't either of the officials who handle and spot the footballs – EVERY PLAY – say anything about it before? If anyone gets punished, the refs should be atop the list.
  • If there was that 1 percent of Cowboys fans who still wished they had drafted Johnny Manziel and not Zack Martin, I'm sure we're at a full 100 percent by now. But honestly, every team before the Cowboys' pick, including the Giants, who nabbed Odell Beckham Jr., has probably second-guessed themselves for not evaluating Martin a little higher.
  • But seriously on Manziel, we all like to make jokes about the guy and mock his money-fingers and all that, but now that he's admittedly heading to rehab, I think it's only the right thing to do to wish him well. We're not talking about a Heisman Trophy winner. We're not talking about a first-round pick, or even a quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. This is a 22-year-old kid who has a problem. He's going to be a man much longer than he'll ever be a football player and that's what he's going to get turned around – his life. If he can do that, his football career can follow suit. 
  • Anyone catch the NFL Honors Show on Saturday night? Not a bad evening for the Cowboys. Of course, DeMarco Murray took home the AP Offensive Player of the Year Award, which was certainly deserved. I think we all knew Jason Garrett and Tony Romo wouldn't win Coach of the Year and MVP, respectively, but being on the list at least showed some respect. Rolando McClain was also one of the finalists for Comeback Player of the Year.  I thought to myself, how many players here represented in this show will not be back with their respective teams in 2015? Garrett and Romo are coming back, but the jury is still out on Murray and McClain. In fact, there's a good chance both are gone.
  • Speaking of which, that has certainly become the most popular question I get from people these days. It can be from friends, family, acquaintances or just random peeps on Twitter. "What's up with Dez and DeMarco?" It's like a package deal. My answer is always the same: "Dez isn't going anywhere. And we'll just have to see about DeMarco." That's really all we have. Yeah, you can try to read between the lines on the stuff Murray says to the media. He even told me in Arizona how much he wants to stay and how this is his family. But, he's got to take care of his real family and this second contract is always the biggest for NFL players. Personally, if the Cowboys can just be fair and pay him respectably like one of the top backs in the league, I think he'll stay and try to win a Super Bowl. But if it's a slap-in-the-face deal, then I think he will go to another team, like he should.

 Nick Eatman is the author of the recently published *If These Walls Could Talk: Dallas Cowboys, a collection of stories from the Cowboys' locker room, sideline and press box, with a foreword written by Darren Woodson.*

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