How beneficial do you think the joint practices with the Rams will be? Even though it is just practice, I would assume getting reps against a talented roster like that will help this team come together? — FRANK B. / JERSEY CITY, NJ
David: If you want my honest opinion, I'm not a big fan of joint practices. Training camp is a long enough grind as it is, and inviting another team in just amps things up to another level. I think it carries a heightened risk of injury, and we all know how often these joint practices devolve into fights and chaos. Mike McCarthy clearly thinks it can be beneficial to the team, and that's his call. Personally, I'll just be crossing my fingers and hoping no one gets injured.
Nick: I think there's always two ways to look at it – which is usually the case with all things. But while there is an argument to be made that it's better to beat up on another team rather than continually hitting your own guys, I think there are also quite a bit of negative aspects about practicing with another team. If both teams can have a good, healthy practice against each other, it'd be fine. But it never happens like that. I can't recall a time where teams that practiced or scrimmage at camp didn't end up in a major fight. It happened in Denver in 2008. Happened again in San Diego in 2012. Of course,it happened a couple of times in Oxnard against the Raiders and Rams. It just seems to be more of a waste of time sometimes. At least the Rams are not on the schedule this year because that would make the practices even more basic and vanilla than before.
Will or do you think the Cowboys will try to sign Tony Pollard before next season, when the cost will go up? I know that Michael Gallup is due also. Who else do they have to consider? — STEPHEN GRAYSON / GREENVILLE, MS
David: NFL rules actually stipulate that Tony can't re-negotiate his contract yet, as you have to be finished with your third season to be eligible for a new deal. The Cowboys will be able to talk to him in January if they want to – though it's hard to imagine that happening, considering how much they have already invested in Zeke. For this team, I think the next names to know for contract extensions are either Michael Gallup or Connor Williams – but I'd be fairly surprised if either of those happened before the season is over.
Nick: This is a big year of Pollard if he wants a new deal this next year. My gut tells me nothing will happen until he becomes a free agent after the 2022 season. If he blows up this year, he probably wouldn't want to do a deal early if he knows a big payday is coming. As for other guys, let's look at Gallup, Connor Williams, Randy Gregory and even Leighton Vander Esch as players who are getting to the end of their contracts. Gallup is very interesting because if he has a big season, the Cowboys might make sure they keep him around with a new deal. There's no guaranteed they wouldn't keep all three players or even Amari's contract could get altered as well. But Gallup has to produce in a big way, and I think he will.