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Mailbag: Forgotten Players? Dak Testing Market?


Given the fact that there was no training camp to speak of, and some of the grades given to the 2020 draftees, why does it seem like a lot of the "experts" are calling for help at the DE & LB position? The team drafted some young talent that really never got an opportunity to show their stuff. Bradlee Anae and Ron'Dell Carter come to mind at the DE position, and Francis Bernard at the LB position. What say you about using our choices to draft high at these positions? — BRUCE HOLDEN / GLEN BURNIE, MD

Nick: If those guys develop into players, then that's a bonus. But can you imagine passing on a stud defensive end because you've got Bradlee Anae on the roster? No, you've got to move forward thinking they're not going to contribute much because they didn't last year. If they surprise you, deal with that "problem" then.

Rob: It's a talking point because they've got depth questions at both positions, for one, and you can never have enough impact edge rushers. Aldon Smith, Sean Lee and Joe Thomas are all set to be free agents, Leighton Vander Esch has dealt with injuries, and Jaylon Smith's production is probably the most debated of anyone on the team among fans and media. I just think with the exception of a couple positions on offense – like wide receiver and quarterback, assuming a Dak deal will eventually get done — you can make a valid argument to invest a draft pick at any spot on the roster right now.

Call me crazy, but if the Cowboys tag Dak again, I can't see him agreeing to any contract with them. He'll want to test the market since he knows Dallas won't tag him again. The only way for the Cowboys to keep him beyond 2021 is to sign him before 4pm on March 9. Agree? — RAY NOONE / ROCHESTER, NY

Nick: I don't know if I agree. But I can see why you think that way. At this point, it's hard to see them signing Dak just because it hasn't happened and they've dragged this on for so long. If he's not signed by March 9, I think there's a chance to sign him long-term. But it pretty much wipes out any chance to be active in free agency.

Rob: No, I think that's just speculation, because even in that scenario, I don't see why both sides wouldn't try to see if the right deal can be made by mid-July. And to this point, there's been no indication of tension or contentiousness over the contract situation. Dak has been rehabbing at The Star, as has been reported, and all indications are his recovery from the ankle injury is on track. Yes, you can argue the tag isn't an ideal scenario for either side. But if a deal isn't done by next Tuesday, you can't just assume there's no way both sides can reach an agreement in the next four-plus months, barring a complete breakdown in communication. Can you tell I'd like it to get done so we can all stop talking about this?

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