FRISCO, Texas – Strange set of occurrences these next couple of months.
First, on Wednesday, we had a collision of dates between Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day. As we’ve been told, this is the first time this has happened since 1945.
Which then made me wonder, well then, when’s Easter this year? Well, my calendar tells me we have another collision of dates forthcoming. Easter is on … April Fool’s Day. That’s right, April 1, and this is the first time that has happened since 1956. My gosh, so long ago, the Cowboys were still four years away from their first season in 1960.
Hopefully this week’s Shots won’t be as obscure.
- What A Jim: What a life Jim Garrett had over his 87 years. First, he and his wife Jane raised eight kids, including Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, Cowboys director of advance scouting Judd Garrett and former Cowboys assistant coach John Garrett, and is survived by 28 grandchildren and one great grandchild. What we know is Jim first joined the Cowboys in 1968 and ended up spending 36 of 38 seasons either coaching or in scouting, including the last 17 of those years in the Cowboys scouting department. He also played in the NFL with the Eagles and Giants, and in the CFL with the B.C. Lions and Ottawa RoughRiders. My gosh, he even went to spring training one year with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Sure did pack a lot into 87 years, having passed away this past week. But my best memory of Jim will always be those times the scouts came back to The Ranch and just hung out in the atrium, guys like Jim and Dick Mansperger, Ron Marciniak and Walt Yowarski, just telling stories and sharing their highly-opinionated political opinions. I should have had to pay for being in the audience at times.
- *Another QB: *No, not a player, but another former quarterback appears to be coming along as a Cowboys assistant coach. Reports have Doug Nussmeier being hired as the Cowboys tight ends coach. Not a bad hire. The former NFL backup quarterback has been an offensive coordinator at such places as Michigan, Alabama, Washington, Fresno State and lastly at Florida.So add Nussmeier to Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan and Kellen Moore, and that adds up to a big QB IQ.
- Safety First: Keep hearing all this talk about Byron Jones moving from safety to cornerback, the position he played some his rookie season in 2015. But look, he was a backup corner, only starting three games there, and at that because of injury. Played some in the slot, but sure didn’t think he was that effective. Now, he did go down into the slot on the Cowboys dime defense these past two years, but that was to cover tight ends. Not sure I’d like him matching up against the likes of Sterling Shepard, Nelson Agholor, Keenan Allen or JuJu Smith-Schuster.
- On The Corner: Deep down, Cowboys starting cornerback Orlando Scandrick doesn’t think he will be back for 2018, despite having two more years left on his contract. Keep reading the Cowboys would save his $3 million base salary. But guess what? His dead money if he’s not a June 1-release designation would count $3.88 million, the remaining unaccounted portion of his signing and restructure bonuses. That still counts.
- Capping The Eagles: Don’t think the Eagles will come back as is in 2018. They will have some salary cap dilemmas. First of all, the Super Bowl champs already are $4.6 million over the projected cap. Next, since it seems they have found a suitable replacement for Jason Peters at left tackle with TCU’s Halapoulivaati Vaitai there is talk of making the Pro Bowler Peters a June 1 release that would free up $8.7 million. The 36-year-old left tackle coming off that season-ending knee injury would count $11.7 million against the cap. Eagles insist he’s their starting left tackle. Sometimes the cap precludes some best-laid plans. They probably are thinking the same about wide receiver Torrey Smith, wondering if his 2018 base of $5 million is worth his 36 catches for 430 yards. All this because the Eagles also must make decisions on unrestricted free agents Nigel Bradham, Corey Graham and Patrick Robinson. No one is immune.
- *Free-Agency Downer: *Many of these free-agent signings all sound good from the start. But check this out: When the Giants signed Cowboys gadget-guy Dwayne Harris to a five-year, $17.5 million deal in 2015, and he counted just $1.8 million against the cap, all was great. Now that he’s going to count $4 million against the cap in his fourth year, there is talk of possibly releasing him to create cap room. Same with Brandon Marshall, set to count $6.1 million on the Giants’ cap, and they probably are wondering if his 18 catches for 154 yards in 2017 is now worth the two-year, $11 million investment.
- Johnny “Canadian” Football? So Johnny Manziel is trying his hardest to get his name back in the conversation with his recent national morning show interview, revealing he has been diagnosed as bipolar. Well, if he’s going to even have a chance to jump-start his football life, going to the CFL is probably his only hope. Can’t imagine an NFL team will take a chance on him. Remember, there is a salary cap, and he never did show he was worth the first-round money Cleveland gave him. So for an NFL team to ever again bet on him, he’s going to have to bet on himself in the CFL, not only showing he can play but also that he can behave.