FRISCO, Texas – June already!
Another OTA on Thursday. A couple more next week. A three-day minicamp the week after that. And don't look now, by then the Cowboys will be five weeks from the start of training camp.
How time flies.
And how the questions facing the Cowboys continue to mount, those needing answers before that 9/11 Sunday night season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Who is the backup left offensive tackle, backup right offensive tackle, er, if someone can handle both, the swing tackle?
Who is the starting left guard? Will it be first-round draft choice Tyler Smith, or might Connor McGovern, the former third-round pick, step up, possibly pushing Smith into one of the above roles?
Who is the backup center behind Tyler Biadasz? Matt Farniok? Maybe McGovern if not starting at left guard, thus manning the all-important game-day role as backup center/guard?
Can Jalen Tolbert earn the third receiver job behind CeeDee Lamb and James Washington? Or might that spot – until Michael Gallup is ready to go like sometime in October – become a rotational position by situation?
Since don't think the Cowboys can be serious about not providing some kicking competition for free-agent rookie Jonathan Garibay, just who might that be? And see where Detroit waived Aldrick Rojas, the veteran who has kicked for five teams over the past five seasons, hitting on 57 of 62 field goals during his three years with the Giants (2017-19), an 82.7 percent conversion rate, but just 86 of 94 extra points.
Can last year's third-round pick Chauncey Golston successfully make the conversion from defensive end to defensive tackle, where the Cowboys currently are looking at that possible alternative? Or at least of playing a dual role?
Certainly, the Cowboys, and probably not until at the earliest the start of training camp, must find out if Jabril Cox is ready for that third linebacker role. Or might Luke Gifford or sixth-round pick Devin Harper earn that role?
And there seems to be a logjam at the safety position, the Cowboys' current roster stocked with seven of them. Could these two guys, free-agent rookie Markquese Bell and last year's rookie practice squader Tyler Coyle, who played in two games last year, squeeze their way onto the 53-man roster?
Good thing that season opener still is 14 weeks away.
- Nice Touch: The Cowboys, in conjunction with the NFL Foundation, are lending financial support to the city of Uvalde, Texas, after last week's horrific tragedy, 19 fourth-grade students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School killed in the mass shooting. A total of $400,000 will be donated, with $200,000 going to the Robb School Memorial Fund and the other $200,000 to the Uvalde Strong Fund. The $400,000 will directly support the families of the victims, survivors and the Uvalde community as they seek to recover from this senseless tragedy. Just typing this still is hard. Those wishing to donate to the Uvalde Strong Fund can do so by visiting https://cftexashillcountry.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=2452. Lending dollars helps. Now how about some sense.
- More $ & ¢: The Cleveland Browns certainly didn't help the Cowboys' cause to sign franchised tight end Dalton Schultz to a long-term contract by the July 15 deadline; otherwise, he plays this season on the one-year $10.93 million guaranteed tag. The Browns signed their tight end, David Njoku, to a reported four-year $56.75 million deal with $25 million fully guaranteed at signing over the first two years. That for a guy whose numbers this past year pale in comparison to those of Schultz, who caught 78 passes for 808 yards and eight touchdowns. Helping Schultz's cause is having caught 12 touchdown passes over the past two seasons, ranking him sixth in the NFL, but just one TD shy of a four-way tie for third.
- It's June 1: Remember, the Cowboys made starting right tackle La'el Collins a post-June 1 release. That means on Thursday they recoup his $10 million base salary, but now must account for a total of $13.95 million in dead money over the next two seasons – $5.35 million this year and another $8.6 million next year. But you can look at it this way: If Terence Steele pans out as the projected starting right tackle in Collins' place, the third-year undrafted free agent will count just $898,394 against the cap this year, nearly a $9 million savings … if the move works.
- That's Dak: Came up with this stat thanks to the StatMuse.com site, where was able to compare QB ratings over the past three seasons of quarterbacks playing at least 35 games and attempting 800 passes. Dak Prescott in 37 games, with 1,414 attempts, finished with a 101.6 rating, ranking him sixth overall behind Aaron Rodgers (109.2), Kirk Cousins (105.0), Russell Wilson (105.0), Patrick Mahomes (103.7) and Ryan Tannehill (102.0). Dak also finished tied for 6th in completion percentage with Rodgers at 67.1 percent. Just in case you were wondering where Dak ranks among NFL quarterbacks.
- OTA Shorts: Sounds as if Tyron Smith, who missed the OTA workout open to the media last week with back tightness, should be able to go in Thursday's session open to the media … Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy was hopeful last week that third-round pick Jalen Tolbert would be able to do some work in Thursday's workout, and it appears veteran wideout James Washington is about ready to come out of his boot (sore foot tendon) and will be able to at least do some on-field rehab … Sure hoping to see Garibay do some kicking in Thursday's workout.
And finally, maybe Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald, only the best defensive player in the land, can do the Cowboys a favor and retire, as he keeps hinting this offseason after eight years in the league, since the Cowboys are scheduled to play the Rams on Oct. 9 in Los Angeles. That would be a huge load off their hands, no pun intended.
So, let's give Donald today's last word when speaking on the possibility, though knowing he's owed $14.25 million in 2022 and counts $26.75 million against the Rams cap, equal to his dead money if he should retire but has only $5 million guaranteed over the next three seasons.
"It ain't about the money," Donald insists, "but it's business at the end of the day."
Ain't it always.