FRISCO, Texas – Nine days to remember.
First, the Cowboys sign DeMarcus Lawrence to a long-term deal a week ago Tuesday, the largest average salary in club history, along with the largest guarantee.
That night in Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki plays his final home game of his 21-year career with the Mavericks.
A week ago Wednesday, the Dallas Stars return to the playoffs for the first time since 2016 – and win – and Wednesday night at the AAC were playing the fourth game of the best of seven series.
Then this past Sunday, Tiger wins The Masters.
Going into Wednesday night's game at Globe Life Park adjacent to AT&T Stadium, after obliterating Texas Rangers pitching earlier in the season, Mike Trout had gone a human 1-for-6 with three walks in the previous two games, a monumental accomplishment from giving up five-homers in the previous four-game series to Trout.
Then on Wednesday, not only has the 2019 NFL schedule come out, but the Cowboys unveil the Gil Brandt monument on the Dr Pepper Ring of Honor Walk, in conjunction with the annual Cowboys pre-draft press conference.
And to think, now come some shots, too.
- Not Again: Here is a novel idea: Why don't the Cowboys open the 2019 season against the New York Giants. Come on, turn the page. Because for the sixth time in eight years, yep, the Cowboys will open the season against the Giants, this time Sept. 8 at AT&T Stadium.
- Mean Streak: Come on, why punish the Cowboys so for playing host to a Thanksgiving Day game for the 42nd straight season? Have to play at Detroit on Nov. 17, then a long road trip to Foxboro, Mass., on Sunday, Nov. 24, play on Thanksgiving at home against Buffalo on Nov. 28 and then have to go on the road again a week later to play at Chicago the following Thursday, Dec. 5. Kidding me, four games in 19 days, three of those on the road. And the NFL and competition committee want to stress player safety. Give me a break.
- Cowboys Strong: As in Cowboys strong-side linebacker. No one talks about it, even with starter Damien Wilson departing in free agency. Keep telling you, as of April 17, the No. 1 choice to play there will be Sean Lee. He's healthy. He won't have to play as many plays. And the Cowboys can play the strong side backer in a different manner than usual, though I'm told he's capable of laying some on the line of scrimmage. Think about it, that would mean behind the front four could be Vander Esch-Smith-Lee. Not too shabby, eh.
- Safety Strong: Again, while so many are clamoring for the Cowboys to select a safety, any safety, with their first pick, the 58th of the draft, COO Stephen Jones put it this way, "Just pick a good football player." Jones also put it this way, if you're drafting a safety that high, he has to be a serious "playmaker." And went on to say, "I'd take a playmaking safety but they are few, far and in between . . . they are rare."
- Travis Strong: Ran into Cowboys center Travis Frederick the other day out here at The Star, and says he is fully participating in the team's strength and conditioning program which officially began on Monday. Says he's getting his upper-body strength back, and is running. Sure seems like he's back to walking normally again. Not only recovering from the Guillain-Barre Syndrome, but Travis had shoulder surgery to repair labrum tears and also repairs for an umbilical hernia.
- Stay Still: There seem to be many out there hoping the Cowboys will trade back into the first round next Thursday, ignoring the price would at least be next year's first-rounder – and more. When Stephen Jones was asked the question, he was very dismissive, saying, ""It took an act of Congress to give up a first-round pick (for Amari Cooper). We know how valuable those are. It took a lot of discussion, a lot of homework, a lot of really getting your hands around to give up a first-round pick (for Cooper). And certainly, it's something you don't love to be without." Feeling grows worse next Thursday while having to sit still all night.
- Market Value: That seems to be the notion on how much the Cowboys will have to pay Dak Prescott on a long-term deal after Russell Wilson signs a six-year, $140 million deal, averaging $35 million a year with $107 mill in guarantees, meaning market value has risen to roughly $30 million a year. But, caution: If the Cowboys are paying Dak a year or even two before they have to guarantee big bucks, how much of a discount would that be worth? The Cowboys generally need deadlines to give up cap money. And that's what it comes down to, cap money. As team owner Jerry Jones said Wednesday, "I think it's always imperative to keep enough of your resources that you can take advantage of a great opportunity, be cap room, flexibility in the cap, wherever you are be ready to get when an opportunity comes your way . . . we have always tried to keep that flexibility." That is why you can't be cavalier or carried away, no matter what folks think market value is for a QB.
- So Many Shots: Next time you visit the Dr Pepper Star Walk, pay attention to the blue star representing Gil Brandt, and the quote by his name, compliments of Roger Staubach: "My life would have been dramatically different if it weren't for Gil Brandt and his belief in me." . . . Not sure how high they go, but backup running back still is a draft priority for the Cowboys, and as far as high they might take a running back to back up Ezekiel Elliott, we are reminded that in 1995, in need of a backup for Emmitt Smith, the Cowboys selected Sherman Williams in the second round, 46th pick . . . Last word goes to Brandt, stressing the importance of following your board, pointing out in 1979, when the Cowboys were on the clock, the board said take QB Joe Montana. But since the Cowboys already had three quarterbacks on the roster, including Roger Staubach and Danny White, they passed, took tight end Doug Cosbie, a really nice player as it turns out, and with the next pick the 49ers grabbed Montana. You know the rest of the story.
What a week-and-a-half. Can't wait to see what shakes out over the next nine days.