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Updates: McCarthy Fined; Cowboys Lose 2023 OTA

Don't miss any of the action with our daily updates: news, notes and more throughout the Cowboys' regular season. Presented by

June 16 Updates

5:21 p.m. - For the second straight year, the Cowboys are being disciplined by the NFL for a violation of the offseason practice rules. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy has once again been fined by the NFL – this time for $100,000. The OTA practices were apparently too physical - the same complained levied against McCarthy and the Cowboys last year.

Not only does McCarthy get the fine, but the Cowboys will be docked one OTA day next spring.

Ironically, the Cowboys were supposed to hold a three-day minicamp this week but McCarthy limited to just one day on the field, stating he felt the players and coaches had "crossed the finish line" for the summer. The Cowboys players and coaches are off until the start of training camp on July 25. 


11:49 a.m. - With CeeDee Lamb moving into the No. 1 receiver role, coupled with Cedrick Wilson's departure in free agency, the Cowboys are in need for a punt returner. 

Rookie WR Jalen Tolbert might just be the guy, according to coach Mike McCarthy.

Tolbert, who did miss a few weeks recovering from a hamstring injury, was one of the players getting extended reps returning punts this offseason.

"He's done a nice job with the limited reps he's had," McCarthy said. "He seems pretty natural back there." 


11:21 a.m. - The second-year cornerback has been in attendance all offseason, although he's been sidelined the last two weeks with what head coach Mike McCarthy described as a "minor injury." 

McCarthy said he has no news to share regarding Joseph's status regarding his connection to a shooting death in Dallas back in March.

"I haven't been told anything for at least a month," said McCarthy, who added that he expects Joseph to be at "full go" for the start of training camp. 

Joseph is expected to compete for playing time this season with fellow corners Trevon Diggs, Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis. 


June 14 Updates

4:29 p.m. - When the Cowboys drafted Tyler Smith back in April, it was assumed by most that he would play left guard. So far, Connor McGovern didn't seem to get that message.

And even if Smith ends up unseating McGovern for the role, he's not making it easy on the rookie. On Tuesday before the minicamp practice, head coach Mike McCarthy praised the veteran guard.

"I think Connor has done an excellent job. I think like anything you control what you can control. We have so many players and he's one of them right there that we have the captains workouts," McCarthy said. "These guys have been here since February and Connor has been one of those guys. So, this is clearly the best shape he's been in. It's the strongest he's been. The numbers that he has pushed, his body index, all of those components are really what you look for, and he's maxed this time of year to get ready for the competition."

McGovern got most of the first-team reps at left guard. But don't forget, Smith is also getting left tackle reps when Tyron Smith is limited.


8 a.m. – After choosing not to participate in last week's final set of voluntary OTAs, tight end Dalton Schultz is expected to return for this week's mandatory minicamp, which starts with practice Tuesday.

Schultz, currently on the one-year, $10.9 million franchise tag, is seeking a multi-year contract with the Cowboys. Both sides have until July 15 to negotiate a new deal or Schultz must play the season on the tag.

Head coach Mike McCarthy said last week that he understood Schultz's absence was simply a "business" decision, but wasn't sure if he'd be back for practice this week.


June 8 Updates

1:33 p.m. – The Cowboys' entire nine-man draft class is about to be under contract.

Fourth-round pick Jake Ferguson, the last unsigned rookie, has agreed to a four-year deal.

The other eight draft picks signed their rookie deals in recent weeks: Tyler Smith, Sam Williams, Jalen Tolbert, Matt Waletzko, DaRon Bland, Damone Clark, John Ridgeway and Devin Harper.

Ferguson is likely in line for more practice reps at OTAs this week because starting tight end Dalton Schultz, who's on the franchise tag, is not expected to participate in the final set of voluntary practices as he seeks a new contract.


June 7 Updates

8:22 p.m. – Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz isn't exactly taking a stand, but maybe just making a point by skipping out on the voluntary OTA practices this week as he hopes for a new long-term deal. Schultz is expected to attend next week's minicamp, which is mandatory for all players. But still, if there's someone who understands his stance, it would be Dak Prescott, who went over two years in search of a new deal.

"I realize that I went through the things that I went through, obviously not just in life but in football as well, to help others," Dak said Tuesday night during the Reliant Home Run Derby, an event Schultz did not attend. "Just being able to talk to Dalton, maybe ease his mind through some of this and just understand that I went through this process. A lot of people go through this process. He's a guy that I feel very comfortable with, have a lot of trust with. He knows that. The team knows that. So I'm confident in that situation."

Dak said he keeps communication with Schultz. More importantly, he is expecting Schultz to have a similar outcome as he did - with a new contract.

"Me and Schultz talk all the time. So I knew what was happening, the team does, and as I said, we'll handle it," Dak said.


June 3 Updates

4:42 p.m. – Rookie wide receiver Jalen Tolbert wasn't back to regular OTA practice work on Wednesday, but he did field punts during the early portion.

Tolbert did not practice in last week's open OTA because of a hamstring injury, though head coach Mike McCarthy was optimistic he could participate some this week. The Cowboys are clearly being mindful of the third-round pick's workload right now.

The Cowboys were light at receiver Wednesday with Tolbert limited, Noah Brown also not practicing in team drills, James Washington rehabbing a foot injury and Michael Gallup still rehabbing from February ACL surgery. That meant more receiver reps for Simi Fehoko and T.J. Vasher alongside starter CeeDee Lamb.


May 26 Updates

10:54 a.m. – The NFL announced it has adjusted its injured reserve and practice rules for the upcoming 2022 season.

Teams can now make eight activations from IR and/or non-football injury/illness during the season, and players can return from those reserve lists a maximum of two times, which counts toward the eight limit.

Also, the league expanded practice squads to 16 players.

For the past two seasons during the COVID-19 pandemic, the league instituted unlimited IR activations, a three-game minimum IR stay and a 14-player practice squad.


May 25 Updates

4:22 p.m. – While the Cowboys are being rather quiet about the specific injury, wide receiver James Washington missed practice on Wednesday as he strolled out in a walking boot.

When asked about the injury, head coach Mike McCarthy wouldn't specify, joking about having "injury reports at OTA." But he did say he wasn't worried about Washington's injury long term, just stating he probably wouldn't be back for next week's OTA practices.

Washington, a free-agent signing from the Steelers, is expected to compete for one of the top three receiver spots this year, especially with Michael Gallup rehabbing a knee injury.

Rookie Jalen Tolbert was also out this week with a hamstring strain.


2:17 p.m. – Maybe he stepped out of bounds, or perhaps he was able to take the interception all the way to the end zone. But either way, rookie safety Markquese Bell made one of the best plays of the OTA practice on Wednesday.

It's just another example how the undrafted rookie continues to shine.

"He's been impressive," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "He jumped out at the minicamp. He was very impressive in the zoom calls (leading up to the NFL Draft)."

McCarthy said Bell, who starred at Florida A&M, has similar traits as Jayron Kearse, who has a hybrid role of safety and linebacker.

"That definitely helps. That's part of our attraction to him," McCarthy said of Bell, who was one of the Cowboys' 30 visits.


12:30 p.m. – The NFL Combine won't be changing locations in the near future.

Word came down from the league meetings, being held in Atlanta this week, that the NFL will be keeping its annual scouting event in its traditional home of Indianapolis in 2023 and 2024.

The news comes after several years of speculation that the Combine might move – with the Dallas-Fort Worth area serving as one of the main alternatives, along with Los Angeles. Asked about it at this past year's event, Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said the organization would love to be considered as a possible host.

"Indy has been a great host," he said. "If the league so chooses to move it, which it sounds like they might, we'd certainly love to be at the top of the list if we can."

Perhaps that will still be a possibility at some point. But for the time being, the league has opted for the familiarity of Indianapolis.


May 20 Updates

3:06 p.m. – The Cowboys waived rookie safety La'Kendrick Van Zandt on Friday.

Van Zandt signed with the Cowboys as a rookie free agent earlier this month after going undrafted in April. The former TCU standout was a three-year starter in college and made All-Big 12 honorable mention in 2020.


May 19 Updates

12:16 p.m. – The Cowboys have chosen two candidates for the NFL's inaugural Coach and Front Office Accelerator Program, which will take place at next week's owner's meetings.

The league asked each of its clubs to nominate two attendees for the event, which will feature networking opportunities for "diverse, prospective club-nominated head coaching and general manager prospects."

The seminar will include information sessions and programs that are designed to be educational about both coaching techniques and football business operations. The NFL's main goal, though, is to address its diversity issues by giving minority coaching and general manager candidates time to meet and network with league owners.

The Cowboys' nominees are Assistant Director of College Scouting Chris Vaugh, from the front office, and Defensive Passing Game Coordinator/Secondary Coach Joe Whitt Jr., from the coaching staff.

Whitt is in his second season overseeing the Cowboys' secondary after joining Dan Quinn's defensive staff in 2021. He coached in Atlanta with Quinn in 2020, and he was also a member of Mike McCarthy's staff in Green Bay for 11 years, coaching cornerbacks for the Packer team that won Super Bowl XLV.

Vaughn is in his sixth year with the Cowboys, joining the scouting department under executive vice president of player personnel Will McClay in 2017. Prior to entering the NFL, he had 18 years of coaching experience, with stops at noteworthy programs like Arkansas, Ole Miss, Memphis and Texas.


May 17 Updates

2:40 p.m. – The Cowboys have enjoyed basically full attendance since the voluntary offseason program began last month. Among the participants is running back Ezekiel Elliott, who's having productive workouts after playing through a knee injury for most of the 2021 season.

"I was looking at the GPS of the workouts (last) Tuesday (and) 22 miles an hour in May is pretty damn good," head coach Mike McCarthy said in reference to Elliott's workout metrics. "Yeah, he looks great."

Elliott said after the Cowboys' playoff loss to the 49ers that he'd been playing through a partially torn PCL in his right knee. The injury, which occurred in Week 4 against the Panthers, did not require offseason surgery.


May 16 Updates

1:51 p.m. – Last week's schedule reveal happened to coincide with the Cowboys' draft class arriving at The Star for rookie minicamp. The two-day camp (Friday/Saturday) was obviously head coach Mike McCarthy's top priority, but he did give his initial thoughts on the Cowboys' 17-game slate.

"The thing I've always looked at is really the first four games and I like the fact that the first two (Bucs and Bengals) are at home," he said. "And then you have your first division game at home, too (Week 4 vs. Washington).

"We know that we're always going to have the national games and our travel is going to be a challenge. I have no idea where we're ranked, but I'm sure we're in the top 10 as far as the travel and the night games. The travel part of it is always a challenge, but this is Year 3, so I feel like I have a handle on that. Going back to Green Bay (Nov. 13 against the Packers), that'll be fun. I was hoping for October or September, but November will be fine."

McCarthy, of course, coached the Packers from 2006-18 and won a Super Bowl with Green Bay in 2010.


May 14 Updates

4:22 p.m. - Just a two-word answer was all Kellen Moore needed to describe his newest drafted wide receiver.

"He's awesome," said Moore, the Cowboys' offensive coordinator when asked about rookie Jalen Tolbert. "I think he works his tail off. I think you can tell how prepared he is and how detailed he wants to be. I think he's going to be a really good addition for us."

Tolbert, a third-round pick from South Alabama, was nearly the Cowboys' second-round pick. So obviously, the team was ecstatic to land him in the third. And with Michael Gallup still rehabbing a torn ACL injury that could jeopardize his chances of playing Week 1, Tolbert will get the chance to show his versatility.

"We'll try to get him to learn as many spots as possible. We'll start him in a Z-type position, maybe play him in the slot," Moore said. "We'll get him moved all around the field. We like to do that with a number of our receivers. So, we'll do the same thing with him."


May 13 Updates

5:11 p.m. – The Cowboys released kicker Chris Naggar on Friday, which means undrafted rookie Jonathan Garibay is currently the only kicker on the roster.

Simon Mathiesen is participating in this week's rookie minicamp on a tryout basis.

Naggar was the only kicker in the group with NFL experience. He attempted and made one field goal with the Browns last year.

The Cowboys are looking for a replacement for veteran Greg Zuerlein, whom they released earlier this offseason. The kicker competition is "wide open" moving forward, head coach Mike McCarthy said.


May 12 Updates

7:05 p.m. – It wasn't Tyler Smith's first trip to The Star, but on Thursday, the first-round pick was around his new teammates as the Cowboys prepare for a rookie minicamp.

Also, Smith is expected to officially sign his contract before the end of the weekend. Gone are the days when first-round picks sign their deals right before training camp. Smith, the No. 24 overall pick will likely sign the deal over the weekend.

The Cowboys are hopeful to get all four fifth-round picks signed and perhaps the sixth-round pick Devin Harper. The Cowboys are anticipating needing more time to sign second, third and fourth round picks, but it shouldn't linger too long into the offseason.

Last year, Pittsburgh signed RB Najee Harris - also the 24th overall pick - to a four-year deal worth over $13 million, with a fifth-round option.


5 p.m. – For the second consecutive year, the Cowboys will open the regular season in primetime against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- this time at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 11, the NFL just announced. Kickoff is set for 7:20 p.m. Central on Sunday Night Football.

It's a rematch of last year's thriller in Tampa, won by the Bucs 31-29, where Brady and Dak Prescott combined for 782 passing yards and seven touchdowns.

The league has also announced that the Cowboys will face the Packers in Green Bay on Nov. 13.

The full schedule will be revealed at 7 p.m. Central during NFL Network's "Schedule Release '22" special.


11:32 a.m. – There are a few more names to know for this weekend's rookie minicamp.

In addition to their draft picks, priority free agents and a handful of select veterans, the Cowboys have also invited six rookie tryouts to The Star this weekend for a closer look.

Most notable among those names are two rookie quarterbacks, Nick Starkel and Terry Wilson.

Starkel is trying to break into the NFL after a six-year college career that saw him make stops at Texas A&M, Arkansas and San Jose State. His final two seasons came at San Jose State, where he totaled 3,819 passing yards and 26 touchdowns in 15 appearances. The New York Jets also invited Starkel to their rookie camp, which was held last weekend.

Similarly, Wilson's career began at Kentucky, where he showed potential as both a passer and a runner over the course of three seasons. He finished his time with the Wildcats with 3,436 passing yards to go with 1,015 rushing yards. He wrapped up his college career with one season at New Mexico, where he appeared in six games and threw for 1,058 yards.

Those two draw the headlines, but four other tryouts will be hoping to impress. The Cowboys are bringing in two specialists — another kicker, Simon Mathiesen from Northwest Missouri State, as well as TCU long snapper Antonio Ortiz.

Alex Akingbulu, an offensive tackle from Fresno State, and Duke running back Nakeie Montgomery round out the list.


May 10 Updates

10:23 a.m. The Cowboys will be back on the field Friday morning for the start of the rookie minicamp, which will feature all nine draft picks, 20 undrafted rookies and a handful of rookies here on a tryout basis.

But also on the field will be about seven players that aren't so new to the team. Players who have been on the practice squad but haven't played in a regular-season game are eligible to practice this weekend.

Those names include guard Isaac Alarcon, safety Tyler Coyle, defensive end Austin Faoliu, center Brandon Jones, kicker Chris Naggar and wide receivers T.J. Vasher and Brandon Smith.


May 9 Updates

3:18 p.m. – We don't know the Cowboys' 2022 schedule just yet – the NFL will announce it Thursday night – but we do know their strength of schedule for the upcoming season.

For a quick refresher, here are the Cowboys' opponents without dates or times yet:

  • Home: Eagles, Giants, Washington, Bears, Lions, Bucs, Colts, Texans, Bengals
  • Away: Eagles, Giants, Washington, Packers, Vikings, Rams, Jaguars, Titans

Based solely on their 2021 opponents' total record (133-155-1), the Cowboys are tied with Washington for the league’s easiest schedule this season.

The biggest reason for that ranking: the NFC East's struggles a year ago. The Cowboys (12-5) clinched the East by a full three games last year. They went 6-0 against the Eagles, Commanders and Giants, who had a combined 20-31 record.

It's entirely possible the division will be improved, though, and it's worth noting that the Cowboys play a first-place schedule that includes games against fellow division champs Tampa Bay and the LA Rams.

But on paper, that's how it stands.


May 5 Updates

For the third straight year, the Cowboys will get another roster exemption for offensive lineman Isaac Alarcon. 

The NFL initially announced its International Pathway Program would be for only two years, the league decided to give those players, including Alarcon a third season. 

That means he won't count towards the 90-man roster this offseason. And if he doesn't make the active roster, he could return to the practice squad, also on an exemption. 

Alarcon, who became one of the stars of HBO's Hard Knocks last season, played in the preseason last year at guard and will likely continue to work there, but could get some chances to play tackle as well.


April 30 Updates

12:00 a.m. – Jalen Tolbert, like all draft prospects, is used to fielding a lot of phone calls.

The one he got earlier this week, days before the Cowboys made him the No. 88 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, was a bit different. Rather than an agent or a scout or a front office seeking to confirm his number, it was none other than Dak Prescott.

"For a minute it was a surreal moment because I never knew quarterbacks would call prospects," Tolbert said on Friday.

It's not common, but it does happen. And in their search for a new weapon to help replace Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson, the Cowboys enlisted their star quarterback's help.

"That was a Dak thing," said executive vice president of player personnel Will McClay. "The importance of him to the organization, he reached out. We said 'Hey, here's some guys for you to do your thing with."

The Cowboys declined to elaborate on how many prospects Prescott called, but this one stuck. Tolbert said he and Prescott talked for 20 minutes about football and his role with the Cowboys. As of now, it'll be the first conversation of many.


April 26 Updates

3:01 p.m. – The Cowboys are taking things gradually with Michael Gallup's recovery from an ACL injury.

Gallup underwent surgery on the torn ligament in early February, after tearing it while making a 21-yard touchdown catch against Arizona on Jan. 2.

The injury didn't prevent the Cowboys from signing their 2018 draft pick to a five-year, $57.5 million contract last month, though the timeline for his return to action is still uncertain.

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said Gallup is making progress, but it might have to wait until the team reports for training camp until we'll hear further.

"Michael is doing very well in his rehab. He's here every day. He's been here throughout the prehab, the surgery and now the rehab," McCarthy said. "I think once we get to training camp, we'll have a tighter view on exactly when he'll be available."


April 25 Updates

12:07 p.m. – Technically the Cowboys' offseason program is voluntary, but it sounds like the team has had close to full attendance since phase one of workouts began last week.

"I didn't do the check myself, but I'm not surprised that everybody was there," quarterback Dak Prescott told reporters last Friday at the Children's Cancer Fund Gala in Dallas.

"You don't want to be that guy that's not building the chemistry or building what we're working for. I think that shows the character of the guys that we've got and credit to the front office and the coaches for getting people that want to be here when it's completely voluntary."

The first two weeks of the program include only meetings, strength, conditioning and physical rehab work with strength and conditioning coaches. Organized team activities (OTAs) begin May 24.


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