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Updates: Tolbert's confidence is 'different' in 2024

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

8:30 a.m. — Jalen Tolbert isn't the same player he was when he was selected out of the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys.

The former South Alabama star receiver was humbled as a rookie by all that comes with transitioning to the NFL, but his rededication last offseason married with mentoring from Dak Prescott and Brandin Cooks to turn things around for Tolbert in 2023.

And as he barrels toward the 2024 season with a chance to take over the WR3 role vacated by the release of Michael Gallup, his confidence in himself has never been higher.

"My rookie year, I think I lost every bit of my confidence," said Tolbert from OTAs. " .. I was thinking way more than I should instead of just going out there and having fun, and knowing that I belong here. I'm valuable and can play very high at this level. That's something I had to build back up … It's completely different now. … My confidence is through the roof."


May 23 Updates

8:30 a.m*.* — All signs are beginning to point to an all-out camp battle in the making for the role of WR3, a seat vacated by the release of Michael Gallup this offseason— now up for grabs for a frontrunner like Jalen Tolbert.

The second session of OTAs saw Tolbert taking reps with Dak Prescott and the first team, and veteran wideout Brandin Cooks has been invaluable to the development of the former third-round pick since the latter arrived in Dallas via trade a year ago.

When asked about his outlook for Tolbert in 2024, Cooks gave a shining preview of what he believes might be a breakout season for third-year talent.

"He's ready to go," said Cooks. "Whatever the expectations are for him out there [in 2024], I'm telling you he's gonna crush it. He's ready. I look forward to him being able to get that opportunity. It's the way that he goes to work. … And I think that time is now for him."


May 22 Updates

11:15 a.m. — While the Cowboys are still in the voluntary stages of the offseason program, including this week's OTAs, there is an expectation that pass-rusher Micah Parsons will be with the team as early as next week.

Parsons has not been involved in the offseason conditioning program or the first two weeks of OTAs, but that should change next week, according to head coach Mike McCarthy.

"Yes, I think there's going to be some time we'll have him here next week," McCarthy said on Wednesday. "Micah is in town and he's been in and out. He's had some unique travel opporutnies. He was here Friday. He looks great and he's in excellent shape. I know what he's been doing and where he's been doing it."

McCarthy said Parsons is not behind in terms of learning Mike Zimmer's defense.

"He's getting ready physically," McCarthy said. "He's been having 1-on-1 meetings within the structure of our operation. He hasn't missed anything from what's been installed."


11:07 a.m. — As expected, Trey Lance is going to get a lot of work this offseason, particularly in the preseason.

That makes sense, considering Dak Prescott hasn't played a preseason snap since 2019 and Lance is on the last year of his contract and the Cowboys need to see a better evaluation of him.

But McCarthy spoke about that on Wednesday, adding the things he's liking from Lance so far this offseason. Lance has played four games with the 49ers but hasn't received any live action with the Cowboys since he arrived at the end of the preseason in 2023.

"There's threshold for every position. He had a prior experience in San Francisco. That's obviously an experience he'll always be able to draw from," McCarthy said of Lance. "I've been very very pleased. The athletic ability is top-notch. We've adjusted some things in his motion. You can see the improvement and timing. Like any young quarterback, he's no different, he needs a reps. He will take a large part of the preseason. That's the design."


May 20 Updates

1:30 p.m. — Michael Gallup and the Dallas Cowboys parted ways this spring and that kicked the door wide open for someone to step up and fill the role as WR3 behind CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks.

Jalen Tolbert, the former third-round pick out of South Alabama, could be viewed as the rightful frontrunner in that race, especially considering the strides he made in 2023. There is another young horse in the stable ready to run, however, and his name is Jalen Brooks.

Both will be pushed hard this summer to see who wants it more.

"We expect all of those guys to make a jump," said wide receivers' coach Robert Prince. "It starts with [Jalen Tolbert]. He made a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2, and we expect the same thing to happen for him going into Year 3. And Jalen Brooks, he works hard and he's one of those guys that's always studying, and he can play all of the [WR] positions — so we're looking forward to seeing what he can do this year as well."


May 17 Updates

2:00 p.m. — A lot has been said about the toughness and matter-of-fact coaching style of Mike Zimmer, who is returning for a second stint as Dallas Cowboys' defense coordinator this year.

What shouldn't be lost in the conversation, however, is just how much the Super Bowl-winning coordinator loathes in-game mistakes on a rep-to-rep basis.

Cannon Matthew, formerly the overseer of Dallas' defensive quality control but now the safeties' coach, gave his first impression of Zimmer as the team speeds toward OTAs.

"In the short period of time I've been around him — just harping on the details," said Matthews. "He's making sure everyone is accountable so, that way, little things come back into play. So, the [more] tightened down we can get on those, I think that's where you'll see a big change, right there."


May 16 Updates

11:00 a.m. — John Stephens Jr. went from the ranks of the undrafted last spring to all but promised a final roster spot with the Dallas Cowboys before he went down with a season-ending torn ACL in late summer.

Tight ends coach Lunda Wells isn't simply optimistic about the redshirt talent going into 2024 — he's brimming with excitement at how Stephens looks now and how rehab was attacked.

"I think he's ahead of schedule, physically," said Wells. "He's been working his behind off with Britt [Brown] all season. And one of the best things that happened for him was God took away his legs to force him to get into the weight room and build that upper body strength. If you look at his physical structure right now – he's built pretty good right now going into Year 2.

"His biggest [attribute] is his athleticism and being able to stretch the field vertically. He understands route details, how to get in and out of breaks and he's tough, which gives him the added ability to develop as a blocker for us. His skill set in the passing game is gonna be really good for us going forward, and I'm excited to get him back on the grass and get to work."


May 14 Updates

2:00 p.m. — DaRon Bland was moved to the outside in his second season with the Dallas Cowboys, and it was due to the season-ending injury suffered by Trevon Diggs in early September.

The latter went down in practice with a torn ACL that he is currently working his way back from, but all signs point toward the First-Team All-Pro cornerback making great progress.

"He looks good," said assistant head coach and defensive backs coach Al Harris. "I was just watching him. Britt [Brown] is doing a great job. As far as timeline-wise, I'll leave that up to Britt and [his] staff. But, for what he did today, I thought he did a great job. He looks good."

Diggs will rejoin Bland and Jourdan Lewis as the three-headed hydra at cornerback for the Cowboys in 2024, looking to quickly regain the form that made him one of the best in the league at his position.


May 11 Updates

11:00 a.m. — Ezekiel Elliott has reported to voluntary offseason conditioning and will soon retake the field in OTAs for the Dallas Cowboys, having re-signed with the team following the 2024 NFL Draft after spending the 2023 season with the New England Patriots.

Speaking from rookie minicamp on Saturday, head coach and offensive play caller Mike McCarthy described the team's reunion with the former two-time NFL rushing champ.

"It's as natural of a transition that you'll ever see," said McCarthy. "he walked in and he had that unbelievable smile. It's like he never left. Huge personality in the locker room. … But some things have changed for him as well — like protection systems — so he has some new learning, but it's great to have him back."

Elliott will lead a group of RBs that are mostly unproven behind him, though Rico Dowdle is returning as well following a career-best season.


May 10 Updates

3:45 pm — After taking a handful of visits this week – including one to The Star to meet with the Cowboys on Wednesday – veteran wide receiver Zay Jones decided to sign with the Arizona Cardinals on Friday on a one-year, $4.25M deal.

If the Cowboys would like to add a veteran wide receiver to the mix, free agents such as Michael Thomas, Mecole Hardman, Hunter Renfrow and Marquez Valdes-Scantling still remain on the market, although that market is continuing to dwindle.


3:00 pm — There is potentially more competition on the way to the Dallas Cowboys' quarterbacks' room, that is if the team opts to move forward with Mike Hohensee, formerly of Northwest Missouri State — where he finished the 2023 season having passed for 1,974 yards and 22 touchdowns to 10 interceptions in nine games played..

Hohensee was brought in on Friday for a tryout at the outset of rookie minicamp, and it appears he's impressed head coach and offensive play caller Mike McCarthy.

"I do not recall a young QB coming in here on a tryout and commanding a huddle," said McCarthy following the afternoon walkthrough. "... And his understanding being this high."

As it stands, the battle to back up Dak Prescott revolves solely around the sure and steady Cooper Rush and former third-overall pick Trey Lance, but Hohensee might find himself joining the mix this summer.


10:32 a.m. - The Cowboys are starting their rookie minicamp on Friday at The Star. It's the first time to see all eight draft picks, plus 12 more undrafted free agents on the field together.

The Cowboys were able to sign seven of their eight draft picks on Thursday, including first-round pick Tyler Guyton, who signed a four-year, $13 million contract. First-round picks have a fifth-year option that teams can choose to pick up after the player's third season.

The Cowboys were able to sign six other draft picks to four-year contracts.

Only second-round pick Marshawn Kneeland remains unsigned at the moment, but he's still allowed to participate this weekend. Technically, draft picks can be unsigned all the way to the start of training camp and still participate in all practices and meetings at the team facility.


May 8 Updates

1:00 pm — There's a bit of a shakeup on the Dallas Cowboys' depth chart at wide receiver this week, just one day ahead of their incoming 2024 rookie class arriving for minicamp.

Having hosted a meeting with veteran wideout Zay Jones, who was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars in late April, the Cowboys decided to move on from Martavis Bryant — releasing him to free agency on Wednesday.

Bryant originally signed with the Cowboys in 2023 following reinstatement to the NFL, released later in the year before being re-signed by Dallas earlier this offseason.

He will now look to land elsewhere for the 2024 season, and the Cowboys continue to work on sorting out their depth chart behind CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks.


May 7 Updates

1:00 pm — Having initially restarted his career with the Dallas Cowboys wearing his familiar No. 21 jersey in offseason conditioning, Ezekiel Elliott ultimately decided to pivot to No. 15 — a throwback to his championship-winning days at Ohio State — having also worn the latter in his one year away from Dallas.

That move has now been made official, with the two-time former NFL rushing champ formally moving to his new number on Tuesday.

Elliott first donned the No. 15 for the New England Patriots in 2023, where he went on to produce nearly 1,000 scrimmage yards and five touchdowns in only five starts. His production there carved his path back to the Cowboys, who sorely missed his gritty running style last season.

A new era now begins for Elliott, in familiar digs with an unfamiliar NFL number, or rather one that isn't nearly as familiar to most as the No. 21 that he set records in.


May 2 Updates

10:00 a.m. — The Reliant Home Run Derby served as an opportunity for ten players to compete at Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco for The Salvation Army and various charities that the players chose to represent. The participants included Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Brandon Aubrey, Jake Ferguson, DaRon Bland, Bryan Anger, Jalen Tolbert, Sam Williams, Eric Kendricks and Brandin Cooks.

Bryan Anger took home the crown after raising $22,800 with his swings at the plate. In all, the Cowboys raised $104,900 for The Salvation Army for their efforts at the ballpark on Wednesday night.


May 1 Updates

3:00 p.m. —The Dallas Cowboys have signed wide receiver Tyron Billy-Johnson to a one-year/$1.055M contract on Tuesday, as he rejoins the locker room after being cut from the practice squad going into the playoffs to make room for depth and more needy position groups.

Johnson hauled in seven receptions for 102 yards in the preseason last year in his first year with the team. The native of New Orleans has played in 26 career regular season games and has hauled in 32 receptions for 422 yards and three touchdowns.


April 29 Updates

6:15 pm — Michael Gallup and the Dallas Cowboys parted ways this offseason, and it didn't take long for the former 1,000-yard receiver to find a new NFL home.

With the 2024 NFL Draft now in the books, teams know what their remaining needs are and, for the Las Vegas Raiders, that is apparently at wide receiver.

Gallup and the Raiders have reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year deal for the 2024 season.

A former third-round pick of the Cowboys in 2018, Gallup finished his career in Dallas with 3,744 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns on 266 receptions.


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