The Cowboys are inching closer and closer to the start of training camp, but football just can't come soon enough. It's been a rather low-key offseason for the Cowboys, but there is always a constant buzz surrounding this franchise.
Whether it be comments, sound bites, contract status, injury or words of wisdom from Jerry Jones, the Cowboys keep things interesting. Now with the completion of OTAs and veteran minicamp, it's now time to assess the current state of affairs for this franchise.
With so many outlets, websites and sources of news out there, information is never too far away to find out what is going on in Cowboys nation.
Let's take a look at the latest information surrounding this team.
The Cowboys faced a major decision regarding Anthony Spencer and his future in Dallas this offseason. Spencer is currently set to return at the franchise tender of $10.6 million, but it's more beneficial to work out a long-term deal for both sides.
With impending free agents such as Sean Lee and the desire to lock up players such as Dez Bryant, Bruce Carter and Tyron Smith, the Cowboys really need to get some resolution to Spencer's contract. Unfortunately, his contract situation may not be ironed out by the July 15 deadline for franchise players.
The Cowboys could use the flexibility created by signing Spencer to address some of their future cap management issues, and they could also secure the services of a great defensive player. Which way will this go?
It will be a race to the July 15 finish but the Cowboys are really gambling a little bit. If he returns on the franchise salary and has a monster year, then he could price himself right out of Dallas. It's the risk that the Cowboys may ultimately face.
Cowboys do-it-all executive Stephen Jones is under the impression that this team is ready to compete for football's ultimate prize right now. Some may view this as wishful thinking, but others are simply looking for improvement from two 8-8 seasons.
The Cowboys are not short on talent at all, but since 2009 something always seems to hold this team back from achieving what they should. Last season it was the injury bug, but putting that aside for a moment, this team is simply underachieving.
It's nice to have the confidence of management as this team embarks on a new season. But it's also nice when the expectations match the results. 2013 is going to be a critical year for this franchise.
Bill Callahan will be calling the plays for the Dallas Cowboys in 2013. What was widely considered as common knowledge since the Senior Bowl has finally been confirmed by Jason Garrett. But I see this as a positive move for Garrett and his development as a head coach.
He will now be able to focus on some of his shortcomings, like clock management and overseeing all aspects of this football team. He needed to delegate this responsibility and it finally happened. His input into structuring the offense is still important, but so is getting this team off to better starts.
It starts in 2013.
DeMarcus Ware played in all 16 games last season despite dealing with a multitude of injuries. At times it looked as if he was playing with one arm, and that simply was the case. One of the concerns of the offseason was the status of his shoulder and his availability.
Ware participated in the OTA sessions but not in the veteran minicamp. So is this cause for concern? And is this the normal timetable for his rehab process? The answers are no and yes.
Ware recently stated that if he needed to put on pads and go to war that he would be able to do so. This is good news for Cowboy fans and good news for Ware. It shows that he is on schedule in his process and that mentally he is in the right frame of mind.
If the Cowboys defense is going to create turnovers in 2013, Ware will have to play an integral part in that. It all starts out up front, and he is in the center of it all.
When it was announced that Tony Romo had a cyst removed from his back on the eve of OTAs, the immediate reaction was "Where did this come from?" But the procedure was minor in nature, and it will not impact his availability for training camp.
Initially, Romo was expected to participate in the minicamp last week, but as it turned out the results differed. Romo sat out the week-long session, but he now has time the additional time to prepare for Oxnard, and that's what's important.
So what does this all mean? Romo did lose valuable time to develop chemistry with new weapons like Gavin Escobar, Terrance Williams and players like James Hanna who the Cowboys are trying to implement more into the offense.
But expect Romo to more than make up for the lost time in training camp. The expectations for Romo are huge and I think he knows that.
The debate and scrutiny on the selection of Travis Frederick will probably linger well into the season for the Cowboys. It's just the reality surrounding what many observers felt was one of the biggest reaches of the draft.
So where does Frederick stand at this point of the offseason? Try he's on track to be the starting center and feeling more comfortable in his surroundings. For some fans this is hardly anything to get excited about as it was more of an expectation, but Frederick has handled himself in a business-like approach.
Gavin Escobar has also gotten more comfortable as he transitions to the pro game. In an excerpt from Bryan Broaddus of the Dallascowboys.com, he really stresses the importance of how Escobar playing faster has helped with that transition.
J.J. Wilcox has also made his presence known during this offseason by being around the ball and showing people why the Cowboys thought enough of him to be selected in the third round.
These are all positive signs, but this draft class will not be properly evaluated for at least a few years. In the immediate future there needs to be immediate results, and these are just a few examples of that.
Dez Bryant had a monster year in 2012 and will be counted on to have the same type of impact in 2013. Throughout the OTA sessions and the minicamp there seemed to be the same recurring theme, and that was the play of Dez Bryant.
For Cowboy fans this is outstanding news, and for the NFC, maybe not so much. At times he has been simply unguardable, but the most important aspect of all is his maturation off the field. Bryant is simply a new man, and the fact that he has figured this out is downright scary.
He continues to shine in sessions whether it be catching deep balls, going up high and snatching the ball or simply taking in a slant and going the distance. Having Bryant play at such an elite level will continue to make this offense and its capabilities limitless.
Bryant simply is a bona fide superstar.
The Dallas Cowboys are currently $9.7 million under the salary cap, and that is an astounding figure when you look at where they began this offseason. The Cowboys could have benefited from an aggressive approach in the free-agent market, but the fiscal restrictions on this team were real.
Now the reality of being under the salary cap has put things into a different perspective. The focus has now shifted to how much of their young core can they sign to long-term deals to build the future of this team.
The Cowboys could add to this total should they work out a long-term deal with Anthony Spencer. But more importantly, the current economic situation has given the Cowboys options the will need as they continue to assess this team in training camp.
Should a key player succumb to injury, then having cap flexibility will allow the Cowboys to remain competitive. It's otherwise known as planning for now and the future, and in today's NFL it's mandatory.