IRVING, Texas – Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said helping the interior of the offensive line was a priority, but so far in free agency the team has not gotten into the action with the bigger names available.
Carl Nicks signed with Tampa Bay, but the Cowboys made no attempt to sign the All-Pro. Some of it was cost, and Nicks cashed in with a contract from the Buccaneers worth $47.5 million over five years. Some of it was Bill Callahan, the new offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
Callahan coached Nicks at Nebraska and suspended him at one point, so Nicks might not have wanted to play for his college coach either.
The Saints are looking at Ben Grubbs as Nicks’ replacement. He is easily the second-best guard available, but as of yet the Cowboys have not made a play for the Baltimore veteran.
The price could be just too high to afford two big contracts for the Cowboys after the $10 million salary-cap sanction that came down from the league on Monday. With Brandon Carr meeting with the team Tuesday night at Cowboys Stadium, the team’s top priority was getting a cornerback over a guard.
Some quality remains - Philadelphia’s Evan Mathis, New England’s Dan Connolly, Minnesota’s Steve Hutchinson, who was cut – but there’s no indication as of yet that the team will make a run at any of them. The key phrase is “as of yet,” because things can change quickly in free agency.
So if the Cowboys can land a guard not named Nicks and Grubbs, then they could be in position to look at the position in the draft. Stanford’s David DeCastro is at the top of every list regarding pro-ready linemen, but keep an eye on Wisconsin’s Kevin Zeitler, who could be a second- or third-round pick.