Chat with Todd Archer
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN NFL Nation Dallas Cowboys reporter Todd Archer drops by to chat and answer all of your Cowboys questions.
Archer joined ESPNDallas.com in November 2010. He's covered the NFL since 1997 and the Cowboys since 2003. He covered the Bengals and Dolphins before arriving in Dallas. A Massachusetts native, Archer lives in the Dallas area with his wife and two children.
Send your questions now and join Archer Tuesday at noon ET!
Todd Archer (11:59 AM)
OK, let's go.
Todd Archer (12:00 PM)
I don't want to click on the question because it leads to a link for a fictitious story, but there is no truth to the Tony Romo traded to the Texans story. Complete hoax and surprised so many people have fallen for it.
Ed (Queens Village)
Who gets into HOF first Witten or Ware?
Todd Archer (12:01 PM)
Wow, Ed, comes out with a tough one to answer off the bat. I don't know how to answer this one. Based on how I think the HOF works, I think Ware would get in first because of the premium on pass rushers over tight ends. That being said, tell me which guy retires first so the five-year clock starts ticking.
Was wondering if we was to take Pryor(S) with our 1st and Donald(dt) slips to the end of the first do you see us maybe trying to trade back in the 1st for him or anyone else who maybe drops?
Todd Archer (12:03 PM)
I wish I could give you the Cowboys' philosophy on this but it's been all over the board. Sometimes they've traded up and given up picks. Other times they've moved down (perhaps too far) to get more picks. It's an interesting question because you have a coach who is in a win-now mode and an owner in a win-now mode. I would not dismiss it, but this is where a general manager is supposed to have a long-term vision and plan. The Cowboys don't seem to have a plan or one that they stick to long enough anyway.
Nate (Nacogdoches, TX)
With all the talk about adding a safety in the first round I feel that yet again we are ignoring the MAJOR issue with our defense..........D Line. Did the Cowboys brass even watch the super bowl. It was not the secondary that won the game, it was the pressure generated by the defense line only giving Manning an average of 2.5-3 seconds every drop back. Getting pressure on the QB turns Claiborne and Carr into Deion and Renfro. Targeting Ed Reynolds (best ballhawking safety in the class and fits our defense) in the 3rd round seems like the better option. The 1st and 2nd round needs to focus on the Line. What say you?
Todd Archer (12:06 PM)
You must be hearing talk that I'm not hearing as much. I know some mock drafts have the Cowboys taking a safety in the first round but that's because the top-end D-linemen are gone. I'm not reaching for a linemen - or any position - in the first round. I might reach a little bit late but not in the first. Now, I believe in everything you said about improving the defensive line. To me there is no doubt a pressure can make a secondary but a secondary cannot make pressure. Not with the rules the way they are today.
Casey N (Denver)
Do you think Ware will end up taking a pay cut?
Todd Archer (12:08 PM)
Casey, I wrote about the Terrell Suggs' deal in Baltimore as a possible solution for the Cowboys. Suggs was set to count $12.8 million against the Ravens' cap and they found a way to save about $5 million with a reasonable extension. Now that $11 million signing bonus is big and the $16 million guarantee is large, but I wouldn't be opposed to the Cowboys doing something like this. Ware and his agent will have to see what kind of deal they could get on the open market and decide if it is more than what the Cowboys will pay. Somehow, someway I think Ware remains in Dallas.
Damian [via mobile]
If Clinton Dix is available do you see the cowboys taking him over dline
Todd Archer (12:09 PM)
Tell me which defensive linemen are available and tell me how the Cowboys' board looks. I can't give you a clear picture on that right now. Clinton-Dix has some ability. So do Calvin Pryor and Jimmie Ward, who could be a third round pick to watch. Maybe a second. But as I said earlier, I think the best way to improve a defense is with a pass rush.
joe, lompoc ca [via mobile]
Will the Cowboys use the 4th round pick to take a qb such as mettenberger or Murray if they're there?
Todd Archer (12:11 PM)
I can see that. Both guys are coming off injuries. I like the Murray kid better. He had some troubling decision making at times, but, to me, there is some "it" factor there with him. I don't see all of the college football in the world, but I think he might be worth a good gamble in those rounds.
Denis/Miami [via mobile]
Would Jonathan Martin be a upgrade from Jeremy Paranell. If brought in.
Todd Archer (12:12 PM)
Sure, but why would Martin come here? He will look for a starting gig, I would think. He wouldn't start here. Honestly, I'd rather see the Cowboys draft a lineman early and develop him.
Terry bentley VA [via mobile]
Why not rebuild NOW
Todd Archer (12:14 PM)
Great question. Why not just blow it all up? Well, that's not in Jerry's DNA at this point. It was in the early 2000s after the Super Bowl run. Age catches up to everybody and he wants to win. He's hoping things turn around and hope doesn't always amount to much. There is talent here to compete for a playoff spot. Heck, that's what they've done the last three seasons. In Jerry's mind there's not a huge bridge to cross to go from playoff contender to Super Bowl contender. So that's why he will not blow it up.
Whats the latest on Anthony Spencer's recovery? In January I read that its not going very well, any updates? Also, has Brian Waters said anything recently about his future?
Todd Archer (12:15 PM)
It's going along as expected. This is a major surgery he had. I'm not sure what kind of free-agent market he will have because he won't be on the field, from what I'm told, until training camp and maybe into training camp. So that would help the Cowboys' cause some if they want to keep him on a low-money deal. As for Waters, he still hasn't had the triceps surgery and if he wants to continue to play he will need that surgery.
If the cowboys were to cut ties with Ware, Austin and Free; how much will it help their cap woes? From what Im reading it does not sound like much?
Todd Archer (12:16 PM)
If they cut Ware, they would save $7.4 million. If they use Austin as a June 1 cut, they save $5.5 million. Free won't be cut, so I'm not going there. But that's $13 million from two players. That's a pretty good chunk of change when you're $20-25 million over the cap.
Shaine (honolulu,Hawaii) [via mobile]
What are realistic expectations for this upcoming draft class? Is it possible for them to bring enough to the table to elevate this team to a Super Bowl competitive level? Health permitting key players?
Todd Archer (12:18 PM)
I wouldn't expect this draft class to put a team over the hump. Rookies need time. Now, can they help? Sure, but I don't know if seven picks will turn around everything with this team.
Shane (Jersey City)
are the cowboys in any rush to sign dez and tyron?
Todd Archer (12:19 PM)
A rush? Not really. They have a fifth-year option on Tyron Smith that they need to use by this spring that keeps him in the fold through 2015. With Dez Bryant, they can use the franchise tag. While the Cowboys want to keep both players, I don't think they are in a rush to get something done with either guy. I do think, however, you will see the Cowboys use most of the cap space they eventually get on these guys, not some free agent they don't really know.
Would you prefer a run stuffing defensive tackle or a pass rushing defensive tackle because dallas needs both?
Todd Archer (12:20 PM)
Give me the pass rusher. And I think that's the way the Cowboys would lean to as well. Remember, they didn't take Floyd last year because they didn't think he had enough pass rush to him.
Zagreb,Croatia [via mobile]
greetings from croatia! do you see maybe cowboys trade 2015 draft picks and try to get extra picks for 2014 'cause "win now " mantra and romo isn't getting any younger? david
Todd Archer (12:21 PM)
Wow, Croatia? Thanks for stopping by. I can see that being an option but not necessarily the smartest one. Goes back to a philosophy that I don't know the Cowboys have.
Do the cowboys view selvie as a Starter? if not will they upgrade the position?
Todd Archer (12:22 PM)
They like him a lot. A lot more than me. I think he's a solid backup and a guy you wouldn't mind seeing having to start six or seven games. I can't argue with the success he had last year. Maybe he needed some time to figure out the NFL and he is a late bloomer. But I would still go after a defensive end or two in the draft.
Darren (Houston TX)
Which players came off the cowboys books?
Todd Archer (12:23 PM)
Hmm, I don't know where you're going with this one. If you're talking dead money, then they have Jay Ratliff ($6.9m), Nate Livings ($2.1m), Marcus Spears ($1.4m) and Sean Lissemore ($1.2m) counting against the cap this year.
DARLENE (FORT WORTH TEXAS )
DID TONY ROMO REALLY GET TRADED TO HOUSTON OR NOT
Todd Archer (12:24 PM)
Ray (From Southside)
Since the boys cant really sign anyone in free agency, is there anyone currently on the team in the pipeline that may have somewhat of a shot at being productive besides tyrone crawford?? Like Frank Kearse, Martez wilson etc.. thanks
Todd Archer (12:26 PM)
Ray, you named the guy that came to my mind in Crawford. I guess Ben Bass could be in that mix. Others are higher on him than me. He's a kid who barely played at A&M but has done a nice job here. He's been hurt his first two years, so I wonder if his body can handle the pounding. They aren't major injuries necessarily, but just enough to make you wonder. As for the others, I see them as JAGs - Just a guy.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
What progress do you see Romo needing to make this next year? He cut down on the turnovers, was more patient, and seemed to be a bright spot for the team much of the time. I can see consistency needing to be better and maybe more shots down the field.
Todd Archer (12:27 PM)
I'd like to see him get the ball down the field better in 2014 and I think Linehan could play a factor there. I think Romo has to learn to trust his offensive line again. Part of the reason for the shorter throws, I believe, had to do with some of the pounding he's taken in previous years. There's a balance there that he has to strike.
Roland (Providence RI)
I dont have a problem with the cowboys early picks over the last couple of years but what bothers me is rounds 4-7. the cowboys haven't hit on those picks since jay ratliff. why do you think that is?
Todd Archer (12:29 PM)
Put Scandrick in the "hit" category too. But you've nailed the issue. They've missed on players, like all teams miss. The drafts that sustain franchises are deep. Look at the 2005 draft here. That was a great draft. But that's the last great draft they've had. They've had some good drafts, but they need to find those middle round guys to develop from role players and starters and it has not happened. Why? Some of it is luck. Some of it is poor evaluations.
Diane (arlington tx)
The rams are making Cortland Finnegan take a paycut for not living up to his contract, do you think the cowboys should do the same for carr?
Todd Archer (12:30 PM)
Good question, Diane. Finnegan and Carr were the top corners in the FA market a couple of years ago. Neither has lived up to the billing. But you know what? Nobody can live up to that billing. You always have to overpay in free agency. Honestly, I'd look at it and see what they can do with Carr. He needs to play better. There's no question about that.
Ryan Clay (Hawkins, TX) [via mobile]
Do you think Dallas is considering a RB in this year's draft? Could be insurance in case Lance Dunbar doesn't return healthy enough... Joseph Randle does not seem to be the answer... he's light AND slow. Lache Seastrunk, Baylor; and Andre Williams, Boston College seem like possibilities available possibly in the middle rounds.
Todd Archer (12:32 PM)
I'm not as down on Randle as you. I think there's something there. I like Seastrunk better than Williams because there's more wiggle there. However, with so many needs I can't see the Cowboys taking a back unless they are in a too-good-to-be-true situation.
Should the cowboys pick up jeremy maclin if they can get him on the cheap? he brings speed to the offense and i know jerry liked him alot coming out in 2009
Todd Archer (12:32 PM)
Cheap? Sure. But he won't come cheap, even with the injury.
Eric Pleasanton, Tx [via mobile]
Which defensive lineman do you think the cowboys will target in the draft being that is thier biggest need
Todd Archer (12:34 PM)
Aaron Donald is the current flavor of the month. Dominique Easley is intriguing because of his knee injuries. If he checks out fine, he could be an option. They will have plenty to choose from and beyond the first round.
What do you think Jerry/Garrett will do regarding a commitment to the fullback position? Will it be a key part of the offense going forward? If so, do you see Klutts as an answer or do you see Dallas using the draft to fill this void?
Todd Archer (12:36 PM)
Can never have enough fullback talk. Clutts did a nice job but I don't think you'll see this team return to a true two-back offense. Scott Linehan is not that kind of guy either, and I think Murray runs his best out of 11 personnel.I think they keep a fullback but he's an 8-10 snap a game guy.
Ryan Clay (Hawkins, TX) [via mobile]
Any trade value for Ware? Do you think anyone would be willing to give us some picks for our once All-Pro?
Todd Archer (12:37 PM)
Teams might be willing to take Ware, but they don't want to pay him $26m over the next two years either. That's the dicey part. He would have to restructure his deal for another team anyway. And I'm not sure what you get in return or if it would be enough to entice the Cowboys.
I could see garrett going another OT or OG if DE or DT of choice is gone to make our offense solid incase the defense falls apart again...
Todd Archer (12:38 PM)
Yep, I can see that too. Let's say Romo has 2-3 more years left. Why not have Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and a first-rounder ready for whoever takes over? A strong offensive line would be a major help to a rookie QB, just as it was to Romo in 2006.
Ted F (Denver)
Bottom line: What would it take to transform this perpetually disappointing team into a contender within three years? Not what will happen (Jerry Jones ain't quittin'), but in a perfect world of planning, what would be the ideal strategy?
Todd Archer (12:41 PM)
It's kind of a too-big-for-me question but I'll give it a try. And there won't be any earth-shattering moves either. Here we go: Find ways to keep your better players healthy; Find players who can attack the opposing quarterback. It's all about pressure; Attack on offense. There's too much talent here to let defenses dictate to you; Draft better. They've done a better job recently it seems, but the draft is the life of a team.
Adam (San Antonio, Tx)
Spill the beans... Which big name Coach is going to be at the helm after Garrett finishes warming up the seat?? Gruden? (would be nice) Bill Cowher???
Todd Archer (12:42 PM)
I wouldn't want Gruden. The head coach here has to be good with personnel and he did a bad job of that in Tampa Bay at the end. Cowher is interesting, but I don't see that happening. I'll go off the grid: Guz Malzahn. That'll shake everything up.
Where do you rank Dez among the best receivers in the game top 3? top 5? top 10?
Todd Archer (12:43 PM)
I'd put him in the 5-10 range and probably closer to five. And that's not a slight. There are a lot of great receivers in the game. He's not Calvin Johnson but he can be. He's still young and growing. In a year, I think he would be solidly inside the top 5.
Manny (Fort Worth)
Given Romo's injury and the unknown condition of his play this upcoming season; how electric and explosive can this offense be? It seems like they have in place nice pieces they just have not been able to tap into their full potential. This is especially true when one considers the addition of the "passing coordinator" and the successful offenses he had lead in his time. The running game came strong at the end of the season due to the OL better play, we have one of the best WR and TE in Dez and Witten, add the fact of that we do have a Bush type player in Dunbar, can this offense finally be able to hit in all cylinders? How realistic is this to happen?
Todd Archer (12:45 PM)
The offense needs to be better and that's why Linehan is here. They averaged 27 points, but too many times they were stagnant. I said this earlier in the chat, but this offense has to be dominant and can't let defenses take away Dez or Witten by just doubling them. Maybe Linehan brings some creativity to the passing game, while using the running game more than they did last year.
Can sean lee be as good as kuechly and willis if he remain healthy?
Todd Archer (12:45 PM)
As good, yes. He's a tackling machine. He's a playmaker. Honestly, I think Bowman is a better player than Willis in San Francisco. But Lee can be that guy here.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Has Jerry done everything in his power to steal away a scout from the Seahawks or 49ers?
Todd Archer (12:47 PM)
Scouts are under contract at this time of year. Their deals usually run through the draft, so he's not stealing anybody now. Plus, I'd have faith in Will McClay. I think he can be a difference maker in Dallas.
Hi Todd,Should we expect Dez Bryant's numbers to increase this upcoming season? IF so, will he go over 1000 yards? I know this in nothing more than speculation.
Todd Archer (12:47 PM)
He's been 90 catches, 1,100 yards, 12-13 touchdowns the last two years, so I don't know why it would drop off if he's healthy for 16 games.
Shaun (From Work)
You taking Romo or Matt ryan? im having a debate with a friend at work
Todd Archer (12:48 PM)
Romo. I think he's more skilled as a passer. I'm sure I'll get hammered for this but that's how I feel.
I was listening locally to John Clayton up here in Seattle. He said that Dallas is a complete mess both with the players and the front office and there really is no hope for this team at this point and its time to cut these high prices veterans and build for the future. I've never been more discouraged as a Cowboys fan than I am now. Please talk me off the ledge!
Todd Archer (12:50 PM)
I can try to help: the Cowboys have been in contention to win the East the last three years. No other team in the division can say that. This division is not great, even with what Philly did last year. Remember, people were ready to say Washington would run this division a year ago at this time. The Cowboys will contend in the division, which puts them in contention for a playoff spot. And there's ... well, that's the best I can do.
Aaron (Bowie Tx) [via mobile]
If all the top end defensive linemen are gone by 17, doesn't it make more sense to trade back and take someone we like late rather than create more of a logjam at safety?
Todd Archer (12:51 PM)
You think it would be a logjam between a Clinton-Dix or a Pryor over Heath or Wilcox? Not me. I'd be OK with a safety if there isn't a lineman there. I'd be OK with any position if there isn't a defensive lineman there.
ronald (New orleans)
Why did they have floyd number 4 on there board if he wasn't a scheme fit?
Todd Archer (12:52 PM)
One of the great mysteries which I cannot explain. I'll go with poor communication but it will be a question I ask Jerry at the Combine.
How bad is the cap situation for the cowboys? can they afford guys like Osi or Peppers if he cuts cut?
Todd Archer (12:53 PM)
It's not good, but it's not dire either. They can create as much room as they want to sign whoever they want, but then that takes money away from Tyron Smith and Dez Bryant. I don't think you'll see the Cowboys be major players in free agency. And I'm not sure that's the answer either. The best way to attack free agency is with solid players on good but not great money deals.
Ryan Clay (Hawkins, TX) [via mobile]
What do you think about Dallas trading a first and a second+ in order to grab Jadeveon Clowney if he drops to 3?
Todd Archer (12:53 PM)
Too many needs to give up that much. I wouldn't do it.
Heard anything about the Boys potential interest in Henry Melton as a free agent?
Todd Archer (12:54 PM)
Just speculation from media based on Melton's past with Marinelli. Need to investigate it further. How's his health?
If, and this is a serious if, but If the cowboys crash and burn yet again this year, is there a chance Jerry finally concedes and lets in a guy like Troy Aikman to be our John Elway de facto? Jerry can't seriously think he is helping this team with his one step forward two steps back routine. Thanks
Todd Archer (12:55 PM)
It's Jerry's world. He's not going anywhere. I love the Aikman idea, but for now it's just something we in the media have created, not something that has been discussed.
Is there any inside concern over Romo's back?Herniated Disc's are tricky and can be a lifelong problem for anyone , let alone a Qb in the NFL.
Todd Archer (12:56 PM)
So far so good on his rehab. At least that's the word. He should be ready for all of the offseason program. I'll have an update this week from the Combine on his health.
Is it a good idea to move Morris Claiborne to the saftey position?
Todd Archer (12:57 PM)
Has he shown a willingness to be physical as a corner? Not really, so I don't think that would translate to playing safety.
Ryan Clay (Hawkins, TX) [via mobile]
How much control is Will McClay really going to have in the war room this year? Enough that the scouts will have more say than the position coaches?
Todd Archer (12:58 PM)
That's always the challenge with the Cowboys. You hear every year how much influence the coaches have. McClay is good at what he does. He has found players off the street the last three years to help. The draft is a little different animal for him since he's never shaped a board before, but I think he'll have everybody on the same page going into May 8.
First of, thanks for your time. Do you think we should keep Orton after what he did with Romo out?
Todd Archer (12:59 PM)
Why would you get rid of him? I'd keep him around. But there is a cap question that would need to be answered. And does he want to continue to play?
Kyle Lovette (Warner Robins, Ga) [via mobile]
Do the Cowboys consider bringing Miles Austin back if he's willing to take a generous pay cut, or is it simply time to move on regardless of what Austin is willing to do?
Todd Archer (1:00 PM)
Good question. I think they'll be ready to move on. Austin might have better options available to him elsewhere too.
Todd Archer (1:02 PM)
Thanks for all of the questions. This was great and it's something we'll do for most of the offseason. We'll move back to the Wednesday schedule next week. if you have more questions, send them to me via Twitter (@toddarchre) and I can use them in the weekend mailbag posts. We'll have a ton of stuff coming up from the Combine. Thanks for stopping by.