The Cowboys began the new league year knowing they’d say good-bye to some of their 20 free agents. Although they created about $5 million in room by restructuring Lee’s contract, they entered free agency near the bottom of the league in salary cap space.
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The Cowboys have lost two safeties since free agency began: Church, a four-year starter who signed a reported $26 million deal with Jacksonville; and his primary backup, J.J. Wilcox, who signed with Tampa Bay.
Byron Jones will be back at free safety, but the strong safety spot is open. Heath, a four-year veteran, and 2016 sixth-round pick Kavon Frazier, are the only other returning safeties from last season.
“Obviously we feel good about what Jeff can do. At the same time, he obviously knows he’s going to be coming in here and wholesale nfl jerseys china and he’s going to have to compete,” Jones said. “We really like what we saw out of Kavon last year. That’s where most of those good safeties start is start to show up on special teams, which he did. We’ll bring him along, too. And we may not be through yet in free agency.”
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The Cowboys signed Bell to a one-year deal last week that included a $250,000 signing bonus and a $1 million base salary. He can earn up to $300,000 in 46-man roster bonuses for the season. If he plays 60 percent of the snaps, he can earn an extra $250,000 and he would get another $250,000 if he plays 75 percent of the snaps. It is the same incentive structure Jonathan Cooper received.
Bell can earn an extra $450,000 in weight clauses as well, bringing the max value of his one year deal $2.5 million.
Bell missed last season with the Tennessee Titans with a dislocated ankle. The Titans listed Bell at 6-foot-5, 340 pounds. Emmett Cleary was the heaviest Cowboys offensive lineman a year ago, listed at 324 pounds. Tyron Smith was listed at 320 pounds.
Bell will have a chance to compete for the right tackle spot with Chaz Green with Doug Free’s impending retirement. Bell has started 72 games in his career and has experience at left and right tackle as well as guard.
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The Cowboys paired Romo with a veteran backup from his first full season as the starter (2007) through 2013 — with Brad Johnson (2007-08), Jon Kitna (2009-11) and Kyle Orton (2012-13) — before signing Brandon Weeden to a two-year deal at the NFL minimum in 2014.
The Cowboys also traded for Matt Cassel in 2015 after Romo suffered a broken left collarbone in Week 2. Cassel went 1-6 as the Cowboys’ starter and had five touchdown passes and seven interceptions. He also started and finished two games in which he had less than 200 yards passing in the Cowboys’ 4-12 debacle.
Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado: By allowing multiple members of their secondary to walk in free agency, it seems the Cowboys will address that position early and potentially often in the draft. For whatever reason Awuzie has not generated as much national attention as some of his peers at cornerback but some scouts feel he is the safest of this year’s class, standing out on tape due to his quickness, anticipation and toughness, including in run support.