Q: Why did the Cowboys only give Marcus Spears a second round tender? Don’t you think another team will give up the pick and sign him?
Terry Hardwick, Memphis, TN
The Cowboys actually gave Marcus Spears an original pick tender. However, should another team sign him, they would only have to give up a second round pick, so you are right about that.
There are a few things the Cowboys could be trying to accomplish by not giving Spears a higher tender. First, perhaps they think no one will sign Spears long-term. NFL teams treat draft picks like gold. When the Cardinals are trying to trade Anquan Boldin for a third-rounder, you get an idea of how valuable teams consider their draft picks to be.
Second, the Cowboys may plan to match any offer that Spears gets from another team. If Spears gets signed long-term, the Cowboys have seven days to match that exact offer. They have to be careful with this, however, as a team could sign Spears to a deal that contains a “poison pill”– a component of the contract that the Cowboys would be unable to match. For example, if the contract said that Spears could only play “X” amount of games in Arlington, Texas, then the Cowboys would obviously be out of luck. Offers containing “poison pills” are very rare and considered dirty. There would also be no reason for Spears to sign such a contract, unless he really does not want to come back to Dallas.
Lastly, the Cowboys could actually be content with Spears leaving. We doubt this is the case, but if they have enough confidence in Jason Hatcher, Stephen Bowen, and Igor Olshansky, they may see Spears as expendable. This would make defensive end a high priority in the draft, increasing the likelihood of the Cowboys selecting Jared Odrick or Brian Price in the first round.
Q: Is it possible to move Flozell Adams to guard? He has struggled in pass protection but excelled in run blocking, so maybe it could help his production.
Allen Barber, Oakland, CA
You know, we actually are not fundamentally opposed to the idea. You have to be careful switching players’ positions, but Flozell may actually be a candidate to make the switch to guard. As you pointed out and we showed in our Offensive Line Grades, Adams was still productive in the run game. Moving him to guard might help him utilize his strength and hide his lack of quickness in pass protection.
The most obvious potential problem is that guards are asked to pull a lot more than tackles. Does Flozell still possess the quickness needed to pull and make a block in the open field? Perhaps he has been dominant in run blocking because, at left tackle, he is generally matched up against the defense’s smallest lineman, something that would never happen if he was playing guard.
Still, we think Adams has the strength to hold his own inside. Further, Leonard Davis has shown that a 355 pound man is capable of moving around well at guard, so Adams shouldn’t be ruled out.
Practically, however, a move cannot be made at this time. First, the Cowboys are already searching for depth at tackle. This is probably Adams last season as the starting left tackle, and who knows if Doug Free is capable of playing well on the left side. We already think Free’s right tackle play, contrary to popular belief, was only slightly above average.
Second, the Cowboys already have two solid guards. Adams would have to take Kyle Kosier’s job, but Kosier played extremely well last season, yielding just one sack all year. If a move to guard is in Flozell’s future, it would likely come next year, when Kosier is a free agent and the team has had a full season to groom either Doug Free or a rookie as Adams’ successor at left tackle.
Q: Do you see the Cowboys trading up to draft Texas safety Earl Thomas? We need a new free safety and Thomas is a ball-hawk who looked great at the Combine.
Devon Douglas, Weatherford, TX
Earl Thomas did excel in Indianapolis, and we listed him as one of our “Combine Winners.” Most surprising about Thomas was that he weighed in at 208 pounds, 10 pounds heavier than his college weight, yet still ran a 4.44 forty-yard dash. Thomas is certainly on the Cowboys radar.
Unfortunately, he is on a lot of other teams’ radar too. We think Thomas is going to go very early in the draft, even more so than people are expecting. We talked to a scout who said multiple teams have Thomas ranked ahead of the “consensus” top safety Eric Berry. There are also rumors that Houston will not let Thomas get passed them if he drops to pick #20.
If that is the case, the best case scenario for Jerry Jones would be to trade up to pick #19 if Thomas somehow drops there. Even though we see that as very unlikely, it would probably cost the Cowboys their 3rd and 4th round picks to make that move (according to the NFL Draft Value Chart). That is a steep price to pay, particularly with so many talented safeties projected to be on the board in round two.
Thus, unless Thomas drops into the 20’s, the Cowboys are highly unlikely to make a move for him. It should really be a moot point, though, as we see Thomas as a potential top 15 pick.