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Dallas Cowboys

Free agent center Connor Williams’ future appeared to be in doubt after a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury that his agent called “pretty significant.” But after a lengthy rehab, Williams hopes to continue his career.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Williams expects to be ready for the start of the season and is in discussions with multiple teams about where to play in 2024. He plans to pick his new team before training camp begins.

Williams injured his knee in a Dec. 11 game against the Titans.

After ESPN analyst Louis Riddick questioned whether Williams’ injury might be career-threatening, Williams’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said Williams would take his time and get healthy before making any decisions. Now, Williams apparently has made that decision.

Williams moved from guard to center after signing a two-year deal with the Dolphins in 2022 and became a solid starting center.

He is one of the few players remaining on PFT’s list of top-100 free agents.

The Cowboys have added another player from the UFL and this one happens to be a former NFL first-round pick.

Dallas announced on Tuesday that the club has signed defensive back Gareon Conley.

Conley, 28, was a Raiders first-round pick in 2017 and appeared in 23 games for the club before he was traded to the Texans in October of 2019. He started six more games for Houston that season but has not appeared in a regular-season game since.

The Defenders signed Conley in December. He played seven games and finished with 25 total tackles with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Conley joins linebacker Willie Harvey Jr. as two Cowboys defensive additions from the UFL.

One of the UFL’s best players is headed to the NFL.

Per Tom Pelissero of NFL Media, linebacker Willie Harvey Jr. plans to sign with the Cowboys.

Harvey, 28, recently worked out for Dallas. He was an All-UFL selection after making 78 tackles in 10 games to lead the league. He also finished No. 1 among all linebackers in tackles for loss (nine), passes defensed (six), and forced fumbles (two).

After joining the Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2019, he stayed with the team on the practice squad. He began playing with the St. Louis BattleHawks back in 2023.

As noted by Jon Machete of, Dallas has a history of signing players in the top spring league who go on to have success in the NFL, Dallas signed both receiver/return specialist KaVontae Turpin and kicker Brandon Aubrey over the last few years.

Harvey has appeared in four career NFL games — two in 2019 and two in 2021. He played exclusively on special teams and made a total of two tackles in those contests.

Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin has revealed that his wife, Sandy, has Alzheimer’s disease.

Michael and Sandy are both 58 years old and Michael told Clarence E. Hill of the Star-Telegram that Sandy has been suffering from the disease for five or six years and now requires 24-hour care and they have a live-in caretaker.

“If anyone has earned the right to stay in her house, MY WIFE HAS!!!,” Irvin said in a text to the Star-Telegram. “That I shall honor. No matter what it takes.”

Michael and Sandy began dating when he was playing college football at Miami and got married in 1990, after Michael’s second year in the NFL. They will celebrate their 34th anniversary this month.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, younger-onset Alzheimer’s is much less common, but the disease does strike many people in their 50s and even in their 40s.

Michael Irvin played his entire NFL career for the Cowboys. He was their first-round draft pick in 1988 and retired in 1999. He won three Super Bowl rings during his time in Dallas.

Jerry Jones will be helping the one-armed bandit pick his customers’ pockets.

Via the Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys have done a sponsorship deal with Aristocrat Gaming. (I thought about including an Easter-egg video link in the word “Aristocrat” to a Bob Saget bit from YouTube, but it really is horrifying and revolting, even if that was the point.) The slot-machine company will have promotional materials throughout AT&T Stadium, and it will show in-game ads on the Jumbotron during Cowboys games.

While slot machines aren’t legal in Texas, the goal will be to get fans to make the short trip to Oklahoma, where NFL-themed slot machines are waiting to take their money.

“From a business perspective, the Cowboys’ proximity to Oklahoma is really important to us,” Aristocrat (I thought about it again) chief marketing officer Mark Wadley said. “A lot of the fanbase that goes up to WinStar and other casinos in Oklahoma come from Dallas. So the opportunity to communicate with them as they are making their trip to those casinos is really important for us.”

Aristocrat has partnered with a family of four teams: the Cowboys, Raiders, Patriots, and Saints.

It’s believed, as explained in the Morning News article, that Texans spend roughly $5 billion per year on gambling in neighboring states, along with $8 billion on illegal gambling in Texas.

Amazingly, Texas can’t find a way to legalize gambling and take a major cut of the money that casinos and sports books inevitably win from the suckers who are born every time a slot machine flashes, “Try again.”

Although more people are paying attention to the Sunday Ticket trial, the coverage is still lacking. And what we’re getting only makes us want more.

Consider this. Yesterday, Cowboys owner and G.M. Jerry Jones testified in the ongoing Sunday Ticket trial. Jerry Freaking Jones. One of the most influential figures in league history and one of the most powerful owners in all of sport took the witness stand, and it’s virtually impossible to find anything more than one quote from his testimony.

But the quote is a doozy.

Quick background note. From time to time, I’ll explain the consequences of the NFL losing its broadcast antitrust exemption. If that ever happens, the teams would sell the rights to their home games individually, like Notre Dame does. In discussing that scenario, I’ll explain that the Cowboys would get multiple billions per year for its games. In lieu of naming the teams at the other end of the spectrum, I’ll typically say, “They know who they are.”

Jerry has an opinion regarding who one of them is. In defending the broadcast model despite the fact that he would profit handsomely from it, Jones sent a stray in the direction of Cincinnati.

“I am convinced I would make a lot more money than the Bengals,” Jones said, via the Associated Press. “I’m completely against each team doing TV deals. It is flawed.”

While Jones is accurate, given the immense value of a Cowboys-only package, it was unnecessary to single out the Bengals. He could have just said, “Any other team.”

His selection of the Bengals wasn’t random or accidental. Jones and Bengals owner Mike Brown have a longstanding feud regarding revenue sharing. As NFL legend has it, Jones and Brown once got into a heated argument during an ownership meeting over Brown’s refusal to sell naming rights to Paul Brown Stadium.

Of course, times have changed since then. The Bengals have become a borderline powerhouse, appearing in two of the last three conference championship games while the Cowboys have appeared in exactly none of the last 28.

Jones also might have been motivated by a desire to seem magnanimous, picking the team owned by the man with whom he has battled over sharing cash to make the point that there is a limit to Jones’s greed.

But that underscores a bigger point. The sharing of TV revenue has always relied on the owners of the Globtrettor-level clubs willingly handing TV money to the Washington Generals of the league. As the values of franchises skyrocket and as it becomes harder and harder to find people with the money to buy teams, the next generation of owners might not want to share TV revenue. Likewise, the private-equity firms that could soon be buying chunks of NFL clubs might start pressing for a different model, if they believe they would get a better return on their investment if the rights were sold not by the league but by the teams.

Jones is due to return to the stand on Tuesday. We’ll continue to look for anything/everything of interest that he might say. Hopefully, he’ll avoid using certain phrases in the presence of the jury.

Let me revise that. Hopefully, he will.

As the multi-billion-dollar ticket Sunday Ticket trial against the NFL resumes, the man in charge of the multi-billion-dollar business — along with the multi-billionaire who owns one of the 32 franchises — are poised to take the stand.

On Monday, Commissioner Roger Goodell is scheduled testify, according to Sports Business Journal. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is also slated to testify this week, “possibly as soon as today.”

That would be unlikely. An economic expert called by the NFL was still on the stand when the trial broke for the week. That will eat into part of the day. And Goodell’s testimony likely won’t be short; his cross-examination will surely be aggressive and robust.

Based on the way he testified at deposition two years ago in the case involving the question of whether the league will be eligible for insurance coverage in connection with the concussion settlement, he might be inclined to engage in swordplay with the lawyer who questions him — which won’t make for a short session on the witness stand.

Goodell might take a different approach when testifying in front of a judge and a jury. In a deposition, it’s just the lawyers and a court reporter; the witness can be tempted to try to take over. In open court, acting that way can lead to a very bad outcome.

Similar concerns apply to Jones, who at times seems to believe he can sweet talk and wink his way out of any jam. The more the witness says, the more fodder the lawyer has for follow-up questions.

The biggest challenge for both men will be to submit to the authority of the court. Goodell and Jones are very much accustomed to having others submit to them.

The case focuses on the allegation that the NFL requires the Sunday Ticket provider to charge a premium price, so that consumers would be more likely to watch the over-the-air offerings from their local CBS and Fox affiliates. Evidence introduced to date supports the notion that the league preferred fewer subscribers at a high price, and that the league did not want (for example) ESPN to offer the package for $70 per year or to make a per-team option available.

The verdict could be enormous. Its implications could revolutionize the way fans consume NFL content on Sunday afternoons.

It appeared Stephon Gilmore and the Panthers were close to reuniting after the draft. Six weeks later, the cornerback remains a free agent.

Being patient right now,” Gilmore said during the red carpet of Tom Brady’s Patriots Hall of Fame ceremony, via Nick O’Malley of “I feel good. Year 13, been playing a long time. So, I’m just being patient and waiting for the right opportunity.”

Gilmore, 34, is one of the few remaining free agents from PFT’s top 100.

No team has yet offered a contract to Gilmore’s liking or he already would have signed. Given that, it now makes sense for him to wait until a team has an injury to a starting cornerback.

The five-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro and one time defensive player of the year has played for the Bills, Patriots, Panthers, Colts and Cowboys. He has 31 interceptions and 140 passes defensed in his career.

Gilmore started all 17 games for the Cowboys last season.

The new Trevor Lawrence contract matches Joe Burrow’s deal in new-money average. It will have ripple effects for other quarterbacks who are closing in on new deals.

There’s one quarterback it doesn’t impact. Dak Prescott.

Prescott’s leverage isn’t driven by the question of whether anyone matches or beats Burrow’s annual new-money average. What matters for Prescott is the fact that he has a straight shot to free agency, unfettered and unimpeded by the ability of the Cowboys to keep him from getting to the open market.

That’s the direct consequence of the four-year, $160 million deal that Prescott signed after the 2020 season. The contract was engineered to prevent the franchise tag or the transition tag. It also was designed to get the Cowboys to extend the deal with one year left.

One factor toward that end was the massive cap number for 2024, which the Cowboys mildly restructured down to $55.455 million. And if Dak leaves next year, the Cowboys will take another $54.465 million cap charge.

The only way to reduce those numbers will be to sign him to a new deal. The only way to keep him from becoming an unrestricted free agent will be to sign him to a new deal.

Extending Dak is also a potential key to extending receiver CeeDee Lamb (who wants his next deal now) and linebacker Micah Parsons (who claims to be patient but definitely shouldn’t be).

Dak’s value on his next deal comes from his leverage in the last year of his current one. They need to reduce his cap number for 2024. They need to keep his contract from voiding and dumping a $54.465 million cap charge in his name onto the 2025 books, regardless of whether they re-sign him.

Dak possesses exactly the kind of business leverage on which Cowboys owner Jerry Jones routinely has capitalized throughout his career. Dak needs to only ask himself, “WWJD?”

The “J” in that formulation wouldn’t turn cheeks; he’d squeeze balls. By not accepting whatever the Cowboys have offered, that’s what Dak is doing.

That’s why no one else’s contract matters. Dak already had the power to get a long-term contract that starts with a 6, thanks to the contract he signed three years ago. And that’s why we said from the get-go that, of all the quarterback contracts signed at or about the same time, Dak’s was the best. Better than the Patrick Mahomes deal. Better than the Josh Allen deal.

The beauty of the Dak contract is that it forced the Cowboys to re-do the contract after three years or face chaos. That chaos is already unfolding, via the inability to even consider making good on Jerry’s hollow vow to go “all in.”

The Cowboys wrapped up their on-field offseason work with last week’s mandatory minicamp and they took care of a little more business on Tuesday.

The team announced the signing of second-round pick Marshawn Kneeland. He is the eighth and last of their eight draft picks to sign a four-year rookie contract with the team.

Kneeland started 23 games on the edge of the defense during his time at Western Michigan. He had 148 tackles, 27.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, three passes defensed, and three forced fumbles over the course of his college career.

Kneeland will join Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Sam Williams as edge rushers on the Cowboys defense.