VALLEY RANCH (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s the morning after the end of the NFL lockout and a very busy day in Valley Ranch for the Dallas Cowboys.
CBS 11 Sports is there and spoke with team owner Jerry Jones who said he and the Cowboys coaches worked until 5 a.m. this morning.
Jones said everyone was busy getting in touch with current players, calling rookie free agents and preparing for the season.
“We’ve been preparing for this for a couple a months,” Jones said. “The scouts and coaches are all ready to go, so we’re ready to hit the ground running.”
Today is the first day players are allowed to go to Valley Ranch, but they won’t have to necessarily make their way to Irving to have contact with Cowboys coaches.
Jones told CBS 11 Sports, “We’re in a position to talk to all free agents today and by the end of the day we will have communicated with any player we have an interest in.”
By 8:20 a.m. Jones and all the Cowboys coaches were back at Valley Ranch. Before heading back in to work CBS 11 Sports asked Jones how tough it is to try and get a season together in such a short amount of time.
“This is a piece of cake compared to what we went through dealing with the labor deal. This is a labor of love, because I get to work on my team,” he said.
The Cowboys have to get under the salary cap of $120 million; currently the team is at about $138 million. But Jones doesn’t see it as a problem. “We can get well under the cap and we plan to and still sign any players we want to,” he said confidently. “We will be able to do what we want with the cap.”
Jones said he has a lot of emotions about the four-and-a-half-month lockout, the toll it took on everyone and the final outcome. ““I’m relieved. There was a lot of give and take in the new deal,” he said. “I am sorry for all the angst for fans, but in the real world fans aren’t fixated on football in the off-season — they are [fixated on] now and we are ready to go.”
The new labor agreement rules say the Cowboys can’t cut a player until Friday, which is s serious time crunch since the team leaves for camp Wednesday.
The Dallas Cowboys say the players who are being cut will not be going to training camp and will be notified. “I’m in the process of doing that this morning and I will do it personally,” Jones told CBS 11 Sports.
Some of the players Jones may be contacting include, RB Marion Barber, RT Marc Colombo, and possibly CB Terence Newman and WR Roy Williams.
As of about 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, the only player that members of the CBS 11 Sports team saw entering the Valley Ranch practice facility was Doug Free. His presence makes a statement since the left tackle is an unrestricted free agent, and signing him is the team’s top priority.