Do you guys think we should be a little concerned that two of the three expected starting receivers are already nursing some injuries that historically have the chance to linger all season long? I know the Cowboys are being extra cautious right now, but it seems like we have seen this before and it’s no secret we are pretty thin at the wide receiver position. There are still some pretty good receivers looking for a job or a new team. — MARK SOMMA / GAINESVILLE, VA
Nick: I’d like to ask you back just which “pretty good receivers” you’re talking about that are out there. Guys I see are like OBJ, Julio Jones and Will Fuller. Those guys all have injury history as well. But yeah, I don’t disagree with you that it’s OK to worry about this position. And to me, it expands beyond these summer setbacks. I do think James Washington will be ready for camp and Michael Gallup might take a little longer. But the chemistry that’s being lost here this summer could be a problem. I think that’s one of the reasons Cedrick Wilson had a strong season – the work he got with Dak in the summer. I wish Washington had gotten more of that with Dak. And the same goes for Tolbert, who missed a lot of time. But at this point, I think you go to camp and see how it goes. They’ll add some help if they don’t feel strong about it when the season gets here.
Rob: Actually, I’m not sure which three players you’re referring to, because arguably the top five receivers have all dealt with something at various points this offseason: CeeDee Lamb (hamstring), Michael Gallup (ACL rehab), Jalen Tolbert (hamstring), James Washington (foot) and Noah Brown (hamstring). Only Tolbert practiced this week, but as you said, the Cowboys will be extra cautious this time of year. Gallup is the only player who’s not expected to be ready for a return in Oxnard. So no, I don’t think there’s an injury concern at the position overall. They do have to figure out who steps up in Gallup’s place if indeed he’s not ready for the start of the season, though.
If Tony Pollard has a future with this team, why not sign him to a reasonable deal, $3-4 million a year for 2-4 years before he has a big season? (The average of all NFL running backs according to Spotrac is just under $2 million.) Worst-case scenario, you re-sign a versatile running back at barely above the league average. — BRYAN WALSH / ELDERSBURG, MD
Nick: Sounds great except …. deals are usually two-sided. I don’t know why his agent would agree to that. Agents and players kind of want that “big season” that you’re referring to. I think Pollard is hoping to have another good year and it’ll open up for a big payday down the road – maybe it’s from here. But I just don’t think it would be something that makes sense for Pollard’s camp. Makes sense for the Cowboys, but not exactly both sides. Now, getting a deal done is certainly possible but I’d imagine Pollard’s side would want to project it out, and probably ask for a price range based on projections, rather than production.
Rob: Not a bad thought at all. When it comes to questions about extending a player’s deal early, my answer is always, would he necessarily want to do that now? Like you said, Pollard might have another career year if his touches increase and then might want to see what the free agent market looks like next spring. Might want to do that anyway after having a reduced role throughout his time here. (He’s 25 years old with only 317 career carries.) But I like the idea because he’s a really talented guy.