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Cowboys news: It could take winning a bidding war to make Sean Payton Dallas’ next head coach

SB Nation logo SB Nation 5/15/2022 Brian_Martin
© Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Panthers, Cowboys to get into bidding war for former Saints HC Sean Payton? - Anthony Rizzuti, Panthers Wire

Just how bad does Jerry Jones want Sean Payton as the Cowboys next HC?

On Thursday, Front Office Sports senior writer Michael McCarthy reported that the Carolina Panthers were “eyeing” former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. Then, not only would he double-down on his work the next day, but McCarthy also added an interesting twist.

While joining Friday’s edition of Game On with John and Richmond on iHeart Radio, McCarthy affirmed his reporting—even despite current Panthers head coach Matt Rhule claiming to have heard otherwise just hours earlier. He’d proceed to expand on Payton’s potential availability beyond 2023, even suggesting the Dallas Cowboys would be throwing their hats into the inevitable race.

“To me, he’s about the best available coach there is out there,” he told host John Ellis. “So I don’t think just the Panthers—I think there’s a lot of teams that are going to go after him when he comes back to the league, including the Cowboys.”

Payton, of course, spent three years in Dallas right before being hired to lead the Saints in 2006. From 2003 to 2005, fresh off a three-year stint as the New York Giants offensive coordinator, the future Super Bowl winner served as the Cowboys’ assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach.

4 undrafted free agents most likely to make the Cowboys’ 2022 roster - Lauren Barash, The Landry Hat

Of the 20 undrafted free agents the Cowboys signed, several could make the roster.

1. Markquese Bell, S, FAMU

Many draft analysts thought the HBCU star safety would be drafted somewhere during the seven rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft. When he wasn’t, the Cowboys jumped on the opportunity to secure this speedy talent. Even though the Cowboys re-signed both Malik Hooker and Jayron Kearse, Bell could certainly add more depth and talent to the defensive back unit. His 4.41-second 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine certainly caught the eyes of many scouts.

With a bit of NFL-level coaching, Bell has immense potential in the NFL. He was a four-star prospect out of high school and his 71 solo tackles, 6.5 TFLs, and five forced fumbles earned him an official pre-draft visit with Dallas. Currently on the depth chart behind Hooker and Kearse are Donovan Wilson, Israel Mukuamu, and Tyler Coyle, who all have a very low amount of game experience. With a strong training camp performance, Bell could certainly earn his spot on the depth chart.

The Florida A&M product’s unique journey to football helps him excel as an athlete. In high school, Bell took snaps at quarterback, wide receiver, and safety. His football awareness and knowledge help him to be an elite ballhawk. Keep an eye out for this safety in rookie minicamp.

Caught speeding: ‘100%’ Ezekiel Elliott timed at 22 mph at Cowboys workout - Mike Fisher, Cowboys Maven

Zeke has the need, the need for speed.

Having visited with Dallas Cowboys at The Star on Friday, we know he made a quick visit to observe rookie minicamp.

But he did something else quickly this week.

“I would hope so,” said coach Mike McCarthy of Elliott, who played most of last season with a partial PCL tear.”I was looking at the GPS yesterday.” …

And Elliott reached 22 miles per hour in a workout on Tuesday.

Peak Zeke? That’s a nice topper to a week than continued on Friday thusly …

Maybe it’s leadership. Maybe it’s curiosity. Or maybe it’s a combination of both that saw Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott making his way to the practice field here inside The Star to observe the Friday rookie minicamp.

Cowboys waive Chris Nagger: Will there be a kick in competition? - Jess Haynie, The Landry Hat

The search for Greg Zuerlein’s replacement continues.

The Cowboys waived Kicker Chris Naggar yesterday, giving the former Longhorn and Mustang a trivial offseason stay with his hometown team. Undrafted free agent Jonathan Garibay is now the only kicker on Dallas’ roster, but will that remain the case between now and Week One?

Naggar spent most of 2021 on the Cleveland Brownspractice squad and was used in one game as a COVID-19 replacement. Dallas signed him to a future contract in February, and for a brief time he was their only kicker between the release of Greg Zuerlein and the addition of Garibay.

A native of Arlington, TX, Chris went undrafted in 2021 following one year at SMU as their kicker. He transferred from Texas in 2020 while also making the switch from punter.

The Cowboys needed to waive one player to reach the 90-man roster limit before starting minicamps. This decision at least shows they see greater potential in Garibay than Naggar.

However, does Naggar’s dismissal mean Garibay will have no competition for the kicking job in 2022?

Projecting every NFL team’s starting lineup for 2022 - Maurice Moton, Bleacher Report

And the Dallas Cowboys starters for the 2022 season are…

Dallas Cowboys

Offense: QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott, WR CeeDee Lamb, WR Jalen Tolbert, WR James Washington, TE Dalton Schultz, LT Tyron Smith, LG Tyler Smith, C Tyler Biadasz, RG Zack Martin, RT Terence Steele

Defense: DE DeMarcus Lawrence, DL Neville Gallimore, DL Osa Odighizuwa, DE Dorance Armstrong, LB Leighton Vander Esch, LB Micah Parsons, LB Jabril Cox, CB Trevon Diggs, CB Anthony Brown, FS Malik Hooker, SS Jayron Kearse, NB Jourdan Lewis

Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones thinks Michael Gallup could miss multiple games. The team selected Tolbert in the third round of the 2022 draft, so we may see the rookie in three-wide receiver sets for the first few weeks.

Along the offensive line, the Cowboys’ first draft pick surpasses Connor McGovern for the left guard spot. Jones said Smith would compete for that position (h/t NFL.com’s Nick Shook). Steele has extensive starting experience in two seasons (27 starts). He replaces La’el Collins at right tackle.

On the opposite side of the line, Armstrong replaces edge-rusher Randy Gregory, who signed with the Denver Broncos. Dallas retained Armstrong on a two-year deal after his five-sack 2021 campaign. He gets the nod over Dante Fowler Jr., who played under defensive coordinator Dan Quinn with the Atlanta Falcons in 2020 but posted modest pass-rushing numbers that year (three sacks and 23 pressures).

On the back end of the defense, the Cowboys maintain the status quo with 2021 second-round cornerback Kelvin Joseph’s early availability in question because of an investigation into a fatal shooting connected to a vehicle in which he was a passenger. If the league doesn’t suspend him, the Kentucky product could push Brown for a spot on the boundary.

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