The Dallas Cowboys kept talking up the receivers they already had going into the NFL draft after dumping Dez Bryant in a cost-cutting move.
They ended up having to tout their tight ends as well when ESPN reported on the draft’s second day that Jason Witten was planning to retire after 15 seasons to join the ”Monday Night Football” crew as lead analyst.
Even with all the talk Youth Arizona Cardinals Jerseys , Dallas still addressed a pair of positions that figure to look dramatically different after years of Bryant and Witten at or near the top of the club’s list of receiving leaders.
A day after drafting receiver Michael Gallup in the third round, the Cowboys traded one of their three picks in the sixth Saturday to the Los Angeles Rams for receiver Tavon Austin, the eighth overall pick in 2013 when the franchise was still in St. Louis.
The Cowboys took a tight end with the second of two picks in the fourth round in Stanford’s Dalton Schultz. Their first pick in that round was defensive end Dorance Armstrong from Kansas.
”I think we’re better because I think we’ve got a great read on where we were as we sort through Dez, as we sort through the what ifs of Witten,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. ”I think we’ve got more clarity now than we did when we started the draft.”
As for those players on the roster before the draft, the Cowboys don’t expect a No. 1 receiver to emerge because they don’t think their offense will be structured that way without Bryant.
Dallas wants quarterback Dak Prescott to feed off the run with 2016 rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott, so free-agent pickup Allen Hurns could be the top receiver without numbers similar to what Bryant posted during his best run from 2012-14.
The Cowboys also signed journeyman Deonte Thompson to go with incumbents Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley. Dallas took a receiver out of the equation Saturday by sending Ryan Switzer to Oakland for defensive lineman Jihad Ward.
”When you lose a player like Dez and what he’s brought to the table throughout his career, we’re remaking our receiving room,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. ”I do think we wanted to do things that Cheap Nick Chubb Jersey , as Jerry has said, that’s Dak-friendly.”
ESPN reported Friday that Witten was planning to retire to join the network, but Jerry Jones said the franchise leader in games, catches and yards receiving hadn’t made a decision and wanted the weekend to think about it.
Without Witten, the Cowboys currently have nine career catches from the tight ends on their roster – all by fourth-year player Geoff Swaim.
Dallas is high on Blake Jarwin and hopeful that former Baylor basketball player Rico Gathers can develop. Gathers hasn’t played a regular-season game and missed all of his second season after sustaining a concussion in training camp last year.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT NO. 1: Because of all the talk about Bryant and Witten, first-round pick Leighton Vander Esch was overshadowed. The linebacker from Boise State, taken 19th overall, could be a walk-in starter. Jerry Jones likes to compare him to Rolando McClain, a key man in the middle when the Cowboys won the NFC East in 2014. Dallas took another linebacker in the sixth round (Indiana’s Chris Covington).
PLAN FOR AUSTIN: Rams coach Sean McVay used Austin as more of a hybrid Authentic Customized 49ers Jerseys , with some wildcat and other change-of-pace looks as a runner in the last of five disappointing seasons for the speedy receiver. The Cowboys have similar plans for him, and high hopes for more production than Austin had while the Rams surged to the NFC West title in the first year under McVay after 10 straight losing seasons.
TILTED TOWARD OFFENSE: Six of the nine picks were offensive players. The third-day choices were Schultz, quarterback Mike White of Western Kentucky (fifth round), receiver Cedrick Wilson of Boise State (sixth) and Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough (seventh).
STILL NEED: The Cowboys didn’t draft a safety despite moving one of last season’s starters, Byron Jones, back to cornerback. At the moment, the starters appear to be Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods, a sixth-round pick last year.
The Chicago Cubs will have to get by without closer Brandon Morrow for a little while.
The Cubs placed the right-hander on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday because of lower back tightness, leaving a short-handed bullpen without its most important piece.
While Morrow went on the DL Tremaine Edmunds Jersey , Yu Darvish threw a simulated game. Manager Joe Maddon said he looked ”outstanding,” and the Cubs will see how he feels Thursday before announcing the next step as he works his way back from tendinitis in his right triceps.
Morrow – signed by Chicago to a $21 million, two-year contract in December after helping the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Cubs in the NLCS – has 16 saves in 17 chances.
He hurt his back taking his pants off at home early Monday morning, after the team returned from St. Louis. The Cubs put him on the DL before their game against the Dodgers and announced right-hander Justin Hancock will remain with the club after being called up from Triple-A Iowa as the 26th man for Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader.
”Anybody who’s had a back spasm knows you can pretty much get it doing anything – brushing your teeth, sneezing, picking up a kid,” Morrow said. ”I think almost everybody has a story about doing so I just said how I did it.”
Morrow said he’s ”pretty comfortable” walking, but feels it when he sits. He said he would have needed a few more days to be ready to pitch. But the Cubs opted not to hold his spot on the active roster.
”We thought it would be wise to give him a couple of days,” Maddon said. ”We just can’t go with one less pitcher right now. We just cannot.”
The Cubs are also missing relievers Carl Edwards Jr. (right shoulder inflammation) and Brian Duensing Carlton Davis Jersey Buccaneers , who is on the bereavement list after his grandfather died Saturday.
Maddon said the matchups will dictate who closes with Morrow sidelined. He also said the Cubs are ”very close” to mapping out a plan for the return of Edwards, who has been throwing. He said the Cubs hope to get Duensing back by Friday.
Darvish, meanwhile, said through an interpreter that the simulated game went better than expected. He felt some anxiety before the outing but felt comfortable on the mound and had good command of his fastball and slider, though he needs to work on his curve and splitter.
Darvish also said he thinks he will need only one rehab start before rejoining the rotation. Once he is ready, the Cubs will have some decisions to make.
Mike Montgomery has a 1.21 ERA in five starts since he was inserted into the rotation in Darvish’s absence. And Tyler Chatwood leads the majors with 63 walks.
Darvish is 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA in eight starts, not what the Cubs envisioned when they signed the prized right-hander to a $126 million, six-year contract in February.