September 30, 2022

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Travelling Tomorrow

Deion Sanders slams NIL deals, 3rd kicker at minicamp

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It’s a new era in college sports, with student athletes now able to earn money on their name, image, and likeness. But not everyone thinks it’s better. Count Deion Sanders in that latter group. The Jackson State coach raises questions about what big money is doing to the small-school athlete, and whether college coaching staffs are truly equipped to handle undergrad millionaires.

Elsewhere, a look at who will be at Cowboys rookie minicamp, including two new quarterbacks… and a third kicker candidate who’s taken quite a winding road to finally get a pro tryout. We’re looking at the schedule on the eve of its full unveiling: we know when the Cowboys will head to Lambeau, we’re counting the frequent-flyer miles, and we’re putting odds on three of the biggest matchups. All that, plus one metric predicts big things for De Williams, DeMarcus Lawrence will be under more pressure to apply more pressure, and a fan favorite from Hard Knocks is back on the open market. That’s all ahead in News and Notes.

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Jackson State’s current head coach claims that smaller schools like his can’t compete with the kind of money Power 5 programs are paying players. “I suggest to you to allow college teams to hire more qualified men –qualified– that can handle these young men that’s getting this money,” said Sanders. The former Cowboys star says he’s trying to help solve the problem before it gets worse. “When you start paying athletes like they’re professionals, you get athletes acting like they’re professionals.”

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The Cowboys will head north to Lambeau Field in Week 10 of the upcoming regular season. Mike McCarthy’s long-awaited return to Green Bay will be featured on Fox as America’s Game of the Week in the late afternoon timeslot. The rest of the Cowboys’ 2022 schedule will be unveiled on Thursday.

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Analytics expert Cynthia Frelund thinks the Cowboys will be in a veritable coin-flip situation in three must-watch games of the 2022 season. According to her models, Dallas has a 49.2% win probability versus Cincinnati, a 49.6% win probability when they visit the Packers, and a 50.3% win probability at home against the Eagles.

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The Cowboys will be racking up some serious frequent-flyer points in 2022. The team will log 19,566 miles covering 14 time zones with their regular season schedule. The closest road game? Nashville. The farthest? Los Angeles. It could be worse, though; Seattle will travel 29,446 miles and visit 34 time zones in 2022. The Steelers, by way of comparison, won’t leave the Eastern Time Zone all season.

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Among the nine draft picks, 20 undrafted free agents, and seven eligible veteran players at this weekend’s minicamp at The Star will be two former college quarterbacks. Nick Starkel played at Texas A&M and Arkansas before finishing his collegiate career at San Jose State. Terry Wilson started at Kentucky, but then transferred to New Mexico. Both will attend as tryout players.

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There’s apparently a third kicker getting his foot in the Cowboys’ door at this weekend’s rookie minicamp. Simon Mathiesen is a 28-year-old who grew up in Denmark. As a freshman wide receiver at Northwest Missouri State, he was pressed into emergency service as a kicker thanks to a soccer background. He helped boot the school to three Division II crowns in four years. After graduation, he went to work for the company that tracks kick stats during Sunday Night Football. His work in stadiums kicking balls to test the gear got him noticed; now he’ll have a tryout with Dallas six years after his final college season.

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The restructuring of Lawrence’s contract was part of an effort to bring back Randy Gregory. Now Lawrence will be expected to carry the bulk of the load as (far and away) the team’s top pass rusher from the edge position. But an increase in the number of snaps he plays inside- where the team is notably young and inexperienced- should also bolster the Cowboys’ run defense.

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Forget the 40. For a speed-based NFL edge rusher, a more meaningful measurable is yards per second. Cowboys rookie De Williams clocks in at 8.85, second-fastest among rookies. “I trust Dan Quinn to work some magic with him,” says exercise scientist Paul Francis.

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Kamara was one of the breakout stars of last year’s Hard Knocks series, and his release by the club disappointed many Cowboys fans. The defensive end appeared in nine games in 2021, mainly on special teams. He was waived in late December and picked up by Carolina the next day. After not seeing the field with the Panthers, the Ivory Coast native is now on the open market once again.

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Drew Fabianich has been the Cowboys’ national scout since 2004. Eleven of the first-round draft picks during his tenure have turned into Pro Bowlers, and of course, others- like Dak Prescott- became superstars despite being later selections. It’s a big loss within the team’s evaluation department.

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