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Cowboys Mailbag
Do you think Dez Bryant will be holdout?

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RUSS HAYES – FAYETTEVILLE, NC: The last thing any rookie needs is to sit out training camp and the preseason. Do you think Dez Bryant‘s agent, Eugene Parker, will repeat the extended holdout he used for Michael Crabtree last year, since most people see Bryant as better than the 24th player in the draft?

Rob: The Cowboys clearly do not intend to pay him top-10 money, and I think their relationship with Parker over the years will help get Bryant signed somewhere around the start to camp. And I thought Bryant sounded sincere when he said he’s been away from the game long enough already, due to his NCAA suspension. He’s got a lot to prove.

Josh: If you’ll look back on that situation, Crabtree wasn’t exactly pleased to go to the 49ers, or at the 10th pick. You can tell Bryant is ecstatic to be a Cowboy. Parker’s got to do the best thing for his guy, but I think they’ll want to get him in camp, if not on time then without much delay. The Cowboys aren’t going to pay above slot, and I think they’ve made that clear to Parker.

CLYDE SMITH – PASADENA, MD: Now that the draft is over, what kind of moves will the Cowboys make to fill the safety and offensive line needs, as Jerry Jones hinted? Are we talking about starting-caliber players or backups?

Rob: A veteran backup on the line, and possibly a starting-caliber safety. Jones is comfortable with Free as the starter, but he isn’t as clear about what he has at free safety. They’ll keep an eye on the waiver wire for both positions.

Josh: Just from listening to Jones on Saturday, it sounds like safety is the one they would be looking for a starting-caliber player. I don’t know if there’s one out there, particularly since they don’t want Darren Sharper. On the offensive line they’ll be looking for some position flexibility in a guy who would be a backup.

SEAN CRITTENDEN – BALTIMORE, MD: I agree Dez Bryant was the best player available for the Cowboys. How does the receiver position shake out now?

Rob: We know Austin, Williams and Bryant aren’t going anywhere. It’s hard to see the Cowboys keeping six receivers this year’s final roster — meaning Crayton, Hurd and Ogletree, too. One probably won’t be here. The popular theory is Crayton, but remember that he’s a veteran receiver whom Tony Romo trusts. That’s important.

Nick: Looks like Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd might be expendable. But you’ll never get the Cowboys to say that right now. Right now, you’ve got a lot of quality receivers. We’ll how competition pushes each other.

CRAIG ANDERSON – MURRIETA, CA: Didn’t the Cowboys just get rid of a locker room headache a year ago? Why would Jerry Jones want another receiver to deal with that could disrupt great team progress over the last year?

Rob: Based on their homework, they’ve concluded he’s fundamentally a good kid who has made some mistakes — none criminal. Doesn’t mean it’ll be a problem-free marriage. Like any rookie he’ll have to learn to be a professional. But if you’re Bryant, a native Texan, could you ask for a better situation/clean slate? He’s in the place he always dreamed of being, and he’ll get a chance to play right away without pressure to carry an offense.

Nick: Maybe you think he’s a headache because of what you’ve read and heard. And obviously the Cowboys have done their homework. Maybe they don’t think it’s a problem. Maybe they’ve got plenty of Tylenol. Either way, I think the Cowboys are convinced the talent far over-weighs anything else.

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