Davy Sparks, Los Alamos, N. M.: I was wondering if there was any way you could tell me how I can give my deepest condolences to Pat Tillman's family? I have been a Cowboys fan all my life, but it was fun watching the Cowboys and Cardinals play when Tillman was there. He was an awesome player. Just real sad to see him gone. Sorry that I was off topic. Mickey: No, don't be. You're right on. It's good that a bunch of you guys figured dealing with reality was more important than the draft today. Pretty sad day, and I think it hits home when a soldier that is killed is not some faceless guy. I noticed at on the Arizona Republic website, the paper started a memorial for fans to pay tribute to the former player at Arizona State and the Cardinals by writing in their condolences. Ron Phillips, Orlando, Fla.: Is it logical to think the Cowboys would trade their first pick this year and next year plus Larry Allen to the Raiders for their first pick. And do you think the Raiders would be interested? Mickey: Do what? For who? What one player could make such a huge impact on this Cowboys rebuilding process that you would give up all that? You guys see the stuff I have to filter through? And please, the Raiders would want more than that to drop 19 places in the first round. Jason Wilson, Brandon, Miss.: What hurt us the most last year? Was it Quincy Carter's inaccuracy and bad decisions, poor running by Troy Hambrick, Mario Edwards getting toasted or flagged every other play, or the offensive line? Address those four issues through the draft, free agency or the existing talent on the team and I think you will go from pretending to contending this year. Mickey: OK, now we're back on track. I see the Cowboys addressing at least half of your very accurate concerns on the first day, finding a running back and starting-quality offensive lineman. The cornerback will depend on availability. As for Carter, I'm convinced he's here for at least another season. But you're right, until he fixes his accuracy, if that can be fixed, he will always leave you wanting more. Shane Walters, Las Vegas, Nev.: If both Steven Jackson and Vince Wilfork happen to fall to number 22, who would the Cowboys draft? Wilfork is a mammoth defensive tackle, but Jackson is a great running back. I attended Eldorado High School the same year as Jackson. From what I've seen, he could be the real deal at running back. What do you think would happen if both players fell to the 22nd spot? Mickey: In the unlikely occurrence that happens, I've got to believe the Cowboys would grab Jackson, since it's a push from a talent perspective and the team's dire need would probably break the tie. At least the Cowboys have one Pro Bowl defensive tackle and a sufficient enough group to handle the other spot. Not the case at running back. Dennis Nelson, Sheboygan, Wis.: What are the chances of Dallas drafting Tatum Bell in the second round if Steven Jackson is taken before Dallas gets on the clock? Bell seems like he could be a real steal. Fast and elusive. Mickey. Certainly there is a chance. Don't know that the Cowboys would go out of their way to get the Oklahoma State running back - meaning trade up in the second - but they obviously have interest in him or they would not have brought him in for a visit two weeks ago. Trey Sill, College Station, Texas: I think that if Jackson or Kevin Jones are not available, then Shawn Andrews is the way to go. Then either Bell or Chris Perry would be a great second-round pick. That addresses the top needs for the Cowboys this season. Am I right or what? Mickey: You're right. I think the Cowboys would love to have Andrews in the first round if Jackson is gone, and maybe even if Kevin Jones still is there. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says the team must address its need on the offensive line, if possible, in one of the first two rounds. And if they did that in the first round, then the Cowboys could look for a running back in the second. And that's where Perry likely will be drafted. Jarrod Brodrick, Huntington, Ind.: OK, you might call me crazy, but I think Julius Jones is Emmitt Smith-like. And he will still be around in the second or third round. I am from Indiana, so I saw him play every weekend all season, and he is a game breaker. He could also be a solution on special teams. So I think the Cowboys should get an O-lineman or a D-lineman in the first round and then get Julius Jones in the second or third. What do you think? Mickey: I think you are right on it. Do keep Julius Jones in mind. Remember, he, too, was one of the running backs the Cowboys brought in for a visit, along with Chris Perry and Maurice Clarett. Plus, you're right about Julius Jones as a kick-off return guy. He was pretty good at that, and the Cowboys certainly need to fix that spot. But let's be careful putting his name in a sentence so close to Emmitt's for now. Rick Perelman, Las Vegas, Nev.: I read your column everyday and with all the talk about the uncertainty of what will happen when the Cowboys get on the clock, I wanted to know what their options are. Since they only have 15 minutes, how do they get in touch with other teams and even know which ones to talk to? On top of that, how do they make a deal with another team in that short amount of time and what happens if time runs out? But most important, what would life be like without my daily fix of this Cowboys website? Mickey: Now here is a very wise man. OK, as for those precious 15 minutes. First of all, there is a bank of phones in the war room, the phones all programmed with speed dial to the other teams, for sure. Now then, teams do their homework during the week leading up to draft day, trying to find out which teams might be interested in trading up or down. As your turn nears, you get busy with contingency plans if you are wanting to trade; finding partners and working deals. Hey, this is when the action becomes intense, bartering with a gun to your head (the time clock). If you don't get your deal or pick to the commissioner in time, then you pass and the next team has the right to make its pick whenever its ready during the next 15 minutes. You don't lose your pick, but you could lose your turn. Randy Herman, Marion, Mass: If Mike Williams and Maurice Clarett are both kept out of the upcoming draft, aren't they still eligible to go into the supplemental draft? Mickey: Why? They would only be eligible for a supplemental draft if the appeals court surprisingly changes its mind in the final ruling and upholds the lower court ruling. I mean, if they aren't eligible for the regular draft, why in the world would the NFL say, well, here, we'll put you in the supplemental draft. That would be self-defeating. Jason Quinn, Philadelphia: In your evaluation of defensive ends, you wrote that Marcellus Wiley was signed to take over Ebenezer Ekuban's spot at right defensive end. I thought I read several times (on this site, too) that he was going to take over Greg Ellis' left defensive end position, lining up over the tight end, allowing Ellis to move to the left position and concentrate more on rushing the passer? Mickey: You're right, you did read that. But if you read carefully, I think Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said it's not out of the question we'll take a look at Wiley on the left side, too. Now that doesn't necessarily mean that's the way things will shake out. Wiley would have to prove to be as stout against the run as Ellis is, yet still have the ability to get to the quarterback. Jaron Doane, Richmond, Va.: Finally, after all of these weeks, I can stop reading about why the Cowboys don't trade for Corey Dillon, and as you said, if I were in the Patriots shoes, I would have only offered a third-round pick. However, I was watching the ESPN interview with Jerry Jones and he said the only reason they didn't trade for Dillon was because the lack of picks this year. Is this true? Mickey: Amen on that. Hopefully this is the last week I hear about Dillon. Having only five picks this year certainly is one big reason the Cowboys had little interest in a Dillon trade. The Cowboys figure they should get four to five years out of a second-round pick, if not more. (See Flozell Adams, Darren Woodson.) With Dillon turning 30 this year, and being a running back, you'd count your blessings to get two. Furthermore, could it have been they just didn't want to deal with the Knucklehead? Or as my good friend at the Cincinnati Enquirer Paul Daugherty wrote, "Human Carcinoma." Ollie Calvert, Sherwood, Ark.: I just read where the Cowboys have interest in talking to Kurt Warner's agent. Would they actually consider adding a high-priced veteran quarterback like Warner? I could see them picking up someone less costly like a Vinny Testaverde, but Warner would be expensive and may not be capable of returning to his MVP level. What do you think? Mickey: I think you have properly thought out this scenario. No, the Cowboys will not be interested in adding a high-priced veteran to be a backup. In fact, it's not really known if Warner will even want to be a backup or work for backup pay should the Rams really release him. Now if he's willing, then you might take a chance. But at least Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells knows all he needs to know about Testaverde if they should decide to go the veteran route, and from what I think we can tell, at least Vinny is healthy. The jury still is out on Warner's thumb. Make sure when you read "the Cowboys have interest," it's coming from the Cowboys. If not, then that's normally media speculation or agent-talk since they want to throw out as much interest as possible in their guy to up the ante. Be a discriminately reader. Ronnie Herrera, Carrollton, Texas: Ever since the low-profile signing of Drew Henson, there hasn't been much news on him. Is he participating in the off-season workout program? Is he out on the practice field working with the receivers? I would like an update on him. Mickey: Well, yes, he's working in the weight room and on his conditioning just like all the other players are this time of year. And yes, he does some throwing drills, but Parcells isn't big on a lot of football-type stuff this time of year. He wants the players concentrating on lifting and conditioning. But if you listen to the interview on the website with Jones, he talks glowingly of Henson's progress so far. You can find the interview in the broadcast section on the home page. Jason Gray, Hutchinson, Kan.: I was just wondering how fast Deion Sanders was compared to DeAngelo Hall or Ahmad Caroll in this year's draft? I know he was fast, but how fast? Mickey: Well, Deion will tell you he was "4.2 for breakfast." Sanders was as fast as he needed to be. And guys who are considered that fast rarely run 40's for time after they're in the NFL. No sense destroying an illusion if you happen to turn in a bad time or let anyone think you are slowing down. The best part of Deion's speed was he played fast. Some guys run fast 40's, but that's it. Cris Lichti, Fayetteville, N. C.: What's the latest on that one undrafted free agent we picked up and signed to a decent contract last season? I believe his name was Alston? He was supposed to be a project and had great athleticism. What's going on with him? Is he going to be a player? Mickey: You speak of Charles Alston, a defensive end from Bowie State. Remember, he was released. Didn't make the team and wasn't signed to the practice squad. He's playing in NFL Europe now for Amsterdam as property of the Atlanta Falcons. And you're right about the "decent contract." He's costing the Cowboys $16,000 against the cap this year for the remaining portion of his signing bonus, which was right at $25,000. James Jovanovic, Windsor, Ontario: Since Dallas released Woody Dantzler and was then claimed by Atlanta, I've tried to keep an eye on his status with the team, especially since the end of the season. He was originally signed for a backup quarterback role, then they had him listed as a running back. Now on the Falcons' roster I've noticed they moved him to receiver. No matter where they move him, it seems as though they don't have the room. They have too many players ahead of him at every position, and most certainly won't have room for him after the final cuts. Are they looking to keep him as a return guy if anything, because they didn't even have him doing that last year. If released, is there still an interest by Parcells in his talent? Mickey: I think you are right, and with a new head coach in town, he might not think he can devote a spot on the roster to a developmental type guy. I mean, that was the problem here last year. He was a man without a position. But if you hooked Parcells up to a lie detector, I think he'd admit making a mistake by releasing Dantzler last year. He would have been the best, consistent option returning kicks, and I'd imagine if no one surfaces this summer as a legitimate kick returner, then he'd certainly seriously consider re-signing Dantzler for that capacity if he comes available. Jeff Derenberger, Sandyville, W. Va.: You have covered what happens to the salary cap when a person is cut. I was wondering what a team has to pay the player when they cut him? For example, assume a player signs for seven years, $49 million, with $7 million in signing bonus and the remaining $42 million spread out evenly over the contract. The player plays four years, then is cut. I understand the signing bonus is accelerated. How much of the rest of the contract is owed the player? Is there a buyout in every contract? Mickey: No and no. Unlike other major professional sports, football contracts are rarely, if ever guaranteed. That's why team's release guys, to get out from under burdensome base salaries that are put in deals to artificially inflate them and in some instances, to insure a player will get another chance to become a free agent - thus get another signing bonus. In the NFL, you get paid on a weekly basis. You are on the active roster for Game 1, and you get 1/17th of your base salary the following Tuesday. That's it. You are cut two weeks later, the team owes you nothing, unless you are a vested veteran. Those players' one-year base salary is guaranteed if on the active roster for the first game. But you can only exercise that guarantee once in your career. Otherwise, you basically are unemployed. Rob Goodfellow, Barrie, Ontario, Canada: How could the Boys not have signed Greg Randall when he signed with the 49ers for a one-year deal not really worth much? Am I missing something here about the offensive line needs or did he just not want to sign with us? Starting to wonder if we are asleep at the switch? Mickey: Not to worry. Eyes are wide open. After Randall walked away following his visit to take more visits - Miami and San Francisco - the Cowboys soured on him and finally told him thanks, but no thanks. As it turned out, it was the Cowboys saying no to Randall, and judging from what he signed for, they didn't exactly miss out on much if the rest of the league is accurate on him.