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Cowboys news: ESPN claims Cowboys’ mismanagement of salary cap is wasting Dak Prescott

Have the Cowboys just not done enough to build around their young quarterback?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

How Dallas Cowboys are wasting Dak Prescott's rookie deal, salary cap - Bill Barnwell, ESPN
The point is to build around your young franchise quarterback while he's still cheap, but are the Cowboys doing enough, and the right things, to make that strategy work?

The Cowboys will find themselves at a crossroads in 2019. They’re currently ticketed to have $64 million in cap space. They could have more if they decide to move on from veterans such as Lee and Tyrone Crawford, although they’ll incur dead money charges after previously restructuring their deals. It’s not difficult to piece together a scenario in which the Cowboys could end up with $80 million in cap space.

Unfortunately, a good chunk of that space isn’t going to last long. Lawrence will be a free agent, and while the Cowboys could try to franchise him for another season at $20.6 million, the Boise State product doesn’t want to play on the tag for a second consecutive year. If Lawrence comes close to his 15-sack total from a year ago, the Cowboys probably will have to pay him something close to $20 million per season on a long-term deal.

There’s Prescott, who is in line for an enormous raise. Unless the third-year passer totally falls on his face in 2018, Dallas will almost certainly have to top the five-year, $137.5 million extension the 49ers gave Garoppolo as Jimmy GQ finished the fourth year of his rookie deal. The Cowboys will get a bit of a cap discount by virtue of signing Prescott in advance of the final year of his contract, allowing them to spread the bonus over an extra season, but he’s not going to be on the books for the $815,849 he’s currently posted at for 2019.

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Why the Cowboys should regret not trading for Earl Thomas - Peter Dawson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Cowboys didn't want to meet the steep asking price for Seahawks' safety Earl Thomas but will they live to regret that decision?

Earl Thomas is one of the best safeties in the NFL.

And he remains a member of the Seahawks because Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones and the Cowboys would not part with more than a second-round draft pick to acquire him.

Even if the ex-Texas Longhorns’ star continued his pro career in his home state, many believed that his impact in Week 1 of this NFL season would be limited at best. He did, after all, elect to miss all of training camp and the NFL preseason.

As it turns out, people underestimated how good Thomas still is. And how little the preseason actually matters.

The Seahawks wound up losing to the Broncos, 27-24 on Sunday. But according to Pro Football Focus, Thomas rated as the best safety in the entire league.

Five things we think about the Cowboys before their second game - Tom Ryle, Blogging The Boys
Analyzing the Cowboys chances against the Giants.

Tom Ryle: In order to win against the Giants, I believe they have to come up with a plan to pass beyond or around the box when they stack it up to stop Ezekiel Elliott. It doesn’t matter exactly how they do - it can be short or long, out to the edges or across the middle. The important thing is that they have to show they can still move the ball through the air, which is another way of saying they need to establish that Dak Prescott can beat them with his arm. This should include putting Zeke into the pass pattern at times, so he can still be a threat even when they are not handing him the ball. They also need to use some RPO’s and read-options, which would add the threat of Dak keeping it himself and going to the sidelines on a run if the G-men crash the line to stuff Elliott. If they don’t show a way to get the offense going besides just handing the ball to Elliott, New York is just going to sit on him all day, like the Panthers did.

Giants safety Landon Collins: If we put ball in Cowboys QB Dak Prescott’s hands, we have a better shot at winning - Jori Epstein, SportsDay
The star defensive back from New York, Landon Collins calls out Dak Prescott saying the only focus for the Giants should be stopping Ezekiel Elliott.

“Honestly, we really just have to focus on stopping Zeke,” Collins said. “Making sure every run gap, we’re playing our gap assignments and make sure we close the air out of their running game.

”If we do that, put the ball into Dak’s hands, I think we have a better shot at winning.”

Dak Prescott responds with “Challenge Accepted” after Giants' DB's says Cowboys QB is no concern - Rob Phillips, DallasCowboys,com
Dak Prescott may have had a poor week one performance but he plans to make Giants safety Landon Collins eat crow.

“Challenge accepted,” he said after Thursday’s practice. “Challenge accepted.”

The Cowboys’ offense scored only eight points last Sunday’s road loss to the Panthers and didn’t cross midfield until the third quarter. In the first half, they went 0-for-5 on third down and punted on all five true possessions.

Penalties, sacks and minus plays put Dallas in third-and-long on four of those drives. Prescott also acknowledged he missed throws in the game.

Ezekiel Elliott key to offensive start - Stefan Stevenson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Dallas Cowboys offense struggled in the first half in Week 1 and now they need a quick start, here's how they should start.

It comes down to execution on first and second down, he said. “We can’t beat ourselves. We have to come out and establish that run get some momentum early. We’ve got to start fast.”

Tight end Geoff Swaim said a fast start begins with doing the little things well.

“When you have a loss like that there’s a lot of blame to go around,” Swaim said. “For me, there’s a lot to clean up. None of us are immune to that. You can’t lay an egg in the first half and play the way we played and then come out and just roll. That stuff builds. Our defense played a great game and they put us in a great position.”

There won’t be any added pressure, Swaim said, to get off to a good start.

Dak Prescott to Giants safety Landon Collins -- 'Challenge accepted'- Todd Archer, ESPN
Giants DB Landon Collins says best way to win against Cowboys is putting the ball in Dak Prescott's hands. The Cowboys quarterback will look to silence his doubters this Sunday.

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said Prescott seemed even more determined than he has been in the past after what happened against Carolina. Prescott admitted he missed a lot of plays that could have changed the outcome of the game.

”I didn’t play well, and the only way I know how to play better is to go to work and put in the time, put in the time the right way with the right focus and that has been my plan,” said Prescott, who said his injured ankle is not an issue after going through two full practices this week.

Flip Side: The Best Way To Throw OBJ Off? - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
Two 0-1 teams looking for their first win, the Cowboys will have to make sure Odell Beckham Jr. doesn't go off on them.

Dallas Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie vs. New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.

This will be the first time that Chidobe Awuzie has faced Odell Beckham Jr. When Awuzie became a starting cornerback last December, Beckham had already been sidelined for the season. So without that playing experience, Awuzie is going to have to rely on his eyes and film study.

Despite missing the majority of the previous season, Beckham appeared to be back in form against the Jaguars. The speed and quickness lead to impressive elusiveness, which has always been one of his better traits. When trying to match Beckham Jr. in coverage, you have to be ready for that. Where he does struggle is with defenders that play him tight. The more you bang on Beckham, the more frustrated he becomes. He’s a slightly built player and doesn’t have the power to fight off the line.

The way Awuzie can handle Beckham’s speed is by being physical with him off the line. Every time that Awuzie has a chance to hit him, he needs to do it. By beating him up, you can slow him down. Byron Jones needs to take the same plan of attack. By making him have to start-stop and restart again, it will help them -- especially if Eli Manning is having trouble getting the ball out. Manning will just throw it up for grabs to Beckham regardless. Awuzie needs to make Beckham fight for space in this matchup in order to have a chance to slow him down.

Ezekiel Elliott on Giants rookie Saquon Barkley and what happened the first time their teams played against each other - Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay
Running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley first met when their colleges faced one another. Both guys have been a big part of bringing value back to the position in the NFL.

Elliott’s Ohio State Buckeyes crushed Barkley’s Penn State Nittany Lions 38-10 in a Big Ten meeting, but it was a memorable day for both. Barkley, a freshman, rushed for 194 yards. Elliott, a junior, rushed for 153 and a touchdown.

”That’s when I first met him, and we started talking a little bit, that’s where our friendship began,” Elliott said. “[I text] him here and there, giving him a little motivation, seeing how he’s doing.

”I would say the moment I remember the most ... one drive, I went out and I hurdled a guy and literally the next drive he comes back and hurdles one of our guys. That was pretty cool to me. Just to see him come back and do the same thing.”

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