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Poll: If you could only keep three of these four cornerstone Cowboys, who’s your odd man out?

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You must choose!

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

We’re at the early stages of what is going to be a fascinating offseason for the Dallas Cowboys. From a contractual perspective, they’re going to have to make decisions on some pretty big names as there are a lot of important players who are eligible for extensions.

Given the way NFL contracts work we’ve known for a few years now that 2019 was going to bring with it some questions. The trade for Amari Cooper added another element to the gazpacho as he too is eligible for a new deal.

As far as current offseason contract talks the most pressing is DeMarcus Lawrence’s as he played last season on the franchise tag. Obviously what happens with one of these players influences the other as there is one overall salary cap pie that must be devoted to the entire team.

This brings us to an interesting question by way of Jeff Cavanaugh of 105.3 The Fan. In a hypothetical world where you could only keep three Cowboys of four particular names who would be the one you’d live without?

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, and DeMarcus Lawrence are all critical players to the Cowboys for different reasons. They present different values and their future contracts (whether in Dallas or elsewhere) will reflect that. There’s a case to be made to keep each one.


The case for Dak Prescott

There are more Dak doubters than doubters for the other three players, but the fact remains that he has the most important distinction surrounding him of all four players mentioned... he’s the team’s quarterback. If you can find anything close to a signal-caller in the game of football the goal is generally to keep him. Prescott has put together quite the résumé over his first three seasons and it’s one that certainly makes a good case for his future.

Again, Dak Prescott is a quarterback and a viable one at worst. While that also means that he’ll command the most money in all likelihood that’s simply the market rate for the position. Of the four players mentioned, he’s arguably the contract that makes the most sense to get done because operating without him is the most difficult.


The case for Ezekiel Elliott

Zeke is the highest-drafted player of these four Cowboys as he was the fourth overall pick three years ago (time flies) and he’s, without question, accomplished the most during his time in the NFL.

Through three seasons Elliott has two rushing titles and has helped his team win as many division crowns and just recently was part of a playoff win for the first time in his career. Zeke is the identity of who the Cowboys are on offense which makes him incredibly important. They run as he runs, no pun intended, but the truth of his position is that it’s the most easily replaceable.

The Cowboys have been a run-first team for the better part of the last half decade, and while Zeke has been the biggest superstar of that effort, he hasn’t been the only one. Dallas boasts one of the better offensive lines in the league (even if it has dropped off some) and because of that have had success with other runners in their backfield. That makes Zeke a tough consideration.


The case for Amari Cooper

We saw the Cowboys try to go at things without a star wide receiver for the first half of last season and that experiment failed miserably. In an effort to fix things the Cowboys traded for Amari Cooper and what do you know, things turned around for them offensively.

Cooper made the Cowboys offense as a whole better and he made Dak Prescott better. If your quarterback is the most important position on your football team (it is) then anything that helps him is an exponential value to your already highly-valued commodity. That makes the Cooper case quite strong.

Cooper also checks all of the boxes that the Cowboys want off of the field. He fits the “right kind of guy” mold that Jason Garrett preaches and the fact that he’s an incredible player on top of it all makes him the perfect type of guy to hand a long-term contract.


The case for DeMarcus Lawrence

Tank Lawrence put his money where his mouth was last season when he played on the franchise tag with no real grumbling about it. He turned in another stellar effort and by all measures is the “war daddy” that Jerry Jones has long coveted.

What’s more is DeMarcus Lawrence serves as a leader for the new wave the Cowboys have going on defense, the Hot Boyz (I know, you hate the nickname). He is the torchbearer for the unit that was so critical in the success the team had last season. Lawrence has evolved as the defensive collective has and if you’re going to pay someone, it makes sense for it to be a ferocious pass rusher.


It’s possible, some would argue likely, that the Cowboys keep all four players that we’ve talked about here. There is no rule saying that they have to eliminate one from their locker room and for crying out loud, why would they want to?

Dak, Zeke, Amari, and Tank are all incredible players, but in the spirit of debate and discussion, if you had to live without one... who would that be?

Poll

Which of these four are you most willing to part with?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Dak Prescott
    (1606 votes)
  • 30%
    Ezekiel Elliott
    (1473 votes)
  • 12%
    Amari Cooper
    (617 votes)
  • 23%
    DeMarcus Lawrence
    (1132 votes)
4828 votes total Vote Now