On Friday the Dallas Cowboys finally did it. They took the plunge. They agreed to a long-term contract extension with DeMarcus Lawrence. Deep sigh of relief, everybody.
That reassurance will likely be short-lived though as there are still many other contracts for the Cowboys to navigate. Consider the situation they are in (the one with young and promising superstars) like a game of Twister. Friday saw the right hand hit red, soon left will be on blue and before you know it our feet are going to get in on this whole game.
Tank is locked up but the Cowboys still have Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, and Byron Jones standing by. None of them are necessarily pressing matters at the moment but they will be soon enough. Who’s next to get paid? It’s hard to predict.
The case for Dak Prescott
Honestly there is no case that makes more sense than Dak as far as who deserves to get paid (although Zeke certainly is a strong argument). The reason Dak wins out in this respect though is because he’s done what he has for the Cowboys on a fourth-round rookie contract. By and large he’s been paid the least for his contributions.
What’s more is Dak plays the position of quarterback. The one that plays for the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson duh, wants to get paid and that could have an impact here. When it comes to this position whoever’s next is typically who gets paid the most. If/when Wilson gets paid, Dak is likely going to want to beat that (who wouldn’t?).
This is the first offseason where the Cowboys can in fact even give Dak a long-term contract. It makes sense that he would be their next focus in this regard.
The case for Ezekiel Elliott
Zeke is without question the identity of the team’s offense and that obviously makes him very valuable. He’s led the league in rushing in two of his three seasons and arguably could have done it all three times if not for a much-debated suspension. The thing about Zeke though is that he is a running back.
The running back position has been devalued by the NFL (although it’s kind of bounced back to a degree) and only the truly elite runners are typically given long-term extensions. Zeke certainly is an elite runner but if you’re a team like the Cowboys that has to pay your quarterback, top receiver, best pass rusher, and rising cornerback, it’s hard to justify running back above those positions.
Nevertheless Zeke is fantastic. It would be difficult to watch him walk away. He’ll likely get an extension, but it’s hardly the most pressing one to get done.
The case for Amari Cooper
Financially this is the option that makes the most sense. As Amari is on his fifth-year option (the Raiders picked it up) this season, a long-term extension would lower his cap hit for 2019 which would actually make doing the other deal(s) easier.
The thing about paying Cooper next though would be... kind of awkward. As mentioned, Dak has played on a low price tag for almost 50 games, Zeke has this incredible list of accomplishments three years in, and Cooper hasn’t even played a full season in Dallas. To lock him up before the other two would just feel weird in a sense.
Obviously as weird as it felt if it led to the others getting their money then it makes the most sense. That’s truly what matters, right?
The case for Byron Jones
Jones shares a draft class with Cooper so he too is on his fifth-year option, only he’s on the team that actually picked it up in the Cowboys.
The world saw Jones have a Pro Bowl season during his first at the cornerback position last year. His greatest weakness in this game of negotiations is that the Cowboys couldn’t make up their mind on him until his fourth full season in the NFL. That undoubtedly inhibited his ability to announce his greatness earlier on.
Truth be told, Jones is probably fourth on this list of priorities. He’s a necessity, but somebody has to be fourth and it’s just that’s what it is.
Who should get the next long-term extension?
This poll is closed