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Cowboys News: Updates on contract talks for Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper

Both stars are in line for a big payday, plus other news.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Rumors: Cowboys Making ‘More Progress’ Toward Dak Prescott Contract Extension - Alaa Abdeldaiem, Sports Illustrated

Now that free agency and the draft are over, the Cowboys front office has turned their attention to the financial future of their offensive stars. They already picked up Ezekiel Elliott’s fifth-year option, and now word is coming out about contract discussions with Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper.

The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly working toward a contract extension with quarterback Dak Prescott that would “approach $30 million annually.” The team has made “more progress” toward a new deal with Prescott than with wide receiver Amari Cooper.

Cowboys contract rumors: Amari Cooper has shockingly high demands, Dak Prescott likely to join exclusive club - John Breech, CBS Sports

Amari Cooper may be very quiet in comparison to other star wide receivers around the league, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to be paid like those other guys. According to reports, Cooper’s initial asking price is much higher than most would have thought it would be.

As things currently stand, Cooper is headed into the option year of his rookie deal, which is scheduled to pay him $13.9 million in 2019. If $16 million per year isn’t good enough for Cooper, it’s possible that he wants Odell Beckham-level money. Beckham’s contract pays him an average of $18 million per season, which is the highest number in the NFL by far, as no other receiver is even making $17 million per year.

If Cooper ends up getting $16.8 million per season, that would make him the second-highest paid receiver as far as average annual salary, but if he has “shockingly high” demands, it might mean he’s hoping to shoot past that number.

As for Prescott, it seems negotiations are going a little bit better on that front. For one, it sounds like the Cowboys are expecting to give him at least $30 million per year, according to the Star-Telegram. If that happens, Prescott would join an exclusive club of quarterbacks at the $30 million per year mark that includes only Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan.

Jerry Jones: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott ‘worthy’ of long-term deal - Alex Butler, United Press International

Despite winning 32 games in the last three years and snagging two division titles, there are still some who doubt whether Dak Prescott is worthy of the kind of contract he’s likely to receive. Don’t count Jerry and Stephen Jones among those, though, as they think very highly of their quarterback.

“We are sold on Dak,” Jones told the Rich Eisen Show on Monday. “We do want to have him for the long term. We think he is worthy of investing in for the long term. He is going into his fourth year in the NFL. When you look at the snaps he has had, the situations he has been in and how he got here and you see how he has performed ... we see real upside in Dak.”

“You don’t have it all yet. We love the way he logically progresses through a game. You see when the going gets tough, when he’s got to come from behind, when he turns it loose a little bit. You see him make those plays. All of these things embolden me to make a deal with him that puts him here for the long term.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on RB Ezekiel Elliott’s offseason of positive headlines: ‘Zeke has always had a wonderful heart’ - Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay Dallas

Far too often it seems that players only get talked about for having bad offseasons in the headlines, and not for producing positive headlines. But the latter is exactly what Ezekiel Elliott has been doing this year, a welcome change from previous summers.

It wasn’t so long ago that the Cowboys and Elliott were questioned about Elliott’s decisions off the field and if there was cause for concern during the long offseason. He did, after all, appear in a spate of negative headlines in 2016 and 2017, culminating with a six-game suspension by the NFL when the league ruled that he’d violated its personal conduct policy. Elliott fought the discipline and denied the NFL findings of domestic abuse.

Now it’s 2019, Elliott has led the NFL in rushing two of his three seasons and the Cowboys have picked up his fifth year option for 2020. He seems to be embracing the spotlight and scrutiny.

”I think that Zeke has always had a wonderful heart,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday at the groundbreaking of the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Hope Lodge in Dallas. “These players can see through anybody. All you got to do is go in locker room, and you’ll see that Zeke is inspirational. Zeke is inspirational with not only what he does on the field, but what he does in the locker room. He’s a bright soul, I call him.

”There was really no doubt that some of those things that frankly reflect just a spirit of positiveness, a spirit of being alive, those kind of things took some adjusting.”

Mailbag: Pollard Comparison; Best Spot For Lee? - Rob Phillips & Bryan Broaddus,

The drafting of Tony Pollard and subsequent sort-of comparison to Alvin Kamara has understandably perked up some ears, as has the report that the Cowboys will move Sean Lee to SAM linebacker. Bryan Broaddus and Rob Phillips break down both of these things.

I think Pollard makes the team. To take him that early on Day 3, they’ve clearly got a plan for him. A good comparison might be Tavon Austin – not in terms of deep speed, but what he can do lining up in the backfield for carries or motioning out or taking sweeps. Though he didn’t make a direct player-for-player comparison to Saints star Alvin Kamara, Stephen Jones said Pollard could have that type of complementary role behind Ezekiel Elliott. That, plus his return work, should be enough for a roster spot.

I don’t really see the Cowboys moving Smith or Vander Esch around much. Vander Esch hasn’t played SAM and Smith has an important communication role as the MIKE. I think Lee can play anywhere, honestly. Damien Wilson, now with the Chiefs, played less than 30 percent of the total defensive snaps at SAM last season. Perhaps the Cowboys think Lee can handle that workload just fine even though he won’t be covered up as much as he would be on the weak side.

Cowboys impressed with Travis Frederick after autoimmune disease: ‘He’s done so well’ - Ryan Young, Yahoo Sports

Travis Frederick has been back in voluntary workouts so far with the Cowboys, and he has been talking about how he feels better. While it’s not a done deal, it seems likely that the All Pro center will play again in 2019, and that’s a testament to who Frederick is as a person given everything he’s overcome.

“It’s been great. He’s done so well,” Garrett said, via the Cowboys. “We talked about this a lot last year when he was out last year and not able to play, just the impact that he had, the leadership that he demonstrated, not only with the offensive line but with the offense and with our whole team. He just did a fantastic job. And towards the end of the year he started feeling better and better.”

The Cowboys likely won’t rush the four-time Pro Bowler back into the starting lineup after his battle with the autoimmune disease, which sidelined the five-year center for the first time in his career. Center Joe Looney started all season in place of Frederick and held his own, too, so there’s no immediate need for Frederick if he’s not fully ready.

“He’s been able to go through our entire offseason program up to this point,” Garrett said, via the Cowboys. “He was on the field with the guys last week. It was good to see him out there in a stance, running football plays. He looks really good. He’s an outstanding player and an outstanding person for us. He’s been a great leader for us. Excited to get him back.”

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