When a player cashes in, the pressure and scrutiny rise. That will be the case with Dak, as it is with any quarterback.
Which Cowboys player has the most to prove this fall?
Scales: If Dak Prescott signs his monster contract extension before the start of the regular season, then Dak will be the player with the most to prove, in relation to being worth what will surely be an average salary that tops $30 million per season. The numbers will be finagled to make a smaller impact on the salary cap this year, but overall, when a player takes that much of the percentage of the total cap, he’s got to carry a heavier burden. Certainly no player on a football team carries a heavier load than the QB, but Dak will no longer be the feel-good story of the 4th round pick who took over for (Tony) Romo and exceeded expectations. He’ll be carrying the franchise.
If Ezekiel Elliott does not have a new deal in place by the regular season, you could also argue that he has the most to prove, in terms of showing how valuable he is to the team that the Cowboys MUST sign him to an extension. He’s a special running back, a do-it-all guy who is durable. I know that some people argue that running backs in today’s NFL are more expendable than in year’s past, but Zeke is exceptional. The Cowboys already know this. Another monster season by Zeke in 2019 justifies a monster offer to keep him in Dallas.
New pieces are fun, but we know this offense runs through Zeke.
What have you heard about the new Cowboys offense?
Irvin: “When I was out there the other day, (the wide receivers) were talking about all the things that they are doing and I like hearing that, because it gives some excitement to the guys. They’re excited about coming to practices and putting in stuff and installing stuff, but the reality is, and I didn’t say anything to those guys, I want that to be the accessory. I want them to be the rims on my car. I don’t want us to get out of the car, the car is still Ezekiel Elliott. Let’s not be stupid here. The car is still Ezekiel Elliott and that offensive line and the run game, but put some nice rims on it. ... I’m excited about hearing all the new stuff, but I want us to stay to the base of who we are and add those things to it.
“ ... I want to see Kellen Moore strategically set up a defense. Anybody can call plays, but can you strategically call plays to set up a defense that no matter what they do, they are wrong.”
Could the Cowboys have a top-5 offense in 2019?
The improvements with Prescott are already noticed by players and coaches alike. The addition of former 14-year veteran Jon Kitna as quarterbacks coach is paying early dividends. Prescott’s footwork is much improved which means his accuracy will also be better.
In addition, new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is determined to make like easier for the fourth year quarterback. With plenty of pre-snap movement, defenses will be less likely to key in on what’s coming. Prescott should make the Pro Bowl and could contend for All-Pro status.
Behind Prescott is, without question, one of the league’s most dynamic running backs. Ezekiel Elliott already owns two league rushing titles and will be looking for a third in just his fourth season. He is also motivated by a pending new contract. Anything short of 1,200 yards and 10+ touchdowns on the ground would be shocking. He also has a legit, multi-purpose backup in rookie Tony Pollard.
Who are the biggest bargains on the Cowboys roster?
Average salary on current deal: $5M
Coming off back-to-back injury filled seasons, Randall Cobb signed in Dallas this winter on 1-year, $5 million deal. The former Pro Bowler looks to regain his value and when healthy has still produced at a high level. At only 28-years-old, that’s entirely possible given how great he looks in minicamp.
Cobb replaces the departed Cole Beasley at the slot position. Even though 87 percent of Cobbs routes were from the inside spot, the thought is Cobb is better built to motion outside from time to time, bringing added versatility and extra layers to the traditionally predictable Dallas offense.
Could Miami’s Michael Jackson develop into a steal for America’s Team?
Fortunately for the Cowboys, Michael Jackson has the size and potential to play in any spot in the secondary, giving Richard the chance to develop him at the position he wishes. After all, Richard will be in no hurry to get Jackson on the field. It’s tough to imagine Jackson getting an important role for the upcoming season, but he could certainly get a few snaps throughout the year. Having said that, it’s in the long run that the All-ACC second-team CB can truly prove his worth.
In an ideal world, the Cowboys would keep their current CB but the cold, hard truth is NFL teams can’t keep all of their players all the time. Jackson might have to eventually step up to an important spot on the defense. If Kris Richard develops him properly, Dallas won’t be that concerned about a couple of their CBs potentially leaving. We’ll see if Michael Jackson is ready when his name is called.
After a stellar career on the collegiate level, Mitch Hyatt did not hear his name called during the draft. Can the former All-American make an impact in Dallas?
Dallas was not the only team interested in Mitch Hyatt once he hit free agency. But from the rookie’s own lips, he didn’t have a hard decision to make.
“‘I received a fair amount of calls. It was a pretty chaotic five to 10 minutes for me,’” Hyatt said. “‘I had a whole bunch of people in my ear. But I knew what kind of team the Cowboys were, I knew what they were about.’”
Whether it was the reputation of the Cowboys organization, its vaunted offensive line, or the chance to work with Coach Marc Colombo, Hyatt was clearly drawn to Dallas. Another reason for that may have been the perceived opportunity to make the roster.
Hope you had a great Father’s Day, BTB!