As training camp approaches, the Cowboys have become focused on contract extension talks with both Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. Prescott already saw his market enjoy an uptick after Russell Wilson’s deal, and Cooper could soon see a similar increase in his own market as two other star receivers near extensions.
Last year, the Atlanta Falcons pledged to get a new deal done this offseason with Julio Jones, another former Alabama standout, even though his current five-year, $71.256 million contract has two seasons to go.
On Monday, New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said the team had “had some conversations” on the next contract for wide receiver Michael Thomas, who is heading into the final season of his rookie deal.
When Jones and Thomas push up the pay scale for all-star wide receivers, then Cooper stands to benefit if he’s still unsigned past 2019.
One of the more high profile moves the Cowboys made this summer was adding Randall Cobb to upgrade the slot receiver position. There’s been rumblings about the quick chemistry that has formed between Cobb and Dak Prescott, and on Tuesday Dak expanded upon how valuable his new weapon has been.
That’s a very fortunate add there,” Prescott said, via Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. ”He’s been great, honestly. An ex-quarterback, knows the game up and down, knows every aspect of it, knows when he’s in the read what progression he is and when you have a guy like that — he’s going to get open. He knows how to get open.
”He’s had a lot of success in this league already so just to have him be a part of this corps, a part of this team and this offense means a lot. We’ve had a fast connection. You take something, approach something, go out there and he does it right the first time. When you have a guy like that, it allows you to cut the ball loose.
”It allows you to anticipate. It allows you to trust he’s going to be in the right spot, and he hasn’t failed in doing that. The moment he does and even sometimes he does it’s always a consistent feedback and we’re going to talk about it. What we could’ve done, what we should’ve done and, like I said, it serves you well.”
Last week it was reported that Dak Prescott’s agent has “broached” the idea of a $34 million average salary for the quarterback’s next contract, and while some have argued that it’s simply the price you pay for franchise quarterbacks, others think it’s still a bit of a head-scratcher.
In terms of average salary, that’d make Prescott one of the three or four highest-paid players in NFL history. But there are plenty of reasons to wonder if he’s worth that to a team that will soon also have to make decisions on key players Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Jaylon Smith and Byron Jones, and is already on the hook for Demarcus Lawrence ($21 million per year), Zack Martin ($14 million), Tyron Smith ($12.2 million) and Travis Frederick ($9.4 million).
The latter three names on that list are blue-chip offensive linemen, and the two offensive players who will soon be looking for new deals are Prescott’s top two weapons. And their presence as Prescott’s supporting cast is precisely why it’s fair to wonder just how good the 2016 fourth-round pick really is.
Much of the talk around the quarterback position in Dallas this offseason is about Dak Prescott’s contract extensions talks, but people should be paying more attention to the backup situation. Cooper Rush and Mike White are competing for the spot, and there could be another player joining the fray soon, too.
“I’m currently at about 50 percent chance it’s Cooper Rush,” Machota writes, “43 percent chance it’s Mike White, and 7 percent chance it’s a player not on the current roster
Phillips noted that both Rush and White were able to lead their units on two-minute touchdown drives. And while he didn’t pick one over the other to be Prescott’s backup, Phillips did speculate that with a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach already in place, also dumping the guys who have been there and starting over with new project players behind Prescott is simply too much turnover all at once.
Longtime scout Bryan Broaddus disagrees and believes the answer is still out there waiting on a phone call.
“Why has it taken thirteen practices for them to have a good one?” Broaddus asks in reply to Phillips. “I’m one of the biggest Mike White fans in this building, but Mike White has not developed in two years now, that I’ve seen him as a player. So, no, the current backup quarterback is not on this roster. I know Dak Prescott is indestructible, but this, I think, is going to be a sticking point for this team.”
Until training camp and the preseason roll around, it’ll be hard to really get an idea of what the Cowboys’ final roster could look like. Still, ESPN’s Todd Archer takes his best guess at a roster projection that highlights the competition at backup quarterback.
The biggest question is if Prescott will have a long-term deal before Week 1, but there’s also a question about the backup spot. Rush handled the job for most of the past two seasons, but he struggled at times in the offseason. Mike White, a fifth-round pick in 2018, has a lot to learn but promise remains. This could be one of the spots the Cowboys look for a more veteran option before the season starts if there’s not marked improvement from Rush and/or White in camp.
One of the more interesting position battles this offseason is at the wide receiver position. Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Randall Cobb are the three locks, but there’s a host of other players fighting for spots, and questions about how many receivers Dallas will keep.
Bryan: Allen Hurns and Noah Brown would be my other two. If they carry a sixth one my money would be on Jon’Vea Johnson with the others hopefully getting to the practice squad.
Rob: I typically give the edge to veterans this time of year. Question is, will they keep five receivers? Six? For argument’s sake, let’s say it’s six. Right now I’ll go with Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin and Jon’Vea Johnson for those last three spots.
Lost in all the news about DeMarcus Lawrence’s big contract extension and the trade for Robert Quinn is the free agent signing of Kerry Hyder. While not a household name, Hyder offers some upside and has been impressing in practices thus far. He’s certainly a name to watch going forward.
He’s gotten off to a flaming start in OTAs and minicamp, routinely dominating in his reps and raising more than a few eyebrows ahead of training camp. Hyder has proven he can impact games in a big way, having gotten glimpses of him from Cowboys’ battles with the Lions, the front office folks in Frisco, TX were already keenly aware of his talents. They’re now getting an up close and personal view of them, though, and his stock is heading north like Santa after his holiday shift.
If Hyder can continue trending in that direction, he’ll find his name on the right side of Marinelli’s naughty-or-nice list in 2019.