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Cowboys news: Should Cowboys be wary of paying Dak Prescott top dollar?

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The Cowboys quarterback’s next contract always sparking debate.

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Divisional Round - Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Why the Cowboys should be wary about giving Dak Prescott a record-setting deal | Eric Eager & George Chahrouri | Pro Football Focus
PFF data scientists Eric Eager and George Chahrouri explain why the Dallas Cowboys should exercise caution when it comes to extending QB Dak Prescott.

PRESCOTT RELATIVE TO OTHER QUARTERBACKS

While Dak has been impressive with respect to his draft position and was very much a plus player in Year 1, he has struggled to keep pace with a league that’s maintaining and cultivating brilliance at the position like never before. In the most predictive aspect of quarterback play, the ability to avoid throws graded negatively by us at PFF, Prescott was 25th among qualifying quarterbacks a season ago. He was an average passer from a clean pocket (18th in PFF grade), despite an average depth of target below 7.5 yards — a full yard lower than in his rookie season of 2016. All of this led the Dallas signal-caller to earn only the 19th-best wins above replacement among all players at the position in 2018.

The 19th-most valuable player at a position likely should not be earning a top-dollar deal, especially with the narrative being that said player is enhanced by the presence of surrounding talent, to which there will be less money to appropriate post-Dak contract. That said, with the coming retirements of Tom Brady (fourth in WAR last year), Drew Brees(second), Phillip Rivers (sixth) and Ben Roethlisberger (16th), would a reversion back to his rookie-year efficiency be a big enough leap to justify a top-level deal for a player who would, in that event, be in the top eight at his position? If you’re in support of a new, market-level deal for Prescott, this is the logic you’re going to have to follow.

Why Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has earned a big payday - Todd Archer- ESPN
The Cowboys are going to pay Dak Prescott, he’s earned the paycheck after playing on a discount for years.

He’s ‘chasing greatness’

Prescott’s price tag for a new contract is not tied to statistics alone. Prescott’s price tag is also tied to what he does when it matters most in games and what he does behind the scenes.

Players gravitate to the young leader. He has been a captain the past two years and undoubtedly will be voted to be one again in 2019. When the captains’ practices began at The Star a month before the official offseason program, Prescott did not miss a workout. Cobb could not recall a time he was in the facility that Prescott wasn’t there.

”He’s always here,” Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin said. “S---, he’s here in February and March. He was at all the workouts in the offseason, working his balls off with the receivers, meeting with the line.

Why second-year WR Michael Gallup could be a key playmaker for the Cowboys in 2019 - Jean-Jacques Taylor SportsDay
People need to pay attention to second-year receiver Michael Gallup, he might be the biggest benefactor of extra attention to Amari Cooper.

JJT: Michael Gallup caught six passes for 119 yards in the playoff loss to Los Angeles. Amari Cooper should get quite a few double-teams and opposing clubs really respect Randall Cobb, which means Gallup should have some opportunities to take advantage of single coverage. He showed he could make big plays last season, and I think he could really be a key playmaker this season because he was running free quite a bit last year but Dak missed him. It’s hard for receivers to come in and make an impact because they have to learn to read coverages and get on the same page with the quarterback. He made a smooth adjustment and should only get better.

PFF grades Cowboys biggest weakness as receiver group... fair or nah? -RJ Ochoa- Blogging The Boys
Where are the Cowboys the weakest on their roster?

PFF found the Cowboys to have the 12th-best roster across the NFL, Gil Brandt is likely the one raising a brow, and they went as far as qualifying exactly where the team’s biggest weakness is. It’s an answer that may surprise you... wide receiver.

Biggest weakness: At this time last season, the Cowboys’ biggest weakness was their wide receiver corps, but the arrival of Amari Cooper was a huge help in the second half of 2018. However, Dallas could still use more weapons there. As a team, the Cowboys had the 16th-best receiving grade (75.4) in the NFL last year, something they can improve upon as they evaluate Dak Prescott’s long-term future at quarterback.

Obviously the Cowboys aren’t going to grade well when you look at their 2018 performance at wide receiver. Half of it is void of Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup was a rookie. Looking at who they will be this season though, there’s a lot of reason to believe the unit (at least the top of it) is legitimate.

Dallas Cowboys: Film room: 3 of the most impressive techniques on the Cowboys’ roster, including Amari Cooper’s slant route -John Owning- SportsDay
The NFL is filled with superstar athletes that have truly honed their crafts and are the best of the best. The Cowboys have some of those superstars that have their own impressive signatures.

When Dez Bryant was a Cowboy, he was often lauded for his ability to win and create big plays on slant routes. In fact, when he was initially hired, Cowboys receivers coach Sanjay Lal credited Bryant for being one of the best slant runners in the league. The Cowboys run a lot of slants, and the offense often relies on the No. 1 receiver getting open when faced with the right coverage.

Amari Cooper isn’t the same type of receiver as Bryant, but he is still extremely effective on slants -- maybe even better. Here’s a great example:

How Does OT Mitch Hyatt Make This Roster?- David Helman- DallasCowboys.com
Mitch Hyatt is one of the most decorated undrafted free agents in Dallas Cowboys history, what's his pathway to a roster spot?

Bryan Broaddus’ Take: From talking to scouts around the league, you hear a similar story as to why Mitch Hyatt went undrafted. Hyatt was just as good as a freshman as he was during his senior season. Scouts didn’t see him improve from year to year and that turned a lot of them off. With that being said, the Cowboys’ front office was happy that they were able to grab him as an undrafted free agent. From what I’ve seen to this point, he will need to improve his foot quickness and this is possible as the team prepares for camp. These rookies are still working at the facility until we leave for Oxnard, so the strength and conditioning staff will push him to improve his speed and quickness heading into training camp.

Cowboys hope Kellen Moore can replicate Norv Turner’s impact as offensive coordinator -Michael Strawn- Blogging The Boys
It’s a tall order for the first-year coordinator in Dallas.

Cowboys fans are optimistic about the team’s chances going into the 2019 season, with good reason. The additions of Randall Cobb and Robert Quinn, the return of Jason Witten and draft picks like Trysten Hill, Connor Mcgovern and Tony Pollard have all fueled fan optimism.

But the biggest source of blue kool-aid has come from a change at the offensive coordinator spot. The departure of Scott Linehan and the promotion of Kellen Moore has many fans hoping a stagnant, predictable and often boring offensive scheme will be replaced by a vibrant, dynamic and exciting scheme that will lead to offensive riches.

It’s hard to recall when the arrival of an assistant coach created such out-sized expectations. Which leads to a simple question: has a change at offensive coordinator - while keeping most other parts in place - ever resulted in dramatically improved results? And the answer is an emphatic yes.

Cowboys' Culture As Strong As Jason Garrett Makes It -Mauricio Rodriguez-Inside The Star
How strong is the culture of the Dallas Cowboys under head coach Jason Garrett?

This got me to thinking, has Jason Garrett established the right kind of culture in Dallas? Despite many doubts one can have regarding the Cowboys’ HC, I believe the culture is indeed the right one. I believe that’s why he’s still coaching the team.

Garrett’s teams have always fought for him. Even in 2015, when the Cowboys faced big-time adversity, they fought every week. A year later, after going through hell, the team didn’t budge when Tony Romo went down in the preseason. It could’ve been very easy for players who had been on that 2015 team to mentally give up. They didn’t, and Dak Prescott made sure they didn’t regret it. In 2018, the team came back from a 3-5 record, winning seven of their last eight, and went on to win a playoff game.

Garrett’s “Fight.” mantra really transcends the locker room. His players believe in him, which can’t be underestimated in this league.

19) How Does The Suspension Affect Rico Gathers? - DallasCowboys.com
Is Rico Gathers out of chances to make the Cowboys roster after latest suspension?

Nick Eatman: If there is a team that knows how to get a player ready for the season despite a suspension, it would be the Cowboys. Usually, it’s offensive players, but they’ve had quite the running history of these suspended players. Now most of them are players that aren’t question marks to make the team such as Gathers. Yes, he’ll get to play in the preseason and practice in full during camp. If anything, it helps the Cowboys get at least one more week to figure out their roster. I could see Gathers moving to the suspension list, and the Cowboys keeping another player from a different position. By Week 2, something will be sorted out where Gathers could return – if the Cowboys are willing to keep him another year. Like any other season, he needs to ball out during camp and I would say this would be his final shot if he doesn’t.