When Dak Prescott gets extended, the way he is looked at by everyone around the league will change drastically.
Prescott has never performed like the most valuable player in the league, though he has long had the league’s most valuable contract. In three seasons as the starting quarterback for the Cowboys, Prescott has earned just $2.7 million, a huge discount even by the standards of rookie quarterback contracts. His cap hit as a rookie was $546,000, or one-third of 1 percent of the $159 million salary cap that year. The Cowboys securing a starting quarterback at that price makes a merely competent Dak the single best bargain in the NFL. But after three years of being cheap, Prescott is about to go from a rounding error to the team’s biggest expense. The days of being lauded for simply being competent will soon be over, and his new bar for success will be hard to define and even harder to reach.
Untangling Prescott’s achievements from his team’s is harder than any quarterback outside of Tom Brady. Prescott has earned the complete trust of the Jones family to be the face of the franchise and a leader in the locker room, but he has not earned the organization’s trust to be the focal point of the offense. He has exceeded all expectations as a fourth-round pick, but he’s still not good enough in the eyes of many Dallas fans. Now he’ll likely be getting one of the largest contracts in football in a make-or-break year for his head coach. If Prescott leads the Cowboys to a championship before he retires, he’ll likely be enshrined as a team legend. If he doesn’t, he could quickly become the avatar of disappointment for the fan base with the highest expectations in the NFL.
Despite all his success, there still seems to be some questions about the ability of Dak Prescott. What will it take for Cowboys’ fans to finally love him?
By all accounts, Prescott is the ideal teammate and locker room leader. His work ethic and dedication to his craft are unmatched. His off-the-field persona is impeccable. He’s simply everything you could want out of a modern athlete. How could you not absolutely love Dak Prescott?
As we are less than a month away from training camp, what will the Cowboys 53-man roster look like this season?
So how do we do it on defense? Who gets squeezed? We will know a little more once we get to Oxnard on July 25, and more still once some of the back-end candidates get a chance to play in preseason games. But the question marks are on this side of the ball. Let’s go position group by position group to analyze and predict the defense ... where some summer shuffling may be in order
It likely will take an outstanding training camp for young linebacker Luke Gifford to make the team.
How He Got Here: Gifford is one of the undrafted free agents the Cowboys signed after the draft and will certainly learn from some of the best linebackers in the league, playing behind a projected starting lineup of Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith and Sean Lee. At Nebraska, Gifford was all over the field, chasing the ball sideline to sideline to make plays for over three years – twice earning All-Big 10 recognition.
Bryan Broaddus’ Take: “If there is a young linebacker to keep an eye on I have a sneaky feeling about Gifford. This kid has a nose for the ball. He plays well on the move and he’s finisher when he gets in position to make plays. Gifford can play both inside and out which gives him that flexibility coaches covet. Where Gifford is going to have to make his mark is in these padded practices and then in the preseason games. I have already seen flashes of traits of instinct and range which makes me believe he could pull this off”
What players from opposing teams will the Cowboys have to slow down each week to have a successful 2019 season?
Week 12 New England Patriots
With Rob Gronkowski’s expected retirement from the NFL, the New England Patriots are going to have to find another mismatch player to give opposing defenses fits. They have a number of running backs on the roster, particularly second-year RB Sony Michel and James White, who can make things difficult for defenses around the league, but I think WR Julian Edelman is a bigger concern.
Julian Edelman is not only Tom Brady’s favorite target in the passing game, but he’s also the emotional leader for probably the entire team. If they can get him going, it makes things really difficult on their opponent. His route running ability and feistiness after the catch makes him a dangerous player for anybody who tries to cover him. He would be a handful for any one of the Cowboys CBs who try to cover him.
Jason Witten returning gives the Cowboys’ young tight ends a great chance to learn from one of the best to ever do it.
"He's done a great job of leading us since he's been back," Jarwin said, via DallasCowboys.com. "It's been great so far. I'm excited to get into training camp with him and [then] into the season. Anytime I can pick his brain about things — even during practice — I'll come over to him and ask, 'Hey what are you thinking here? What are you thinking there?", and it's great to have that guy in a room like that. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
After an All-Pro season, where is the love for Byron Jones?
Simply put, Jones showed the world (and the Dallas Cowboys) why he is first round talent. Forgive me if I’m being dramatic here, but I do recall the days of super hype when the organization took Morris Claiborne sixth overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. With Claiborne, the future was supposed to happen there and then but as well know, none of that came into fruition. Of course, there was the famous crash and landing of Brandon Carr, the expensive experiment that finally saw the Cowboys stretch the dollar in free agency. The pair never lived up to the hype. It wasn’t even close. And round and round the cornerback carousel went.