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Cowboys news: Dak Prescott situation turning into a Kirk Cousins standoff?

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Using the tag on QB Dak Prescott could end up being the worst move for the Cowboys.

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NFL: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Why haven’t the Dallas Cowboys signed Dak Prescott yet? - Geoff Schwartz, SBNation.com

Retired NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz explains why Dak Prescott could be the new Kirk Cousins.

The Cowboys have that with Prescott, who’s coming off the best season of his career. Whether or not he’s an elite level-talent who can lead you to a Super Bowl without all the pieces being in place — like Patrick Mahomes or Russell Wilson — is up for consideration. What’s not up for discussion is that Dallas would be better moving forward with Prescott than without him.

That’s what makes his contract situation surprising to me. When a franchise LOVES a quarterback, it makes a deal happen. The Cowboys have clearly set their price and years on a contract and have not budged. Prescott’s camp has their number in mind and they aren’t moving either. We have a good old-fashioned contract standoff, with neither side “winning” at the moment.

This situation reminds me of Washington’s standoff with Kirk Cousins from a few years back. Washington, like Dallas, only appeared to like Cousins at a certain figure and no matter what, it wasn’t moving off that. So, both sides dug in. Cousins played two seasons for a combined $44 million under the franchise tag and then left for Minnesota in 2018. Washington has been in quarterback no man’s land since he left (even though the future could be bright with Dwayne Haskins).

Dak Prescott’s answer to $40M question puts ball in Cowboys’ court - Todd Brock, CowboysWire
As opinions fly about whether the Cowboys should pay their starting QB top dollar, Dak weighs in on if he’s worth a record-setting contract.

Prescott knows he has doubters. Even inside Cowboys Nation, there’s a vocal faction of fans who haven’t warmed up to him because he replaced Tony Romo or because they can’t forgive a three-game stretch of infamously bad games in 2017 or because they feel he owes it to the organization who drafted him to take a hometown discount or because they cling to a misguided notion that he’s inaccurate and can’t throw the deep ball.

But the four-year veteran who hasn’t missed a game as a pro tunes out those skeptics.

“I don’t necessarily listen to the people that can’t put me in the box,” Prescott said. “I ignore them and I put that away before they even being to open their mouths, I guess you could say. And I have to do that because the only thing I can worry about is what I can control. And that’s going out there and being the best teammate, the best quarterback, and the best player I can be to give my team and myself a chance to win.”

The Cowboys most important offseason decisions besides the Dak Prescott contract - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
Quarterback is most important, but the other things will set plans in motion.

Things already feel like an “Amari Cooper or Byron Jones” situation with the Cowboys and the way they decide to prioritize them will drastically influence the composition of their roster. Looking at the projected tag numbers (per OverTheCap) for wide receivers and cornerbacks lends one to think that giving Jones the franchise tag and Cooper the transition makes the most sense.

Projected WR Franchise Tag: $18,491,000

Projected WR Transition Tag: $15,926,000

Projected CB Franchise Tag: $16,471,000

Projected CB Transition Tag: $14,570,000

If the Cowboys are able to hand them both out to non-Dak players (which requires an extension with him before March 10th), then you can either have the sum of the top and bottom numbers of the middle two. Simple math tells you that the transition tag for Cooper is the way to go/save the most.

The highs and lows of Amari Cooper in Dallas still favor the extension- Matthew Lenix, InsideTheStar
Face it, with Amari Cooper the Cowboys are better than without him.

Cooper dealt with his share of injuries in 2019. Knee and quad issues as well as plantar fasciitis, which can’t fully heal while playing, plagued the Cowboy’s top receiving option. The key thing, however, is Cooper toughed it out and didn’t miss any games.

Why do you still want Cooper on your team? In his 25 games with the Cowboys, he has 132 receptions for 1914 yards and 14 touchdowns. Also, his chemistry with Quarterback Dak Prescott can’t be denied as the two have connected at a 67.7% rate since they started playing with one another. Who wouldn’t take that on their team?

Maybe the biggest reason is the more effective he is it doesn’t allow defenses to key in on Ezekiel Elliott, who’s the engine that makes the Cowboys go. Now, your offense is two dimensional and keeps defenses honest throughout the game. The more defenders are on their heels the more you can control the clock and keep your defense fresh for four quarters. It’s not chess not checkers.

Cowboys free agents most likely to depart: Byron Jones is talented, but Dallas has other roster needs to address- Calvin Watkins, SportsdayDFW
The Cowboys have made comments regarding their priorities but Byron Jones hasn't been mentioned much.

2019 impact: He was the best corner on the field for the Cowboys. Yet, Jones had no interceptions and nine pass breakups in 14 games played. How do you quantify his salary considering his efforts on the field?

When the Cowboys talk about re-signing their own free agents, Jones’ name doesn’t come up. He’s going to have a strong market and could command a salary of $10 million to $12 million per season. Is that too much for the Cowboys?

Two stats to keep in mind when it comes to Jones: He missed just one tackle in 2019 and quarterbacks had an 87.7 rating against him, according to pro-football-reference.com.

Why Jones is unlikely to return: It’s all about the money. Jones is a talented player who can play in man and zone coverages. Yes, quarterbacks didn’t target him as much last season, but when they did, it was a difficult task. The Cowboys are just not going to cut Jones a huge check to remain. It’s hard to believe the Cowboys will let Jones average $12 million a season at corner when they have to pay QB Dak Prescott and WR Amari Cooper to large contracts.

Should the Cowboys be more concerned with their OL depth? -DallasCowboys.com
It’s not a drastic need but with the health of their offensive line, should the Cowboys be more concerned?

Immediate Need: Depth

Some will say the Cowboys need to figure out their left guard situation, but they have the talent necessary to sort that out. Connor Williams is the incumbent starter, and Connor McGovern should be healthy and ready to push for playing time in his second season.

What they don’t have is proven depth to insure them against injuries – which have been a serious problem in recent years. Joe Looney and Xavier Su’a-Filo are both headed for free agency, which means the Cowboys have no proven depth at center or guard. Cameron Fleming has a team option on his contract, and Brandon Knight is still around. But recurring injuries at the tackle position have highlighted a need to upgrade that spot if possible. It would be a relief to know there’s a solid option to fill in for either Smith or Collins if something happens.

Is it time to wave goodbye to the Tavon Austin experiment in Dallas? - Todd Archer, ESPN
Sometimes you just need to go somewhere new.

Dallas Cowboys

WR Tavon Austin

He produced little in the two seasons after the Cowboys traded for him in 2018. Some of it was due to injury. Some of it was due to circumstance. There are only so many touches to go around when an offense has Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, Jason Witten and Blake Jarwin. Austin did not impact the return game much either, and some of that might not just be his doing. The entire special teams unit struggled. But the Cowboys can find somebody younger to fill Austin’s role, or use that money to fill other roles.

2020 NFL Draft Digest No. 3: Incredible wide receiver group could reinforce Cowboys offense – Bob Sturm, The Athletic
Depending on how free agency shakes out, the Cowboys could use a wide receiver. The 2020 draft has plenty of options to fill any vacancy.

You will hear the 2020 draft is deep at wide receiver. I take issue with that because due to the way the sport is played now at the college level, there is always depth at wide receiver. Every year, there are 20 to 25 names worthy of being in the Top 100 to 150 prospects, and that is nearly always the most populated group. Positional scarcity almost never affects this WR group. Instead, because there are always so many promising prospects at this position, they actually tend to get pushed down the board. No position allows a player with a second-round grade to be taken in the third or fourh round as often as WR. As long as we know this going in, we can be prepared for some very nice prospects to “slide” down the draft. It is all an illusion, because scarcity usually is what drives the market, not the quality of the specific player.

BTB Podcast

Could Jerry Jones get splashy at the 2020 NFL Draft? We discuss on the latest episode of The Ocho.

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