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Cowboys news: With NFL in state of flux, Cowboys likely to tag Dak Prescott on Monday

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Cowboys news, plus some other stuff.

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

Why the Cowboys will likely use the exclusive franchise tag on Dak Prescott - David Moore, SportsdayDFW
Business in the NFL is at a crawling pace with so much uncertainty at the moment, which makes it increasingly likely that Dak Prescott will begin 2020 on the franchise tag.

Deadlines are moving.

Votes are being cast.

The NFL is in a state of flux heading into next week’s start to free agency.

Against that backdrop, let’s try to put at least part of what’s going on behind the scenes with the Cowboys into focus. Here’s a stab at what to expect, based on communication with several of those involved in recent days.

Dak Prescott will likely be hit with the exclusive franchise tag on Monday as the two sides continue to negotiate.

No one is willing to say Amari Cooper will sign before he hits free agency. But negotiations are encouraging and the odds of him agreeing to a long-term contract in the next few days is much greater than Prescott.

NFL free-agency predictions - What will happen with Amari Cooper & the Cowboys? - Todd Archer, ESPN
The clock is ticking on the new league year, will the Cowboys work it out with Amari Cooper?

DALLAS COWBOYS

Amari Cooper, wide receiver

With quarterback Dak Prescott most likely to receive the franchise tag, Cooper becomes the Cowboys’ biggest free agent. Acquired in 2018 for a 2019 first-round pick, Cooper changed the fortunes of the Cowboys’ passing game when he arrived. But he has been a different receiver on the road than he is at home, struggling down the stretch last season with 26 catches in the final seven games. Cooper, 25, can change outcomes with his big-play ability and teams have to focus on him, which frees up things for the other receivers, such as Michael Gallup.

Prediction: The Cowboys will keep Cooper on a shorter-term deal for around $18.5 million a season, giving him another chance to hit the market before he turns 30.

Cowboys’ Dak Prescott reveals what he wants in order to remain in a Dallas uniform for the foreseeable future - Todderick Hunt, nj.com
The snag in the contract negotiations between the Cowboys and QB Dak Prescott isn’t all about money, it’s also about years.

Prescott is one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, and he’s coming off the best season of his career — 4,902 passing yards and 30 TDs (only 11 INTs) while connecting on 65 percent of his passes for a 99.7 quarterback rating.

So, he’s betting on himself.

He wants to sign a big contract now and another one in four years, allowing him to score a second payday before his prime ends. And it sounds like he wants the option to end his career outside of Dallas if he sees fit.

But, who knows how good he’ll be in four years and how the league will be constructed by then.

What’s Up: Should Connor Williams face competition at LG spot? - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys
Connor Williams has experienced the ups and downs of the NFL in just two seasons, will Cowboys make him compete for starting spot?

More than anything, Williams hasn’t been on the field consistently. Injuries have started to pile up, including a torn ACL injury that wiped out the final month of the season. The Cowboys have struggled to run the ball at times in the red zone and in short-yardage situations, but that can’t fall completely on his shoulders. There is a belief that Williams needs to get stronger to play guard full-time and the Cowboys haven’t thrown out the possibility of him moving to tackle at some point, perhaps as the swing tackle.

Dallas Cowboys still weighing coronavirus response after Annual Meeting gets canceled -Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Cowboys are making precautionary plans for their staff amid concerns about coronavirus.

But NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did notify the clubs today that the NFL’s annual meeting that had been scheduled to take place in West Palm Beach, Fla., March 29-April 1 has been canceled.

Any open football issues, including playing rules, bylaws, and resolutions, as well as other business matters that were on the agenda will be taken up at the Spring meeting scheduled for May 19-20.

“This decision was made consistent with the league’s primary concern to protect the health of club and league employees and the public while enabling the league to continue with its essential business operations,” read a statement released by the NFL.

“We will continue to closely monitor developments, consult with leading experts, and be prepared to make any changes necessary as circumstances warrant.”

Sources: Due to Coronavirus, Cowboys Coach McCarthy Cancels Oxnard Visit - Mike Fisher, Sports Illustrated
With the impact coronavirus has already had in professional sports, Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy has canceled an upcoming trip to scope out the training camp facilities in Oxnard.

It was supposed to be a simple and likely enjoyable visit to Southern California for new Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy: His first-ever visit to Oxnard, to occur this week, in order to “see the operation’’ scheduled to be put in place on July 21 when we’re told the team is to arrive there for its annual NFL training camp.

But sources today tell CowboysSI.com that the McCarthy travel plan has been dumped due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The original plan, as McCarthy himself detailed at the recent NFL Scouting Combine?

“I’m actually going to Oxnard here in a couple weeks. I’ll spend a day there,” McCarthy said. “Just to walk the property. We’re going to meet out there just so I can see it, to see the operation and how it flows.”

Cowboys forced to play after midnight waiting game due to CBA negotiations- Mickey Spagnola, DallasCowboys.com
Nothing will be done until everyone is made aware of the rules.

Like, haven’t you wondered why no franchise or transition tags have been issued since the right-of-first-refusal season opened Feb. 25?

Like, haven’t you wondered why no serious player contracts of note have been consummated so far?

Not the teams nor the player agents want to make a move until they know the rules: Are they operating under the newly-proposed CBA or are they playing by the current CBA that is scheduled to expire after the 2020 season, thus activating varying rule changes for this final year.

And look, this is not all about the ability to use a franchise tag _and_ a transition tag in the final year of the CBA, as opposed to the CBA being voted upon as we speak, which would limit teams to either a franchise tag or transition tag under the final year of the current CBA.

Cowboys may need to cross Michael Bennett off return-pending list - Tony Thompson, CowboysWire
Pending free agent Michael Bennett shares his desire to return to the Seattle Seahawks, should Cowboys mark him off their potential returns list?

Seattle is where Bennett made his bones in the league. After being cast aside by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the defensive lineman terrorized the NFC West for half a decade, including two Super Bowl appearances and one title, before the team moved on.

His return to the Cowboys has never felt like a sure thing, though it seems less likely. When the Cowboys went to acquire him, he originally had another year remaining on his contract, but he and the club agreed to rectify that and make him a free agent following the 2019 season.

As such, Bennett will be a part of the 2021 compensatory pick formula should he find a new team for adequate money.

Should Cowboys Consider FA Jason Pierre-Paul if they can't retain Robert Quinn?- Mauricio Rodriguez, Inside The Star
If Robert Quinn finds more money outside of Dallas, should the Cowboys look to bring in veteran edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul?

He’s played in the NFC East for a while, but could Jason Pierre-Paul be a Dallas Cowboy in 2020? After spending nine seasons with the New York Giants, Pierre-Paul played two years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While his performance might’ve been overlooked to the Bucs’ lack of success, the veteran pass rusher is still playing at a high level.

Things could change for the Cowboys defensive line in the upcoming season. Robert Quinn was impressive in 2019 and was one of the biggest surprises in the NFL as he made his way to an NFL-leading Pass Rush Win Rate of 33% and 11.5 sacks. Now, Quinn is set to hit free agency and with a long to-do list, he’s expected to at least get the opportunity to field offers from other teams.

That will turn defensive end into an important need for the Dallas Cowboys. One particular free agent I’m interested in is Jason Pierre-Paul. The former New York Giant could be a very solid option for Dallas.

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