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Cowboys news: Analytics playing a role in the Dak Prescott contract negotiations

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Here’s the latest news surrounding the Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Analytics show making Dak Prescott the highest-paid QB in NFL history is a bad idea. For the Cowboys, it’s the right one - Calvin Watkins, The Dallas Morning News

Who knew that the Cowboys were into using analytics and making decisions based on that.

Prescott wants to be the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. That’s fine because he’s deserving of such a deal after finishing four seasons under a rookie contract that saw his highest salary reach $2.025 million. The leverage is with Prescott in some ways, given how the Cowboys expressed a desire to lock him up.

At some point, Prescott will take up a majority of the Cowboys’ salary cap and historically that doesn’t equate to success.

But according to overthecap.com, a website tracking NFL salaries, quarterbacks with the highest salary-cap hits have missed the postseason eight of the last 10 seasons.

In the last three seasons, quarterbacks with the highest cap hits at their position missed the postseason. That’s Detroit’s Matthew Stafford in 2019, San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo in 2018 and Joe Flacco, then with Baltimore, in 2017.

There is more evidence that less is more.

Pat Mahomes won a Super Bowl with Kansas City, and he amounted to just 2.46% of the Chiefs’ salary cap. Now Mahomes is due for one of the largest contracts in league history, most likely after Prescott gets his new deal.

Dallas Cowboys’ offseason story: From panic to hope - Todd Archer, ESPN.com

Time for people to take their hands off the Dallas Cowboys panic button.

When free agency began, the Cowboys lost a number of key players. Byron Jones left for the Miami Dolphins as the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. Robert Quinn, who led the Cowboys in sacks in 2019 with 11.5, left for the Chicago Bears and a deal worth $14 million a season. Receiver Randall Cobb, who many assumed would be back to play for his former coach, Mike McCarthy, left for the Houston Texans and a deal worth $9 million a season.

Add in the departures of tight end Jason Witten, defensive tackle Maliek Collins and safety Jeff Heath to the Las Vegas Raiders. Not long after, Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick retired, surprising many, though not everybody in the organization.

If the offseason is a roller-coaster ride, the Cowboys went through a number of twists, inversions and stomach-churning almost all at once. But the exhilaration of the ride is matched by the calm on the easy straightaways, even if they last only for a matter of seconds. Taking a big-picture view of the offseason, the Cowboys seem to be in a position to contend in McCarthy’s first season as coach.

They placed the exclusive franchise tag on Prescott at a cost of $31.4 million that precluded him from negotiating with other teams. At the least, the Cowboys have their quarterback for 2020 while they try to work out a long-term deal. If the tag is the beginning of a potential divorce, so be it, but not having Prescott for 2020 would have been devastating.

Cowboys Have Loaded Up on Options for 2020 Offensive Line - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

The Cowboys are looking for depth along the offensive line, and it looks like they’ve got it now.

Less than a week before Travis’ announcement, the Cowboys had also re-signed free agent Joe Looney. It was a surprise with McGovern in the stable, given that Connor was seen as a natural replacement for Looney as a versatile interior line backup.

Did Dallas re-sign Joe because they knew Frederick was leaving? It’s logical and even likely that they did. Rather than just hope for the best with McGovern, the Cowboys brought back the veteran who stepped in for Travis in 2018 and helped get Dallas to the playoffs.

But the Cowboys haven’t stopped there.

Sacrificing one of their 5th-Round picks to do it, Dallas traded up to the end of the 4th Round in the 2020 Draft to grab Tyler Biadasz from Wisconsin. That gives the Cowboys three players to compete for the starting center job now, with Biadasz and McGovern also contending to hold the job long term.

While Frederick’s departure has put a spotlight at center, Dallas also had to deal with Cameron Fleming’s exit as the backup offensive tackle. There was a thought that the job would go to Brandon Knight, who briefly filled in at right tackle last year and performed well during a La’el Collins injury.

But just a few days ago, the Cowboys made another big investment by signing former 1st-Round pick Cameron Erving. Capable of playing anywhere on the line, Erving’s most recent work has been at left tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Film room: Will 2020 be a breakout year for Blake Jarwin? It can be, if the Cowboys use him correctly. - John Owning, The Dallas Morning News

With Jason Witten gone, the Cowboys can finally utilize Blake Jarwin’s athleticism on offense.

Listed at 6-5 and 250 pounds, Jarwin is an explosive athlete who possesses exceptional ball skills — showing reliable hands on passes above his eyes, below his hips and in traffic — and yards-after-catch (YAC) ability.

Jarwin’s YAC ability isn’t due to magical creativity and elusiveness in the open field. Instead, Jarwin uses the George Kittle method in that he attacks north-south immediately, builds momentum and challenges much smaller defensive backs to stop him.

Jarwin is an ever-improving route runner who has the speed and change-of-direction ability to separate from linebackers along with the size, strength and know-how to box out defensive backs at the catch point. For a 250-pound man, Jarwin does a good job of getting in-and-out of his breaks to create or maintain separation.

Jarwin has also seemingly adopted some of Jason Witten’s savvy at the top of routes, as Jarwin became much more effective using subtle physicality to create separation last season. His size and athleticism make him a capable seam stretcher. He’s very effective off play-action and shows well when aligned in the slot.

Cowboys Still Shopping? Clowney & Top 10 NFL Free Agents Who Fit - Mike Fisher, Cowboys Maven

Here’s a list of potential free agents the Cowboys say they have “no interest” in.

5 CLAY MATTHEWS - The Cowboys swear they’re set at linebacker. Meanwhile, Matthews is, I’m told, of a “West Coast mindset’’; he’d like to land there. Still, this is another Green Bay fella who could add play making depth in Dallas.

6 EVERSON GRIFFEN - The standout Vikings defensive end recently told NFL.com of his struggle toward sobriety. He’s 32. He’s accustomed to making $14 million a year. The Cowboys have told me “no’’ here. Or, “not high on our radar,’’ to be polite.

7 LARRY WARFORD - New Orleans just let go of the perennial Pro Bowler. The Saints save more than $7 mil against the cap, but they lose a beast of a guard. With all due respect to the left guard candidates on the Dallas roster, Warford is better. ... but also has every reason to look for a payday outside Dallas’ range.

8 RON LEARY - Ah, so Warford might be expensive - while my guy Leary, the former Cowboys tough guy, will be less so. He’s free from Denver and the Cowboys aren’t knocking down his door. But he’s just 31, and again:

If you lined Leary up against Williams/McGovern/Looney ... who do you think would win?

9 DRE KIRKPATRICK - This was a real consideration before Dallas signed Daryl Worley to help at cornerback. Kirkpatrick is a long-time Bengals starter; he can still play. I should also mention Logan Ryan, the former Patriots and Titans standout. He must want a fortune, because he’s still on the shelf.

2020 Cowboys schedule: Toughest stretch, opponent preview, key matchups, predictions and more - Patrik Walker, CBS Sports

Here’s a breakdown of the Cowboys season in a nutshell.

Key schedule observations

No three-game away stretch

Four home games in the first six weeks, including a three-game home stand

Five primetime games plus Thanksgiving

Week 10 bye

Combined 2019 record of opponents: 101-106

Toughest stretch

The schedule lays out fairly evenly for the Cowboys, all things considered.

They’ll be challenged right from the outset when they face the Los Angeles Rams, the Atlanta Falcons and the Seattle Seahawks right out of the gate — three teams that have played them passionately in recent matchups and cost Dallas some big games in the process. That said, it’s impossible to ignore the level of difficulty that exists in their December scheduling, because it’s an absolute gauntlet. They open the month facing a lethal Ravens team that’s arguably better than one that owned the league in the 2019 regular season, and three of their remaining four games include battles with the San Francisco 49ers — a team still fuming from their loss in Super Bowl LVI — and their bitter division foes in the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants, the latter rolling over into early January.

It would behoove the Cowboys to fire out of the gate early and to enter December with a strong lead in the NFC East, or they’ll find themselves fighting tooth-and-nail to avoid missing the playoffs in McCarthy’s first year; and for a second consecutive one.

BTB Podcast

With Mother’s Day being this past Sunday we thought it would be nice to get to know one of the more prominent moms within the Dallas Cowboys. Our Girls Talkin ‘Boys crew sat down with Dawn Elliott, Ezekiel Elliott’s mom.

Make sure that you never miss an episode from Blogging The Boys by subscribing to the Blogging The Boys podcast feed!

Also make sure to subscribe to the official YouTube Channel from Blogging The Boys. We’ve got big plans coming there throughout the offseason and you don’t want to miss a thing!