Michael Irvin says Cowboys ‘stole four years’ from Dak Prescott, owe him ‘back pay’ in next contract - Jack Baer, Yahoo Sports
Dak Prescott is going to get a significant pay raise with his next contract no matter what the terms end up being, and that’s exactly why Michael Irvin thinks that the Cowboys owe him some extra money when that deal comes to be.
“Dak has been not great, but perfect. Not necessarily in wins and losses, of course. But I’m talking about just the person that he’s been. The kind of investment you want to make, the kind of guy you say, ‘Yeah, we hit it with this guy. We got him in the fourth round.’ You stole four years, so whatever he gets he deserves because you still owe him back pay.”
That last sentence basically boils down the dynamics behind so many contentious contract negotiations as a rookie contract nears its end.
Thanks to the salary restrictions imposed on recently drafted players by the NFL, there is no value in greater than a good or great quarterback on a rookie deal (see: last season’s Super Bowl champions). The Cowboys have benefited mightily from the four-year, $2.7 million contract that Prescott was essentially forced to sign after the team drafted him in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL draft.
However, once that rookie deal is up, the quarterback will rightfully expect the money usually received by good-to-great quarterbacks. Teams don’t always handle that transition well.
Keeping lockers at least 6 feet apart will be a logistical nightmare for many NFL teams, but not for the Cowboys - David Moore, Dallas Morning News
The NFL’s plan for having a season while still taking precautions with regards to COVID-19 is starting to take shape, and while most teams are expressing concerns over the stipulation regarding the locker room, the Cowboys are well equipped for the change.
Perhaps the point that created the most consternation among teams is the need to keep players 6 feet apart in the locker room. Many organizations will find it difficult to adhere to that protocol the way their facilities are constructed, especially in training camp with 90 players on the roster.
That’s not an issue at The Star.
The Cowboys’ main locker room currently houses 78 players. There’s a back room, normally reserved for rookies in camp, that has an additional 27 lockers. The number in both drops dramatically with 6 feet of space between players.
But there are another two rooms with a total of 100 lockers at the adjacent Ford Center for high school football. There are at least two other auxiliary rooms that can be used for additional lockers or to store and sanitize equipment between practices.
Ezekiel Elliott has put up big numbers on a consistent basis since entering the league, but there’s room to improve with the way he and promising rookie Tony Pollard were used last year. New running backs coach Skip Peete is hoping to fix that in 2020.
Entering the offseason, there were many questions surrounding different positions on this Cowboys roster. Contract negotiations, retiring players, and new additions are storylines that normally dominate any NFL offseason, but not for the Dallas running back situation.
A relatively untouched and quiet offseason for the group keeps both Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard as the featured tailbacks that’ll see the majority of the playing time. While there are some undrafted competitors entering the fray, the biggest additions to the position may actually be the new coaching staff and what they can bring to the table for the dynamic duo.
With head coach Mike McCarthy, critics may ask, ‘Who was the most prolific back that he produced in Green Bay?’ And the answer would most likely be James Starks or Eddie Lacy, neither a part of the 2010 Super Bowl roster, nor the main attractions through the multiple playoff runs. However, McCarthy said it best himself earlier this offseason, that he has never had a stable like this one. One that is full of talented backs to work with, well above the level of players he had in the backfield earlier in his coaching career.
The argument could also be made that he never had a running back coach as talented and experienced as Skip Peete either. Peete has an extensive resume that includes instructing players like Marion Barber, DeMarco Murray, Todd Gurley, and even Pro Football Hall of Famer Curtis Martin during his college days at the University of Pittsburgh. This will be the first season that he’ll work with both Elliott and Pollard after his first stint with the Cowboys came to a close in 2012. Elliott and Pollard, paired with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, could ultimately push the rushing offense to the next level after already posting the fifth-best rushing numbers in 2019.
Dontari Poe: Strong like bull, quick like lightning and something Cowboys haven’t had in a while - KD Drummond, Cowboys Wire
The Cowboys have spent the last seven years getting smaller on the defensive line to fit in with Rod Marinelli’s scheme, but the team is now doing a total reverse under the new regime. And at 347 pounds, there’s no better way to get bigger than with Dontari Poe.
When Dallas hired Mike McCarthy and he subsequently tabbed Mike Nolan as his defensive coordinator, it was obvious change was coming. The Cowboys focused on the defensive tackle position in free agency, and all 347 pounds of Poe were tabbed to be the anchor to the defensive line for the 2020 season.
Former DC Rod Marinelli wanted lean, slicker guys at every position on the line, and when it came to bulk, the 310 to 315 pound tackle was what he looked for at the 1-technique. Wade Phillips was similar in his one-gap 30 front. Even Bill Parcells went with guys in the 320-pound range for his run stuffers.
The former Memphis star isn’t just a space eater, though. He has pass-rush ability as well, notching four last season in just 11 games. It was the third time since 2013 the soon-to-be 30 year old had at least four in a single campaign.
Now, he’ll get to work with veteran DL coach Jim Tomsula, who has turned far less talented players into pass-rushing threats. It stands to reason with a couple tweaks he could have Poe ready to turn in his most dominant season in that regard.
The Cowboys are looking to find another diamond in the rough opposite DeMarcus Lawrence like they did with Robert Quinn last season, and while much of the hype is centered on Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory. Should Dorance Armstrong be getting more attention?
There’s currently a lot of excitement surrounding the Dallas Cowboys defensive end position, and rightfully so. Dallas’ mix of veteran and youth talent has a lot of Cowboys Nation salivating over the possibility of putting together a dominant pass rush. However, Dorance Armstrong is often left out of the conversation. Why is that?
It’s easy to forget about Dorance Armstrong with all of the intriguing, talented youth on the roster and the potential returns of both Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory. But still, I think it would be unwise to overlook Armstrong. Despite being somewhat lost in the shuffle, Armstrong is still arguably one of the better DEs the Cowboys have on the roster in my opinion.
Just last year Armstrong was a training camp standout who proved his worth. He allowed the Dallas Cowboys to bring DeMarcus Lawrence along slowly to start the season while he continued to rehab from his offseason shoulder surgery. That’s the value he provides as a solid backup, and someone whose arrow I believe is trending upwards heading into the ever important and pivotal Year 3.
The Cowboys spent a big portion of their offseason retooling the interior of their defensive line - between signing Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe and drafting Neville Gallimore - and it’s left Antwaun Woods on the outside looking in.
With those moves we just talked about came a pretty big hit to the job security and future of Antwaun Woods. He may go from a starting DT to a minor bench player, or perhaps not even make the final roster in 2020.
Even with Maliek Collins’ departure in free agency, Woods has likely lost his starting role to Dontari Poe as the team’s 1-tech, or run-stuffing, tackle. While he has the size and ability to replace Collins as the 3-tech, now you have McCoy, Gallimore, and Hill all vying for that spot.
That means Antwaun’s likely outcome for 2020 is to become Poe’s backup and a rotating player. But given that he’s an older player and a restricted free agent in 2021, Woods will also be a lower priority than Gallimore and Hill.
Dallas might be able to find a trade partner given Antwaun’s low cap figure for 2020 and his play the last two years. But if not, this could be a rough year for Woods as he loses playing time and remains stuck behind Exclusive Rights and Restricted free agency rules.
With the Cowboys anointing Blake Jarwin as their new starting tight end, it seems like the days of prioritizing pass catchers who can block well are over in Dallas. What kind of impact will that have on the roster?
Could the day of the blocking-only tight end and blocking-only wide receiver be dead in Dallas?
If blocking is all you can do, then the answer is “yes”. Packing them into the box and blocking in tight formations is no-no if you follow the numbers. Running success comes from spread formations. It doesn’t matter how good you are in the running game, running into 8-man boxes (even if you have 8 blockers) is a bad idea. There just isn’t a place for one-dimensional run-blockers anymore (with a few goal line/short yardage exceptions).
The Dallas Cowboys starting tight end is no longer a well-rounded player like Jason Witten, but rather a pass-catching threat who lines up wide or in the slot (131 snaps last season according to Pro Football Focus) and is rarely asked to run block (because he’s frickin terrible at it). The back-up situation should follow suit. If Dalton Schultz or Blake Bell (whoever wins the TE2 post) can’t also be a downfield threat, his presence is a detriment to the team because he’ll telegraph the offenses intentions.
Gerald McCoy knows being a Dallas Cowboy holds value. We discuss on the latest episode of The Ocho.
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