Cowboys mailbag: Pay Dak $40 million? Biggest move Dallas could still make? - Jon Machota, The Athletic
Jon Machota takes a moment to answer a few questions, including entertaining a worst-case scenario with the Dak Prescott contract dilemma.
If Dak says he won’t take less than $40mm, do you sign him or let him go? — Patrick W.
I don’t think that will happen, but I’d probably still end up doing the deal. Jerry Jones is a much better businessman than me, though, so he might not. The way I look at it is if Dak is the next quarterback to sign and he gets $40 million, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson are going to get more when they eventually sign. And so are all the other top quarterbacks signing after that. The market isn’t going in the other direction for the most important position in football. The Cowboys know he’s their quarterback of the future. Get the deal done and eliminate what could end up becoming a huge distraction during the season.
Examining the Cowboys running backs in a position review series.
Just because there is a new wealth of weapons around Dak Prescott and the passing game, doesn’t mean that the running game (specifically Elliott) is obsolete. Sure, his numbers could dip some with the upgraded receiving corps. But when it comes down to effectiveness in exhausting an opponent and putting a game on ice, there are few better than Elliott.
Some critics may say that backup Tony Pollard was more effective with his limited touches during his rookie season than Elliott was last year. And yes, the surface-level stats suggest that could be the case with Pollard’s 5.3 yards per carry (3rd in NFL) and Elliott’s 4.5 (17th). However, just 12% of Pollard’s 86 carries came with 8-plus defenders in the box while Elliott saw almost 20% stacked boxes in his 301 carries.
Does the Cowboys rookie have a legit chance at reaching the 1,000 yard mark?
Building a Connection
In 2019 Dak was 98 yards away from reaching the 5,000 yard-mark. His 4,902 yards was over 1,000 yards more than his previous career-high. Not to mention missing a 100.0 quarterback rating by a mere 0.3. So yeah, CeeDee Lamb has the “good quarterback” advantage. A quarterback that is not afraid to take some risks like he was earlier in his career. A quarterback that is very good at throwing the ball. Having the “big catch” wide receiver role is what will give Dak the connection with Lamb.
Dez Bryant had 1,634 yards in 29 games with Dak throwing to him. That averages to 902 yards every 16 games. Lamb must be thrilled to have Dak throwing the ball to him. There is a good reason why he was selected in the top ten of ESPN’s NFL Nation re-draft. Lamb is hoping Dak will build off his 2019 season, and help him reach the 1,000 receiving yards mark.
Looking into the future, what will the Cowboys starting lineup look like? Could it include a Gallup-less offense?
WR: CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, Jon’Vea Johnson
I made a couple bold predictions here, the first of which is Amari Cooper remaining on the Dallas Cowboys roster. Amari’s deal makes him cuttable in two years. In other words, if he doesn’t live up to his top-of-the-market contract, the Cowboys can release him and only face mild damage in dead money ($6M). But that may not happen.
This is not an indictment on Michael Gallup in any way. In fact, it’s the opposite. I think Gallup will be so good the next two seasons he’ll be too costly to re-sign. And by the time we get to 2022, $22 million for a No. 1 WR like Amari won’t be that bad. Now, if Cooper can’t stay healthy the next two seasons, this whole prediction could change, but as of today I think both Coop and Gallup are going to have great ’20 and ’21 seasons.
As for WR3, chances are a player yet to be drafted will hold the job. But since we’re trying to use real names as much as possible, I’m going with Jon’Vea Johnson. I think he’ll claim the WR5 job in 2020 and based on his tenure, 2022 he’ll be playing under the restricted tag for the Dallas Cowboys.
Most receiving TDs when his QB was under pressure last season (WRs)— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) June 13, 2020
1. Michael Gallup - 5
2. Keenan Allen - 4
2. Tyler Lockett - 4 pic.twitter.com/OPVLb9TeyM
The Cowboys have a deep group of young corners on this roster, but does that leave any room for a dark horse candidate to sneak onto the roster?
Burton has great size at 6’2″ and 205 lbs. While Kris Richard is gone and size may be as big a concern under the new coaching staff, it’s still a positive attribute throughout the NFL. Deante also has real-game experience working for him. In addition to the three games he played for the Cowboys last year, Burton was active for three games in 2018 between the Falcons and Colts.
Burton turns 26 in July and may lose the battle to younger options. But having just started playing the CB position three years ago, he may still have some room to grow despite being a little older. Of course, a lot of things will have to go right for Deante to make the Cowboys roster this year. Perhaps one of Chidobe Awuzie or Daryl Worley will wind up at safety, and maybe Jourdan Lewis will be traded away. In the end, though, it will come down to Burton outplaying guys like C.J. Goodwin, Saivion Smith, and Chris Westry to be the next man up if an opportunity comes. And given the current numbers, that may not even be realistic.
The Tennessee Titans moved on from Delanie Walker and the veteran tight end remains out of work. Would the Cowboys be the right fit for him?
There is a lot to like about the Dallas Cowboys’ offense between the stacked wide receivers room, Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield, and Dak Prescott under center. There is still room to add a veteran contributor like Delanie Walker to the tight end rotation. Following Jason Witten’s departure to the Las Vegas Raiders, Blake Jarwin will look to show the Cowboys what he’s capable of achieving as the top tight end. The rest of this position group features unproven options that will be looking to earn a spot.
Having Walker in the mix would at least add more of a veteran element to the position battle. Playing in a reduced capacity behind Jarwin perhaps could help him to stay healthy while providing the Cowboys with more depth at the position.
The longsnapper rarely gets any love, so when he finally does - it has to be shared with all.
Originally a 2005 UDFA signing who was later cut by the New Orleans Saints, Ladouceur caught on with Dallas during Week 4 that year, and has remained entrenched ever since. New head coach Mike McCarthy will be the fourth regime he’ll play under, twice as many as any other player. The 39-year-old Ladouceur has appeared in 236 consecutive games, second-most in team history.
He’s the last remaining player to have stepped onto the field at Texas Stadium. He’s the last to have been yelled at by Bill Parcells. He’s the team’s elder statesman, and most veteran. And though the Dallas bias caught up with him in a 2018 game, he’s been literally perfect the entire time, batting 1.000 on snaps for his career, earning Pro Bowl honors in 2014.
Gov. Greg Abbott would allow 45,000 fans at AT&T Stadium. Medical experts weigh whether Cowboys, Jerry Jones should - Michael Gehlken, Dallas Morning News
While the final call on how many fans are permitted is still a “game-time decision” we continue to get more information as to what that might look like.
The ordinance unlocks the door for fans to mass gather at sporting events during the COVID-19 pandemic. But importantly, it does not open that door. Leagues and clubs such as the NFL and the Cowboys ultimately decide fan flow at events.
For example, according to state guidelines, the Mavericks can host more than 10,000 fans at American Airlines Center when their season resumes. But that won’t be the case; the NBA hopes to continue action this summer with 22 of its 32 teams based together in Orlando. No fans will be permitted. The NFL, which did not respond to request for comment, has time to determine how to navigate game access for the 2020 season.
“Sure, the Governor says, ‘You can have 45,000 people gather at the Cowboys’ stadium,’” said Dr. Mark Casanova, president of the Dallas Medical Society, a group of several thousand physicians in Dallas County. “Does that mean the NFL, Jerry Jones and the other relevant stakeholders should act on that? They could, but should they? “I think that’s the nutshell. Just because you can, it’s not saying you have to. It’s not saying you should. The way I look at the Governor’s allowances are he said you could. Nobody is saying you have to. Nobody is saying you should.”
Let’s talk about Dak Prescott.
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