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Cowboys news: Dak Prescott and the landscape around a new deal

Plus, more news on America’s Team.

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys, Dak Prescott can begin contract talks again: What’s changed? - Todd Archer, ESPN

What has changed since the last time Dak Prescott and the Cowboys tried to make a deal?

Is the length of Prescott’s deal an issue? Yes, the biggest sticking point will likely remain the length of the contract. The Cowboys wanted at least a five-year deal. Agent Todd France wanted a four-year deal for Prescott so the quarterback could get back into the market as soon as possible, especially with the expectation the league’s new television deals could lead to a big rise in the salary cap.

That issue remains, but so does a smaller salary cap, which makes the juggling a little more difficult for the franchise. Perhaps the Cowboys offer a long deal, say six years, which could void to four years. They would be able to stretch out the cap hit in the first couple of seasons and allow Prescott the possibility of getting on the market sooner.

Perhaps Prescott could accept a five-year deal as long as the Cowboys agreed not to use the franchise tag on him at the end of the deal. That does not seem too big of an ask because if Prescott has not won a Super Bowl by then, would the Cowboys look to enter a second decade with him as their starter?

Film room: Offensive prospects the Cowboys could potentially target with the No. 10 pick in the NFL draft - John Owning, Dallas Morning News

The Cowboys defense may need a lot of help, but sometimes an offensive prospect is just to good to pass up.

Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama...For the Cowboys to select a WR with the 10th overall pick — a year after selecting CeeDee Lamb — he has to A) be a special talent, especially because drafting a WR this high would force the Cowboys to trade away Michael Gallup, and B) fill a role that’s not filled by Dallas’ current crop of receivers.

Alabama’s DeVonta Smith and LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase are fantastic receivers who could be top-10 picks come April, but their potential roles aren’t too dissimilar from what Amari Cooper, Lamb and Gallup provide. Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle, however, would provide the Cowboys’ offense with something it’s currently missing — world-class speed. Waddle possesses legitimate roadrunner speed, which he leveraged to become college football’s premier explosive threat. Waddle’s speed is both after and before the catch, as he can similarly accelerate away from coverage and pursuit angles alike.

In just four games in 2020, Waddle totaled 25 catches for 557 yards (22.3 yards per catch) and four touchdowns. In fact, after those four games, it was Waddle, not Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, who led Alabama in receiving yards — an impressive feat considering what Smith went on to do this season.

Dallas Cowboys: Top 5 potential first-round draft picks in 2021 - Connor Green, FanSided’s The Landry Hat

Who would you want to draft with the 10th pick?

5. Gregory Rousseau, Edge Rusher, Miami...The Dallas Cowboys defense finished the year giving up the fifth-most points per game in the NFL with 29.6. The unit also gave up the second-most rushing yards per game with 158.8. Consequently, any list that talks about what the Cowboys should do with their draft pick will heavily feature players on the defensive side of the ball.

Miami edge rusher Gregory Rousseau fits this trend and would add an explosive presence to Dallas’s defensive line. The young defender exploded onto the college football scene back in 2019 when he managed to accrue an astonishing 15.5 sacks which allowed him to lead the ACC in that category. Rousseau, like many prominent college football players, decided to opt-out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has heavily affected the United States. The six-foot-seven defensive lineman will instead turn his focus to the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft.

The Cowboys did not have a single-player record double-digit sack totals during the 2020 season. The teams’ leader in sacks was defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence who finished the year with 6.5. The organization will also have to decide whether it wants to bring back the player who finished in second place in this category as edge rusher Aldon Smith’s contract is expiring at the end of the year.

Full List Of Over 20 Cowboys Free Agents To Be - Rob Phillips, Dallascowboys.com

The Cowboys have a whole bunch of holes to fill with over 20 current free agents.

FRISCO, Texas – It's a harsh reality once an NFL season ends: The current Cowboys roster will never look the same again. Change is inevitable in the free agency era. And with the season over, the Cowboys will eventually turn their attention to a roster that includes over 20 players eligible for varying forms of free agency when the new league year begins in March.

Of course, quarterback Dak Prescott is a team cornerstone who's widely expected to return even though he has yet to reach a long-term deal. But as things stand now, here is the Cowboys' list of free agents to be:

4 Top Trade Targets for the Dallas Cowboys in 2021 Offseason - Tyler Brooke, Bleacher Report

The Cowboys could also look to bolster their roster through trades.

Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback, New England Patriots.....The Dallas Cowboys selected Trevon Diggs in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft in an attempt to replace Byron Jones. The secondary could still use some help, though, and trading for a true No. 1 cornerback could help the defense out in a big way in 2021.

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore could be on the move this offseason. He was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 but had a less productive campaign this year before being placed on injured reserve with a season-ending quad injury. Rumors had emerged that Gilmore could potentially be dealt before the trade deadline, although he ended up staying put. New England's asking price had reportedly included a first-round pick and a player, which likely scared off teams inquiring about the All-Pro cornerback.

With just one year remaining on his contract, Gilmore's price tag could be a bit lower this offseason. Meanwhile, the Cowboys could use another starting-caliber cornerback, especially with Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis both entering free agency. A $17.2 million cap hit in 2021 might be a lot to handle for the Cowboys. But if they are able to restructure some contracts this offseason, Gilmore would be a welcome addition to their defense.

5 Dallas Cowboys Whose Value Increased in 2020 - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

Which Cowboy do you believe increased their value most in 2020?

Dalton Schultz, TE....Going into 2020 it felt like Dalton Schultz was sliding down the depth chart and perhaps off the Cowboys roster completely in the near future. But Blake Jarwin’s Week 1 injury allowed Schultz to finally get consistent opportunities and he delivered in a big way. Despite being a 4th-round pick in 2018, Schultz got leapfrogged by the undrafted Jarwin and didn’t get to the fill the vacuum left by Jason Witten’s departure. To make matters worse, Dallas signed veteran Blake Bell in the offseason to potentially keep Schultz buried on the depth chart.

But Jarwin’s season ended quickly with a season-ending ACL injury in the season opener. And while Bell had way more experience than Schultz, the Cowboys gave their third-year TE prospect a chance to start in the following game against the Atlanta Falcons. Dalton rewarded Dallas with his best game of the season; nine catches for 88 yards and a touchdown. And while those weren’t jaw-dropping numbers for his season highs, Schultz was consistent all year and finished 2020 with 63 catches for 615 yards and four touchdowns.

A healthy Blake Jarwin still offers potential as an athletic receiving target when he returns and should remain the starter. But Dalton Schultz took this 2020 opportunity and strongly improved his place among the TE group. He should be the primary backup next year and may even give Jarwin a run for his money.

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