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Cowboys news: Tagging Dak Prescott twice and could Michael Gallup become trade bait

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Cincinnati Bengals Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Franchise Tag window opens Tuesday, will Prescott be tagged again? - Jim Nevarez, Cowboys Wire via Yahoo Sports

Let’s hope the Cowboys can void this.

Another week of the NFL offseason has begun and another week of speculating about the future of Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys seems to be ahead.

With the NFL franchise tag window opening Tuesday, the Cowboys can officially place the tag on Prescott for a second season. It has been highly expected Dallas will do so by the March 9 deadline, in hopes of coming to an agreement on a long-term deal that has eluded the two sides for the last two offseasons. NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport stated his belief, “The Cowboys do want to workout a long-term deal with Prescott before they have to tag him”.

A second franchise tag for the former fourth-round pick will cost the Cowboys $37.7 million this coming season. A third franchise tag in 2022 would cost Dallas nearly $54 million, surely more than the Cowboys would be able to afford.

For Prescott a second tag would make him only the second quarterback to be franchised twice, following Kirk Cousins’ 2016 and 2017 seasons for the Washington Football Team.

If Dallas is unable to come to terms with Prescott under a long term deal, the $37.7 million cap hit will surely hurt a team that needs every resource to try and improve after a 6-10 finish in 2020.

Dallas Cowboys Should Not Entertain a Michael Gallup Trade - John Williams, Inside The Star

They shouldn’t trade him, but they will most likely get a few calls for Gallup.

The reality is, with Dak Prescott under center, Michael Gallup is a 1,100-yard receiver. Over a 24 game span that extends from week 13 of 2018, Gallup’s rookie year, through week five of 2020, his 16 game receiving pace is 65 receptions on 111 targets for 1,105 yards and five touchdowns. That’s 17 yards per reception. That also doesn’t include the two playoff games where he caught eight passes for 137 yards and a touchdown, including a go-ahead score at the end of the half against Seattle in the 2018 Wild Card round or the 118-yard day against the Los Angeles Rams the following week.

Gallup is one of those players that is deceptively good at getting open down the field. He doesn’t have the elite speed of a Tyreek Hill or the dominant catch radius of a DeAndre Hopkins, but he’s very good at getting open deep. We saw it in week one when he beat Jalen Ramsey, the best cornerback in the NFL, down the sideline and looked to have put the Cowboys in a great position to potentially take the lead. The refs saw Gallup push off and not Ramsey grabbing, and the big-time reception came back, and the Cowboys went on to lose in week one of last year. However, that play alone is enough to keep Gallup around, with Dak Prescott coming back from injury in 2021.

Sure, if you don’t move Gallup, the best you can hope for in the 2022 offseason is that he gets a big-time contract on the open market — which I think he will — and the Cowboys get the benefit of a third-round compensatory pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. It’s always better to have better players. Could they get by with Cedrick Wilson as the number three wide receiver in 2020? Sure, and he might even be really good. However, we know that Michael Gallup is really good, and he provides a vertical threat that helps open up the passing game in the short to intermediate part of the field for the Dallas Cowboys.

Former Cowboys defensive lineman adds to his Dallas disdain: ‘I hated going to work for the Cowboys’ - Jeff Kerr, CBS Sports

It may be the case Irving just wasn’t that dedicated to football.

Irving, who spent the first four seasons of his career with the Cowboys, didn’t enjoy his time with Dallas — to say the least.

“I hated going to work for the Cowboys,” Irving said, via The Athletic’s Vic Tafur. ”A Cowboy is all hardy har har and all this America’s Team stuff. I belong in Las Vegas with the Raiders.

“You’ve got some real people here who can appreciate a unique specimen like myself. I am a bit different on and off the field, and they understand that. I am comfortable here … not only that, man, but I see a team here with a bunch of good, young players that have been missing a little leadership.”

Irving got his second chance at a return to football with the Raiders after quitting in 2019 after the NFL suspended him indefinitely for violating its substance-abuse policy — his third violation in three years. When Irving quit, he famously filmed himself smoking what appeared to be a blunt while announcing his retirement on Instagram. At the time, Irving had 12.5 sacks — including a career-high seven in 2017 — in 37 career games.

Football Outsiders voted Mike Nolan as the worst assistant coach in the NFL last season - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys

It would be hard to find another coach that had a worse year.

Football Outsiders voted Mike Nolan as the worst assistant coach in the NFL last season

Since then the Cowboys have bid adieu to their former defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and Indiana Jones-swapped him with Dan Quinn. The switch doesn’t make up for the fact that McCarthy hand chose Nolan to run his defense which is an issue that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Football Outsiders put together a collection of awards looking back on the 2020 season. In analyzing who the most ineffective coaches were throughout the season, the top two ran teams while number three was Mike Nolan. He received the most votes of any assistant coach.

Adam Gase, 58.9%

Matt Patricia, 26.8%

Mike Nolan, 4.5%

George Stewart, 3.9%

Doug Pederson, 3.6%

Doug Marrone, 2.4%

As you can see, this is hardly a list of coach of the year candidates and there is a reason that turnover is to expected from people that get votes on something like this. Mike Nolan was a disaster of a defensive coordinator for the Cowboys, and Dan Quinn will be charged with fixing his mess.

Diagnosing the deep divide over the value of Dak Prescott - Richard Caldwell, The Landry Hat

After what has happened with quarterbacks recently thing may have changed.

Draft Pick Pedigree

Some simply can’t believe that a fourth-round draft pick could now be among the elite of the NFL at his position. He is, but some Big D fans choose to believe that any success Prescott has should be assigned to other players, or game circumstances (garbage time stats).

The Eye Test

This one always causes me to smile. Prescott does not look like your average quarterback. He’s built more like a linebacker. The result is that the average armchair evaluator finds it difficult when comparing what Prescott does with what they are accustomed to seeing. Statistically, the case is clear, Dak is among the best.

Pride

Let’s face it, it’s hard for people to admit that they are wrong. So many have already been so public in their criticisms of Prescott that the desire to be proven right is now wrapped up in their ongoing opinions of his value.

The Company Line

The Dallas front office has done a wonderful job (utilizing the media) of selling their salary cap space narrative to many fans. The cap is real, but the organization can pay its most important player and teams become creative to do that regularly.

USA TODAY mock draft: Patrick Surtain II reunites with Trevon Diggs in Dallas - Dean Straka, 247Sports

That would be a formidable duo for the Cowboys.

Surtain finished his college career (three seasons and 40 games) with 116 total tackles, 82 solo tackles, six tackles for loss, four interceptions, one touchdown, 24 pass deflections, one fumble recovery and four forced fumbles. The former 5-star prospect out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, came to Alabama rated as the nation’s top cornerback in the 2018 recruiting cycle, per the 247Sports Composite Player Rankings.

As for his former Alabama teammate who is already a year in with the Cowboys, Diggs had no shortage of success as a rookie with Dallas this past fall after the Cowboys selected him at No. 52 overall in last year’s draft. Diggs finished the 2020 season with 49 solo tackles, 14 passes defended, three interceptions and one forced fumble. Previously, Diggs had 48 solo tackles, 17 passes defended, four interceptions and two forced fumbles over four years with the Crimson Tide — a run that also saw him earn time both on offense as a receiver and on special teams.

Surtain has been regarded as one of the top defensive back prospects for this year’s draft class, with Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley also firmly in that conversation despite Farley opting out of the 2020 season. While opinions differ on who should go first off the board between the two, ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay, during a recent episode of the ESPN First Draft Podcast, discussed why he believes Surtain has the edge.

Cowboys: 3 free agents who could alter 2021 NFL Draft plans - Geoffrey Godfrey, With The First Pick

They would have to actually spend money to have their plans altered.

Justin Simmons, Safety

The Cowboys have not had a good consistent secondary for quite some time, however, the addition of Trevon Diggs last year in the draft seemed to boost that up a little bit. There are still many holes to fill as the NFL is slowly changing to make the nickel set used much more than in the previous decade. Forcing many teams to add more defensive backs, even some who are just slot players.

Dallas last year allowed over 500 yards of offense four times, allowed over 250 passing yards six times, and allowed over 425 passing yards three times.

Corners and safeties are a massive need right now and Justin Simmons is the top safety on the market this year. 2021 will be his fifth year in the league for the 6-foot-2 202 pound safety. Amassing 16 interceptions and 37 pass break-ups over his five seasons in Denver. Not to mention over the last three seasons as a full-time starter Simmons has not missed one single game.

He will instantly come into the team and be the best player in the secondary, and they might be able to get him in on a two-year deal and not have to break the bank. This could have a ripple effect as far as the draft goes.

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