Agent’s Take: Can Cowboys sign Dak Prescott long-term? Breaking down what it will take - Joel Corry, CBSSports.com
Can the Cowboys finally get a deal done with their star quarterback? If so, here's what a potential deal could look like.
Contract Length: The biggest sticking point in last year’s negotiations was length of contract. The Cowboys were insistent on a five year deal while Prescott only wanted to sign for four years. If representing Prescott, I would be adamant about only signing a three-year deal with a second franchise tag imminent. My position would be Prescott wanted to be under contract through the 2023 season once his rookie contract expired. Insisting on a three-year deal after playing under a franchise tag in 2020 would be consistent with this thinking.
Average Yearly Salary: Ordinarily, the cost of franchising Prescott a second time, $37,690,800, would become the starting point for serious negotiations to France. The changing marketing conditions at quarterback since the failure to reach an agreement last July should be more significant. Disgruntled Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson signed a four-year, $156 million contract extension averaging $39 million per year last September as the start of the regular season was approaching. The deal is worth up to $160 million through incentives. Watson is the standard in first three new years compensation at $124 million, which averages $41,333,333 per year. Just as Watson topped Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in first four new years compensation, France should insist on the same for Prescott on the three year deal. Mahomes’s new money average after four years is $38.95 million per year, which is $50,000 per year less than Watson’s extension averages. Mahomes being the better player ultimately didn’t matter with this contract metric. France should use the occurrence as ammunition since Watson is more highly regarded around the NFL than Prescott.
Contract Guarantees: The amount fully guaranteed at signing hasn’t taken a jump since Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan become the NFL’s first $30 million per year player in 2018. Ryan’s deal contained $94.5 million fully guaranteed. Prescott’s deal should establish a new benchmark. France could press for Prescott getting the most lucrative fully guaranteed contract in NFL history. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a deal breaker for France provided any money that isn’t fully guaranteed at signing becomes completely secure next March during the initial days of the 2022 league year.
Film room: 3 potential offensive tackle targets for the Dallas Cowboys in the 2021 NFL draft - John Owning, Dallas Morning News
With a deep offensive tackle class, the Cowboys should be able to find Tyron Smith’s successor in this draft.
Sewell is similarly effective in pass protection, allowing just seven pressures on 491 snaps and posting a 99.3% pass-blocking efficiency, the second-best mark in college football in 2019, according to Pro Football Focus. He explodes out of his stance, beating pass rushers to the junction point to play with balance and patience. And when Sewell gets his big paws on a defender, it’s over. He possesses fantastic grip strength and balance to strain and sustain blocks.
Sewell is a blue-chip prospect, but he’s not perfect. He displays some technical inefficiencies that could create issues for him in the NFL, namely his pad level. Sewell shows the necessary mobility and flexibility to play with proper pad level, but he still has a tendency to play too high. He got away with this at Oregon because of his otherworldly power and physical gifts in relation to the opposition, but that’s not going to cut it in the NFL. Sewell can also be a little slow to adjust his blocking assignments post-snap against slants and twists from defensive linemen, but that should improve with experience. He was just 19 years old the last time we saw him play.
He’s about as good as it gets for an offensive tackle prospect. That Sewell was arguably the most dominant player in college football before turning 20 bodes well for how he’ll play in the NFL. Sewell would provide the Cowboys with an outstanding swing tackle option and probably beat out Williams to start at left guard. He’s so special, he would probably thrive there even though he never played guard in college.
Sticking with the offensive tackle theme, grading backup Brandon Knight’s 2020 season.
The Good: The epitome of a good backup player – at essentially any position on the field – is one who not only is ready to play at all times, but can play multiple positions as well. If that's the case, Knight certainly filled the role of a quality backup. In fact, he proved to be more than that with nine starts at left tackle. Knight also played some on the right side and even took guard reps in practice later in the season when the Cowboys were spread thin across the line.
The Bad: This might not qualify as "bad" but rather something that is expected. But as admirable as Knight played to fill in at left tackle, the Cowboys undoubtedly missed Tyron Smith, a seven-time Pro Bowler. That's not a slight against Knight, who of course is nowhere close to Smith's level. But there were too many times during the season in which Knight had his share of problems trying to anchor the left side of the line. And when compared to Tyron Smith, there aren't many players in the NFL, currently or in league history, who could fill in for Smith without a hitch. Knight, who played guard as well in college, seemed to have trouble with the speed-rushers off the edge. That's just something the Cowboys haven't seen much of from their left tackle over the last decade.
Which defensive prospect would you like to see the Cowboys pick at number 10 overall?
Draft a Blue-Chip Defensive Prospect....Last year, the Cowboys truly went with a "best player available" approach in the NFL draft when they took CeeDee Lamb in the first round. Despite having Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup on the roster, the Oklahoma product's talent was too much to pass up. It's hard to fault them for that. Lamb could wind up being on the roster longer than both of them.
The 2021 draft has to see them add an elite defensive player, though. The Cowboys offense is loaded with star players and a top-five collection of skill players. The defense, however, is desperate for young players fans can get excited about. The Cowboys utilized their second-, third- and fourth-round picks on the defensive side of the ball last year, which is a good start to building that side of the ball, but they need a similar draft with a strong headliner to keep heading in that direction. The good news is the Cowboys are in a decent position to add a difference-maker.
They have the 10th pick but so many of the expected top-10 prospects in the draft are offensive players. At the very least, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields and Zach Wilson are expected to be to the top quarterbacks taken. Wide receivers Ja'Marr Chase and DeVonta Smith could join that group, and offensive tackle Penei Sewell is likely a lock. Throw in a surprise quarterback, and suddenly the Cowboys could have their choice of linebacker Micah Parsons, defensive end Kwity Paye or Patrick Surtain II.
Running back is one spot that likely won’t change much this offseason.
The key to making the bottom of the depth chart at so many NFL positions is through special teams work. If Rico Dowdle can remain a fixture on coverage units while also giving the team an option as a return man, he will be very hard for anyone to beat out for his roster spot. It’s unlikely that he will see any major competition joining the RB ranks this offseason. With Zeke locked up and two years left on Pollard’s rookie contract there’s no need to make a significant signing or use a draft pick at the position. That should leave Dowdle as a the front-runner going into training camp.
The biggest threat to Rico’s job security in 2021 is if the Cowboys decided to revert back to their 2019 strategy and only keep Elliott and Pollard at running back. This could happen if Olawale returns or they decide they want some other pure fullback helping the run game as a lead blocker.
Predictions for Dallas Cowboys top six free agents this offseason - Steven Mullenax, FanSided's The Landry Hat
The Cowboys need to make decisions on their own free agents.
Aldon Smith, DE. The Cowboys gambled on signing Aldon Smith to a one-year deal last offseason. That after coming off a very long suspension that forced him out of the NFL for five years. Still only 30-years old at the time, Dallas believed Smith could return to All-Pro form. And through the first three games of his return to the league, it appeared that gamble had paid off huge for Dallas. Smith racked up 4.0 sacks in his first three games and had the entire NFL buzzing about his potential. Unfortunately, the veteran pass rusher was unable to keep up that pace and posted just a single sack in his remaining13 games.
Smith would finish last season starting all 16 games for the Cowboys. He’d record 48 total tackles, 14 QB hits, 5.0 sacks, and forced two fumbles. But his lack of sacks through most of the season has likely lowered his potential price tag, which is good news for Dallas. As premier pass rushers are hard to come by …Prediction: Aldon Smith signs a three-year deal to remain with the Cowboys.
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