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Cowboys news: Taking a look at the two most underpaid players on the Cowboys roster

The news you may have missed from Wednesday.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

A closer look at the 2 most underpaid players on the Dallas Cowboys roster - John Owning, Dallas Morning News

Both Tyron Smith and Michael Gallup clearly have outperformed their current salary.

At just 25 years old, Gallup already has a 65 catch, 1,100-yard season under his belt from 2019, and the only reasons he didn’t replicate those numbers in 2020 was Prescott’s season-ending injury and the saturation of receiving weapons on the Cowboys offense. In addition, Gallup made some serious strides in his receiver development in 2020 despite the production taking a bit of a nosedive. He did a much better job limiting drops (16.5% drop rate in 2019 fell to 10.6% in 2020) while his route-running and releases off the line of scrimmage took another gradual step forward.

On most teams, Gallup would be identified as the future No. 1 receiver; however, in Dallas, his ceiling is as a No. 2 with the other weapons the Cowboys have under contract for the future. While Gallup will likely command much, much more on the open market next offseason after his rookie contract is finally up with Dallas, he’s only counting $2.6M against the Cowboys cap in 2021, which is chump change compared to the 10s of millions that receivers of Gallup’s caliber usually make.

This is why drafting well in the mid-to-late rounds in the NFL Draft is so important because if the team hits on a player in those rounds, then they get the salary cap loophole that is great talent on mid-to-late round rookie contracts. Typically, when teams are able to extend a bunch of their stars and still stay cap compliant, it’s because they have a litany of talented youngsters who are paid below market value due to the rookie wage scale.

History Says 3 Third-Round Picks Leads To Success - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys.com

If history repeats itself, the 2021 draft class could be one for the ages.

The chances that one of these three third-round picks: DT Osa Odighizuwa, DE Chauncey Golston and CB Nahshon Wright will develop into a great player seem rather good, especially judging off history. Here's how the Cowboys fared the previous five times they had three picks in the third round.

1997 - Before this past draft, this was the last time the Cowboys had a trio of third-rounders. And while the last two didn't pan out, the first one was a huge success. Dexter Coakley (65th overall) developed into a three-time Pro Bowler at linebacker. Small in stature and playing at a small school at Appalachian State, Coakley had to prove his doubters wrong, and not just early in his career but even at the later stages when coaches such as Bill Parcells weren't always convinced he could handle the job. But it proved to be one of the better third-round picks in team history. After that, it made up for picking Steve Scifres, a guard from Wyoming with the 83rd pick and safety Kenny Wheaton (94th overall). They combined to play just 29 games.

9 Bold Predictions for the 2021 NFL Season - Maurice Moton, BleacherReport.com

The Cowboys’ signal-caller seems like a lock to win some hardware in 2021.

Dak Prescott Wins Comeback Player of the Year, Throws for over 5,300 Yards....Before he went down with a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5 last year, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was on pace to throw for 5,939 yards. No one should expect the 27-year-old to average 371 passing yards per game across an entire season. But with an extra game now on the schedule and one of the best wide receiver trios in the league, he should be able to eclipse the 5,300-yard mark.

During a press conference in June, Prescott said he had "buried the injury." Head coach Mike McCarthy expects him to participate in full at training camp. Wideout Amari Cooper's status for training camp is far more uncertain following offseason ankle/foot surgery, per CowboysSI.com's Mike Fisher. However, the team doesn't have long-term concerns about his recovery.

If Cooper has to miss a little bit of time, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb can soak up extra targets and produce big numbers. Both wideouts eclipsed 800 receiving yards and hauled in five touchdowns last season. The latter can become a breakout star in his second year with more opportunities in the passing game.

Cowboys Camp Preview: Quarterback - Sean Martin, Inside The Star

After Dak Prescott, there are a lot of questions to be answered at the quarterback spot.

Getting to Know Doug Nussmeier. Being with the Cowboys since 2018, Dallas is Nussmeier’s longest stop in the NFL after just two seasons with the Rams in 2006-07. Serving as QB coach under then-HC Scott Linehan, Nussmeier rejoined Linehan with the Cowboys. Now, he’ll work with another offensive coordinator/former QB in Kellen Moore. Nussmeier has worked with college coaches like Steve Sarkisian, Nick Saban, and Jim McElwain. Understanding how to put their best players in favorable matchups is what these coaches excel at, which made Nussmeier a good fit for a TE heavy offense under Linehan and Garrett.

The advantage the Cowboys can create at WR and a healthy dual-threat QB in Prescott is a dream for any offensive staff, and by all accounts Nussmeier has fit in fine with Moore leading the Cowboys offense. It was Garrett Gilbert that perhaps showed the most promise in backup duty last season, making him a developmental player for Nussmeier to work with at QB2.

Ezekiel Elliott Is About to Remind the NFL How Dominant He Can Be - Gary Davenport, BleacherReport.com

A deeper dive into the Cowboys’ running back’s revenge season.

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott said Elliott looked like a man on a mission: “Zeke looks great. He’s in the best shape of his life—looking fast. Everybody’s seen the clips of him working out independently with his running back coach. His cuts, just how explosive he is.

“I’m excited to have a full year with him again and getting him healthy throughout the whole season. When Zeke’s healthy and Zeke’s doing his thing, he’s the best running back in the league. It’s just exciting to see him in the best shape of his life, or [at least the] best shape he’s been in the NFL. That’s going to be special for us moving forward.”

Reserve running back Tony Pollard—who some have said should receive more work—agreed. “He’s definitely been locked in,” Pollard said. “I can tell he took the right step forward this offseason, getting his body right and being in shape. Me and him worked out together this offseason. We’re both locked in this offseason getting ready.”

Tarell Basham’s 2021 Cowboys Player Profile and Preview - Mike Crum, Cowboys Wire

Could signing Basham be one of the better under-the-radar moves of the offseason?

Basham had a breakout year in 2020, matching or surpassing pretty much every career high. He started nine games in 2020, six more than the three he had from 2017 to 2019. Basham went from 48 tackles in three seasons to 36 in 2020, four sacks in three seasons to 3.5 in 2020.

Even QB hits and forced fumbles increased dramatically from ten in three years to 13 last season and a single forced fumble to 3 just last season. The Cowboys could possibly have gotten a steal here on an ascending player, hitting his prime. That is even before mentioning he was a top-ten win rate run defender as an edge as well.

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