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Cowboys news: Micah Parsons picks up more awards while Sean Payton steps away from Saints

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NFL: NFC Wild Card Playoff-San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys LB Micah Parsons named 2021 PFWA Rookie of the Year - SportsDay Staff, Dallas Morning News

Micah Parsons collected more than his share of awards and distinctions in his rookie season. Tuesday he added to that long list by being named both Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America. Not a bad start to the hybrid linebacker’s pro career.

Parsons was named the Professional Football Writers of America’s Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year on Tuesday. He was also named to the PFWA’s All-NFL and All-NFC teams released on Monday.

In his first NFL season, Parsons became a pivotal player of the highly improved Dallas defense recording 84 tackles, 13 sacks and three forced fumbles in 16 games.

Cowboys teammates Zack Martin and Trevon Diggs, who were both also named All-Pros, joined Parsons on both the PFWA All-NFL and All-NFC teams.

Could Saints Hire Cowboys’ Dan Quinn or Kellen Moore to Replace Coach Sean Payton? - Jeremy Brener, Sports Illustrated

With reports of Sean Payton stepping down in New Orleans, speculation over a potential coaching change in Dallas is running rampant once more. Should Dallas put the trigger?

Sean Payton has decided as of Tuesday he’s out as the New Orleans Saints head coach after 16 years with the franchise.

During his tenure, Payton led the Saints to victory in Super Bowl XLIV, seven NFC South titles and nine playoff appearances.

With Payton out of the Big Easy, it opens another head coaching vacancy in the league, one that - hear us out now - might in theory be filled by Dallas Cowboys coordinators Kellen Moore or Dan Quinn.

While Moore is reportedly unlikely to leave, the Saints have hired away a Cowboys quarterback guru before, and there’s no guarantee it won’t happen again. The Saints have a late start in the coaching interview game, and if Moore isn’t the first choice of the other teams, he might be the best of what’s left for New Orleans.

Schultz to AFC South? Cowboys TE named top free-agent target of 2 different clubs - K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire

With a myriad of free agents to contend with this summer, the Dallas Cowboys will be faced with numerous difficult decisions. Among them is Dalton Schutlz, whose career year certainly earned him some money in his next contract but which may well come elsewhere.

Dallas has several names they must strongly consider, such as defensive end Randy Gregory and WR Michael Gallup. Perhaps the name that will draw the most attention, though, is tight end Dalton Schultz. Schultz set career highs this season in catches (78), receiving yards (808) and receiving touchdowns (8). That level of production, finishing one catch short of the team lead on a club with Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, has TE-needy teams salivating, including two AFC South squads.

In a poll of managing editors from across USA Today’s NFL Wire network, where each was allowed to claim one unrestricted free agent, the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennesee Titans named Schultz their top target.

Cowboys Should Bring Back Safety Malik Hooker in 2022 - Matthew Lenxis, Inside The Star

Malik Hooker was one of a few free agent signings last summer that paid dividends for the Dallas defense in 2021. To let him walk now after he only just began to regain form would be a risky bet. One Dallas shouldn’t make.

The Cowboys took the cautious approach and worked Hooker into the mix slowly which was understandable coming off of an Achilles tear. However, as the season went on, Hooker began to show some flashes of his days with the Colts. He had at least five tackles three times from Week 11 through Week 15 and logged at least 51% of the Cowboys defensive snaps twice over that span. Also, he played 45% of the snaps in Week 17 and Week 19 and played a season-high 72% of the defensive snaps in Week 18.

As you can see, Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn showed great confidence in Hooker to get the job done over the last eight games of the season although Kazee played a little more than he did. Hooker’s best game was against the New York Giants in Week 15 when he tied a season-high with six tackles and recorded his first interception since 2019.

Hooker has never lacked the talent just the ability to stay healthy. Hopefully, he’s gotten over that hump by playing in a career-high 15 games and logging 446 snaps this season. The more Hooker played the more the ball-hawking skills and his ability to show support against the run that made him such a high draft pick began to resurface and it led to him logging 44 tackles which were tied for the second-most he’s had in any season, and he did so by playing as a backup for most of the year to Kazee.

Mailbag: Spotting The Ball? Does Dak Stack Up? - David Helman & Nick Eatman,

The Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs was one to remember for football fans, unsurprisingly, it has many wondering how great the gap may be between their quarterback and the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.

This weekend we watched four quarterbacks give performances for the ages, especially Mahomes and Allen. Felt like only a spectacular defender could stop them. It made me think of Dak’s performance. Do you think he elevates the team or does the team elevate him? Dak is being paid to produce like the guys we saw this weekend, but I don’t think he has it in him if the opposing team is competitive. – VINCENT RICHARDSON / MOBILE, AL

David: I won’t argue with you about Mahomes and Allen. That’s probably the best display of quarterbacking I’ve ever seen in one game, and I think you’ve just got to tip your cap and acknowledge that those two are on a different level from damn near everybody. I think the rest of what you said feels a little skewed, though. As great as he is, Tom Brady turned the ball over twice and averaged 6.1 yards per attempt on Sunday. That’s to say nothing of Aaron Rodgers, the likely NFL MVP, who looked just as helpless against San Francisco’s pass rush as Dak did. I’m not trying to let Dak off the hook. His play dipped in the second half of 2021, and he needs to regain whatever it is he lost. But I didn’t come away from this weekend thinking the Cowboys have a hopeless quarterback situation. Is Dak on Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen’s level? No. But as these playoffs have already shown us, you don’t necessarily need to be that good to get your team where it wants to go.

Nick: I really feel like Mahomes and Allen are destined to be the next Manning/Brady rivalry. I know it was just one game but it seems like they might do this for years. And right now, Dak is not on the level of those two because they’re both better passers and better runners. I just don’t think we saw many “special” traits out of Dak this year. At times he throws it very well. At times, he’ll make a good run. But he’s not really doing either one of those things at an elite level. Think about it, if the Cowboys had beaten the 49ers last weekend and Dak was on the field in the Divisional round, where would he rank among the 8 quarterbacks? Even the “homer” Cowboys fan couldn’t put him higher than sixth, which would put him ahead of Tannehill or Stafford or maybe Burrow. My point is, Dak would’ve probably been 7th or 8th on the list. So I think that means that he needs a really good team around him to take the team to the next level.

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