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Cowboys news: 3 players the Cowboys should avoid in free agency

Your Wednesday edition of news on America’s Team.

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Cowboys’ Top Players to Avoid in 2021 NFL Free Agency - Kristopher Knox, BleacherReport.com

Taking a look at some players the Cowboys should steer clear of in free agency.

With Schultz set to hit the open market, Dallas should be interesting in veteran tight-end alternatives. However, 31-year-old Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz shouldn’t be an option. The issue here is a matter of dollars and cents. Ertz is still capable of playing at an extremely high level—he tallied 574 and three touchdowns in 11 games with Arizona this season. However, he’s an aging player with a projected market value of $7.6 million annually.

The Cowboys cannot know when or if Ertz might hit the proverbial cliff, and they don’t have the cap space to go chasing after Ertz anyway. If Dallas can finagle some cap room, it would be better off retaining the 25-year-old Schultz.

While Schultz isn’t a three-time Pro Bowler like Ertz, he’s emerged as a legitimate weapon in Dallas’ offense. Over the past two seasons, he has caught 141 passes for 1,423 yards and 12 touchdowns. Just as importantly, he’s already well-versed in coordinator Kellen Moore’s offense. It would behoove Dallas to bypass a player like Ertz and instead try to re-sign Schultz, target budget options in free agency or look to the draft for their tight end.

What’s Next For WR: Filling Out The Depth Chart - David Helman, DallasCowboys.com

The future of the Cowboys’ wide receiver position is anything but clear.

Frustrating as it might be, there's no way to know how that situation will work out just yet. But on the flip side, the front office needs to make a decision by March 20 – which is just more than a month away. We shouldn't have to wait too long for clarity. In the meantime, Cooper is one of just three receivers under contract, along with CeeDee Lamb and Simi Fehoko. Regardless of what happens at the top of the depth chart, the rest of it needs plenty of work with Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, Noah Brown and Malik Turner all slated to hit free agency in a month.

Gallup and Wilson, the two 2018 draft picks and close friends, are the most fascinating angle here. There has been speculation about Gallup's future dating back to last year, when he was asked repeatedly about it heading into a contract year. In a heartbreaking turn, injuries robbed Gallup of the opportunity to maximize his earning potential. A calf strain suffered in the season opener forced him to miss two months. He then tore his ACL during the Jan. 2 loss to Arizona, just before the postseason – while catching only his second touchdown of the season, at that.

Gallup had surgery last week, and it'll be a busy offseason of rehab for him. Even still, with 193 career catches for 2,902 yards and 15 touchdowns under his belt, it's easy to guess the injury won't prevent Gallup from being one of the better receivers on the market this spring.

The ‘how-to’ offseason guide for fixing the 2022 Dallas Cowboys - Brian Martin, Blogging The Boys

A blueprint to acing the offseason.

Players to Re-sign. Randy Gregory, Defensive End Running it back with Randy Gregory gives the Cowboys their best chance of having a formidable pass rush in 2022. That will probably take at least a contract extension that will pay him at least $12 million per season, but it should be money spent.

Jayron Kearse, Safety. Jayron Kearse was an unexpected leader and key contributor for the Cowboys defense in 2021. He should be a rather cost-effective re-signing and would help provide starting experience and depth to the safety position 2022.

Bryan Anger & Jake McQuaide, Special Teams . A two-for-one special? Maybe not, but lumping these two together just seems right. Both should be relatively cost-effective for the Cowboys to re-sign and both should be considered no-brainers considering the way they performed in 2021.

Cowboys’ offseason bookkeeping can begin with a restructure of Dak Prescott’s contract - Michael Gehlken, Dallas Morning News

The Cowboys will likely restructure the contract of their signal-caller in the next few weeks.

Last winter, drama surrounded the Cowboys quarterback and his long-term future before he signed a four-year, $160 million extension. No such intrigue or suspense exists today. But like in 2021, Prescott’s deal can set the table financially for the spending year ahead. Presently, he is set to earn a $20 million salary in 2022.

An automatic conversion can be performed on that figure, allowing the Cowboys to convert the vast majority of his salary into signing bonus without negotiation. This would be done for the sole purpose of creating immediate salary-cap relief; the converted sum amortizes across the cap for five years. For example, the Cowboys can email Prescott’s agent Todd France and notify him they are reducing Prescott’s salary from $20 million to $2 million. The $18 million difference still would be owed to Prescott as a signing bonus.

Instead of the $18 million all counting against the 2022 salary cap, only one-fifth of it — $3.6 million — would. In this scenario, the Cowboys create $14.4 million in cap space for 2022 in exchange for Prescott counting an extra $3.6 million against the cap in 2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026. The Cowboys have eyed this maneuver for a while, attaching two voidable years at the end of his contract last March specifically with it in mind. That email likely won’t come for at least another couple of weeks.

Why Matthew Stafford’s Super Bowl with the Rams is more impressive than Tom Brady’s in Tampa - David Moore, Dallas Morning NewsBay

Matthew Stafford certainly made the most of his first season in Los Angeles.

No one is suggesting that Stafford now challenges Brady for G.O.A.T. status. He won’t claim my Lombardi Trophy is bigger than yours in the wake of leading the Los Angeles Rams to a win over Cincinnati in Super Bowl LVI. But by any objective standard, what Stafford did was the more unlikely of the two accomplishments.

Brady took six Super Bowl rings with him to Tampa Bay last year after his dynastic run in New England. He has that blue check mark by his name. Another title was an affirmation of what he’d been for the better part of two decades. Stafford was a good quarterback with a strong arm, but elite? He had no playoff victories in his 12 seasons in Detroit when the Rams acquired him last March.

Franchises in every sport seek players they believe will be the final piece to a championship puzzle. But how often does that one-person-will-get-us-over-the-top approach work in Year One? How often does a veteran quarterback strike gold at the age of 34?

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