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Cowboys news: Free agency speculation begins, Dallas named a potential landing spot for JuJu Smith-Schuster

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Best potential landing spots for JuJu Smith-Schuster in 2022 NFL free agency - Kristopher Knox, Bleacher Report

Get ready for an onslaught of free agency speculation. For instance, Smith-Schuster in Dallas?

The Dallas Cowboys are a long shot to land Smith-Schuster because of the the their financial situation. Dallas is projected to be $21.2 million over the cap this offseason.

However, wideout Amari Cooper could be a potential cap casualty. He caught only 68 passes for 865 yards and eight touchdowns this past season, and he’s set to carry a cap hit of $22 million in 2022. The Cowboys could save $16 million by cutting or trading Cooper prior to June 1.

If Dallas does dump Cooper and finds ways to free up even more cap room, it could be a terrific landing spot for Smith-Schuster. Wideout Michael Gallup and tight end Dalton Schultz are both set to become free agents in March, so the Cowboys could need more pass-catching help regardless of what happens with Cooper.

Meanwhile, Smith-Schuster sounds intrigued by the idea of catching passes from Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and playing at AT&T Stadium.

“He’s a great quarterback. Catching balls from him in a facility like this, I wouldn’t mind it,” Smith-Schuster said at a 7-Eleven event, per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News.

Cowboys WR Cedrick Wilson’s season-long heroics earn recognition for the unsung - Matthew Lenix, Cowboys Wire

Cedrick Wilson definitely stepped up when his number was called in 2021.

The Cowboys have one of the better receiving corps in the NFL headlined by Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup. Or had. In 2021, all three missed time at some point due to either injury or COVID protocols. For most teams that would be a crippling thing to deal with. However, the Cowboys still managed to produce the league’s top offense in points and yards because they had a secret weapon to pick up the slack.

Cedrick Wilson finished with 45 receptions for 602 yards and six yards touchdowns this season, which nearly tripled his totals in all three categories in 2020. Also, his 13.4 yards per catch was second on the Cowboys to the aforementioned Lamb (13.9). Each season, every team has a player who goes beyond what he’s expected to do. NFL.com writer Nick Shook compiled a list of unsung heroes from each NFC team for 2021. After a career year, Wilson was selected for this distinction in Dallas.

Shook on Wilson’s season:

“An overlooked receiver in a star-laden offense, Wilson grabbed his opportunities with a vise grip, catching 45 of his 61 targets for 602 yards and six touchdowns and twice breaking 100 receiving yards in front of national audiences. The first time — Dallas’ heartbreaking 36-33 loss on Thanksgiving day to the Las Vegas Raiders — he hauled in seven passes for 104 yards, and the second time — a Saturday night blowout win over Philadelphia — he led all pass-catchers with 119 yards and two touchdowns on five grabs. He didn’t get a ton of attention from opposing defenses due to the presence of Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, but when he was asked to fill in for them, Wilson followed through. He posted a catch rate over expected of +18.6 percent on targets of 10-plus air yards, the third-highest mark in the NFL (min. 20 such targets). Wilson is headed to free agency and is likely to find a new home (and a pay increase) with a team looking for a receiver who can contribute when called upon.”

With Brady retired, where do the Cowboys rank in the NFC in 2022? - Brandon Krikorian, Inside The Star

Where do you think the Cowboys rank in the NFC in 2022?

With the recent news that Tampa Bay Quarterback Tom Brady is retiring after a historic 22-year career, that opens room at the top of the NFC. The Buccaneers won the Super Bowl last year and finished second in the conference this year. With Brady now out of the picture, it gives hope for the Dallas Cowboys to make a claim as the top team in the NFC.

Even though the Cowboys finished the 2021 season 12-5 and won the NFC East, they were bounced out of the playoffs by the San Francisco 49ers at home.

After looking like a true contender for the Super Bowl in the first half of the season, they could never regain that consistency in the second half despite finishing third in the conference. Things should be looking up for the Cowboys in 2022 in terms of the other competition in the conference.

Now with Brady retired, the Bucs will not be able to replace him with someone even close to the same level of play that he was giving them. Assuming that they cannot replace him with a top quarterback, they should not be as much of a contender for the Super Bowl as the previous two years.

Roger Staubach 80th birthday: Is he - or Emmitt Smith - Dallas Cowboys GOAT? - Richie Whitt, Cowboys Maven

Happy birthday Roger Staubach, you are the Dallas Cowboys GOAT!

Roger Staubach - America’s quarterback won a Heisman Trophy, served in the Navy, captured two Super Bowls, one Super Bowl MVP and wound up in the Hall of Fame on a career highlighted by cardiac comebacks. However, he lasted only 11 seasons (half as long as Brady) and no longer leads Dallas in any major passing category.

Emmitt Smith - Tough to shove aside a guy whose Canton career includes three Super Bowls, a Super Bowl MVP, NFL MVP, four rushing titles and gaping leads - still, 18 years after he retired - in NFL all-time rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Only thing that dents his Cowboys legacy are those last two seasons playing in the uniform of the Arizona Cardinals.

It’s Emmitt or Roger. It’s not, of course, as clear-cut as Brady’s GOAT status. Wanna give Roger a gift on Saturday, his 80th birthday? Cool. Vote for him!

Year in Review: Overall Takeaway From 2021 - Staff, DallasCowboys.com

2021 takeaways for the Cowboys.

Rob Phillips: A good season ended on a very disappointing note, and now what? The Cowboys’ core is certainly good enough to win the NFC East again next year, and Quinn’s return is huge for the defense. Expectations are much higher than a first-round home game, though, and there’s a lot of roster questions moving forward. Over 20 players are impending free agents. Many play key roles. That’s an extra challenge to an already tight salary cap. The biggest counter to all those questions would be a huge season from Dak Prescott. When the team loses, he always says it starts with him. OK, but the offense’s inconsistencies down the stretch aren’t solely on Dak. In the first eight games Prescott got pressured 91 times and sacked 11 times, according to PFF. In the last 10 games: 131 pressures and 24 sacks, including a season-high 25 pressures and five sacks by San Francisco. A full, healthy offseason should help Prescott compared to last year when he was working back from the ankle injury. But whatever the Cowboys can do to improve things around him — from a personnel and schematic standpoint — might be the key to 2022.

*David Helman: *The most frustrating thing about watching the rest of these playoffs unfold is that I really don’t think the Cowboys were that far off. Sure, that Bills-Chiefs game was one of the most jaw-dropping displays of quarterback play we’ve ever seen. But the rest of the playoffs looked like teams playing clean football, using their pass rushers to make the opposition uncomfortable and scheming up ways to get the ball to their playmakers. The Cowboys have a similar amount of talent to the teams that played longer than them in January, and they have a quarterback who is capable of making those types of plays. This was a team that refused to learn from its mistakes all season long. With a bit more adaptability, it’s easy to imagine them putting a more impressive run together. Instead, we’re sitting here wondering what it’ll take to get back to that point.

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