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Cowboys news: Dak Prescott restructure is coming and Blake Jarwin’s injury is worrisome

The Cowboys news for today, delivered.

Event Name: NFC Wild Card Playoffs - San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Cap Relief: Cowboys to Gain $16 Million of Room with New Dak Prescott Contract Move - Mike Fisher, Cowboys SI

Dak Prescott’s new contract was designed for this.

Dallas Cowboys fans are highly aware of the “cap hell” accusations hurled annually in the direction of team owner Jerry Jones’ club. But relief is on the way, as quarterback Dak Prescott’s new $160 million deal, signed last spring, is part of the “problem” as presently constructed but part of the solution in the coming days.

As team sources told some time ago, the construction of the deal includes a “flip of a switch’’ that when executed, will give Dallas about $16 million in 2022 cap relief.

The “switch’’ will be activated sometime between now (as we approach the Tuesday franchise tag deadline) and March 16 (the start of the NFL business year, at which time teams must be $208-million cap-compliant.)

While money will be pushed out, no real year will be added - and no real money, either. This is a common bit of craftsmanship as performed by COO Stephen Jones’ “big calculator” people here inside The Star.

Could Cowboys join surprise bidding war on unexpected internal free agent? - Jerry Trotta, The Landry Hat

The free agent market will be heating up soon and the rumors will fly.

While most fans would like to see the team retain Jayron Kearse and Malik Hooker, a report from FanSided’s NFL insider Matt Lombardo suggests Damontae Kazee will be the hottest commodity on the open market amongst Dallas’ safeties.

Could the Cowboys join a bidding war for Damontae Kazee this offseason?

There’s no doubting that Kearse and Hooker have more popularity amongst Cowboys fans, but the 28-year-old Kazee helped supply Dallas with stability in the backend of the secondary, so it’s not a huge surprise he has a robust market.

While Dallas isn’t financially equipped to get into a bidding war for Kazee, they have something other teams don’t when it comes to a free agent pitch: Dan Quinn, whom he’s played under in all of his five NFL seasons.

Kazee is the most capable of the Cowboys’ safety trio when it comes to playing the single-high safety role. The team ran a ton of single-high looks under Quinn’s tutelage in 2021, so the innovative defensive coordinator would likely appreciate the idea of having Kazee return in a similar role.

Could TE Blake Jarwin Miss the Entire 2022 Season? - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

This makes the Dalton Schultz franchise tag conversation much more important.

If the Cowboys share this fear then it puts their negotiations with Dalton Schultz in a new light. Going back to Jarwin as a starter wasn’t a bad option; he was supposed to be TE1 in 2020 before a knee cut his season short. But now he may not even be available as a backup.

Yesterday I discussed Schultz’s true value and how much Dallas should really spend to keep him. I stand by the assertion that Dalton, while good, has inflated numbers thank to being in this productive Cowboys offense and many other capable tight ends could fill his spot.

Even now, with the threat of Jarwin not playing at all next year, I don’t know that would use the franchise tag on Schultz or pay him the $10 million-plus annually he’ll likely demand in a new contract. It just doesn’t feel like money well spent given all of the other needs Dallas has throughout the roster.

But leverage was already an issue for the Cowboys. With Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson also free agent at receiver and Amari Cooper potentially being released for cap savings, the threat of also losing Schultz has created a compound issue.

Mailbag: Expect Changes With D-Law’s Contract? - Dallas Cowboys Staff

The Cowboys haven’t gotten the production from Amari Cooper and DeMarcus Lawrence to justify their cap hits, but have themselves to blame for the current cap situation.

There’s so much talk about what the Cowboys do with Amari Cooper’s contract, but what about DeMarcus Lawrence? – MIKE STEELE / MANSFIELD, TX

Rob: A week before the new league year, I’m still not 100% sure. The reports are the Cowboys approached him about reworking his deal and he said no. Does that mean they’ll for sure move on? Not necessarily. Remember, two of their top four defensive ends (Randy Gregory, Dorance Armstrong) are set to be free agents next week. To some extent I think any decision with Lawrence’s contract will be connected to what happens elsewhere at the position.

Nick: Of the players that would save the team some money, I definitely would go with cutting Tank over Amari. I guess the answer could be both, but I’m just not a fan of letting Cooper go. And so if you need to save some money to sign other guys, then that’s the route I’d go. But the tricky part is Randy Gregory. You’d really only part ways with Tank if you knew you were going to get Randy’s deal done. The last thing you want is to lose both of those guys and then be forced into drafting pass-rushers earlier than you had hoped. So it’s a big piece to the puzzle but if it makes sense to let Lawrence go, then it’s the route I would take. I do like his game and the fact that he plays through a lot of injuries, but overall, Lawrence just hasn’t played to the level of the contract.

Day 4 winners, losers as DBs close out 2022 combine, Texas boys dominate - Tyler Browning, The Cowboys Wire

A trio of Texas-based college players make the winners list here, at positions of need in Dan Quinn’s defense.

Meanwhile, the club is barren at safety once again. Starters Damontae Kazee and Jayron Kearse, along with rotational safety Malik Hooker were all one-year rentals. Donovan Wilson enters the final year of his deal. So who saw their stock rise on the last day of the combine? Who saw it fall?

Teams will now head back to their respective headquarters to get their draft boards in sync and get ready to send scouts out to school’s pro days. Pro days are also an important time in the evaluation process, as some players elect not to work out at the combine and rather wait for their pro day. But for those who did show up in Indy, here’s the winners and losers from the final day of workouts.

Winner: Kalon Barnes, CB, Baylor

Barnes was not a name on many radars going into the week, but man he did not disappoint. He posted the fastest 40-yard dash out of anyone in attendance, getting clocked at a 4.23. That is just one one hundredth slower than WR John Ross.

Winner: Baylor, Safety, JT Woods

Barnes wasn’t the only Baylor Bear who had a good day. Woods posted the highest vertical jump from the safeties on the day registering at 39.5 inches, that is good for the 94th percentile. He also clocked a 4.36 40 yard dash which is good for the 95th percentile. His broad jump wasn’t half bad either registering 128 inches which is good for 87th percentile.

Winner: Zyon McCollum, CB, Sam Houston State

A non-D1 product turned in an absolutely fantastic day at the combine. He was second in his vertical jump, 39.5″. He was first in the broad jump, where he jumped 11 feet, good for 94th percentile. McCollum was the only corner to run a three-cone, where he ran a 6.48, that is good for 98th percentile. He was also the only corner to run the 20-yard shuttle where he ran a 3.94, which is good for 94th percentile.

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