Whatever chips remain in the Cowboys' pile from last year are going to the center of the table in 2024.
Staying put in free agency?
Jones talked about the need to “disrupt” in order to have better success in 2024, and in looking at potential offseason ways to do that, free agency looms as a possibility. With big names set to hit the free agent market at positions of need and over a quarter of the Cowboys’ active roster set to be free agents, an opportunity could exist to make that mark before the team makes it way back for OTAs in the summer.
Here is what Jones had to say on those thoughts.
“It would be disruptive to not do a free agent, as far as what we did last year,” he said. “I think you could anticipate us having some influence here and being involved in some free agents, subject to the right free agent that we can get under the right contract.”
‘Rightful’ fan disappointment
Stephen Jones was asked about the fan disappointment following another abrupt playoff exit, and he offered a good sense of sympathy for the fans and how they should feel about the team’s future. Without a model of consistency in winning, Jones says the fans have a rightful reason to feel the way they do.
“We have had three good years of 12-5 and we have had major disappointments in the postseason, so until we do something about it – which is go have another great year and have success in the playoffs – that’s gonna be there,” he said. “There’s no way they’re going to explicitly trust you until you get it done…Until we compete at that level and we get the job done, there’s gonna be doubt and rightfully so.”
Jerry Jones insists he didn’t have to talk himself into keeping Mike McCarthy - Charean Williams, Pro Football Talk
It looks like keeping Mike McCarthy as head coach didn’t need much convincing.
Jones he met with McCarthy for more than three hours following the Cowboys’ quick exit from the playoffs, and that was long enough to decide McCarthy deserved another year after three consecutive 12-win regular seasons.
“This is not a ‘talk yourself into it,’” Jones said at the Senior Bowl, via Nick Harris of the team website. “It obviously gives you a lot of things to consider and think about. Everybody has options. This is one I’m very comfortable with. I felt good during the year with the job that Mike was doing. The team was responding well. We were all disappointed that we didn’t win that Green Bay game. We had visions of a lot better than that; we all did. But there are things there that we can take forward.”
The Cowboys did not want to give Dak Prescott three play callers in three seasons after a career year. Prescott is among the five finalists for league MVP and receiver CeeDee Lamb a finalist for offensive player of the year.
“We’re right at a key spot with Dak,” Jones said. “Dak has improved since Mike has been here, and I think we can look forward to that improvement. There’s more there to get in terms of Dak’s improvement with Mike. The evidence points to that. With more to get there, more pluses on Dak, that impacts a lot of other things that we’re doing right now with the decisions we’re making so it all makes sense to have [McCarthy] back.”
The opening in Washington is still in play for Dan Quinn after the top candidate backs out.
The Commanders were narrowing down their head coaching search candidates, and Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and Cowboys defensive boss Dan Quinn - who is in D.C. interviewing right now - are finalists.
Well, were finalists. Johnson just pulled out, opting to stick with Detroit, Why?
An odd twist: Is new owner Josh Harris unwilling to pay Johnson’s asking price? And could that add to Quinn’s chance of leaving Dallas for Washington?
The former angle comes via ESPN “insider” Adam Schefter, who on Tuesday is reporting that Washington is “spooked” by the salary Johnson is asking for to take his first-ever head coaching gig.
That seems like pro-Washington face-saving spin. (The Washington Post offers a more sensible reason: Johnson wants to win a Super Bowl” - and Detroit gets him there faster than Washington does.)
Johnson and Quinn, who are both also on the short list in Seattle, bring much different things to the table.
Quinn is 53 and a generation older than Johnson. Quinn has been a Super Bowl head coach and coordinator.
Could Trey Lance truly be the future in Dallas at quarterback?
The post-Aikman era was an unmitigated disaster until Tony Romo, an undrafted free agent who was criticized similarly to a first-overall pick, won the starting job in 2006. Romo went on to set franchise records and keep the Cowboys relevant until an injury in 2016 opened the door for Dak Prescott to have the best rookie season of any quarterback in franchise history.
There was no looking back afterwards, because the Prescott era had begun, and with a bang.
Present: That said, it is what it is, and the standard is the standard: a Super Bowl win. Prescott is finding himself up against the same wall that once housed the criticisms of his most immediate predecessor.
But while Prescott enters this offseason on the heels of an embarrassing playoff loss and with a playoff record of 2-5, he’s also inarguably one of the best quarterbacks the franchise has had, literally (statistically) and his MVP caliber regular season led to a third Pro Bowl nod and third consecutive 12-win season.
Future: There are plenty of questions outside of the building on if the Cowboys will use a premium pick to select a quarterback in 2024, but I personally don’t see it, nor do I believe it would make much sense when considering the presence of Trey Lance. The team was adamant that the 2023 NFL Draft would see them select a developmental quarterback, showing regret for not having done so to that point, before again not selecting one.
Their recompense was to send a 2024 fourth-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers last season in exchange for Lance and, to me, that literally counts the same as selecting one this April — considering you used one of this year’s picks to get him — but with the added benefit of Lance still being very young though not a rookie; and a former third-overall pick, no less.
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