The Dallas Cowboys season came to a halt in the divisional round of this year’s playoffs versus the Los Angeles Rams. However, the Cowboys have a very bright future ahead of them. Most of the key players on the Cowboys roster, are young and are not even in the prime of their careers yet.
Heading into the offseason the Cowboys have priorities just like every other NFL team. The Cowboys need to add dynamic receivers to an offense that ranked 23rd in passing yards per game. Once teams began to double team Amari Cooper it was hard for the Cowboys to throw the ball downfield.
Dallas will have to be creative in the draft, due to having no first round pick because of the Cooper trade. Furthermore, Dallas will have more money to spend in free agency this year than in previous years, because they will no longer have dead money from the contracts of Dez Bryant and Tony Romo.
With a very important offseason looming for the Cowboys, here are three bold predictions on what Dallas’ front office will do.
Dak will sign a contract making less than 25 million a year
One of the current trends in the NFL, is trying to stack a team with talent while the quarterback is on a rookie contract. For Example, the Rams and Eagles have won the NFC the past two years led by rookie franchise quarterbacks. And once the franchise quarterback gets paid, the team no longer has the cap space to pay talented players in other positions.
Currently, the going rate for a quarterback is about $30 million per year. Aaron Rodgers was the last quarterback to sign a long-term extension, and he will be making $33.5 million per year in the deal. Yet, as a quarterback Prescott is more limited than someone as talented as Rodgers.
Prescott has yet to prove he can carry the Cowboys when their rushing attack and defense is struggling. We’ve seen how pedestrian Prescott looked earlier in the season before Dallas acquired Cooper via trade. In nine games with Cooper, Prescott averaged 297 yards per game, compared to 202 yards in the seven games without Cooper
Although, Prescott has a very compelling argument, on why he deserves a contract like every other franchise quarterback. In his first three season Prescott has won 32 games and won the NFC East twice. Also, he saved the Cowboys from a rebuild once Romo got hurt again to begin the 2016 season.
As I mentioned earlier, the Cowboys have a bright future and if Prescott cares about his legacy he will take a home town discount, so Dallas can pay those around him. In addition, Texas has no state taxes, so Prescott will make all the guaranteed money in his contract. Finally, as the Cowboys quarterback Prescott receives a national spotlight like no other, which helps him land endorsements off the field.
Demarcus Lawrence will be franchised tagged again
Lawrence is without a doubt the best player on the Cowboys defensive line. In the last two seasons, Lawrence has combined for 24.5 sacks. This season Lawrence played underneath a $17 million franchise tag. Moving forward it seems that Lawrence wants a long-term contract with the Cowboys.
Dallas has until March 5th to work out a long-term deal will their defensive end, or place another franchise tag on him. A second consecutive year of using the franchise tag would pay Lawerence about $20 million.
Dallas may franchise tag Lawrence again because they don’t want to be locked into a long-term contract once the 2020 offseason comes around. Lawrence will command pay similar to those of other elite pass rushers. Paying Lawrence may limit signing other 2020 defensive free agents like Bryon Jones, Jaylon Smith, and Randy Gregory.
Dallas signs free agent Earl Thomas
Dallas and Earl Thomas have seemed interested in each other since the Seahawks vs Cowboys game back in 2017. After that game Thomas tracked down coach Jason Garrett and told him “come get me,” said Thomas.
Here’s footage of that interaction in the tunnel of AT&T Stadium:
— Joe Trahan (@JoeTrahan) December 25, 2017
The relationship between Seattle and Thomas has gone downhill, since they refused to give him an extension before the season. Afterward, Thomas broke his leg in week four and let the Seahawks know how he felt about them.
While being carted off Thomas gave the Seahawks sideline the middle finger:
Earl Thomas was fined $13,369 by the NFL for giving the middle finger as he was carted off the field in last Sunday’s win against Arizona.https://t.co/NuSYCxAZyC
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 7, 2018
On this very talent Cowboys defense, the weakest position group is the secondary. The safeties for the Cowboys are the only grouping where they don’t have an elite talent. Both Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods are good starters, but not a premier safety like Thomas is.
With Thomas coming off the leg injury Dallas could sign him for cheaper. Most likely Dallas would offer a short-term contract filled with incentives related to Thomas’ availability. Something similar to what Richard Sherman got last year from the 49ers, coming off his Achilles injury.