The Cowboys' Offseason
Writer: Jameson White
Last week, the Dallas Cowboys resigned star pass-rusher Demarcus Lawrence to a long term deal. After weeks of negotiation and multiple reports of the two sides being “millions” apart in both guaranteed and annual money, they finally settled in on a 5-year, $105 million with $65 million guaranteed and a $25 million signing bonus. As this deal was finishing up, the Cowboys were certainly resting easy knowing they have absolutely won this offseason.
Even though the NFL Draft is still weeks away, the Dallas Cowboys have filled every hole in their roster so far this offseason that they ended with during the 2018-19 season. Between the signings of George Iloka, a clear upgrade over statistically-worst-tackler-in-the-NFL Jeff Heath, and Randall Cobb, an upgrade over Cole Beasley, along with the trade for Robert Quinn, a quality pass-rusher, and resigning both speed threat Tayvon Austin and Demarcus Lawrence, on top of getting all-time-great tight end Jason Witten to come out of retirement, it’s shaping up to be the best offseason in years for “America’s Team.”
After all of these moves, a rundown of the Cowboys roster shows top players in the league at every position across the board. Dak Prescott is a top-15 quarterback. Ezekiel Elliott is a top-3 running back. Amari Cooper is a top-10 wide receiver. Jason Witten had been a top-10 tight end in the NFL pre-retirement. Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Travis Frederick are, at the very least, top-two players at their respective positions in the NFL. On the defensive side of the ball, Lawrence is a top-3 defensive end. Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, and Sean Lee are three of the top-15 linebackers in the league. Byron Jones, statistically, was one of the top-10 cornerbacks in the league, besides the fact that he struggles to create turnovers. All in all, Dallas is absolutely stacked.
Dallas has drafted extremely well over the last decade, as they are consistently able to get contributors from these drafts and develop them into quality players. The issue with this development, however, is resigning the players you want. Right now, the Cowboys have a surplus of players coming up needing new contracts, and they don’t have the cap space to sign all of them. They have to resign franchise-quarterback Dak Prescott, their number-one wide receiver in Amari Cooper, and Pro Bowl cornerback Byron Jones. In addition, they need to resign up-and-coming linebacker Jaylon Smith, solid starter La’El Collins at right tackle, and at some point giving Ezekiel Elliott an extension that pays him to continue being the focal point of their offense.
Having some of the best players in the league comes as a blessing and a curse. In order to sign their homegrown players, Dallas must get creative with their contracts and cap-space to make the numbers work. As for now, Dallas is in prime striking position to make a run at their first Super Bowl in nearly 25 years.