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2020 Offseason Guide to Fix the Dallas Cowboys

Fixing the Dallas Cowboys over the 2020 offseason.

The Dallas Cowboys are coming off one of the most disappointing seasons in the Jerry Jones era. It’s unfortunately still a little fresh in our minds, but I think it’s time to move on and look towards the future. That’s why I decided to put on my General Manager hat today and share with you with my 2020 offseason guide for fixing America’s Team.

The Dallas Cowboys have a lot of work to do between now and the start of the 2020 regular season. Luckily for them, I’ve done all the groundwork for them. Now all they have to do is follow my guide and make it come to fruition. If they do so, I think this could be a team with Super Bowl aspirations once again.

But, where to start!? Let’s take a look…

Go all in to Find Jason Garrett’s Successor

The first, and most important, thing the Dallas Cowboys have to do is to go all in to find Jason Garrett’s successor. This could be Jerry Jones’ last chance to win a Super Bowl before they are shoveling dirt over him. He’s going to leave no stone unturned in the search for his new head coach. I believe he’s ready to push all of his chips to the middle of the table and let fate handle the rest.

What does that mean exactly?

Well, I believe the Dallas Cowboys are going to go all in in order to get the head coach they are targeting. That means nothing is out of the realm of possibility in my opinion. So don’t be surprised if you hear about them putting in calls to the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints to inquire about Bill Belichick and Sean Payton. Whether their next head coach comes via trade or from shelling out a lot of money, you can bet Jerry Jones isn’t going to let any obstacle stand in his way in order to get what he wants.

3 Contracts to Renew, 1 to let go

Dak Prescott, Quarterback

Dak Prescott was the Dallas Cowboys MVP and a dark horse candidate for the league MVP in 2019 and is going to get paid as such this offseason. He bet on himself last year and it’s going to pay off in a big way. He is likely going to be paid 35-$40 million per season and deserves every penny. It was his arm that kept Dallas in a lot of games last year, not Ezekiel Elliott’s legs, even though he is “supposedly” the focal point of the offense. No. 4 is going to be the Cowboys QB for the foreseeable future, whether you agree with it or not.

Byron Jones, Cornerback

I believe re-signing Byron Jones is an absolute must for the Dallas Cowboys. He was the one consistent thing in their secondary in 2019, but if you subtract him from the mix you’re looking at Chidobe Awuzie and Jordan Lewis as your starting CBs in 2020. Lewis played well last season, but is probably still better suited to play out of the slot than on the outside. Awuzie on the other hand took a huge step back last year and became a liability in the passing game. Byron Jones may not have the INT totals we would all like, but he is still one of the best man-coverage players in the league. His ability to pretty much lock down his side of the field is invaluable.

Amari Cooper, Wide Receiver

Unlike with Prescott and Jones, I’m not as comfortable offering Amari Cooper a long-term contract this offseason. He reverted to his old ways in 2019 with the Dallas Cowboys and reminded everybody exactly why the Oakland Raiders were willing to part ways with him. Injuries and the disappearing act we witnessed this season plagued him in Oakland and once again popped up this year in Dallas. That’s why I’d use the transition tag, not the franchise tag, on him this offseason. The transition tag is not only cheaper, $15.9 million versus $18.5 million, but would also give the Cowboys the ability to match any contract another team offers Cooper. It’s still a lot of money, but it’s less risky than investing in him long-term due to his red flags.

One to let go: Tyrone Crawford, DT/DE

Tyrone Crawford was a favorite of Rod Marinelli and the old coaching regime, but a new defensive coordinator and coaching staff likely means the end of his days with the Dallas Cowboys. By cutting him this offseason they can save $8 million against the salary cap, with only $1.1 million in dead money. That extra savings will come in handy re-signing not only their own, but the free agents I have mentioned below.

Free Agent Moves to Make

Jordan Phillips, DT, Buffalo Bills

I think it’s way past time the Dallas Cowboys invest in a big, space eating defensive tackle and that’s exactly what they’d be getting in Jordan Phillips. He may be coming off a career year with the Buffalo Bills (31 tackles, 9.5 QB sacks, 1 forced fumble), but at 27 years old I don’t think the 341 pound DT is going to break the bank. He signed a one-year contract with the Bills last season that paid him a little over $4 million and that’s about the price range he’ll likely sign once again this offseason. But if he wants more, there are other big DTs available (Danny Shelton, Vernon Butler, Andrew Billings).

Jamie Collins, OLB, New England Patriots

The Dallas Cowboys need depth at both linebacker and defensive end, so why not go out and sign a player who can play both and at a high level. I believe this is a move that actually works in the Cowboys favor in more ways than one. They can sign him as an OLB, which is cheaper than DE, and then play him at both. His market value was around $8 million a season according to Sportrac.com, which is around the same price range it would take to bring back Robert Quinn. I don’t believe Collins would be a drop off and his added versatility to play LB as well as DE makes this move no-brainer for me.

2 Players to Acquire via Trade

Jamal Adams, S, New York Jets

The Dallas Cowboys tried and failed to acquire Jamal Adams via trade from the New York Jets prior to the 2019 trade deadline last season, but that shouldn’t stop them from trying again. The Jets asking price was way too steep for the Dallas Cowboys last season. That asking price is likely to go down now that Adams only has two years remaining on his rookie contract if his fifth year option is exercised. I’d consider a player for player trade involving Tyron Smith, but a 2020 3rd-round pick and Cameron Fleming could get it done. If Smith is traded though, drafting a LT becomes a top priority.

O.J. Howard, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Jason Witten/Blake Jarwin duo performed admirably for the Dallas Cowboys last season, but upgrading the position should be an offseason priority. Jarwin showed flashes once again he can be a weapon in the passing game, but he’s still unfortunately a liability as a blocker. Sadly, this year’s TE draft class is pretty weak, which is why I think they should trade for O.J. Howard. He doesn’t fit into Bruce Arian’s offense and could probably be acquired for a mid-round 2020 draft pick. I believe he would immediately upgrade the position and become a favorite target of Dak Prescott.

Don’t Ignore Special Teams

It’s almost as if the Dallas Cowboys completely forgot about special teams in 2019. Their coverage units on both kickoff and punt return consistently gave up big gains, putting opponents in favorable field position. And I don’t even think we really need to bring up the kicking situation with Brett Maher. Sadly, Punter Chris Jones was yet another letdown. The only positive all season was how consistent Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur was once again, like he has been for nearly 2 decades with the Cowboys.

Personally, I’d convince Ladouceur to come back for at least one more season. The Cowboys are going to need him since I’ll not only be bringing in a new kicker, but a punter as well after I cut Chris Jones. Cutting Jones will save Dallas about $1.4 million, which could be used elsewhere quite possibly for his replacement. At kicker I’d consider bringing back Kai Forbath or bringing in another veteran, but regardless I wouldn’t roll the dice again like they did with Maher in 2019.

2020 NFL Mock Draft After Offseason Moves

Round 1 – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

After re-signing Byron Jones and drafting Kristian Fulton, the Dallas Cowboys secondary suddenly goes from being a liability to a strength. These two CBs would be my Day 1 starters with Jourdan Lewis as the nickel. Chidobe Awuzie unfortunately took a huge step back in 2019 and now finds himself buried on the depth chart coming into a contract year.

Round 2 – Lucas Niang, OT, TCU

I drafted Lucas Niang in the second-round for the Cowboys because I shipped Tyron Smith to the New York Jets in exchange for Jamal Adams. I believe Smith’s play is starting to decline in large part due to injuries and thought it was as good a time as any to get something in return before it’s too late. With Niang in the fold Dallas can make this move because he can come in and be a Day 1 starter as a rookie.

Round 3 – O.J. Howard, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (TRADE)

I sent the Dallas Cowboys third-round draft pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for O.J. Howard. He has two years remaining on his rookie contract plus a fifth-year option as a former first-round pick that can be exercised if Dallas so chooses. He would be an immediate upgrade over not only the Cowboys tight ends, but anybody else they could acquire in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Round 4 – Quartney Davis, WR, Texas A&M

Quartney Davis is an underrated WR in the 2020 draft class, but that will probably change once the draft process gets further underway. At 6’2″, 200 pounds he would bring some size and versatility to the Cowboys receiving core. I believe he’s capable of playing on the outside or in the slot and has a chance to be just as productive as Randall Cobb was in 2019.

Round 5 – Lamar Jackson, CB/S, Nebraska

I know I’ve already re-signed Byron Jones and drafted Kristian Fulton to upgrade the Cowboys secondary, but I couldn’t pass up the chance of adding Lamar Jackson to the mix as well. I view him as kind of a hybrid CB/S due to his size (6’3″, 215), so determining where to play him may take some time. Fortunately, there would be no need to rush him because of the depth I’ve already added at both CB and S. This is a pick with the future in mind.

Round 5 – Davon Hamilton, DT, Ohio State (projected comp. pick for Cole Beasley)

With the one and only projected compensatory pick the Dallas Cowboys are expected to receive I decided to draft more DT depth. Davon Hamilton (6’4″, 310) is an experienced, four-year starter at Ohio State. He was the anchor of their defensive line, often times commanding double teams, and could do the same along the interior of the Cowboys DL as well.

Round 7 – Cole McDonald, QB, Hawaii

With the final Dallas Cowboys draft pick in the 2020 NFL Draft I decided to draft an athletically gifted QB with a big arm to potentially become Dak Prescott’s backup. Cole McDonald reminds me a little bit of Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen because of his athleticism and arm strength, but also a little bit of Philip Rivers due to his unorthodox throwing motion. Regardless though, I think he’s upgrade over Cooper Rush.

Summary

  • Go all in to find Jason Garrett’s successor
  • Extend Dak Prescott and Byron Jones, tag Amari Cooper
  • Cut DT/DE Tyrone Crawford
  • Sign Free Agent DT Jordan Phillips and OLB Jamie Collins
  • Upgrade Special Teams
  • Trade for S Jamal Adams and TE O.J. Howard
  • Draft CB Kristin Fulton, OT Lucas Niang, WR Quartney Davis, DT Davon Hamilton, QB Cole McDonald

What do you think?

Brian Martin

Written by Brian Martin

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

Comments

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  1. I am not sure on Dak, I know they dropped a lot of passes on him but he also missed a lot of big plays down the field. I still think for the cowboys to be a contender they need to use Zeke more as they have done in the past. This also keeps the defense off the field, that has keep them fresh in the past.

    • What you said about Dak can be said for any QB around the league. It’s just the nature of the position he plays. He’s going to be highly scrutinized for any kind of mistake or off target throw he makes. And, I don’t think the Cowboys need to use Zeke more often. His usage and production were just fine in 2019. Can both he and Tony Pollard be even more productive? Absolutely! It will be interesting to see how the game plan and playcalling will look now with Mike McCarthy as the new HC.

    • Thanks! I really enjoyed writing it and put a lot of thought into it. I highly doubt the majority of it happens, but it’s fun to speculate.

  2. If we could off the trade for Jamal Adams Safety and O.J. Howard TE plus get Jordan Phillips DT and Jamie Collin OLB plus draft Kristian Fulton CB, I would like it. I say keep Tyron Smith draft someone later in the draft to be the Swing Tackle. Then draft best available at position of needs

    • I think to land Adams it’s going to take either Tyron Smith or some the Cowboys premium draft picks. I kinda prefer trading Smith because you not only get a little salary cap relief, but I think his play is starting to decline a little due to the injuries he’s inconsistently battling through. Then you can use one of those premium draft picks to find his replacement. That’s just my opinion though.

  3. So Jordan Phillips gets 9.5 sacks this year and you don’t think he’s getting a raise? He had one sack the season before signing the $4.5 mill deal.

    Also, a 3rd-round pick and Cameron Fleming for Jamaal Adams is not going to be enough. Sorry.

  4. It hard for me to pull the trigger on trading Tyson Smith because when healthy he truly the best in the game. But also I know our need at Safety in Jamal Adams would be nice. Don’t know anything about the player you have us draft with that 2nd round pick. If then came true he better be better than good because he would be replacing the best at that position and us fans would be pissed off if he anything less then great. O.J. Howard TE would be a huge add as well. Now for F/A I would wouldn’t mind either one of these DT Jordan Phillips your pick or DJ Reader. Jamie Collins not bad at all. Add that to bring back Dak Prescott, Byron Jones and Amari Cooper it sound great. Then add Kristian Fulton CB to that great. These guys on here I don’t much about at all but if they good enough to push guys already on the team off then bring them on. But I know if we get Jamal Adams, O.J.Howard, either Jordan Phillips or DJ Reader and Jamie Collins and add Kristian Fulton to that we are a better already. Then just adding to the depth and upgrading if possible

  5. Here was a option I had at the proverbial water cooler. Trade Fredericks to Miamii, for a 1st rd and mid level pick in 2020. Sign Looney who filled in quite well when Frederick was out also saves $. not sure how much of a cap hit it would be….or Federick straight up for Adams..

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