When you look at what the Dallas Cowboys need to do this offseason, you realize they have one of the most difficult situations in the NFL. Their top three free agents are among the best in the upcoming free agency period and all will be asking to get paid as such.
I can't help but thinking that they will need to get lucky here and there to pull it off. Here are three ways I believe that can happen. Call it wishful thinking.
1. Randy Gregory is reinstated
I still believe we're underestimating how much of a need defensive is for the Cowboys. DeMarcus Lawrence is great, but who's playing on the other edge? Robert Quinn was dominant in 2019 as he led the NFL in pass rush win rate. How much will it cost to re-sign him? After agreeing to an $8M contract last season, you have to assume the price tag will go up after such a tremendous campaign.
With the NFL and the NFLPA negotiating a new CBA, the league is expected to take a softer stance on marijuana use. This could be huge for the Cowboys, who haven't been able to utilize Randy Gregory due to a bunch of suspensions. If Gregory is reinstated, the front office might be fine with letting Quinn test the market.
As for Randy Gregory's play? I'm done doubting him after he came back in 2018 and played great football despite having little preparation.
2. Cornerback market remains still
I don't want to even think about the Cowboys' issues at cornerback if they don't keep Byron Jones. It's tough to know where his value will land. After all, since Josh Norman became the highest-paid CB in the NFL at $15M per year in 2016, only Xavien Howard passed him with 50 thousand dollars two years later.
Can Jones reset the market? He's been great, despite not producing interceptions. The Cowboys can't let him walk. With a little bit of luck, the market will remain as still as it has been since 2016.
3. Dak Prescott signs a deal before March 10th
I wrote about the Cowboys possibly using the franchise tag in either Amari Cooper or Byron Jones. But the first step to being able to do that is paying Dak Prescott. March 10th is the NFL's deadline to use franchise or transition tags. The Cowboys need to make an effort to reach an extension before then to be able to use the tag on any of their other two top free agents.
Keeping the three of them would have this team right in it next season under a new coaching regime. It hasn't been an exaggeration that Dallas has one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. With a little bit of luck, they'll be able to pay them.