Sometimes in life, you need to suffer now so that you can thrive later on. For the Dallas Cowboys, they’ll need to suffer through their low cap space this season so that they can have a much higher cap space next season.
Despite no longer being on the team, the Cowboys will have to deal with the contracts of Tony Romo and Dez Bryant for one more year. The team has about $14 million in cap space as of today, but by this time next year, the Cowboys are projected to have around $72 million in cap room.
Knowing Jerry Jones, he’ll want to re-sign his best guys, but will be frugal and won’t overpay. If we learned anything from DeMarco Murray it’s that when Jerry has a price in mind for you, he probably won’t waver. Not even if it means losing the player. The difference is that this time around, Jerry and the front office have some more money to spend.
Jerry may still choose to make smart monetary decisions on his players, but he may also decide to break the bank on his players. The only thing that’s certain is, nothing is certain.
DeMarcus Lawrence is the obvious first choice. He and the organization tried to get a deal done before the deadline, but he will have to play 2018 on the franchise tag. The team and Lawrence don’t seem too worried though. Likely sometime next off-season, we’ll see the two sides come to an agreement.
The only contingency is that D-Law needs to produce like he did last season. He has had an up and down career but really broke out last season.
His current market value is somewhere around $17 million a year. The Cowboys would have the money to pay the man but he needs to do what he did last season if he expects to get paid. Otherwise, he’ll be wearing another team’s jersey in 2019.
It seems like David Irving is always missing time for some reason. However, there’s a reason Dallas keeps bringing him back: the man can flat-out play.
Considering he got seven sacks last season — not even in the full 16-games — shows his potential is through the roof.
Coaches, fans, and teammates all know he can be a special player and a cornerstone piece for the Dallas defense. If he wants to be a Cowboy for his career, and get a nice chunk of the 2019 cap room, he needs to be on the field and playing like he has been.
Dak Prescott has won over most Cowboys fans.
His heart warming story about his mother and the reason he wears number 4, combined with him growing up a Cowboys fan and having that dream come true, has made him one of the most liked players on the team.
To date, Prescott has won 22 career games, second only to Russell Wilson for most wins in a player’s first two seasons.
Prescott has won the NFC east, Rookie of the Year, been elected to the Pro Bowl, and has had a top-5 QBR in both of his first two seasons (3rd in ‘17, 4th in ‘18). If there was ever a time to give a franchise quarterback, franchise-level money, it would be during a time when the team has the cash to spend.
Now that Prescott has a fully stacked offensive line, new weapons and a ready-to-go Ezekiel Elliott behind him, Dak Prescott will be playing money all season.
In the second half of the 2017 season, La’el Collins finally seemed to get comfortable at right tackle. It took him some time but, eventually, Collins was able to show the skills that made him a top-10 draft prospect in 2015.
Last season, the Cowboys gave Collins a two-year $15.4-million contract extension.
Assuming Collins plays the entire 2018 season the same way he did the last half of last season, he would be due for more than an extension. He’d be due much more than a $7.7-million-per-year deal.
La’el Collins has started 30 career games, including all of 2017, and has only allowed five career sacks. He is inching his way closer to being a Pro Bowl-caliber right tackle and could earn a huge chunk of the team’s large cap room this season by playing up to his potential.
By all accounts, it seems that the return to cornerback was a great move for Byron Jones. Jones was already arguably the defense’s best athlete, but now he’ll be expected to simply be one of the team’s best players.
Originally at safety, new Secondary Coach Kris Richard sees Jones as a potential star and his style of corner. His size, athleticism and ability to attack the ball gives the cornerback group a player to lead.
The team picked up his fifth-year option this off-season but that doesn’t mean an extension couldn’t happen sometime next year. If he is the franchise corner that the Cowboys have been searching for, then don’t be too shocked if he’s signed sooner rather than later.
The Cowboys signed Hurns on a relatively inexpensive deal this summer. He signed a team-friendly deal, 2-years, $12 million. Essentially a “prove it” contract, Hurns is coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons after he put up over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2015.
The Cowboys and Allen Hurns all believe he is much more of the 2015 player than he has been the last two years, but he’ll need to show it in 2018.
The team released Dez Bryant and saw Jason Witten retire. They need pass catchers but they won’t pay for one who can’t live up to his worth.
If Hurns wants to be a Cowboy, or even at least be a higher valued player on the open market, he’ll need to show he can be a number one receiver, stay healthy, and produce like he has shown he can. Otherwise, the Cowboys will use their money elsewhere.