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Dallas Cowboys’ Stars ‘Not Concerned’ with Contract Extensions

John Williams

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Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott

All offseason, the focus for much of the Dallas Cowboys front office has been put at the negotiation table. With notable players like DeMarcus Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, and Byron Jones all eligible to discuss long-term contracts this offseason, Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones and the rest of the front office have been working to figure out extensions for their core players.

With DeMarcus Lawrence locked up a few weeks prior to the draft, the Cowboys then set their sites on the rest of that distinguished group.

Over the last couple of days, those players have echoed similar responses to questions about their contract extensions.

Dak Prescott

None of the players set to receive long-term contracts has been as hotly debated as Dak Prescott has this offseason. Everyone has an opinion of the quarterback. Whether fans and analysts think he deserves a contract worth an average of $30 million a year, it's very likely going to happen. The only thing keeping Dak Prescott from making that money will be Dak Prescott.

Despite the conversation that's happening pretty much everywhere, Dak Prescott's not worried about the details of the numbers, he's just trying to get better as a player and a leader.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Dak Prescott: "It's a blessing just to be in this position. But as far as the (contract) numbers are concerned, my focus is on the locker room. I know it will get taken care of, so it is what it is. ...I want to be a Cowboy.

Ezekiel Elliott

The NFL is trending toward a devaluation of the running back position. Teams are employing more two-back systems in an effort to keep their running backs fresh while not having to spend premium capital at the position.

Like the Los Angeles Rams, the Dallas Cowboys are flying in the face of that trend with talks that they are looking to extend Running Back Ezekiel Elliott.

The All-Pro running back has led the NFL in rushing two of his three seasons in the league and likely would have in 2017 as well.

Though the Cowboys have Elliott under contractual control for 2019 and 2020, they could get Elliott extended this offseason, buying up his prime years.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Ezekiel Elliott when asked if he's concerned about getting a new contract done this year: "I'm not concerned." Zeke on dealing with the outside noise about him getting a contract extension: "Just go out there and play football. Do what I've been doing.

Elliott's been a very durable player during his career, never missing a game due to injury. He's sat out the season finales of the 2016 and 2018 season when the Cowboys had the NFC East locked up. In 2017 he sat out those six games during a suspension handed down by commissioner Roger Goodell.

As he's been since setting foot at The Star in Frisco in 2016, Elliott's all about football and will allow the other stuff to take care of itself. Despite all of the drama surrounding the fourth overall pick, he's shown he won't be distracted by the drama; contract or otherwise.

Amari Cooper

Reports of Amari Cooper's contract demands being shockingly high are un-shockingly overstated. Though Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that the Cowboys were "surprised" by his contract demands, they also realize that his contract that the minimum they can pay him is around $16 million.

mike fisher ✭ on Twitter

Per 2 sources close to the Amari Cooper contract talks w #Cowboys - Dallas is NOT 'shocked' by his 'high' contract proposal, as reported, because Cooper's side has NOT yet made a contract proposal of any kind to Dallas.

With players like Brandin Cooks and Sammy Watkins sitting at that number, there's zero chance Cooper's deal comes in less than $16.5 million per year.

Cooper's being coy about any contract questions as Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News found out last night.

Kate Hairopoulos on Twitter

Tried to get in a question to Amari Cooper about the contract negotiations but PR had just jumped in to end interview. Cooper smiled and took the out. "They said last question.

Amari Cooper is in the Dallas Cowboys future. He was probably their most valuable player in 2018 as the offense took on a new life when he arrived in week nine. After a 3-4 start prior to the trade, the Dallas Cowboys went 7-2 with Cooper and advanced to the divisional round of the NFC Playoffs.

Cooper was excellent, showing elite speed and adding another home run threat that became too reliant on long, drawn-out touchdown drives. Cooper is a threat to score from anywhere on the field with his ability to create separation and rack up yards after the catch.

More Important Names

Back on May 8th, Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones mentioned Byron Jones, La'el Collins, and Jaylon Smith as players that they're going to have to consider contracts on in the coming years.

 

Jon Machota on Twitter

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said they're "off and running" on contract talks w/ Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. But he was quick to mention the importance of also keeping Ezekiel Elliott long term. "He's every bit as important." Also mentioned Byron Jones, La'el Collins, Jaylon Smith

Of the three, Byron Jones seems the most likely to get a deal done this offseason as he will be a free agent in the 2020 offseason. Jaylon Smith essentially got a red-shirt year in 2016, so his contract isn't technically up until after the 2020 season.

The big decision will be on La'el Collins. It's a very high probability that he's going to be with another team in 2020 as his price would likely exceed what the Dallas Cowboys are willing or able to pay. An offensive lineman with Collins' talent and experience are hard to come by and a team with cap room would be happy to hand over a big chunk of it to Collins next offseason. The Dallas Cowboys will be content to let him walk and get a compensatory pick from his departure.



Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Training Camp Preview: Tight End

Jess Haynie

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Jason Witten
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The shocking return of Jason Witten is a feelgood story for the 2019 Dallas Cowboys, but will it really mean on the field? How will Witten's big presence impact the tight end position during the upcoming training camp and beyond?

Before we ever knew Jason would come back from retirement, Blake Jarwin was stirring up excitement as the new starting TE this year. His huge three-touchdown game in Week 17 last year, while an extreme example, showed the kind of receiving threat he might be going forward.

Still, before Witten announce his return to football, some wanted the Cowboys to invest more in the position. Whether it came in the form of a veteran free agent like Jared Cook or Tyler Eifert, or a high draft pick, there was the thought that Dallas needed to guard themselves against Jarwin being a flash in the pan.

But once we heard that Jason was back, we knew that there wouldn't be any big moves at TE this offseason. The Cowboys are hoping that some combination of Witten's actual return to the field, or his mentoring of their young prospects, will elevate the position from last year.

Here is our projected TE depth chart for the 2019 training camp:

  1. Jason Witten
  2. Blake Jarwin
  3. Dalton Schultz
  4. Rico Gathers
  5. Codey McElroy

While Jarwin may wind up having the most snaps and targets of any TE this season, it's a safe bet that Witten will get some deference as a Cowboys legend. That's why we're making him the starter right now, even with a year away.

The balancing between Blake and Jason as the top two will be something we watch all season. Not only does it impact the 2019 offense, but we want to know if Dallas has a TE of the future in house or will need to make a big move next year to solidify the position.

Dalton Schultz

Dallas Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz

2018 4th-round pick Dalton Schultz may have something to say about the presumed top two. If he's made some strides in his sophomore season, Schultz could force a full-blown committee approach at tight end.

From a financial standpoint, Dallas would love for Schultz to take over the position in 2020.  He is signed through 2021 on a cheap rookie contract, while Jarwin will be a restricted free agent next year.

Predicting who emerges between Jarwin and Schultz is hard to say, but what isn't hard to imagine is that these may be Rico Gathers' last few weeks as a Cowboy.

Now entering his fourth season, the basketball-to-football transformation project has not been able to break through. He has expressed frustration with the TE depth chart during the offseason, and a one-game suspension to start 2019 isn't going to help matters.

Dallas may just be keeping three tight ends this year. They have WR Noah Brown and FB Jamize Olawale who are built to do play like smallish TEs. If they only keep three, it won't matter how much Rico has progressed.

If the Cowboys go with four tight ends that last guy may not be Gathers. They signed prospect Codey McElroy this offseason, who spent last year as an undrafted rookie with the Rams. McElroy may be their new developmental project.

Dallas' 2019 camp will offer plenty of new insights into the TE position. How do they split the workload between Jason Witten, Blake Jarwin, and Dalton Schultz? Can Rico Gathers do anything to fight his way into the conversation, or will he lose his spot to Codey McElroy?

We look forward to getting some more answers in the coming weeks.

~ ~ ~

OTHER 2019 CAMP PREVIEWS



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Dallas Cowboys

Guillain-Barre Syndrome: Travis Frederick’s Health Still a Concern?

Brian Martin

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Concerns About Travis Frederick's Health Still Justifiable
George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It's been nearly a year since Dallas Cowboys Center Travis Frederick was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), an autoimmune disease. And although all signs are pointing towards him making a full recovery and regaining his starting job, there are still some lingering concerns about his health.

Travis Frederick didn't miss a start in his previous five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys before being diagnosed with GBS. He was an Ironman and was the anchor for the Cowboys talented offensive line. But battling injuries and an autoimmune disease in which there is a lot of unknown about still are two different animals. It's the unknown here that still carries some concern.

What is Guillain-Barre Syndrome?

According to the Mayo Clinic, Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) occurs when the body mistakenly attacks its own nerves, specifically the peripheral nervous system, which connects the brain and the spinal cord to the rest of the body. This can result in a wide range the nerve-related symptoms, including tingling, prickling, or pins and needles sensations; muscle weakness; difficulty walking, talking, chewing, or swallowing; pain; and, in severe cases paralysis, which can become life-threatening if breathing is affected.

As with many autoimmune diseases, experts don't fully understand what causes GBS. There is still a lot of unknown about this disease, and that includes how to treat it and recover from it. However, when diagnosed early, like in Frederick's case, the chances of stabilizing sooner rather than later are pretty good. Although, the recovery process can be a slow one, anywhere from a few weeks to a few years.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome Cure and Recovery Time?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for GBS at this current time. There are a couple of treatments which has shown some success, although patients respond differently which makes determining a person's recovery time nearly impossible.

According to the Mayo Clinic, most people recover within 6 to 12 months. However, about 30% of people still experience lingering weakness three years after a diagnosis, reports the Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and about 15% continue to have weakness long after that. Hence, the lingering concern about Travis Frederick and his future health.

Travis Frederick's Optimism

Despite all the unknown with GBS and how it's affected Travis Frederick's life, he sounds pretty optimistic his health is trending in the right direction.

"I feel really good about where I am at. Both in recovery from Guillain-Barre syndrome and the offseason surgeries that I had done. We are just starting to get to the end of the shoulder rehab. That will start to free up a little bit of my activities. But as far as (Guillain-Barre syndrome) goes, I feel really, really good. It's gonna be hard to tell whether I'm back exactly 100 percent until I can go against another player at full speed in full pads. I don't think we're actually going to know until training camp. But all signs are currently pointing to really good things."

As if we didn't already have enough to keep an eye on once the Dallas Cowboys start training, Travis Frederick certainly jumps to the top of the list. How he is able to respond in some "live-action" practices should help determine where he's at healthwise. Hopefully for his sake, and the sake of the Cowboys, he's back to 100% or as close to it as possible.

Are you concerned about Travis Frederick's health heading into 2019?



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Report: Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott Planning Training Camp Holdout?

John Williams

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Ezekiel Elliott: NFL's History with Domestic Violence Shows Inconsistency, Hypocrisy 2

All offseason, the possibility of a new contract for Dallas Cowboys Running Back Ezekiel Elliott has been a hot button issue among media and fans alike. Not because Ezekiel Elliott isn't a great player and worthy of top running back money, but because the idea of paying running backs north of $15 million a year isn't as simple as, "Is he worth it?"

There is significant evidence that the running back position experiences a significant decline in production around their age 28 season and few running backs play into their 30's with good to elite production. Ezekiel Elliott, though he's experienced heavy usage in his first three seasons, could be the exception to the rule.

Well, knowing his worth to the Dallas Cowboys he's expecting a heavy payday at some point in the next couple of seasons. Elliott is under contract through 2019 and the Cowboys picked up his rookie option for 2020. So, technically, Elliott wouldn't be a free agent until the 2021 offseason. However, much like in the case of Todd Gurley, Elliott's looking to get paid early to maximize his prime years as the Dallas Cowboys running back.

Within the last hour, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk released a report that Ezekiel Elliott is planning on holding out of training camp if he doesn't receive a new contract, per a "league source." It should be noted that Mike Florio has had some missteps in his reporting of Dallas Cowboys news, most notably the perpetuating a rumor that Dez Bryant was caught on videotape doing something at a Wal-Mart, that would have a "Ray Rice type of impact." A tape that has never been discovered or produced and a story that's completely died off since it was originally reported in 2015.

Given the recent news that Melvin Gordon is planning a training camp hold out, it should come as no surprise that Elliott is being mentioned similarly. ESPN even mentioned the idea of Elliott and a looming contractual holdout in a piece earlier today, but their prediction pointed to 2021 and wasn't a report based on fact or a source, but a prediction for next year.

The two-time NFL rushing champ is scheduled to count $7.9 million in 2019 and just over $9 million in 2020 against the salary cap. His salary for 2019 is only $3.8 million. Elliott certainly has earned the right to be paid like Todd Gurley ($14.37 million per year), Le'Veon Bell ($13.13 million per year), and David Johnson ($13 million per year) despite having two more years on his deal.

In looking at the long-term impact of Elliott's contract, I've advocated that if the Dallas Cowboys intend to pay Elliott, now's the time to do it. A contract extension now, that adds three or four more years onto his existing deal would get Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys to his age 28 or 29 season. In a well-structured contract, they'd have opportunities to get out at the back end if Elliott experienced a significant decline in production.

Ezekiel Elliott's contract is going to continue to be a hot button issue until he's either signed to an extension or it's made known that the Dallas Cowboys have no intention of extending him. Currently, there aren't any other sources confirming Elliott's plan to hold out of training camp, which starts July 27th, but it's a story that we'll continue to follow here on InsideTheStar.com.

Update: 7/16/2019 10:42 am.

Charles Robinson, Senior Reporter for Yahoo! Sports provided some insight into the thinking of Elliott and his representation.

It certainly seems like holding out is on the table for Ezekiel Elliott and his representation, but no decision has been made at this point.

Check back with us for updates on Ezekiel Elliott's contract extension. 



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