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.
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.
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. I'm pretty sure that I'll be a Cowboy for a long time.”
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.
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.
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.
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. pic.twitter.com/OEXUGLYGkK
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.
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.
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.