When it comes to the offseason and the Dallas Cowboys it doesn't really stop. It's one thing after another. Free agent signings, trades, draft rumors, and contract extensions. Less than a week after getting DeMarcus Lawrence signed to a five-year $105 million deal, the front office sets its sites on Quarterback Dak Prescott.
This week Stephen Jones spoke to ESPN 103.3 FM in Dallas and was asked about the negotiations. Jones, who hasn't shied away from talking about the team's intentions in public stated that any deal that the Dallas Cowboys do with their franchise quarterback would have to be "team friendly." This is a notion that has been expressed by major media in Dallas this offseason as many would argue that Dak Prescott isn't worth the projected $27-30 million he is set to receive. The problem is, when you look at the quarterbacks in that range around the NFL, it's hard to argue against him not being worth that money.
There are currently four quarterbacks making an average of $27-30 million per year on contracts signed within the last three offseasons; Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford, and Jimmy Garoppolo.
In the Spring of 2018, Matt Ryan signed a five-year $130 million deal with $94.5 million fully guaranteed. That same offseason, Kirk Cousins signed a three-year $84 million contract with 100% of the $84 million fully guaranteed. Back in 2017, Matthew Stafford signed for five years and $135 million.
The most important contract to look at in Dak's negotiations, is San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, Garoppolo signed a five-year $137.5 million contract with $74.1 million fully guaranteed. The reason this contract stands out more than the others is because Jimmy Garappolo hasn't really done anything in the NFL. The 49ers signed him to that lucrative of deal with only 10 NFL starts in his career. I believe Dak Prescott has an argument to be paid more than Garoppolo.
Dak Prescott is sitting at 48 NFL regular season starts and three playoff starts in his career. With Prescott at the helm, the Dallas Cowboys are 32-16 in the regular season and 1-2 in the playoffs, with Dak playing pretty well in the two losses, most recently bringing them back in the second half against the Los Angeles Rams and putting them in a position to have a chance at the end of the game.
Again, Garoppolo has only 10 NFL starts. In three games in 2018, he threw for an average of 239 yards per game to go along with five touchdowns and three interceptions. He only completed 59.5% of his passes and the 49ers went 1-2 in those games.
There is zero way to argue that Dak Prescott hasn't been as good of a quarterback or better than Jimmy Garoppolo in his three-year NFL career.
Dak Prescott's 48 starts have had some ups and downs, but there's been far more good than bad for the young signal caller. In looking at them statistically, Garoppolo has thrown 2.125 touchdowns per interception, while Prescott has thrown 2.68 touchdowns per interception. This doesn't even include the 18 touchdowns that Prescott has rushed for in his career. In San Francisco, Garoppolo has thrown 1.5 touchdowns per interception.
In yardage, Garoppolo is averaging 253 yards a game in his two years in San Francisco. Prescott is only averaging 226 passing yards per game, but also averages 19 rushing yards a game bringing his total yardage total to 245 per game. Garoppolo only rushes for 4.9 yards per game, not really a part of his play.
As the salary cap continues to go up and the quarterback contracts continue to rise, Prescott is a player who is going to get paid a big bag of money, despite what Stephen Jones has said. While Prescott's obviously accomplished more in the league than Jimmy Garoppolo, one could make the argument that he's accomplished more than Kirk Cousins as well.
Sure, Cousins has thrown for some big numbers in his time as a starter, but as a starter, he's never led a team to the post season. The 2015 Washington Redskins had the best record of any team he's been a part of at 9-7. The Minnesota Vikings reached the NFC Championship Game with Case Keenum at quarterback and barely managed an above .500 record with Cousins at quarterback going 8-7-1 in 2018. His first season as a starter in Minnesota is generally seen as a disappointment though he threw for 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Cousins and Garoppolo may look better as passers, but they haven't accomplished as much as a quarterback in the NFL as Dak Prescott has. When you factor in the intangibles -- toughness, leadership, running ability, resiliency, perseverance -- that Prescott brings to the table, it's easy to see why he's about to be -- at least -- a $28 million quarterback.
This play is the reason that the Cowboys are about to make Dak Prescott one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL. 3rd and 14, only up three and they called a quarterback draw. Prescott nearly takes the ball in for the score before being tripped up, but he makes All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner miss a tackle here on his way to picking up the crucial first down that helped seal the victory. Sure the coaching staff was being a bit conservative, but it was an excellent play call and in the most crucial time of the game, they gave one of their best players a chance to make a play.
More often than not, Prescott has put the Dallas Cowboys in a position to win football games. His play in the second half of the playoff games against the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams are what Dak Prescott is about. He doesn't let a bad snap, bad drive, or bad half get to him. He almost always finds a way to put the team in a position at the end of the game.
Anything out of the Dallas Cowboys' front office about Dak Prescott negotiations needs to be seen as negotiation tactics. The Cowboys plan on paying him. When you find a franchise quarterback, you pay them. Good negotiators never let on how much they are willing to pay for a product or a service. Stephen Jones isn't going to come out into the media and proclaim they're willing to give Dak Prescott $27 million, because then Dak can up his asking price. That's how negotiations work. Franchise quarterbacks in the NFL get paid a lot of money and Dak Prescott is a franchise quarterback.
At the end of this, both the team and Prescott, will come to an agreement that will pay Dak Prescott a stacks on stacks on stacks of money over the next five to six years as the face of America's Team. And the front office will watch Dak Prescott help the Cowboys stack wins on wins on wins.
Jason Garrett Deserves Major Praise For Cowboys Week 7 Win
Jason Garrett's seat had never been hotter than it was entering Sunday night.
And that's saying a lot.
The much maligned head coach of the Dallas Cowboys has been fending off those who have called for his job since the very day he took the team over from Wade Phillips in 2010. Garrett has been called a yes-man, the "clapper," and flat-out a bad football coach by seemingly every national media outlet despite the success he's had as the coach in Dallas.
That's right, I said success.
Yes, there has been no championship level success under Garrett's regime, but there has been success. Since 2014, Garrett has led the Cowboys to 3 division titles in 5 years and has reached the Divisional round of the playoffs three times. He's 16-5 against the NFC East in the Dak Prescott era, and has the Cowboys in first place of the division through seven weeks once again.
So, there has been success. But certainly not enough of it to defend his every move.
Jason Garrett messed up in New Jersey. There's no way around it. Sloppy game management and poor control of the clock put his team in a tough situation against the Jets, and ultimately led to their disastrous week 6 loss. He was outcoached and out-prepared by a winless team, and suffered one of the worst losses in his era as the team's head coach.
Fans were calling for his job, and rightfully looking for answers as to why such a talented group of players was in the midst of a three game skid that no one had predicted after their fast start to the 2019 season. Dallas' backs were against the wall, and they had to answer against the Eagles in order to salvage a season which had such high hopes just weeks before.
And, as Jason Garrett's teams have done more often than not, the Dallas Cowboys answered. Garrett's Cowboys had been plagued by slow starts during their three game losing streak, but his team came out on fire on Sunday night. Dallas forced two quick fumbles, scored two easy touchdowns, and were up 14-0 before the Eagles had even blinked.
The game was over, and it had just started.
Jason Garrett is far from perfect as a head coach. He often deserves criticism, and he has some faults which are hard to look past as we project what the Cowboys will be down the stretch of the season. But he deserves major praise for this team's week 7 performance. It would've been easy for the Cowboys to once again come out slow on Sunday, get behind early, and fall into the shell they had found themselves in the previous two weeks.
But instead, they fought. They dominated. And they won.
Games like these are why it's so difficult for the Cowboys to move on from Jason Garrett as their head coach. These teams play hard for him, and they are rarely out of contention on any given Sunday, or during any given season.
Jason Garrett's seat is still hot. The Cowboys will need postseason success to ensure that it cools to a comfortable temperature for the coach this offseason. But kudos to him and the Cowboys for getting a massive win on Sunday night.
Brett Maher Named NFC Special Teams Player of Week 7, 2019
Brett Maher's 63-yard field goal last Sunday may have been a drop in the bucket on the scoreboard for the Dallas Cowboys. But the historical significance of that kick, and it's near record-breaking distance, helped Maher earn the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week award for Week 7 of the 2019 season.
Maher went 3/3 on the day as the Cowboys routed the Philadelphia Eagles. But it was the 63-yard FG at the close of the first half which brought Brett this latest accolade. He became the first kicker in NFL history have three career field goals of 60 yards or more.
1st player in @NFL history to have three career FGs of 60 yds or more ✔️ @brett_maher is your NFC Special Teams Player of the Week! → https://t.co/MFiAnAScrY
Maher's kick was one yard short of tying the record, 64 yards, set by Matt Prater in 2013.
It was weeks like this one which helped Brett Maher keep the Cowboys' kicker job this year despite mixed results in 2018. He won two Player of the Week awards last season and showed off his rare long-range ability, but was one of the least accurate kickers overall from shorter distances.
That same mixed bag has been seen this year. Despite his work on Sunday, Maher is at just 71% accuracy on his total field goal attempts right now.
Hopefully, Brett's big day over the Eagles will spark a hot streak. His range is an incredible weapon for the Cowboys; can he consistently prove that he's more of an asset than a liability?
Takeaway Tuesday: DeMarcus Lawrence Silences Doubters vs Eagles
Dallas Cowboys fans should be happy about the change of pace in the conversation surrounding America's Team. A week ago, the talk in Cowboys Nation was all about just how hot was Jason Garrett's seat. Three consecutive losses will do that to most fan bases. Fortunately, though, we can put a pin on that conversation for a while after the Cowboys handily defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 37-10 last Sunday Night.
It was a great team performance all around, but we should dive in to the specifics. Overall, it was a good win to claim the NFC East division lead as the Cowboys get ready to rest this upcoming bye week. Let's get to this week's takeaways!
Ezekiel Elliott Played His Best Game of the Year
The way Ezekiel Elliott ran versus the Eagles' defense reminded me of his rookie season. Elliott has had a pretty good season even though the Cowboys haven't leaned as much on the running game as they had the last few seasons.
Last Sunday, he accounted for 111 rushing yards and 36 receiving yards. But it wasn't about his total yardage. What was special was the way he juked defenders, broke tackles and fought for the dirty yards.
There was a fire about #21 and I'm sure Cowboys Nation is just as excited as I am to watch it. He truly was something versus the Eagles.
Ezekiel Elliott's best game of the season BY FAR. Look at this chart from Next Gen Stats. Green lines mean 5+ yards gained or touchdown.
Not to mention, Elliott was extremely effective as he found multiple ways to have 5+ yard run after 5+ yard run. Simply put, an impressive performance from the Cowboys superstar running back.
DeMarcus Lawrence Silenced Doubters
I don't know if it was his huge contract that turned many fans against DeMarcus Lawrence early in the season, but the Cowboys' defensive end managed to silence doubters against the Eagles. On his way to one sack and one forced fumble, Lawrence dominated in the trenches.
He was solid versus the run and kept pressuring Carson Wentz all game long.
The truth is that D-Law has played well this offseason, but constant double-teams and the lack help from the interior defensive linemen have kept his box score stats down. However, when you look at more advanced metrics such as pass-rush productivity, you'll notice Lawrence is still playing at a very high level.
His play versus the Eagles proved that to many fans watching at home.
I was intrigued by the Cowboys lining him up against the Eagles' LT, trying to exploit the fact that Jason Peters was out injured. I wonder if Rod Marinelli continues to look for favorable match-ups in the future and keeps moving him around occasionally.
Amari Cooper is Fine
After Amari Cooper's quad injury against the New York Jets, reports emerged on him being in "terrible pain." Many doubted he'd even play against the Philadelphia Eagles but he did, along other key players who were dealing with injuries too. In his return to the field, Cooper led the Cowboys receiving core with 106 yards in only five receptions (five targets).
Once again, his route running was on full display. He managed to burn a secondary that has been far from great this year. The Cowboys needed him to show up, and he delivered. He even caught a 44 yard pass when he absolutely destroyed Eagles DB Rasul Douglas on a double-move. Cooper would also have a diving jaw-dropping catch later in the game.
It's fair to assume he's healthy and ready to go for the rest of the season.
Cowboys Run Defense Still an Issue
Takeaways and a strong defensive performance against the pass secured the win for the Cowboys, but the run defense continues to be a problem for Rod Marinelli's unit. The Eagles running backs combined for 103 rushing yards and Dallas was beaten in the trenches a handful of times on this game.
The linebackers looked drastically better, and Leighton Vander Esch had his best half this season so far. Fortunately, it seems like his injury isn't serious enough for him to miss any additional playing time.
However, there were a handful of plays in which the Cowboys' defensive tackles were pushed around again. If I had to choose one position to upgrade, I wouldn't hesitate to address the interior defensive line. It's a problem.
Player News2 days ago
Cowboys Get Good News on Vander Esch, Quinn Injuries After Eagles Game
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Jourdan Lewis, the Change the Dallas Cowboys Defense Needs
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Kris Richard: Dallas Cowboys Defense is a “Work in Progress”
Star Blog2 weeks ago
QB Dak Prescott’s “Ups And Downs” Named Cowboys’ Biggest Disappointment
Star Blog1 week ago
Robert Quinn Continues Impressive Start to Cowboys Career
Dallas Cowboys5 days ago
Antonio Brown Could be the Bold Move That Saves the Cowboys 2019 Season
Star Blog2 weeks ago
Ezekiel Elliott’s Carries Have Decreased Three Straight Weeks, Here is Why
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Will, Should Jason Garrett be Coaching for His Job vs the Eagles?