Most of the offseason contract chatter, once DeMarcus Lawrence's contract was signed, began to focus on the next group of stars due for big-time money, most notably Quarterback Dak Prescott. For good reason as the quarterback is generally regarded as the most important player on the team. While Prescott has been important to the team's success over the last three seasons, few players made as much of an impact on the 2018 Dallas Cowboys than Amari Cooper.
The Dallas Cowboys front office is working on deals for Prescott and Cooper. Both will get new contracts at some point before they're scheduled to hit free agency in March of 2020, but one could argue that getting Amari Cooper's deal done is more important than Dak Prescott's.
Prior to the arrival of Amari Cooper, the Dallas Cowboys offense struggled and was inconsistent. In the seven games prior to the trade that brought Cooper to Dallas, the Cowboys went 3-4 and scored more than 20 points only three times. In wins over the New York Giants, Detroit Lions, and Jacksonville Jaguars they averaged 28.67 points per game, highlighted by a 40 point outburst against the Jaguars in week six. In their four losses on the season they averaged 13.5 points per game. Over the first seven games, they averaged 20 points per game.
In the nine games, the Dallas Cowboys played with Amari Cooper, the Cowboys averaged 22 points per game. They scored more than 20 points in all but three games; losses to the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts and a win over the New Orleans Saints.
If you remove the 40 point game against the Jaguars from the scoring average over the first seven games and the shutout loss to the Colts from the scoring average over the final nine games, the scoring average changes dramatically. Without the Jaguars game, the Cowboys only averaged 16.67 points per game in the other six contests, decreasing their scoring average by more than three points per game. Conversely, if you remove the shutout loss to the Colts from the scoring average over the last nine games, the Cowboys averaged 24.87 points per game. That's nearly a three-point difference.
Even if you remove the best (week 17 against the Giants) and worst (week 15 against the Colts) games of the final nine games from the scoring average, the Cowboys averaged 23.3 points per game. removing the best (week six against the Jaguars) and worst (week one against the Panthers) games from the first half of the season, the Dallas Cowboys averaged only 18.4 points per game in the other five games.
So Amari Cooper was worth between two and 4.9 points per game. That may not seem like a lot, but that's a huge difference in a league where so many games come down to a single score.
The impact offense as a whole is noticeable, but what about on Dak Prescott.
Dak Prescott only averaged 202 passing yards per game and had a passer rating of 87.4 with eight touchdown passes and four interceptions in the first seven games prior to Amari Cooper's arrival. Prescott only completed 62.14% of his passes in the first seven games of the season.
Over the final nine games of the season, Dak averaged 274 passing yards a game, threw for 14 touchdowns and only threw four interceptions. Prescott had a passer rating of 103 and completed 71% of his passes.
In the first half of the season, Prescott only had a passer rating over 100 two times, while he had a passer rating under 90 three times. Over the final nine games with Amari, Prescott had a passer rating over 100 six times and had only two games with a passer rating under 90.
Not only did Amari Cooper make a significant impact on the passing game, but the running game led by Ezekiel Elliott saw a dramatic increase in his production once Amari Cooper arrived.
In the first seven games of the season, Ezekiel Elliott averaged only 19 carries a game and 88.4 yards rushing per game. He was averaging 4.69 yards per carry. Through the air, Elliott caught 3.6 passes per game for only 25 yards with seven yards per reception.
After Cooper's arrival, Elliott got more opportunities and found more room to run as well. he averaged 21.5 carries per game, rushed for 101.9 yards per game. He more than doubled his receptions per game with 6.5 and averaged 49 yards receiving per game, nearly doubling his first half of the season totals.
It's no coincidence that the run and pass games saw increased production after bringing in one of the better young receivers in the NFL. The overall impact of Amari Cooper led to the Dallas Cowboys going on a 7-2 run to finish the season to win the NFC East. Prior to the trade, the team looked dead in the water. After the trade Dak Prescott looked like a completely different quarterback. The team was hitting big plays, converting on third downs, and scoring tons of points on the way to winning lots of games.
Dak Prescott is going to get his contract finalized, of that, I have no doubt. While I feel good about his upward trajectory as a player, I feel a lot better about it knowing that Amari Cooper is about to get a contract too.
Amari Cooper is an excellent talent. His route running precision makes opposing defensive backs look foolish and the separation he creates makes a quarterback's job that much easier. Cooper is like having Cole Beasley in Dez Bryant's body with sub-4.4 speed.
Just turning 25 years old, Amari Cooper is one of the bright young stars at the wide receiver position and is about to enter his prime. Unlike players like Dez Bryant, who rely on physicality and athleticism, Cooper is going to age much more gracefully as route running is one of those things that doesn't drop off near as quickly as athleticism. Just look at Jason Witten.
The Dallas Cowboys need to not mess around with Amari Cooper. Because having him for his prime and for the same timeframe that you are extending your franchise quarterback will make the next six years of their respective careers much more productive. The best way to take care of your franchise quarterback is to give him an offensive line to protect him. The second best way is to give him a wide receiver that can get open for him.
Amari Cooper is a quarterback's best friend and will be worth every penny he gets in a contract extension. In the Cowboys 2018 run to the playoffs, there were few players as important to that success as Amari Cooper. In this offseason of contract extensions and signings, few still, are as important to the Cowboys success as Amari Cooper.
Get him signed, so he can go play football.
REPORT: Cowboys WR Michael Gallup Out 2-4 Weeks After Knee Surgery
Two games into a seeming breakout season, Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Michael Gallup will now be out for the next 2-4 weeks after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He suffered the injury late into the Cowboys' victory over the Washington Redskins yesterday.
An MRI revealed the extent of the injury today. There were hopes that Gallup had only suffered a contusion, but unfortunately he will be out at least a couple of games after requiring this minor knee procedure.
Gallup is the team leader in catches (13) and receiving yards (226) after the first two weeks of the 2019 season.
Sources: #Cowboys promising WR Michael Gallup is having arthroscopic surgery to trim his meniscus, knocking him out 2-4 weeks. No structural damage besides the meniscus tear, so the return should be quick.
The Cowboys still have Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb as a strong starting duo. They also hope to get Tavon Austin back this week after he was inactive in Washington with concussion issues.
Gallup's absence could be big for Devin Smith, who had a 51-yard touchdown catch against the Redskins and should see more work in the coming weeks. It also may prompt Dallas to keep prospect Cedrick Wilson, just called up from the practice squad a week ago, on the 53-man roster a while longer.
Despite this depth, Michael Gallup will still be missed for however long he's out. Hopefully he can return on the quick side of the projection and keep his 2019 momentum going.
Dallas Cowboys Should Pursue Miami Dolphins’ Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick
Every year it seems one team decides pretty quickly to take on the mantel of "NFL Dumpster Fire." In 2019, the Miami Dolphins are so obviously in tank mode that it's become almost sad. Of course, the Dallas Cowboys have been the beneficiary of their sell-off as they were able to acquire Robert Quinn for the low-low price of a sixth-round draft pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
After trading away Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Britt just before the start of the regular season, Chris Mortenson of ESPN is reporting that the Miami Dolphins have told Defensive Back Minkah Fitzpatrick that he and his representatives can pursue a trade.
The Dolphins have granted permission to DB Minkah Fitzpatrick to seek a trade, according to multiple sources who say Miami's asking price is too high. Dolphins have no comment. Story coming with help from @CameronWolfe
Dolphins team official now tells @CameronWolfe they are not actively shopping Fitzpatrick but did not deny they have given agent Joel Segal permission to talk with other teams. Segal has been unavailable for comment but other NFL teams have confirmed contact. https://t.co/z3FCN3tyqL
It would appear that the Dolphins aren't actively shopping him, but the second report from Mortenson would indicate that they are willing to deal if the right offer came along.
Fitzpatrick has been a bit disgruntled since training camp, feeling like the Dolphins have been playing him out of position. He was a bit frustrated with the way the Dolphins opening week loss to Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens went down.
After an excellent career at the University of Alabama, Fitzpatrick was selected 11th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. In his rookie season with the Dolphins, the former All-American recorded 80 total tackles, two tackles for loss, and two interceptions. He played in all 16 games and started 11 during his rookie season.
As a free safety, he could fit in really nicely with the versatile Xavier Woods who the Dallas Cowboys could deploy more as the box safety. Woods ability to play coverage and play the run would make him an ideal player to use to match up with tight ends or running backs in the passing game. With Fitzpatrick and Woods, the Dallas Cowboys would have two versatile and dynamic safeties to deploy in a variety of ways.
Source says Phins asking for a 1st for M Fitzpatrick but will likely settle for a 2nd.
If there's much of a market for Fitzpatrick, which there should be, it would likely take a first-round pick from the Cowboys to make this deal as Benjamin Allbright is reporting. However, if they were able to come up with a package that didn't include their first, that would obviously be much better.
I could fairly easily be talked into a first-round pick for Fitzpatrick. So, if the Dallas Cowboys could get him for a second-round pick or a second and a late-round pick, I'd do that in a heartbeat.
Minkah Fitzpatrick is only in the second year of his rookie contract, which would mean the Dallas Cowboys could have player control for three more seasons after 2019.
If the Dallas Cowboys are looking to make a deal, they shouldn't and probably wouldn't include any of their current defensive back depth. A team that has Super Bowl aspirations won't trade depth on the team, because that depth becomes extremely valuable in December, January, and hopefully February.
Like the Amari Cooper move, trading for Fitzpatrick who still has several more years of control would make a ton of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. They wouldn't even have to make him a full-time player in 2019 and could just use him as a matchup piece before making him and Xavier Woods the primary safeties in 2020.
The Cowboys like their team, but they've shown a willingness to be opportunistic over the past year with the Amari Cooper and Robert Quinn trades. With the Miami Dolphins in sell mode, this could be an excellent opportunity for the Cowboys to take advantage and get a discounted rate on a potential star at safety. They've been very clear about what their goals are for this season.
As Stephen Jones says, the player acquisition business is a 365 day a year business. This is absolutely a player that they should inquire about and should seriously consider making a deal for. He's a playmaker that can help your secondary in 2019 and beyond.
Here's what Lance Zierlien of NFL.com had to say about Fitzpatrick during the lead up to the 2018 NFL Draft:
"Fitzpatrick played star early in 2016 and then moved to safety when senior Eddie Jackson was injured. The result? He led the team with six interceptions and 186 interception return yards, returning two more pick-sixes to set the school career record with four. He was named a first-team All-American by multiple outlets for his efforts (66 tackles, five TFL, seven pass break-ups). Fitzpatrick's New Jersey family home was damaged by Hurricane Irene in 2011."
Lance Zierlien - NFL.com
Like Xavier Woods, Fitzpatrick has a stellar track record of making plays on the football. In the NFL where passing is becoming more and more frequent, you can never have too many guys that can create turnovers. Minkah Fitzpatrick makes the Dallas Cowboys better and could be the final piece to the defensive puzzle. If the price is right, the Dallas Cowboys should go get him.
Report: Dak Prescott Named NFC Offensive Player of the Week
The Dallas Cowboys couldn't have asked for a better season debut than the one they got from their starting quarterback last Sunday. According to NFL.com Dak Prescott has been named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
He set a franchise record with 405 passing yards in a season opener. The accuracy he displayed spreading the ball to his top three receivers was impressive. He was 17 of 21 (80.9%) throwing the ball to Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Randall Cobb. Prescott was unbelievable on play-action completing 14 of 15 passes for 207 yards and 3 touchdowns. This performance was so good that he became one of only thirty quarterbacks in NFL history with a perfect passer rating (158.3) and only the fourth to achieve it with at least thirty attempts.
Prescott will be looking to continue his hot start versus the Washington Redskins on the road this Sunday, a team he is 5-1 against in his career. Can he win back to back NFC Offensive Player of the Week awards? We'll be watching.
Player News2 weeks ago
Report: Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott Agree in Principle on Contract Extension
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Dallas Cowboys RB Depth Chart: Zeke’s In, So Who’s Out?
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Cowboys DE Taco Charlton to be Inactive Sunday; Trade Coming?
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
Cowboys Land CB in Matt Miller’s way-too-early 2020 NFL Mock Draft
Game Notes1 week ago
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly From Cowboys 2019 Season Opener
Dallas Cowboys5 days ago
Cowboys Offense has Potential to Become Next “Greatest Show on Turf”
Star Blog2 weeks ago
Will 2019 be Sean Lee’s Swan Song?
Dallas Cowboys7 days ago
Why Michael Gallup Could be Cowboys Most Important WR in 2019