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Report: Cowboys Waiting Until After Season for Amari Cooper Contract Talks

Sean Martin

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Report: Cowboys Waiting Until After Season for Amari Cooper Contract Talks 1

The Dallas Cowboys have turned their season around with a change of direction on offense, spurred by the acquisition of Wide Receiver Amari Cooper. The Cowboys traded away a first round pick for the former fourth overall selection, instantly seeing results from the ex-Raider as his connection with Quarterback Dak Prescott has blossomed.

Prescott and Cooper connected twice on touchdown plays of 40 and 90 yards in the Cowboys most recent win on Thanksgiving over the Redskins. With the victory, the Cowboys reclaimed first place in the NFC East, improving to 4-1 since the Cooper trade. Of these four wins, two have come on the road, where the Cowboys were previously 0-4 prior to coming out of Philadelphia and Atlanta victorious.

All signs point to the 24-year old Cooper being part of the Cowboys long-term future, though the Cowboys have every reason to be focused solely on the present with Amari under contract through 2019.

The Raiders picked up the fifth year option on Cooper's rookie contract prior to trading him, giving the Cowboys the gift of time when it comes to evaluating their overnight success at the top of the WR depth chart.

According to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Cowboys have not discussed any contract extension for Cooper at this time. The team's current plan is to wait until after the season for these discussions.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

Cowboys and WR Amari Cooper have yet to engage in any contract extension talks, but those are expected to occur after this season, per sources. https://t.co/fDUWQObbqr

Just how long this roller coaster of a Cowboys season has to go on for to determine Cooper's value is a fascinating inquiry. For a team that spent the offseason puffing their chests over their ability to play offense without a number one receiver, only to lose ground in a weak division early, the Cowboys deserve credit for correcting their mistakes on the fly.

Trading for Cooper is not the only move that's worked wonders for Dallas, as the transition from Paul Alexander to Marc Colombo as offensive line coach has elevated the play of the Cowboys line - as well as Running Back Ezekiel Elliott.

Elliott snapped off 121 yards on 26 carries with three backup offensive linemen starting for the Cowboys against the Redskins. It was his third straight game with at least 100 rushing yards, as Elliott's yards per attempt have increased from 4.69 to 5.35 since Cooper arrived.

Report: Cowboys Waiting Until After Season for Amari Cooper Contract Talks

Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper

It is hard to understate how difficult life was for the Cowboys offense without a player like Cooper on the roster, and how equally impressive it is that he's performed so well this quickly.

With Jerry Jones all but confirming a Dak Prescott contract extension every chance he's given, and the Cowboys returning to their roots of running the football well in three straight wins, it's logical that Cooper is becoming just as important a cog in this Cowboys offense.

He's be the key to the Cowboys leading the league in third down conversions since his first game in week nine. For an offense that prides itself on staying on the field in order to punish defenses with physicality, this is surely a stat Cooper's agent has bookmarked for any contract discussion.

None of this is to say that Head Coach Jason Garrett nor Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan will remain with the team through 2019. Clearly pleased with the return they're receiving on Cooper, the Cowboys brass should expect this team to sustain their current level of play and contend in the playoffs should they make it.

Anything short of this could shake up the Cowboys coaching staff significantly prior to Cooper's final contract year, leaving a new voice to influence the Alabama product's future impact on the offense.

The Cowboys were criticized heavily for overpaying for Cooper originally, now being lauded for their overall resilience at 6-5 with everything to play for in the NFC playoff picture. Paying the star receiver that's made this possible will cost them even more, yet should be understandable as Cooper becomes the latest player out of Oakland to thrive away from the Raiders.

The Cowboys philosophy to roster building has focused heavily on retaining proven players already on the team. Though the way they acquired Cooper was unconventional for them, the Cowboys welcomed him with open arms, and will prepare to embrace Cooper as a cornerstone to the offense at the right time.

Tell us what you think about "Report: Cowboys Waiting Until After Season for Amari Cooper Contract Talks" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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Cowboys to Use 5th-Year Option on Ezekiel Elliott’s Contract

Jess Haynie

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Ezekiel Elliott, Rams

To nobody's surprise, the Dallas Cowboys intend to exercise the fifth-year option on star Running Back Ezekiel Elliott's contract. This will keep Zeke signed with the Cowboys through the 2020 season.

The deadline for teams to use the options years on the draft class of 2016 is Thursday, May 2nd, just a few days following the 2019 NFL Draft.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on the team eventually exercising the fifth-year option on Ezekiel Elliott's contract: "Obviously we're gonna do it.

It's appropriate that Stephen said "obviously," because there is no reason for the Cowboys not to utilize this provision. It's one of the perks of drafting a player in the first round; the option does not apply to any other rookie deals.

Right now, the 2020 option year projects to pay Elliott around $10 million. That is a bargain considering other franchise backs like Todd Gurley, Le'Veon Bell, and David Johnson are all now averaging $13-$14 million per season.

In fact, it may be more of a discount than Zeke is willing to give. He may very well holdout if the team doesn't give him a new contact closer to his market value.

For all we know, the Cowboys have every intention of doing just that. This move is little more than a formality; a placeholder that prevents Elliott from entering unrestricted free agency in 2020 and secures his rights while a new deal is negotiated.



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Connor Williams Adding Size and Strength Huge for Cowboys OL

John Williams

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All-22 Notes: Connor Williams Stands Out in Wild Card Win

It's no secret that heading into the 2018 NFL Draft, the book on Connor Williams coming out of Texas was that he didn't have enough length to play tackle in the NFL and didn't have enough bulk to play guard. At least not at first.

It was an issue we saw play out early in the 2018 season as he struggled with some of the more powerful defensive tackles. He struggled so much that the team went to Xavier Su'a-Filo during his injury and for a couple games after he was healthy, thinking they had a better option. After having a bit of time to sit back and watch, Williams came back into the starting lineup with a better feel for that power and was much improved over the last half of the season, including the playoffs. He never relinquished his job again.

Though he played better, it was obvious what his number one offseason focus would be; adding size and strength. According to Dallas Cowboys Vice President Stephen Jones, he's done just that.

Speaking to 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday afternoon, Jones gave us some insight into how Williams is looking this offseason.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on offensive lineman Connor Williams, last year's second round pick: "My understanding is that he's taken some huge steps in terms of his strength and size. My understanding is that he's put on some really good weight.

Jones then added some lofty expectations on the second year guard from the University of Texas.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on @1053thefan: "I think Connor Williams is gonna be a mainstay in our offensive line for many years to come. ... I think we'll be talking about him just like we do several of the other players on our offensive line.

Connor Williams was already proving himself capable of standing up to powerful defensive lineman as late in the season and in the playoffs, but this is very encouraging to hear as we look to 2019.

Against the Seattle Seahawks and the Los Angeles Rams, Williams and the rest of the Dallas Cowboys interior offensive line had big challenges in front of them. Seattle's Jarran Reed and Los Angeles' Aaron Donald were two of the better defensive tackles in 2018. Donald, is considered by many, the best defensive player in the NFL because of his brute strength that is matched by his quickness.

Against both players, Williams performed well. Not perfect, but well enough to be encouraged about what Williams could bring in 2019. Per Pro Football Focus, he only allowed five total pressures during the playoffs, including one in the divisional round against the Rams. There's a reason that everyone is so high on Williams heading into his second year.

The front office included.

Stephen Jones praise is significant. The Dallas Cowboys feature three All-Pro offensive lineman. To say that "we'll be talking about him just like we do several of the other players on our offensive line" is very high praise. There aren't many teams in the NFL that boast as much talent along the offensive line as the Dallas Cowboys do in Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Travis Frederick. For Jones to think Williams cold be that level of player doesn't sound like generic front office speak.

With a full year under his belt, including two playoff starts, Williams should be confident heading into his second year. Adding strength and weight will help him anchor better against the strong interiors he'll face weekly in the NFL. Getting Center Travis Frederick back in the lineup will help him with the mental aspect of the game.

There's a lot to be excited about with the Dallas Cowboys in 2019 and the offensive line remains one of those things. How Connor Williams improves from year one to year two will be one of the major storylines throughout the offseason heading toward week one. The Cowboys offensive line remains a focal point for America's Team and all eyes will be on Williams as he looks to make the second year jump.



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La’el Collins Has Surgery Ahead of Contract Year

Mauricio Rodriguez

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La'el Collins

The list of injured Dallas Cowboys players getting surgery keeps getting larger. DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones will welcome La'el Collins to the "surgery recovery" group chat after Collins had a procedure to repair a torn rotator cuff.  According to the report from Forth-Worth Star Telegram, Collins suffered the injury at the end of the 2018 season.

La'el Collins expects to be ready for training camp, but don't expect much from him in the upcoming offseason program.

For Collins, this is a very meaningful season. At 25 years old, he's heading into a contract year in 2019. So far, his career has been decent at best. He began playing at guard, where he showed some pretty impressive flashes before moving to right tackle, where he's started since 2017.

Even before it was reported that he would have surgery, many in Cowboys Nation have wondered about his future. The truth is, since he signed as an undrafted free agent in 2015, his career hasn't lived up to the hype. Prior to the 2015 NFL Draft, an off-the-field misunderstanding made every team pass on him. However, he was seen by many as a top prospect in the class and was a projected first round pick.

Although he improved when Marc Colombo took over as the OL coach, Collins has struggled during his time at right tackle. At this point, he hasn't earned a long term deal.

La'el Collins' Toughness And Availability Earning High Praise

Right now, the Cowboys should see offensive tackle as a need in the NFL Draft. Not a priority one, but definitely one to watch out for in the later rounds. Tyron Smith is 28 years old, but his injury history doesn't look promising at all. I can definitely see this team addressing the lack of depth at the position at some point in Day 3.

This whole discussion raises yet another question. Would the Cowboys trade La'el Collins? I don't think it would happen, but it doesn't sound like a terrible idea either. At the moment, Cameron Fleming is on the roster and he isn't a bad starter. Now granted, he might be a downgrade from Collins. However, if you're able to get a good draft pick in exchange, it's worth considering. Use Fleming as a bridge player between for a younger one down the line.

Connor Williams could also move over to tackle, although I doubt they want to try experiments like this with a young player just like they did with La'el Collins. Let Williams grow as a guard and keep him there.

La'el Collins or not, the Cowboys have a need at offensive tackle and Collins' makes it even more evident. The good news is he expects to be back by training camp and doesn't seem like a huge question mark for week 1 as DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones do.

Tell me what you think about "La’el Collins Has Surgery Ahead of Contract Year" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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