September 25, 2021

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Dallas Cowboys can’t afford contracts to bust the…

4 min read
Dallas Cowboys can't afford contracts to bust the...

Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper are two key unrestricted free agents on the Dallas Cowboys. The Front Office can’t afford to over pay these talented players.

The Dallas Cowboys front office has done a very good job finding players whether through the draft or via free agency. Love him or hate him, Owner and general manager Jerry Jones and his team deserve credit for putting together a roster of talented players.

Where Jones has a blind spot is evaluating his coaching staff. Certainly, the team has underwhelmed so far during the 2019 season. The rhetoric in the offseason was this was the most talented Cowboys team since the mid 90s when the triplets were winning their third Super Bowl.

The debate rages as to whether the coaching staff has failed to maximize the players performance or have the players failed to live up to the expectation. Regardless, the team currently sits with a 6-7 record with three games to play.

The postseason still remains a possibility for America’s team despite the trials and tribulations of this roller coaster season. The Week Sixteen game against the Eagles will go a long way to determine who will rise out of the mediocre NFC East this season.

Quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper are two of the 22 unrestricted free agents on the roster. That is an amazing number of free agents on this team. Needless to say, the 2020 roster will be vastly different from the 2019 roster.

The front office has made their bets on the core players for this franchise. Linebacker Jaylon Smith, offensive tackle La’el Collins, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, and running back Ezekiel Elliott all signed long-term contracts this past offseason. They join offensive linemen Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Travis Frederick as players signed through the 2023 season.

Prescott and Cooper likely figure into this group of core players. The problem for the Cowboys is trying to find agreeable contracts that balance the teams need to field a full roster with a players desire to maximize their value.

The younger Jones has gone on the record for the need for players to sign team friendly deals. The Collins and Smith deals qualify in this category. The Lawrence and Elliott deals did not.

It was thought that the team and Prescott were near a deal at the start of the season. Then Prescott had a perfect passer rating to start the season and the Cowboys won their first three games. Prescott must have felt his price tag would go up as a result.

The Cowboys at 6-7 with the NFL leading passer can not afford to pay Prescott more than $30 million dollars average on his next deal. The story might be different if Dallas was 10-2 like the Seattle Seahawks.

Russell Wilson has the leagues highest average annual salary at $35,000,000 per season. He was drafted in 2012 in the third round and has not had a losing season in his eight years in the league. If winning is the barometer of success in the NFL, Wilson has earned his contract.

The 2019 season is the first season of Dak Prescott’s career where former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has zero cap hit on the Dallas salary cap. Despite the leagues lowest spend on quarterbacks with the remaining money distributed to fill out a talented roster, Prescott and his teammates have fallen short.

How well will the Cowboys do next year when Prescott seeks to exceed Russell Wilson’s deal? We will learn a lot about what Prescott values between now and when he signs his next contract.

Everyone knows now that Tom Brady, he of six Super Bowl wins, chose to take less money so that his team could pay other talented players and help his chances to win. So far, Prescott has chosen to distance himself from this same strategy.

This week, Nathan MacKinnon, the best hockey player on the Colorado Avalanche, was asked about his current contract.  He signed a seven-year, $44.1-million deal in 2016 with a $6.3-million cap hit making him the 82nd-highest-paid player in the league despite being tied for third in points. Here’s what MacKinnon told Forbes’ Jordan Horrobin on Wednesday in Toronto …

“We have guys that we wouldn’t (otherwise) be able to bring in. On my next deal, I’ll take less again. Because I want to win with this group.”

A novel concept for a professional athlete to value winning over more money. MacKinnon recognizes that he is being paid very well. He also knows he could be paid more but because his team is restricted by a salary cap, he is choosing to take less so that he can have a better chance to win.

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The 2019 season has been a big disappointment for the Cowboys. Cowboys Nation can only hope that Prescott and Cooper, who have both expressed a desire to stay in Dallas, will value winning enough to accept team-friendly deals. For context, a team friendly deal for both players will represent generational wealth.

The Lawrence and Elliott contracts look like busts for the Cowboys. Let’s hope the Cooper and Prescott deals are not the same.

Dallas Cowboys can’t afford contracts to bust the salary cap

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