Dak Prescott signed his franchise tender on Monday afternoon, putting him under contract for at least the duration of the 2020 season.
After rumors filled news feeds that the fifth-year quarterback was vying for a four-year deal that would be upwards of $35 million per year, Prescott is currently slated to carry a $31.4 million salary this season – fully guaranteed.
With the quarterback in place, and no big changes expected to be made (laughs in Jamal Adams), what’re the expectations that should be placed on this team in 2020?
For decades Dallas has been held to a standard of Super Bowl or bust, despite them not always having the talent to support that belief. Whether the team went 8-8 or 4-12, there was always a belief this team had the pieces in place to be a title contender.
Similar to years prior, there’s no denying the talent that fills the top half of the Cowboys roster. And with a fully revamped coaching staff, there should be a bit more optimism towards what Dallas can do with that talent.
They did hire the head coach who’s responsible for two of the Cowboys’ three playoff losses last decade.
After seeing Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup record 1000-yard seasons, Dallas chose to add arguably the best receiver in the draft in CeeDee Lamb.
Adding to an offense that still possesses one of the premier runners in the game, Ezekiel Elliott, and a quarterback who nearly threw for 5,000 yards in Prescott.
The defense has new leadership this year under Mike Nolan. However, Dallas moves forward without two of their top defensive contributors in Byron Jones and Robert Quinn.
You still have high-priced names like Jaylon Smith and DeMarcus Lawrence on that side of the ball, but their impact in 2019 had a noticeable dropoff from what it was the season before.
Despite the questions that surround their defense, Bleacher Report deemed that a trip to the NFC Championship games is what would make 2020 a success for the Cowboys. Though the Cowboys did good in adding veteran free agents and drafting well, a trip to the conference championship may be seen as an overachievement – considering they haven’t done it in over two decades.
Is Prescott capable of a repeat 2019 performance? Can Leighton Vander Esch remain healthy? Is the collective of Dallas corners enough to offset the absence of Byron Jones?
All of this can happen. And given how many dollars are already invested into the Cowboys premier players, you have to ask should the expectations be no lower than a conference title appearance?
The front office appears to be in a win-now mode. The salary cap supports that. Do the talent and expectations finally coexist this year? Or are we falling victim to overselling the team?
Only time will tell.