The NFL calendar continues to shift to the 2020 season. Now two weeks removed from the Kansas City Chiefs winning Super Bowl LIV, the Dallas Cowboys and 30 other teams are looking to improve to take the throne as champions in 2020. To do so, Dallas needs to retain its’ core talent slated for free agency, while adding to a team that finished a disappointing 8-8.
New head coach Mike McCarthy brings a championship pedigree from his time with the Green Bay Packers. However, his work is cut out for him in Dallas. Franchise quarterback Dak Prescott, along with pro bowlers Amari Cooper, Byron Jones and Robert Quinn are slated to hit free agency. The Cowboys continue to insist they want each of these players back in 2020. Ultimately, price will determine who is back in 2020. Let’s break down where negotiations currently stand with each player.
The Cowboys’ top priority to re-sign. Simply put, the Cowboys should have paid Prescott already. while talks have been ongoing since before the 2019 season, the team and player remain at odds on an agreement. The franchise tag remains a prime possibility, with March 10th being the deadline to apply the franchise tag. Dallas will look to sign Prescott to a long-term deal before this date, ideally, to use the tag on one of the next three players highlighted below.
The price on Amari Cooper’s next deal will be a key headline. After surrendering their 2019 first round draft pick, Dallas made their first display of faith in Amari Cooper. Cooper has repaid their gamble, as he and fellow wideout Michael Gallup recorded career seasons in 2019. Still in his prime, Cooper should be a priority to keep in Dallas with Dak Prescott. Cowboys VP Stephen Jones has been on record stating Cooper to be the number two priority behind Dak’s negotiations. Cooper’s situation is sneakily dire, as a franchise tag for Prescott, along with a new CBA agreement could mean Cooper hitting the free agent market. The pending CBA agreement, and lack of movement on Dak’s contract, could lead to Cooper leaving town in 2020, but the odds are high that Cooper finds his way back to Dallas.
While the Cowboys organization has openly lauded their praise on Dak and Amari, Byron Jones has been left in the shade. After fully converting to cornerback under Kris Richard’s tutelage, Jones has seen his play skyrocket as high as his broad jump record. However, the team seems skittish on paying Byron a market setting deal. With loads of cap space, it seems the team has the room to fit Jones in the budget. Still, the team may look for a way to allocate Jones’ money elsewhere, notably with this next player.
Robert Quinn was the quintessential low-risk, high reward payoff for the Dallas Cowboys. Acquired for a sixth round pick from the Miami Dolphins, Quinn formed a dynamic tandem with DeMarcus Lawrence on the defensive line. Although Quinn is the oldest of these four players, this means his price will likely be the cheapest of the four big fish. Dallas seems more likely to pay up to retain Quinn in 2020, and try to reshape the secondary with the assistance of a new coaching staff. Therefore, if the budget shakes down to keeping either Byron Jones or Robert Quinn, look for Dallas to side with the pass rusher.
Free Agency Countdown:
With just around a month until free agency begins, Dallas has a lot of work to do. In between the scouting combine and contract negotiations, the team will also want to lay out their plan to improve the team in 2020. Their top priority should be figuring out who among these four players is worth retaining in 2020. We will find out soon enough just exactly the team values the most at their price point.
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