New faces: WR Randall Cobb, TE Jason Witten, DT Trysten Hill, DT Christian Covington, DT Kerry Hyder, S George Iloka, G Connor McGovern
They’re gone: WR Cole Beasley, WR Allen Hurns, DT David Irving, TE Geoff Swaim, LB Damien Wilson
2019 snapshot: No team answered fewer questions this offseason than the Cowboys, whose long list of players needing contract extensions produced just two deals: five years, $105 million for DE DeMarcus Lawrence, and five years, $64 million for LB Jaylon Smith.
Still waiting are contract-year players QB Dak Prescott, WR Amari Cooper, CB Byron Jones, OT La’el Collins, DT Maliek Collins and even head coach Jason Garrett, while RB Ezekiel Elliott remains a holdout seeking a new deal despite two years remaining on his contract.
Prescott is a top priority, but it’s unclear what his deal will look like after reports he wants something in the $35 million-$40 million per season range. Carson Wentz’s extension likely raised Prescott’s price tag, and the QB’s leverage will only grow, so a deal must come soon if Dallas hopes to use its franchise tag elsewhere next spring.
The Cowboys have just $23.2 million in cap space, so the structure will have to be creative. They would also be wise to extend Cooper — who cost this year’s first-round pick — or Jones before the season, which would provide more options with the tag. Cooper must first prove his health after dealing with third foot injury in seven seasons dating to his Alabama days.
With limited cap space and draft capital, Dallas made only modest additions, replacing Beasley with Cobb and betting on Rod Marinelli to coach up Hill. McGovern has some upside, but the draft class otherwise lacked punch. Witten’s return can’t hurt, but the 37-year-old is hardly a long-term answer at tight end. Getting Travis Frederick back from missing 2018 due to Guillain-Barre syndrome is extremely welcome.
Get to know… RB Tony Pollard.
At some point, Elliott and the Cowboys will end their standoff. Not knowing when cooler heads will prevail is the trick. For now, it appears Pollard, a fourth-round rookie from Memphis, will be the primary ballcarrier if Elliott stays away. Pollard was impressive from the jump this summer, and behind a resurrected offensive line, he could be a major contributor, especially early in the season.
Worth the investment?
–Dallas hit 10 wins last season and must do so again to top its over/under total (nine). While this team should still be good, the over seems risky if Carson Wentz is fully healthy in Philadelphia.
–The Cowboys have a pair of MVP candidates with +5000 odds in Prescott and Elliott. Given how difficult it is for running backs to win the award, we’d lean toward Prescott with hopes of him blossoming in Kellen Moore’s system.
Bottom line: The Cowboys mostly maintained the status quo and now must reproduce last year’s performance with several high-leverage contract situations simmering. Their fortunes could go in any number of directions.