The time has come for Dallas Cowboys fans to know whether Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, or Byron Jones will be the first to receive an extension. It’s almost a guarantee that one of these star players won’t be on the Cowboys roster come 2020, so the time to win is now for the Dallas.
After Demarcus Lawrence received a massive 5-year $105 million extensions this offseason, they learned their lesson. It’s best to sign the top players before the final year their contract is up.
Lawrence played on the franchise tag last season and put up stellar numbers in back-to-back seasons that made him a top-five player at the defensive end position.
Now it’s time for the Cowboys to choose which top players will stick around in Dallas.
The first name that comes to mind is Dak Prescott. He has a high football IQ and is clutch when it comes down to crunch time. Sure, he had a bad year in 2017 that seeped into the first half of 2018, but he was able to flip that narrative and lead the Cowboys to a 10-6 record and to the divisional round of the playoffs.
His leadership ability is off the charts and he’s already built a great rapport with Amari Cooper and the newcomer, Randall Cobb.
Also, Prescott is the face of the franchise, separating him even farther from his other teammates that are at the end of their contracts.
There is a case to be made for Amari Cooper, as he increased Prescott’s numbers in just about every single category when he arrived halfway through the 2018 season. The most eye-catching is the 51 percent increase in third-down percentage.
Cooper has superb route-running ability and can stop on a dime, which is valued among all NFL organizations. Cooper is not much of a talker, but his on-field performances does the talking for him. Without Cooper, the Cowboys would still have an abysmal wide receiver core and would not have made the playoffs in 2018.
With Cooper, they have one of the best young receiving cores in the NFL and are Super Bowl contenders. Oh yeah, and Cooper is only 25 years-old.
Then there is the beloved running back Ezekiel Elliott.
He has proved his worth each and every season and leads all running backs with 3,764 rushing yards since 2016. He is the most complete and durable running back in the NFL, as he has never missed a game due to injury.
The man feasts on defenders and it’s only a matter of time before the Cowboys have to feed Zeke the money. Dallas has Elliott under contract through the 2020 season if they use his fifth-year option.
Last but certainly not least is Byron Jones.
It only took four years for the phenomenal athlete to find his comfort zone and live up to the hype when he was drafted in 2015. Kris Richard has turned Jones into an elite defensive back with great field vision, which is very difficult to find nowadays.
The only thing that may hold the Cowboys back from extending him are the interception numbers. Byron Jones only has two in his career and is on the fifth and final year of his rookie contract. He’s also coming off hip surgery and has not yet participated in on-field activities for the ‘Boys.
One way or the other, the Cowboys will more than likely spend big money on one or more of these players this offseason.
Prescott seems like the obvious choice, but he will cost more than $30 million a year due to his skillset and winning ability. The Cowboys have almost always had a big three, so my prediction is they will keep numbers 4, 21, and 19 together for many more years to come.
There’s a lot of talent and Super Bowl potential for this young Cowboys team, and this may be the final year they will have so many young, elite players.