Feb. 09, 2019
3 Things the Cowboys must do this offoffseason
The Cowboys were a bit of a surprise last year, as they emerged from the middle of the pack after adding receiver Amari Cooper in October. With the addition of Cooper, the once dull offense became much more explosive and diverse. Dak Prescott was no longer forced to be “checkdown charlie” on every passing play, and defenses actually had to worry about the deep ball for the first time in about two seasons. Meanwhile, the defense seemed to get better with each game, culminating in performance against New Orleans, that really made Dallas look like a true contender. The red hot Saints offense was completely stifled by the Cowboy's excellent coverage and clutch third down stops. With a few moves this offseason Dallas could find itself as a contender once more in 2019.
Franchise tag DE DeMarcus Lawrence
DeMarcus Lawrence is one of the best defensive ends in the NFL, and if he hits the open market he will get the biggest contract of any 2019 free agent. There is no way the Cowboys let that happen, as they should franchise tag Lawrence as soon as possible and get to work on an extension for him. Without Lawrence, the team's chances of fielding an elite defense once more are significantly lower.
Replacing the 25 sacks Lawrence has gotten in the last two seasons is much easier said than done, as elite pass rushers do not grow on trees. Likewise, Lawrence's grade of 88.8 from Pro Football Focus demonstrates that he is among the best at his position. Allowing a player of his caliber to leave (without getting anything in return especially) could be the downfall of this iteration of the Cowboys as a contender.
Either convince Cole Beasley to return or bring in receiver Jamison Crowder
Cole Beasley’s role in the Cowboys offense is as important as anyone, as he is the security for Dak Prescott on check downs, and has a knack for making clutch plays. I would go as far as to say that Beasley is the Cowboy's version of Julian Edelman (that's Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman). However, Beasley seems to have expressed a desire to go somewhere where he will be treated as the top receiver on the team, as evidenced by his comments from last month on Twitter. If the team is unable to retain Beasley, they are going to be hard pressed to find a better slot receiver. Jamison Crowder is the only name that comes to mind as being a worthwhile investment in this year's free agent receiver pool. He is just 25 years old and has an extremely explosive skill set, were it not for injuries Crowder might be considered a building block for Washington. If they let Crowder hit free agency, the Cowboys should consider bringing him in, even if it's on a one year “prove it” type of deal. Crowder has the potential to be a tremendous slot receiver in the right situation, and with the way Dallas has featured Beasley over the years, there might not be a better landing spot.
Figure out whether Dak Prescott is the long term solution at quarterback
Dak Prescott is an extremely polarizing player, much like his predecessor in Dallas, Tony Romo. Like Romo, Dak somehow manages to simultaneously be the most underrated and the most overrated quarterback in the league. Maybe it's the spotlight of playing in Dallas, maybe it's the league wide despising of the Cowboys, or maybe it's just the inconsistency of the player himself. Whatever the case is, the Cowboys need to decide what they think of Dak, and whether or not he is their guy for the next 10-15 years. If the team intends to keep him long term, then this offseason would be the time to hit him with a monster extension. But there is also the chance that they are still not convinced about Dak, and if this is the case then the team should start considering taking a quarterback in 2019 or 2020. While I believe they will extend Dak, the organization did release long time superstar Dez Bryant rather unceremoniously this past offseason. This offseason move will be crucial to the team's future as they must either commit to Dak officially, or start preparing for life without him. Dak is a good enough player that some team will pay him handsomely to be their quarterback, and he should be fine whether his future is in Dallas or elsewhere.