Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sat at the Senior Bowl scouting prospects heading to the NFL Draft knowing his needs to cause disruption this offseason.
That’s the way Jones put it when speaking with reporters after yet another disappointing end to a fantastic regular season that earned his Cowboys the No. 2 seed in the NFC come playoff time. The Green Bay Packers went into Jerry’s World and dominated their way to the Divisional Round, leaving an offseason filled with question marks.
One of them was whether Jones kept head coach Mike McCarthy in place, and it was a quick decision to let him at least coach through the final year of his five-year contract.
But then there’s quarterback Dak Prescott, a $59.455 million cap hit for that 2024 season, who’s playing on the final year of his contract as well. Because Dallas is over the cap by about $19.7 million, the thought of extending Prescott to alleviate some of that debt, among other reasons like his MVP-caliber regular-season play in 2023, makes sense.
However, Jones isn’t ready to commit to Prescott remaining the quarterback of the Cowboys’ future — at least not after 2024.
“I would anticipate — with looking ahead at our key contracts that we’d like to address — we will be all in,” Jones said, per team reporter Nick Harris, in terms of how aggressive the team will be in improving the roster this offseason.
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“…It will be going all in on different people than you’ve done in the past. We will be going all in. We’ve seen some things out of some of the players that we want to be all in on. Yes, I would say that you will see us this coming year not build it for the future. It’s the best way I’ve ever said. And that ought to answer a lot of questions.”
Simply put, Jones isn’t punting on the 2024 season to better equip the Cowboys for the future. And why would they after going 12-5 this past season to win the NFC East?
But Prescott isn’t the only key Cowboys player that could be up for an extension. CeeDee Lamb, the NFL’s leader in receptions this past season, will be playing on his fifth-year extension in 2024, after which he will be an unrestricted free agent. As one of the best wide receivers anywhere in the league, as well as a Cowboys first-round pick in 2020, Jones certainly has him on his long list of priorities when building the roster.
And there’s Micah Parsons, who is all about the theme of disruption. He’s a one-man wreaking crew on defense, and he knows it. That’s why he could come asking for an extension as he plays in year four with a fifth-year option that’s likely to be picked up by Dallas for the 2025 season.
Jones knows all this, but he’s focused on winning a Super Bowl title once more just as the fans are desperate for a deep playoff run.
“What I would say is, I hope it’s not different going into the first playoff game where we’ve got the second seed. I hope it’s not different at all, to that point, where we got the second seed,” he said, via the Dallas Morning News. “Now, let’s talk about how we might make it different when we play in that game and get a win, OK? We need to stop the run better, we need to be more physical, and we need to run better, to be specific. We need to do those kinds of things.”
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That requires McCarthy to coach better, Jones’ roster to perform better, and finding players in the NFL Draft and free agency to shore up weaknesses on Jones’ roster.
Jones’ “all in” approach is one that may reassure Cowboys fans now with the 2024 season months away from now. But perhaps this aggressive charge heading into next year will be the last chance McCarthy and Prescott get before a bigger change needs to occur in the Big D.
As long as Jones doesn’t commit to keeping Prescott long-term, all is up for speculation.
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