The Dallas Cowboys haven’t reached the Tremendous Bowl.
It is a assertion that applies to 30 NFL groups in any given 12 months. However that is been true of the Cowboys for 27 consecutive seasons, a interval throughout which 21 league franchises have performed on Tremendous Sunday and 13 have lifted the Lombardi Trophy a minimum of as soon as.
and cowboy it is not any specific privilege.
No different membership – in any league – is called “Workforce America”. No group in skilled soccer instructions or calls for the extent of curiosity Dallas has. Champions or not, the Cowboys are the NFL’s flagships – the Yankees, Lakers, Duke and Alabama can solely dream of shining a highlight like this.
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However the draw back to proprietor Jerry Jones & Co. – it is a draw back, is not it? – is the examination and guide inspection that comes with an annual post-mortem.
In order we dive into what’s left of the undefeated Cowboys 2022, listed here are seven points they have to handle going into the 2023 season:
Clear the duvet area
for each OvertheCapDallas has nothing in its coffers at no cost brokers this 12 months. This is a matter on a number of ranges, a couple of of which will likely be explored in additional element shortly. This previous March, the Cowboys restructured the contracts of QB Dak Prescott and G Zack Martin to unlock about $22 million. Do they return to Martin and/or Prescott, who owe a mixed $65 million over the following two years, and convert base salaries into signing bonuses that may be amortized sooner or later? Or do you hope different vets like WR Michael Gallup and DeMarcus Lawrence will retool their compacts equally?
And it is time to take a better have a look at the contracts of mainstays like RB Ezekiel Elliott and OT Tyron Smith. Releasing Smith, who endured one other injury-shortened marketing campaign, from the ultimate season of his deal would unlock almost $10 million — and that appears potential given the emergence of rookie Tyler Smith in 2022. Elliott’s ensures are excessive, however he owes $52.9 million in base wage in the course of the subsequent 4 seasons. His launch will save him near $5 million in 2023, nevertheless it’s most likely for the most effective in the long term. And in accordance with the Dallas Morning Information, Zeke, who’s coming off the least productive season of his seven-year profession, seems to be seeing the writing on the wall and is open to a pay lower.
Re-sign Tony Pollard
For the primary time, the fourth-year tailback was a spark for the Dallas offense and was a way more harmful risk than two-year-old Elliott. Pollard simply accomplished his first 1,000-yard dashing season, completed second to WR CeeDee Lamb for the staff lead in yards from scrimmage (1,378) and matched Elliott’s 12 TDs, regardless of Zeke getting quick yard alternatives. 5 of Pollard’s scores got here from over 30 yards whereas solely 5 of Elliott’s scores have been over 1 yard (the longest was 14 yards). Pollard’s 5.9 yards per landing was 2 yards higher than Elliott’s.
Whereas the leg damage he sustained on Sunday is an apparent concern, assuming there’s nothing terribly worrisome about his prognosis, it is arduous to think about the Cowboys would not a minimum of give Pollard the franchise as a result of his means to open up area for others after they aren’t. Rips parts of yardage and/or places the ball into the top zone. It did not present indicators of backing down in 2022, when the one-year bid worth was $9.57 million. However negotiations with Pollard are certain to be tough given the record-breaking, six-year, $90 million extension (with greater than $50 million assured) that Elliott obtained in 2019.
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Maintain Dan Quinn
For the second 12 months in a row, Dallas defensive coordinator is up for one more time period as head coach, three years after his divorce with the Atlanta Falcons. Jones has to do (nearly) all the pieces he can to maintain Quinn on the payroll. He is accomplished an incredible job growing his scheme, which generates prolific strain — thanks, Micah Parsons — and has produced a +24 turnover margin over the previous two seasons, greatest within the NFL. Can the Cowboys cease the run extra successfully? Positively. However impacting the quarterback and pulling the ball large are most likely an important elements of a championship-caliber defence. There is no such thing as a motive to mess with a profitable formulation right here.
Make smart free agent decisions
bollard the precedence and will require using a tag. In any other case, as a lot as Jones may need to preserve his roster intact, his cap dictates in any other case. Among the many concerns:
► Donovan Wilson: A sixth rounder in 2019, he has been strong in his two seasons as a starter (2020, 22). Be good to re-signing him — which might possible imply one other 12 months of backline security with Wilson and Jairon Kerse, who will each be free brokers in 2024. However that is not a should since Malik has already signed the Hooker in 2023.
► T Dalton Schultz: Good participant, however he must be grateful that he made almost $11 million in franchise tag in 2022. The Cowboys must be superb transferring ahead with Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot, rookies in 2022.
► LB Leighton Vander Esch: The previous first baseman had most likely his greatest season since his rookie 12 months in 2018. If he is able to play for near $2 million once more, it is price retaining him.
► J Connor McGovern: He has began 29 video games over the previous three seasons however ought to solely keep on the Dallas worth level.
► Ok. Brett Maher: An excellent common season, when he tied for third within the league with 137 factors, making an attempt 29 of his 32 subject objectives whereas being 50 for 53 additional factors. However the effort was marred by a (skillful?) disastrous playoff exhibiting, which clearly affected Dallas’ technique in a divisional spherical loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Kicker is not essentially ready to restrict himself financially, however overinvesting in Maher looks like a transparent threat.
► QB Cooper Rush: He may very well be the second hottest free agent in Dallas. Clearly, if one other staff breaks out and needs to present Rush the prospect to begin whereas paying him accordingly, the Cowboys should provide you with alternate plans for his or her depth chart. However few folks will neglect that Rush stored this staff afloat early within the season, successful 4 of his 5 begins whereas Prescott recovered from thumb surgical procedure. Clearly, it could be a good suggestion to increase an insurance coverage coverage that you simply belief.
Moved from OBJ
Jones advised USA TODAY Sports activities in December that free agent WR Odell Beckham Jr. “He’ll be a part of us.” It by no means occurred. proper Now? Most likely should not. Will the OBJ, assuming his surgically repaired knee is wholesome, add one other dimension to this offense? After all. However the Cowboys are basically tied to Gallup financially for a minimum of one other 12 months and will begin engaged on an extension for Lamb, a two-time Professional Bowler. It is arduous to see how Beckham, 30, suits into such wage constraints – particularly when Jones may definitely deliver again WR TY Hilton, who has been a strong contributor on and off the sector after becoming a member of the staff late within the season, at a way more affordable worth.
Discuss to Sean Payton
Jones indicated after Sunday’s loss to San Francisco that head coach Mike McCarthy’s job is secure, which is not an sudden sentiment on condition that Dallas has proven regular progress in his three seasons — together with its first playoff victory in 4 years. However would not Jones be remiss to a minimum of dine with Payton, who has been frequently related to the job within the years since he served on the Dallas offensive staff below Invoice Parcells from 2003-2005? If nothing else, possibly Jones will get some invaluable exterior perception for his staff from somebody with a tremendous offensive thoughts and nice management qualities. But when there’s a probability for extra?
Let’s be sincere, if McCarthy wasn’t right here in 2023, this job would immediately develop into essentially the most coveted job within the NFL. And if Parcells can work out the best way to get together with Jones, even when just for 4 years, then certainly Payton, 59, can discover widespread floor – if Jones desires to alter gears and is able to hand over the twenty seventh decide from this 12 months’s draft to the New Orleans Saints. Anyway, reservations for 9pm, Jerry?
Duck Prescott Restore
Must be a staple on the Dallas agenda. And sure, Prescott was solely per week away from enjoying what was extensively hailed as the most effective recreation of his profession, when he fed a 31-14 wild card runaway from Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, changing into Prescott the fourth participant within the Tremendous Bowl period ( since 1966) to throw a minimum of 4 TDs and a minimum of one run in a playoff recreation.
However Sunday marked a comeback to his largely disappointing season, together with two extra interceptions after he tied for the common season lead (15) regardless of lacking these 5 video games. And possibly we’re not acquainted with the Cowboys’ playbook — to be clear, we’re not — nevertheless it’s merely arduous to know what he is when he is allowed to fly a few of these ill-advised throws. Whether or not the issue is bodily, psychological, mechanical, philosophical, or some mixture thereof, Prescott has to do the most effective he can — his 3.8% interception price in 2022 is double his profession common (2.0%).
Prescott has flashed the potential to be an elite midfielder and is certainly compensated as one. However his efficiency in 2022 means that if he is a quarterback within the prime ten, he is tenth at this level — and far nearer to the Carr/Cousins/Garoppolo finish of the elite-class Allen/Buro/Mahomes spectrum.
If Prescott is not higher in 2023, neither will the Cowboys.
Comply with USA TODAY Sports activities’ Nate Davis on Twitter @tweet.