By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG
Its not something we are used to. Traditionally using the word quiet and Jerry Jones in the same thought isn’t something you do. However, from the outside looking in, this off-season seems to have been somewhat quiet for the Dallas Cowboys. I decided to check in with David Howman, writer for bloggingtheboys.com, to see what was going on in Jerry’s world.
Talking about the off-season, David agreed that, from the outside, it may look like there hasn’t been much going on in Dallas. However, they have been busy.
“It was a very productive offseason for the Cowboys but not in the way most expect. They have a new offensive coordinator in Kellen Moore who should be upping the creativity and they added some low risk, high reward free agents while focusing on giving their own star players contract extensions.”
I then asked about the draft. Dallas had 8 picks in the 2019 draft, grabbing a handful of defensive players, including two (Michael Jackson and Joe Jackson) from Miami. I asked David what his overall impression of the Cowboys draft was.
“I was not super high on their draft, but I didn’t think it was bad by any means either. They followed their draft board strictly, which is what’s led to their recent success, so who am I to doubt? Personally, I would’ve drafted a safety with their top pick instead of defensive tackle Trysten Hill (UCF), but Dallas still came out of the draft with a lot of talented players who should become regular contributors by the 2021 season at the latest.”
We’ve been reading and seeing a lot about quarterback Dak Prescott’s contract. The Cowboys have been riding high on Prescott’s rookie contract, but he becomes a free agent in 2020. The expectation is that a deal will be done, but I asked where they stood as of now, and if he felt Prescott deserved to become the highest paid player in the NFL, as QBs often do in a contract year.
“From what we know, Dak and the Cowboys are still early on in their negotiations. The general feeling seems to be that the deal will get done and Dak will get a big pay raise. I don’t know if he’ll be the highest paid, but it seems likely that he’ll get at least a $30 million annual salary.”
“As for the second part of this question, I do believe he’s worth it. Quarterback is the most important position and while Dak isn’t yet at that elite level, he’s a proven winner. He performs best in 4th quarter situations and the only QB with more wins than him in the last three years is Tom Brady. Dak doesn’t turn it over a lot and he wins games, and the market dictates you have to pay top dollar for that.”
Dak Prescott on his contract: It’s no rush; I know it’ll get done https://t.co/GHkWubou8o
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) May 16, 2019
One of the bigger stories of the off-season was the un-retirement, and return to Dallas, of TE Jason Witten. Witten “retired” from football in 2018 and entered the booth, doing Monday Night Football for ESPN. While he wasn’t a big hit in MNF, Witten has always been a fan favorite and well respected in Dallas and throughout the football community. I asked David his thoughts on Witten’s return.
“As a fan, I’m thrilled to see Witten back. This guy is a first ballot Hall of Famer and a top-notch leader. As far as what he can do on the field, I’m not sure. While reliable, Witten was on the decline his last two years and now he hasn’t played in a full year. Plus, the Cowboys have two young tight ends they really like in Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin. They don’t want to stunt their growth, so I expect we’ll see a rotation between the three this year.”
We ended our conversation with a question I like to ask all reporters covering the NFL. Its always easy to “know” the stars on a team, but it is the new and up and coming players that I feel need more attention. I asked who was the player on the Cowboys that maybe casual fans didn’t know, but could make a big splash in 2019.
“He’s not so much of a secret anymore but free safety Xavier Woods is poised to break out big. After playing all around the secondary as a rookie in 2017, Woods locked down the free safety role last year and played extremely well. With that experience, Woods should be ready to take a big step forward. Die-hard fans already know his value, but Woods could make a name for himself league-wide this year, possibly even making the Pro Bowl by year’s end.”
The Cowboys are always in the mix in their division and within the conference. There is no question the talent they have on their team. The other members of the NFC East have made big changes this off-season, but it looks like Dallas not only kept in step, but could still have the edge.
A huge thanks to David Howman for chatting with me. Make sure to follow him on Twitter at @_DH44_