The Dallas Cowboys resolved several issues this offseason. Here are three concerns that remain.
In past years, the Dallas Cowboys have adopted a single theme during the offseason and throughout training camp. You’d see players wearing shirts with one-word slogans like “Fight” or “Finish” on them. Last year’s version was “Driven“. This year, that motto should be “Change“.
Because change is exactly what the Cowboys chose to implement this offseason, parting ways with longtime head coach Jason Garrett and the vast majority of his staff. In his place, Dallas hired former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. The former Super Bowl-winner brought in his own coaching staff and added several new players to the roster.
But despite all the issues McCarthy and company have attempted to address this offseason, there are some lingering concerns that are still on the table in Dallas. Here are our top three …
#1. When will the Dallas Cowboys finally sign Dak Prescott?
The future of franchise quarterback Dak Prescott has dominated headlines all offseason long as both the team and the player continue to string out ongoing contract negotiations. And the tiresome speculation about the rumored financials and apparent stalemate over the length of the deal has reached a deafening crescendo.
At this point, I believe we’d all just like to see the extension finally get done. Although the fact the team used an exclusive franchise tag on Prescott means he’ll be under center in Dallas this season or nowhere, does either side really want to draw this thing out into 2021?
As it appears that deadlines truly make deals in Dallas, I don’t expect this one to get resolved until much closer to the July 15th deadline.
#2. Just how bad is Leighton Vander Esch’s neck injury?
Limited to just nine games last season, and undergoing offseason neck surgery, there’s a lot to be worried about when it comes to linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. Although he says he’s now better than ever, he can alleviate fan fears by returning to his previous form and playing out the full season in his third year.
If the Pro Bowl linebacker suffers through another injury-plagued season in 2020, drawing the tragic parallels between Vander Esch’s career and that of veteran Sean Lee will be unavoidable. Entering his 11th NFL season, Lee is a Pro Bowl-talent that has consistently struggled with injuries having played his very first full 16-game season just last year.
#3. Can the Dallas Cowboys effectively replace Travis Frederick?
When we look back upon the 2020 regular season next year, we may view the surprising retirement of All-Pro center Travis Frederick as the critical loss that crippled the Cowboys’ once dominate O-Line. New offensive line coach Joe Philbin has his work cut out for him.
The presence of veteran Joe Looney, the man who replaced Frederick as a 16-game starter in 2018, certainly provides the Cowboys with some insurance. But the fact is Dallas doesn’t have a player on the roster who can truly replace the five-time Pro Bowler. And how will diminished play at that pivotal position impact the Cowboys’ high-powered offense?