It finally happened. 1,150 days after Dak Prescott first became eligible for a contract extension, a deal is finally in place. On Monday, news broke that the Dallas Cowboys and Prescott’s camp have finally reached an agreement on a contract extension.
At the July deadline last summer, both sides failed to reach a deal and Prescott would play the 2020 season on the exclusive franchise tag. And serious doubts started to creep in about the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback’s future with the club.
Prescott, the former NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year and 135th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft is in Dallas to stay. At least through 2024. So, now what?
Well, the most basic answer is the remaining resources need to be thrown at the defense to try and drastically improve the unit. Instead of franchise tagging Prescott and having $37.7 million on the cap, his 2021 cap number will be $22.2 million.
The cap was officially set at $182.5 million, and according to Michael Gehlken of Dallas Morning News, if you include the $25.4 million of unused cap that the Cowboys carried over from last year, their adjusted cap will be $207.9 million.
Any available cap space that’s going to be used in free agency must go towards the defensive side of the ball. That’s a necessity. The draft is where things will get even more interesting.
It’s clear that fixing the defense needs to be the top priority for the rest of the offseason. But sitting in that No. 10 draft slot, one offensive position must be considered: Offensive Tackle.
Starting left tackle Tyron Smith is not going to play forever, and he has not played a full season in 2015. Smith only played two games last season. Starting right tackle La’el Collins missed the entire year due to a hip injury. Offensive tackle is a need for this team.
The decision on who is picked 10th overall will obviously be decided by how the draft board falls. But also how the front office feels about the depth of the cornerback class compared to the depth of the offensive tackle class.
Me personally, I am grabbing Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater at 10, then targeting the secondary hard in the second and third rounds. Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell would also be a no-brainer if he somehow dropped to Dallas in the first round.
The amount of success that the Cowboys achieve in 2021 will be determined by how dominant their offense is. Fixing the defense is going to be a multi-year project, so it might be smart to shore up the offense early then target the defense the rest of the way.
Picking an offensive tackle first would be a selection for the future. And it would provide the team with a new starting left guard for the remainder of Smith’s career.
Like they always try to do this time of year Dallas Cowboys should fill as many holes defensively in free agency so they can draft as pure as possible and not have to reach for anything. Getting Dak Prescott’s deal done can give them some free space to target defense in March, so by the time April 29 rolls around, they are not backed into a corner with who they have to take at pick ten.