Dak Prescott

NFC East Notes: Dak, Howard, Giants

Dak Prescott bet on himself and will finish with statistical benchmarks in several categories this season — including touchdown passes (26) and passing yards (4,599). The fourth-year Cowboys quarterback has a good chance of eclipsing his previous single-season passing high by over 1,000 yards. Despite Dallas’ disappointing season, team brass remain bullish on a long-term Dak re-up. Prescott and the Cowboys have been negotiating for months.

I’m just not surprised,” Prescott said, via Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams, of the lack of a new contract. “… It’s the business. It’s my first time going through it. Not surprised by anything that comes from it — from the league, from the team, from whatever. Learning as I go.”

With March 10 being the deadline for franchise tenders to be applied, the Cowboys not reaching an extension with their quarterback opens the door to the prospect of tagging Prescott and letting Amari Cooper hit free agency. As of now, with no CBA in place, teams would be permitted to use both their franchise and transition tags come March. Just as they were throughout this past summer, the Cowboys’ negotiations will be a key component of the upcoming offseason.

One of two divisions still up for grabs, the NFC East features the Eagles and Cowboys vying for the division’s 50th championship. Here is the latest from the two contending teams, along with the Giants and Redskins.

  • With the Eagles cutting Jay Ajayi, the expectation was they’d have Jordan Howard back in the fold for Week 17. But that’s not necessarily the case. The fourth-year back met with doctors on Thursday, per Mike Garafolo of NFL.com, who adds Howard has not yet been cleared for contact (Twitter link). Howard has not played since Week 9 due to a shoulder injury. The Eagles are using Miles Sanders and Boston Scott as their primary backs, but Howard was the team’s rushing leader before going down.
  • The Redskins have already seen several starters’ seasons end early; they may see their breakout wide receiver miss the season finale as well. Terry McLaurin is in Washington’s concussion protocol, John Keim of ESPN.com tweets. McLaurin (919 receiving yards) is just seven yards away from Gary Clark‘s 34-year-old franchise record for most by a rookie. A loss to Dallas would lock Washington in the No. 2 draft slot, which could well be Ohio State edge-rushing dynamo Chase Young.
  • Markus Golden‘s value-reestablishing Giants season included another positive development for the contract-year pass rusher. A stat correction turned a Golden half-sack into a full sack, giving him 10 for the season and a $1MM incentive bonus, per Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. The Giants gave Golden a one-year, $3.75MM deal this offseason. After two lost seasons, due largely to a 2017 ACL tear, Golden has his second 10-plus-sack campaign. He profiles as a Giants extension candidate and an intriguing UFA pass rusher, should he hit the market.

Cowboys Still “Bullish” On Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott hasn’t had a great second half to the season, but Cowboys VP Stephen Jones says he’s as confident as ever in the quarterback. In an interview on 105.3 The Fan, Jones stood behind the Cowboys signal caller. 

We’ve never blinked on (paying Dak Prescott). We’ve had a very aggressive offer out there every step of the way…I think Dak has given us every opportunity to have success this year. I’m as bullish about Dak as I’ve ever been,” Jones said.

Prescott, 26, has completed 64.8% of his passes this year with 26 touchdowns against eleven interceptions. Those numbers are weighed down by a flat second half. Through the first seven games of the year, Prescott completed more than 70% of his passes with 12 TDs and seven INTs.

In the offseason, you can expect the Cowboys to aggressively pursue a long-term deal with Prescott, though they’ll have to leave enough breathing room for the rest of the gang. That includes wide receiver Amari Cooper, who is hoping to stay in Dallas with a top-of-the-market deal.

In the near term, the Cowboys are hoping that Prescott’s ailing shoulder will be good to go for their regular season finale against the Redskins. Prescott was not on the field for the team’s Christmas Day practice, but he managed to play on Sunday against the Eagles despite being limited throughout the week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Dak, D-Jax, Eagles, Giants

After a week of limited practices, two of which involving no throwing, Dak Prescott is no longer on the Cowboys‘ Week 16 injury report. Prescott will make his 63rd straight regular-season start Sunday. He participated in light throwing drills Friday, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. While Prescott’s status never seemed to be in doubt, his practice routine this week was notable. The former offensive rookie of the year had never previously been designated as limited during his four-year career.

Here is the latest from the NFC East, shifting first to the other team in Sunday’s marquee game.

  • Should the Eagles pull off the upset Sunday and then defeat the Giants in their regular-season finale, they would make the playoffs. If that happens, DeSean Jackson offered a glimmer of hope he could return from IR. Weeks after undergoing groin surgery, the 33-year-old wide receiver shared a workout video of him featuring sprints and agility drills (Instagram link). If Jackson does not experience any setbacks, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio tweets he is on target to play once eligible. However, Jackson not being eligible until the divisional round may make this a moot point for the 7-7 Eagles. Philadelphia has Jackson and Alshon Jeffery on IR, and Nelson Agholor may be on the wrong end of questionable after not practicing all week.
  • Said upset will be a bit more difficult without Lane Johnson, who will miss a second straight game because of the high ankle sprain he suffered in Week 14. The Eagles declared their All-Pro right tackle out against the Cowboys. Johnson has missed two games this season, the first due to a concussion. Halapoulivaati Vaitai will draw the start.
  • Golden Tate‘s 2020 salary was to be guaranteed, but because of the PED suspension the Giants wideout received, he now could be a cut candidate. The 31-year-old receiver, whose $7.98MM base salary next year is no longer guaranteed, addressed this prospect this week. “There’s not 100% certainty in really anything,” Tate said, via the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy. “I definitely hope and plan to be here. I think I’ve proven to be a solid leader for our locker room. I feel like I’ve been productive, and I haven’t shown a decline. But I don’t know what people upstairs think.” Rookie fifth-rounder Darius Slayton‘s emergence will likely play a role in the team’s decision. Slayton, Sterling Shepard and Tate are all signed through at least the 2022 season.

QB Notes: Dak, Brissett, Steelers, Love

Dak Prescott went through an MRI on his injury shoulder Wednesday, Todd Archer of ESPN.com notes. The Cowboys quarterback did not throw in the team’s opening practice this week due to what Ezekiel Elliott said was an AC join sprain. Jason Garrett did not confirm that prognosis but said it was “hard for (Prescott) to function right now.” The fourth-year passer suffered the injury on a scramble against the Rams. Prescott, who has not missed a game in his NFL career, is also dealing with a sprained right wrist and sprained right index finger. The Cowboys have former UDFA Cooper Rush (three NFL pass attempts) as Prescott’s backup, though it would be surprising if the starter missed any time.

Here is the latest from various quarterback situations:

  • The Colts have seen Jacoby Brissett‘s play decline as the season’s gone along, but Frank Reich reaffirmed his commitment to the fourth-year passer as his starter. Reich shot down the notion Chad Kelly would be given significant reps in the final two weeks of regular-season practices, per Mike Chappell of Fox 59. The two-year, $30MM deal the Colts gave Brissett following Andrew Luck‘s retirement guarantees him $7MM via 2020 roster bonus. It would not be a surprise if the Colts added a quarterback in the offseason, per Stephen Holder of The Athletic (subscription required). Brian Hoyer is under contract through 2021 and would bring just a $2MM dead-money hit if released. The Colts are again projected to hold the most cap space in the NFL. There are plenty of impact names set to be free agents, but very few will actually reach the market.
  • Chris Ballard‘s regime has focused primarily on building through the draft, and Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star tweets the Colts should be ready to closely examine passing prospects. Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and perhaps Tua Tagovailoa will be gone by the time Indianapolis’ mid-first-round selection window opens.
  • The Steelers announced they are sticking with Devlin Hodges against the Jets, despite his four-interception performance. Hodges has posted a 38.4 QBR figure, which betters Mason Rudolph‘s league-worst 31.9 mark. The Steelers have not thrown for 200 yards in their past five games.
  • Jordan Love recently declared for the draft. The Utah State prospect was arrested for marijuana possession, according to Will Feelright of the Cache Valley Daily. Police were called to an off-campus apartment complex and arrested two other players for marijuana possession. Love is still on track to play in Friday’s Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl.

Latest On Cowboys’ Pending FAs, Jason Garrett

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the Cowboys have made no progress on extensions for pending free agents Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, or Byron Jones, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes. La Canfora had a similar report towards the end of October, and nothing has changed since then.

Dallas, obviously, is not going to let Prescott get away, and even if the two sides cannot work out a long-term pact prior to the deadline for using the franchise tag, the Cowboys would tag their signal-caller to buy themselves some more time. That would mean that the Cowboys could not tag Cooper, and La Canfora’s sources say the odds of the team retaining Cooper without the tag are slim. Plus, given that we are now close to the end of the season, Cooper is not inclined to forego his shot at the open market by restarting extension negotiations.

La Canfora adds that there has been no communication between the Cowboys and Jones, and no talks are expected before the end of the season. With Jones, like Cooper, poised for a big payday, it seems increasingly likely that the team will lose both players.

With respect to Jason Garrett, we have already heard that the Cowboys will not be firing their head coach before the end of the season, but we also heard that Garrett may need to capture the Lombardi Trophy in order to remain in Dallas beyond 2019, and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network confirms earlier rumors that the Cowboys will have interest in Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley if they elect to move on from Garrett (video link). Owner Jerry Jones and his family already have a relationship with Riley stemming from Riley’s recruitment of Jones’ grandson, John Stephen Jones, who ultimately elected to play his collegiate ball at Arkansas.

Riley has been a hot name in NFL coaching rumors in the past, and if he elects to jump to the professional ranks, Rapoport suggests the Cowboys could be appealing to him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Negotiation Notes: Cooper, Quarterbacks, Prescott

Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper is not worried about the fallout from his agents’ split, according to Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News. Cooper has been represented by Joel Segal and Chafie Fields, but Fields recently joined Wasserman Media Group as an executive vice president, severing his relationship with Segal. It’s unclear which agent Cooper will remain with, or if he’ll consider other options as well. With his contract set to expire after this season, changes in his representation could complicate the process for the Cowboys, who likely want to retain the wideout.

Dallas has one of the more interesting impending free agent situations in the league. The team is estimated to have over $90 MM in salary cap space this offseason without releasing any players. However, Cooper is one of the many valuable pieces set to become free agents this offseason as well.

Here are a couple other notes on contract situations around the league:

  • NFL agent turned CBS Sports Writer, Joel Corry detailed the circumstances for nine quarterbacks in uncertain situations going into the offseason and beyond. This offseason may be poised to see the most turnover at the quarterback position in league history. Not only are many current starters set for free-agency, other teams have had impressive performance from younger cost-controlled players while veterans under contract have been injured.
  • There has been no recent reports suggesting the Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott have made any progress towards a long-term extension. If Prescott needed any more leverage, he ranks at the top of Sheil Kapadia’s list of the 50 best unrestricted free agents in 2020 for The Athletic (subscription required). While doubts surrounded Prescott’s status as a franchise quarterback entering the season, the Mississippi State alum has proven himself as one of the best in the league this season.

NFC Notes: Gordon, Dak, Falcons, Bucs

There’s natural excitement for Josh Gordon‘s debut with the Seahawks, but Pete Carroll cautioned that the organization isn’t setting any expectations for the talented wideout.

“I’m telling you, I’m just waiting to see him,” Carroll said Monday (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “I’ve seen him on film. He looks pretty special. He’s got a good history of making plays and all that, but I want to see him when he mixes with our guys and really just take it one step at a time with no expectations of how much he would contribute or play or whatever. I’m just going to see what happens.”

Gordon was sidelined in mid-October by a knee injury, and he was placed on the injured reserve and later cut by the Patriots. Despite the ailment, Carroll said the receiver is ready to go.

“Yeah, he’s been cleared to go,” Carroll said. “He’s ready to go, so Thursday when we get rolling again, he’ll be going. He’s in the building, studying and all that, getting ready. We’ll see how it goes.”

Let’s check out some more notes out of the NFC…

  • During the Cowboys‘ bye week, quarterback Dak Prescott had four wisdom teeth removed, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Through the first half of tonight’s contest against the Giants, Prescott has completed 11 of his 20 pass attempts for 137 yards, one touchdown, and a pick.
  • The Falcons made a number of coaching changes this afternoon, according to Will McFadden of the team’s website. Wide receivers coach Raheem Morris will be the Falcons new secondary coach, while running backs coach Dave Brock will move back to his old position of wide receivers coach. Offensive assistant/assistant special teams coach Bernie Parmalee will become the team’s new running backs coach. We learned this weekend that head coach Dan Quinn would keep his job through the bye week.
  • Ronald Jones has secured the Buccaneers starting running back gig, coach Bruce Arians told ESPN’s Jenna Laine. The former second-rounder started the year in a timeshare with Peyton Barber, and he’s responded by rushing for 381 yards and averaging 4.1 yards per carry. “He’s been consistent (and) he’s been more explosive. It’s not that Peyton did anything wrong,” Arians said. The coach added that T.J. Logan and Dare Ogunbowale will also see reps at running back.

Latest On Cowboys, Dak Prescott

The Cowboys want to re-up Dak Prescott, but only on a team-friendly deal that would allow them flexibility on other parts of the roster. That was the prevailing sentiment in Friday interviews given by owner Jerry Jones and EVP Stephen Jones

The only thing we need him to do is work with us a little bit, and I understand because it’s his money and it’s easy for someone else to say, but the only reason we’re having a negotiation is to talk him into all the reasons why it’s good to have a good supporting cast around him,” Stephen Jones told 105.3 The Fan. “Other than that, it would be really easy to write the check. It’s not saving Jerry and I any money. What we’re trying to do is keep this young football team together. We think it’s a really good one. We think it’s only going to keep getting better because it is young. Other than that, this negotiation would have been over with months ago. But I think he understands where we’re coming from. We understand where he’s coming from. Ultimately, we’ll figure this out.”

Ditto for Double-J – he says he’s only willing to go so far, but he’s optimistic about an extension getting ironed out.

How close we are to getting it done is really not identifiable because it takes two, and it takes the will of two looking at it from two different perspectives,” Jerry Jones said on 105.3 The Fan. “You never know what that is, and the other one never knows where that is until it’s actually done…both parties are continuing to operate as though we’re going to get something done at some point.”

Through seven games, Prescott has led the Cowboys to a 4-3 record (good for first in the NFC East) with 8.9 yards per throw (behind only Patrick Mahomes and Kirk Cousins). The mark Prescott likely has in mind: Russell Wilson‘s league-leading $35MM/year average.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Jones, Manning

There is not going to be a quarterback controversy in the Giants organization, according to head coach Pat Shurmur. Rookie starting quarterback Daniel Jones‘ hot start to the season had many fans and pundits retracting their criticism of New York’s first-round selection. The former Duke quarterback, however, has shown some substantial regression since. With longtime starter and two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning remaining on the bench, some speculation began that the team might shift to the veteran. When asked if he would consider making a change, though, Shurmur remained committed to the rookie:

“No, I think Daniel is going to learn from everything that’s going on,” Shurmur said (via PFT).

Here’s more from one of the Giants’ biggest NFC East rivals:

  • Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett‘s job status has been a large point of speculation throughout the season. Garrett, currently in the final year of his contract, is the longest tenured head coach in the NFC East, but he has found himself on the hot seat many times since he was hired in 2010. Dallas ownership’s close relationship with Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley and Urban Meyer’s recent comments on FS1’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd have created even more speculation. Cowboys COO Stephen Jones tried to quell those rumors this week. Jones, the son of team owner and general manager Jerry Jones, tells Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network that the organization believes “Jason’s doing a great job” and has no intention of making a change.
  • Garrett isn’t the only prominent member of Cowboys in the last year of his contract. Extension negotiations with franchise quarterback Dak Prescott have stalled, making it increasingly likely that the team will need to use the franchise tag on him, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. While the tag would ensure their ability to retain their signal-caller, La Canfora mentions some domino effects that would impact two other Dallas cornerstones. Star corner Byron Jones and wide receiver Amari Cooper are both in their final years under contract as well. The team, via La Canfora, has gained little progress in talks with either player. Furthermore, the team had originally planned to franchise Jones, but unless they can settle their negotiations with Prescott, he will hit the unrestricted free agent market alongside Cooper and be able to negotiate with all 32 teams.
  • Elsewhere in the NFC East, the Redskins are still rejecting calls of trade interest on offensive lineman Trent Williams.

Latest On Dak Prescott, Cowboys

The Cowboys are not planning to determine future Dak Prescott salaries around certain games in the first half of one of his seasons. While the Cowboys have lost their past two games, after Prescott September dominance, Jerry Jones insists this small sample size will not factor into the fourth-year quarterback’s deal.

Let me get that real clear. It’s not impacting that with me at all,” Jones said of Prescott’s early-season work. “But I do see Dak showing the ability to handle adversity and basically go out and make the kind of plays that win important games for the Cowboys in the future. I see that.”

Through five games, Prescott leads the NFL in Total QBR (80.6). This comes after the former fourth-round pick finished in the top five of this metric twice in his first three seasons. Prescott threw three interceptions in Sunday’s loss to the Packers, which came after a 10-point Cowboys outing in New Orleans. But the Dallas passer has submitted 56 games of work for the Cowboys to judge.

It’s safe to say the organization views Prescott as a long-term passer, so a deal in the Jared GoffCarson Wentz neighborhood ($32-$33MM per year) likely will continue to be where these talks lead. While this process may not produce a resolution soon, as Prescott appears comfortable with his standing to keep playing on a fourth-round contract, Jones is not holding two losses against his quarterback from a big-picture standpoint.

Well, first of all, the narrative about his financial (outlook) as opposed to how he’s playing (in 2019) is laughable. It’s just not that way,” Jones said. “It’s too much on both ends of that for both ends of the team and for Dak to equate his performance, stats, or won-loss these first two or three games.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.