1) 2020 DALLAS COWBOYS DRAFT NEEDS: TIGHT END
CURRENT PLAYERS AT POSITION: Jason Witten (starter), Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz.
2020 FREE AGENTS: Witten, Jarwin (restricted).
DRAFT NEED: Medium.
THE BREAKDOWN: As always, tight end is an interesting position group for the Cowboys. At age 37 Witten is still effective, but his career is now a year-to-year proposition based on how he feels. Jarwin has emerged as a reliable pass catcher and blocker who at times has thrived with defenses more focused on Witten. Schultz is the player, I think, the Cowboys hope will explode at some point because of his talent.
So, first, Witten has to decide whether he’s coming back (in fact he told reporters this week that he would make a decision about his 2020 future shortly after the season ends).
The Cowboys will need to re-sign Jarwin, and as he is a restricted free agent Jarwin has few options. Schultz has two more years on his deal. But the Cowboys love to carry four or even five tight ends at times. Cole Hikutini is on the practice squad but doesn’t appear to be a threat to make the roster.
I could see the Cowboys burn a mid-round pick in their never-ending quest to make sure they’re covered in the event of Witten’s retirement. But at this moment the position is not an overwhelming need for the Cowboys.
2) DISSECTING THE WIDE RECEIVER ‘ROTATION’ PROCESS
From Fish: The 2019 Dallas Cowboys are likely to be remembered more for their deceptive eloquence at the podium than for their determined excellence on the field, the latest example being the club’s semantic dance regarding the Philadelphia disappearing act of Amari Cooper, the Pro Bowl receiver who was "tired'' ... er, "rotated'' ... er, "benched.''
After the insanity of the Cowboys best receiver not being on the field for the game’s biggest play against Philadelphia, Mike Fisher breaks down the tick tock of what the Cowboys said and when they said it to explain the oversight … er, mistake … er, screw-up. Whatever you wanto call it.
3) VANDER ESCH’S ‘MINOR’ NECK SURGERY
If the Cowboys weren’t clinging to playoff life, this might be the biggest news item of the week.
Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, who has missed half the season with an injury the team classified as a neck stinger, will undergo surgery this neck associated with a correction of a nerve problem.
The Cowboys drafted Vander Esch in the first round last year and, combined with Jaylon Smith, helped Cowboys fans visualize a new world with two of the best, young linebackers in the league. Now, Vander Esch will end the season on the shelf. The team says he’ll be ready for next year’s offseason program.
But, just as a reminder of what everyone knew when the Cowboys drafted Vander Esch…
4) AMARI STILL WANTS TO BE HERE FOR THE LONG HAUL
One thing has changed since Amari Cooper last publicly pledged his loyalty to the Dallas Cowboys. His team was on top of the NFL world, and the young perennial Pro Bowler was in line for a new contract that would make him a top-five-paid receiver.
But one other thing has not changed: In this now-unsure times here inside The Star, Cooper still envisions himself as a "Cowboy for Life.''
More from Mike Fisher below.
5) A COUPLE OF COWBOYS ON EXPIRING CONTRACTS
Part of Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett's job is to offer updates on the health and participation of QB Dak Prescott. So sometimes, he does. None of Prescott's job is to offer updates on Garrett, so, wisely and without malice, he does not.
Both Garrett and Prescott are free agents at the end of this season. But only one is likely to be with the Cowboys in 2020. Fish writes about the delicate dance Prescott had to do earlier this week when he was asked about Garrett’s employment status.
Plus, give this a read too, as Fisher examines how much of this season is Prescott’s fault.
6) A BOOK FOR ALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL FANS
Looking for a great Christmas present for your college football fan? The 2019 College Football America Yearbook is out at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com and features Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence on the cover. Myself and our two other contributors, Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb, travel the country every fall covering college football games each week for using the following year’s book.
The College Football America 2019 Yearbook features more than 930 college football teams from the United States and Canada in more than 250 striking, full-color pages. That includes every team from the NCAA (FBS, FCS, Division II and Division III), NAIA, NJCAA, CCCAA and U Sports (Canada). It also includes updates on club football, one-year postgraduate prep/sports academies and Mexican college football, along with dozens of action shots and stadium photos taken by the CFAY staff.
Plus, the great thing about what I do for the yearbook is that I get to see great college football players each week that COULD become Dallas Cowboys next season, and I get to bring that experience to you through scouting reports and other stories throughout the next several months.
Get a copy today at the links below:
7) ‘BEST COAST BOYS’ PREP FOR THE REGULAR-SEASON FINALE
In the latest episode of the “Best Coast Boys” podcast, hosts Landon McCool and the Dallas Morning News’ John Owning review the Dallas Cowboys’ disappointing loss to the Philadelphia Eagles while also discussing their overarching thoughts on the Cowboys season.
After the pleasantries, the guys dive into their review of the Dallas loss. Landon beings by discussing why Sunday may have proved that Dallas is a below-average team that’s had moments of greatness and nothing more. John laments how the issues against Philadelphia have been issues all season, discussing primarily the drops.
There’s plenty more in the podcast below.
8) INJURY REPORT
The final injury report for the Washington game (and perhaps the 2019 Cowboys season)
And now more news there, as Byron Jones and Tyron Smith might both miss today.
9) TWEET OF THE WEEK
10) FINAL WORD: COWBOYS COACHING CAROUSEL
Today might mark a Cowboys goodbye for head coach Jason Garrett and many members of this staff. If Dallas wins this afternoon at AT&T Stadium while the Eagles lose at the Giants, the Cowboys are in the NFL Playoffs. If Philly wins, Dallas is out ... and owner Jerry Jones might just make an announcement or drop a hint in the media scrum that follows. Lock yourself in to Cowboys coverage here at SI.com and also hit up Postins on Twitter at @PostinsPostcard and Matt Galazan and Mike Fisher on Twitter @FishSports.