Dak Prescott won the battle. Can his team, cap-wise, now win the war?
The Dallas Cowboys agreed to terms with Prescott on a four-year deal worth up to $164 million. Both sides can walk away a winner long-term. Prescott wins with a $65 million signing bonus and $126 million in guaranteed money. Dallas win by landing their QB as a "Cowboy for Life."
Everything, though, comes with a price. Money that heads to Prescott must be taken away elsewhere.
Will Amari Cooper suffer for it? Quite the contrary.
Cooper, who agreed to terms on a five-year, $100 million deal last offseason, had a market in 2020. The Washington Football Team was willing to give him an even better deal, but he chose Dallas.
Prescott led the NFL in passing yards before suffering an ankle injury in Week 5. Four different quarterbacks took snaps, with Andy Dalton having the most success. Four of the five offensive lineman from 2019's top offense also missed six games or more on the year.
The result? A 6-10 season and lack of efficiency and production for all.
Cooper still put up quality numbers. He had 92 catches for 1,114 yards and five touchdowns, becoming the first Cowboys player to reach 90-plus in a season since Dez Bryant in 2013. It also marked the fifth time in six years he surpassed the 1,000-yard mark, proving his tier-one receiver status.
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Now, despite his status as a perennial Pro Bowler, is Dallas suddenly dissatisfied with Amari Cooper?
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The problem, though. lies in the scoring. At a $20 million APY, Dallas expected double-digit touchdowns from their highest-paid target. Instead, rookie CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup each finished the same amount.
Both players are still on their first contracts.
Would the Cowboys be willing to trade Cooper, post-June 1, to free up $18 million this season? Teams would be interested in a bonafide No. 1 pass-catcher and Cooper fits the bill, but that's not the plan.
First, moving away from a receiver takes away from Prescott a weapon. They have thrived together since Cooper's arrival at The Star via a midseason trade in 2018.
Second, there is a better talent-gathering plan in place: A flipping of the restructure switch. Dallas would convert a portion of Cooper's base salary into signing bonus to reduce this year's cap impact, maybe by $12 million. That stretches out the Cowboys' commitment to him - Cooper's contract would be less escapable later - but that's a small price to pay assuming his production remains high.
Cooper will still get his money. Dak will still get his top receiver. And a restructured deal in 2021 can mean Dallas can still do other roster-building business.
CONTINUE READING: Can Dak's Cowboys Offense - All Signed - Live Up To Hype?