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What are the next steps for the Cowboys after the Prescott extension saga?

The Dallas Cowboys still have time before the potential start of the 2020 season to make improvements if they’re willing to seek out opportunities
Credit: AP
New Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy, center, is introduced by Chief Operating Officer Stephen Jones, left, and owner Jerry Jones, right, during a press conference at the Dallas Cowboys headquarters Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Frisco, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

Dallas Cowboys fans waited all offseason only to be disappointed when the biggest item on the team’s to-do list – signing QB Dak Prescott to a long-term deal – was never crossed off. To put it into everyday terms, it would be like shopping online, finding what you really want, and then seeing that the item is sold out when you try to checkout.

No new deal for Dak has left a bitter taste in the mouth of fans and it seems like all that is left on the docket now is to wait for the team to begin training camp. 

Assuming the NFL is able to iron out the details during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, camp will be arriving shortly, and, if that goes off without a hitch, teams will be ready for the season with the roster of current players. For the Cowboys, with Prescott set to play under the franchise tag tender, it’s a dance with one who brought you kind of scenario.

However, that might not be the case. The Cowboys still have time to continue to build the team. With Prescott’s contract talks now on the shelf, the organization knows where they’re at with the salary cap and they know the areas where they can still improve. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the team isn’t necessarily done adding pieces.

The Cowboys put themselves in a great position this offseason to be one of the better teams in the NFC, but they aren’t without weaknesses. There is still talent out there that can help the Cowboys get better before the upcoming season and they can now turn their full attention to making another move or two.

With one of the top offenses in the league, it’s the Dallas defense that could use the most help, especially at pass rusher. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney feels like a longshot, but Everson Griffen remains an edge rusher that the Cowboys should pursue. Griffen will come cheaper than Clowney and would make sense on a shorter deal. And, as is usually the case, the Dallas defense is lacking quality at safety. 

Despite being one of the best offenses in the league, depth is always a question. The Cowboys can look into adding a better backup TE to help Blake Jarwin and signing a stronger fourth WR option would be a wise move, as well. Dallas has a great top three on the depth chart at receiver, but, beyond them, there’s a noticeable drop off.

Addressing a few of these positions before the season begins would be huge for the Cowboys and Griffen tops the wish list.

As Pelissero notes, though, failing to get a deal with Prescott pushes the team up against the cap in 2020. Prescott is eating up $31.4 million of room, which leaves the Cowboys with just over $11 million in cap space, according to Over The Cap. That currently doesn’t allow much wiggle room for the team to sign an impact player.

However, the team might be able to cut or maneuver some contracts in order to sign any player they need. The Cowboys have never been shy about restructuring contracts and it can be done if necessary. One cause for concern is the amount that the salary cap will rise going forward is unknown so that could make the team pause on redoing any deals.

The good news is the Cowboys know they aren’t a finished product and they are actively trying to improve before the season starts. It might take some creative restructuring to add the pieces they want, but Dallas has the resources and now the bandwidth to do it. 

What would you like to see the Cowboys do to improve the team before the season begins? Share your thoughts with Ben on Twitter @BenGrimaldi.

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