By: Bradley Robidoux
After a disappointing 9-7 season, the Cowboys face plenty of questions this offseason. The NFC East is as strong as it gets so Jerry Jones and the Cowboys really have no time to waste and can’t make any crucial mistakes. Lets take a look at 5 no-brainer decisions the team has to take care of this offseason.
Restructure Dez Bryant’s contract
Its quite obvious that Dez Bryant hasn’t been the same top caliber receiver he once was. His last dominant season was in 2014 where he tallied 88 receptions, 1,320 yards, and 16 touchdowns. In the past three seasons Dez Bryant has been unable to break over 70 receptions, get over 900 receiving yards, and has been unable to get double digit touchdowns. This drop in numbers has been attributed to a knee injury in 2015, losing Tony Romo (2015 and 2016), and not being able to find that same chemistry with Dak Prescott that he once had with Romo. Many Cowboys before him have taken a pay cut to be able to free cap space to retain teammates. Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and Demarcus Ware have all taken pay cuts in their careers with the Cowboys to make cap space for the team. If Dez still wants to be WR1 and be a part of this franchise he needs to take a pay cut off his massive deal. You cannot be paid top 5 receiver money in this league and put up WR3 numbers for a team and expect not to have your salary cut.
Retain Demarcus Lawrence
At the end of the 2016 campaign Jerry Jones said they needed to find a ‘war daddy’ in free agency to help beef up their defensive line. Little did they know they had one all along in Demarcus Lawrence. Lawrence had a breakout year in 2017 which saw him get 14.5 sacks , tied for second with Calais Campbell. He was named Fox Sports Defensive Player of the Year which is voted by the fans. If Lawerence can continue to stay healthy and stay out of trouble, he has the ability to become one of the league’s best DL, get paid top money, and help this Dallas team make a potential Super Bowl push in the 2018 season.
Give Zack Martin a long term deal
Zach Martin is a vital piece to the Cowboys offensive line and its time to lock him up for the long term. With Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith getting up in age, it makes sense for Dallas to give Martin the long term extension that they have given to their other stud offensive lineman. According to PFF, Zach Martin was the third highest graded offensive lineman in 2017 with a rating of 89.9 only behind Eagles’ Jason Kelce (92.4) and Steelers’ David Decastro (91.1). Martin also had a pass blocker rating of 98.0 which ties him with Decastro. Dallas’ offense revolves around a stout run game so keeping Martin happy is a key to the future of the Cowboys.
Attempt to acquire Earl Thomas
Earl Thomas made headlines after a Seahawks loss vs Dallas when he went to the Cowboys locker room to tell head coach Jason Garrett to “come get me” when he becomes available. Thomas has made it clear this offseason that he wants to get an extension or he’s willing to hold out. Would Seattle give him that extension? If not, its safe to assume Seattle will look to trade him like they attempted to last offseason with Richard Sherman.
Adjust to more aggressive play calling
After Super Bowl LII, many viewers saw how successful aggressive play calling can be against good teams when run correctly. If the Eagles can beat the Patriots with a backup quarterback, but have good aggressive play calling from their head coach, then the Cowboys should have the ability to be more successful with their franchise quarterback and killer running game behind the talent of their offensive line. If Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan can leave behind their conservative play calling ways and start to lead a more aggressive offense, we will see a completely different Cowboys team next season/
Bradley Robidoux is a contributor on NFLUpdate.co covering the Dallas Cowboys. You can follow him on twitter @BradleyRobidoux