Dallas cowboys

Dallas Cowboys: It’s a statement that can be made about 30 NFL teams every year. But it’s been true for the Cowboys for 27 seasons in a row. During that time, 21 of the league’s teams have played on Super Sunday and 13 have won the Lombardi Trophy at least once.

And the Cowboys are not just any team.

There is no other team in any league called “America’s Team.” No other team or organisation in the NFL gets as much attention from Dallas. Whether or not they are champions, the Cowboys are the most popular team in the NFL. The Yankees, Lakers, Duke, and Alabama can only dream of being in such a bright spot.

But the annual postmortem brings scrutiny and handwringing for owner Jerry Jones and his team, which is a downside, right?

So, as we look at the leftover money from the 2022 Cowboys, here are seven things they need to fix before the 2023 season:

Clear cap space

OverTheCap says that Dallas doesn’t have much money for free agents this year. There are a lot of problems with that, some of which will be looked at in more depth soon. The Cowboys restructured the contracts of quarterback Dak Prescott and guard Zack Martin in March of last year to free up about $22 million.

Do they go back to Martin and/or Prescott, who are owed a total of $65 million over the next two years, and change their base salaries into signing bonuses that can be spread out over time? Or hope that other veterans, like WR Michael Gallup and DE DeMarcus Lawrence, will also change their contracts in the same way?

And it’s high time to look closely at the contracts of key players like RB Ezekiel Elliott and OT Tyron Smith. Smith had another season cut short by injuries. Letting him go in the last year of his contract would free up almost $10 million, which seems possible given that Tyler Smith will be a rookie in 2022.

Elliott’s guarantees are up, but he is still owed $52.9 million in base salary over the next four seasons. In 2023, letting him go would save about $5 million, but it would probably be best in the long run. And, according to The Dallas Morning News, Zeke is willing to take a pay cut after having his least productive season in his seven-year career.

Re-sign Tony Pollard Tony Pollard

The fourth-year running back was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time. He was the offense’s spark plug and has been a much more dangerous threat than Elliott for the past two years. Pollard just finished his first 1,000-yard rushing season.

He was second on the team to WR CeeDee Lamb in yards from scrimmage (1,378), and he scored the same number of touchdowns as Elliott, even though Zeke got more chances on short-yardage plays. Five of Pollard’s touchdowns came from more than 30 yards away, while only five of Elliott’s were more than 1 yard away (the longest a 14-yard run). Elliott had 4.9 yards per touch, while Pollard had 5.9 yards per touch.

Even though the leg injury he got on Sunday is a concern, it’s hard to imagine the Cowboys won’t at least franchise Pollard, given his ability to open up the field for others when he’s not making big gains or scoring touchdowns.

In 2022, when the one-year tender was worth $9.57 million, no running back was tagged. But Elliott’s record-setting six-year, $90 million extension (with more than $50 million guaranteed) in 2019 will make it hard to reach a deal with Pollard.

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