DALLAS - The Dallas Cowboys season came to an end following the 6-0 victory over the hated Philadelphia Eagles. While they were fighting for the playoff lives down the stretch, the loss at Seattle ended any slimmer of hope. Atlanta won their game on the final week of the season so had Dallas won out, it would have all been for not.
The focus shifts into the offseason where there is much work to be done. The Cowboys have five areas where that focus should be aimed at.
Dez Bryant’s Contract
Bryant has been a big part of the Dallas offense and team since he was drafted prior to the 2010 season. However, Dez hasn’t been the same player he was dating back to 2014. The year he racked up 16 touchdowns and 1,320 yards. Since that time Bryant has only accumulated 2,035 yards and 17 touchdowns in three seasons.
Bryant is slated to cost the Cowboys $16.5 million against the cap in 2018. The Cowboys will likely try and work out some sort of restructure or a pay cut for the franchise’s all-time leading receiver in touchdowns. He hasn’t been the same player due to injuries and the way this offense has operated, most notably during the transition from Tony Romo.
DeMarcus Lawrence’s Contract
Lawrence was brought in to be this team’s quarterback hunter, that is the sole reason the Cowboys traded up in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft to take him. In 2015, the Cowboys saw a little glimpse of that player when he racked up eight sacks. Outside of that, the team hadn’t seen much of a hunter. Back injuries really hampered his opportunities in prior seasons.
Going into his final year of his rookie contract, no one really knew what to expect from Lawrence. He rewarded the team with 14.5 sacks, which was good enough for third highest in the league. Given the best season came during a contract year, it could result in Dallas hitting him with the franchise tag.
David Irving’s Contract
The Cowboys were able to snag David Irving away from the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad and with his contract up the Cowboys have a conundrum. Do they let him walk or re-sign him to package with Lawrence?
Despite missing the first four games with a suspension, Irving enjoyed the best season of his young career. His career high seven sacks occurred in only eight games, however. Irving missed time due to a concussion. Irving is a restricted free agent, so Dallas will have opportunity to match another team’s offer.
Dallas Cowboys Coaching Staff
The growing consensus is that the Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli are all going to return in 2018. The Cowboys will need to address a few key assistants most likely which includes the quarterback coach, wide receivers coach and tight ends coach.
The biggest name on their list of coaches to keep might just be Matt Eberflus. He was named passing game coordinator last season on top of his duties as the team’s linebackers coach. Eberflus is highly regarded in the organization and he has even has been considered for defensive coordinator positions. The Cowboys may need to get creative to keep him with Marinelli staying for at least one more season.
Zack Martin’s Contract
The Cowboys made the right decision when they decided to draft Zack Martin over a certain quarterback from Texas A&M in the 2014 NFL Draft. Martin has been named to four straight Pro Bowls and twice named first team All-Pro. The first coming as a rookie. The team picked up his fifth-year option so Dallas will need to work out a new deal.
Martin might be the best of the three first round lineman in Dallas, Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick are both locked up long-term so now they turn to Zack. The Cowboys will likely lock up Martin as well it just becomes a question of when at this point.
What will you being watching out for this offseason when it comes to the Cowboys? Share your thoughts with Patrick on Twitter @DraftCowboys.
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