The Dallas Cowboys playoff hopes for the 2017 season died when they lost to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16. Even if the Cowboys defeated the Seahawks, there was no guarantee Dallas would make the playoffs. The Cowboys needed to win out, and have the Falcons lose to the Panthers in order to make the postseason.
The Cowboys final game with the Eagles may not have playoff implications, but will impact the NFL draft order. Heading into the final week of games, Dallas is slated to have pick No. 19, and a loss to the Eagles would likely propel them up the draft board. In addition to the Cowboys, six other teams could finish 8-8.
Turnovers played a big part in the Cowboys loss to the Seahawks, including a costly pick-six. Since being eliminated from the playoffs, the focus has turned to next season, and who will be wearing a Cowboys uniform in 2018. Dez Bryant has been the center of attention after under-performing this season. Bryant has not had more than 1,000 receiving yards since 2014. The Cowboys receiver had 814 yards and six touchdowns heading into Week 17. Bryant told The Dallas Morning News he was not willing to take a pay cut if he was asked.
I haven’t heard no talks about [taking a pay cut], but if it comes. I don’t know, probably not. Hell, no! I believe in me!…I’m a Texas boy, all day. [Expletive], I don’t know [if I could play for a different team]. If that came about, I’m still Dez Bryant. I’m still going over the top. If it’s there where I can grab it, I’m going to grab it. That’s just who I am.
Former Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware spoke with The Dallas Morning News about the Cowboys propensity for encouraging veteran players to take pay cuts.
When you’re going against Jerry Jones – he’s a business man. He’s going to do whatever it takes for the team. With the $12 million that they owe him, $12.5 million for the next two years, you’re going to have to take a pay cut to go and get the extra guys to help out your team and be that team player. I had to do it. Romo had to do it. Witten had to do it. All those guys have to do those things. You can get, what, four or five Cole Beasleys, right? And so you have to think about what you can bring to the game for them.
They’re going to go – they already went to Dez and said we’re not going to pay you 12.5, can you do something for us to help out the team? If you say no, I’m not going to take a pay cut – guess what, you’re not going to be with the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys problems this season went beyond Bryant. There’s no question Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension had an impact on Dallas’ playoff push. Dak Prescott also struggled down the stretch, particularly against the Seahawks defense. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Jason Garrett is expected to remain Cowboys head coach, but both coordinators could be fired.