Dallas Cowboys To Lose Two Star Players in NFL Free Agency?

Amari Cooper, Dak Prescott

Getty Amari Cooper, Dak Prescott

Despite more than $74 million in projected 2020 salary cap space, the Dallas Cowboys are at risk of their biggest talents landing elsewhere.

CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora reported Sunday on the “increasing odds” that Dallas loses wide receiver Amari Cooper and cornerback Byron Jones in free agency. The team supposedly has made “no progress” in extension talks for both players, as well as quarterback Dak Prescott, also an impending unrestricted free agent.

Of the trio, Prescott appears to have the best odds of sticking around. Per La Canfora, “retaining Prescott remains the primary objective of owner Jerry Jones,” who has the franchise tag at his disposal — and will execute it — if a long-term contract cannot be struck.

Byron Jones seemingly has the worst odds; there’s been “no communication” between the sides and “no talks are expected” in the near future.

“With years of starting experience at safety and corner, Jones, a former first-round pick, is positioned well on the open market and sources said it looks increasingly likely he will be elsewhere in 2020,” La Canfora wrote.

Though in excellent financial shape, the Cowboys will face an unenviable situation this coming offseason. Aside from the aforementioned troika, the team’s scheduled free agents include defensive ends Robert Quinn and Michael Bennett, tight end Jason Witten, WR Randall Cobb, linebacker Sean Lee, and defensive tackle Maliek Collins.

Additionally, head coach Jason Garrett’s contract is set to expire at year’s end.

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Cooper Announces Decision on Re-Signing with Cowboys

Rumors be damned. Amid the aforementioned hearsay, the Pro Bowl pass-catcher stated after Monday’s practice that he doesn’t plan on playing for another team next season.

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Of course,” Cooper said about inking a new deal with Dallas, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Like I just said, I love it here. I want to be here. I just love this situation, my teammates. I just feel it’s the place for me.”

The favorite target of Prescott, who’s enjoying a career campaign, Cooper ranks fifth in the NFL with 971 receiving yards and is tied for the league lead with nine touchdowns. A consummate professional with a famously low-key demeanor, he’s quicky assimilated into both the locker room and the local community, established as a star amongst stars.

Cooper is closing out the fifth-year option on his rookie pact, which was exercised by the Oakland Raiders before they shipped him to Dallas. The former first-round draft pick is collecting $13.924 million in base salary for 2019.

Garrett Sidesteps Question About Future as Cowboys’ Head Coach

Garrett sees the writing on the wall but chooses to look the other way. Ignorance is bliss to the Cowboys’ head man, who’s mastered the art of coach-speak during his decade-long reign in Dallas.

Reporters know better by now than to expect a straightforward answer from Garrett. Yet they prod and push and don’t allow the 53-year-old to compartmentalize his tenuous status with the organization.

Does Garrett feel like he’s coaching for his job over the final month of the regular season?

“We’re just focused on having a great Thursday,” he said on 105.3 The Fan on Monday, via The Athletic, referring to Dallas’ Week 14 matchup at Chicago on Thursday night. “That’s always been my approach whenever I’ve been involved in anything as a player or coach in this league. … We got to have a great day today.”

READ NEXT: Cowboys Name Starting Kicker After Veteran Tryouts

Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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