The Dallas Cowboys’ magical season came to an abrupt end at Lambeau Field.
After exceeding expectations and rebranding their style of football, another controversial call spelled the fate for America’s Team. The Cowboys’ accomplishments include winning the NFC East, earning a postseason victory and having the rushing champ on their team.
Turning the page to the offseason, FOXSports.com takes a look at three looming issues the Cowboys must address.
Taking care of Dez and DeMarco: The Cowboys’ ongoing negotiations with their two best offensive playmakers will finally reach a head this offseason. After months of going back and forth with wide receiver Dez Bryant, the Cowboys must decide to either pay the 26-year-old wide receiver amongst the highest at his position or franchise tag him. The latter scenario certainly wouldn’t make Bryant a happy man, but would guarantee him for another season. There also wouldn’t be the inherent off-the-field risk that comes with handing Bryant a ton of guaranteed money. For running back DeMarco Murray, it’s not that simple. After running for a franchise-record of yards, Murray will command market value. Placing the franchise tag on him is a projected $11 million, which is well above the norm for a player at his position. The Cowboys reportedly offered Murray a four-year contract in October, but one can assume it was a low-ball offer. Of course, should the Cowboys allow Murray to test free agency, there are plenty of options via the draft and free agency (Adrian Peterson?) who will likely be available.
Stringing together another solid draft: Much has been made of the three first-round picks spent on the offensive line in the past four seasons. The internal decisions have directly led to an easy-to-formula and success on the field. Credit assistant director of player personnel Will McClay for some of the talent he has helped hand select the past two seasons. McClay, who will likely garner general manager considerations from teams with vacancies, has assisted in the picks of Pro Bowl linemen Zack Martin and Travis Frederick along with budding talent like tight end Gavin Escobar, wide receiver Terrance Williams and safety J.J. Wilcox. Another strong draft class could be what puts this 12-win team over the top in a weak NFC East.
Keeping continuity with the staff: Head coach Jason Garrett currently doesn’t have another year on his deal beyond this season and owner Jerry Jones will need to make a decision on if he wishes to extend him. Following a 12-4 campaign, Garrett surely is deserving of an extension, but anything can happen this time of year. Beyond that, offensive play-caller Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli both could be people of interest over the next month when opposing teams are looking to fill vacancies. Each coordinator are on short-term deals and their arrivals this season have benefitted the team.