What do Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and Byron Jones have in common? Well, they're all super good at football, they all played for the Cowboys last year and they're all pending free agents.
Now, while Prescott is scheduled to hit the open market in a few days, it'd be wild and risky for Dallas to lose sight of him — even for a wild and risky guy like Jerry Jones. So, if the organization and Prescott can't agree on a long-term deal, they'll almost certainly tag him, meaning he'll be their 2020 QB one way or another.
The outcomes for Cooper and Jones, on the other hand, are far less clear.
Both the receiver and the corner cost the Cowboys quite a bit to acquire. The former came over in a 2018 trade in exchange for a first-round pick, while the latter was a first-round pick back in 2015.
Both the receiver and the corner have also been quite productive for the Cowboys. Cooper had a career-high in yards, yards per catch and touchdowns in his first full season in the NFC East. Jones, meanwhile, has been one of the league's stingiest corners since switching to the position in 2018, even if his interception numbers aren't impressive.
So, here is a pair of players that took premium assets to land and who have largely lived up to their billing. Do the Cowboys want to keep them? Any franchise would. That's not the problem.
The problem is whether the Cowboys can afford to keep them, on top of what they'll be giving Prescott and whatever other pieces they bring in this offseason.
It may come down to choosing between Cooper and Jones, with one staying and one leaving (at the moment, Jones appears to be the one on his way out). Or, they may each see the kind of massive money they can fetch from one of the 31 other teams and decide to depart together.
Their futures, of course, matter to the Redskins. Could their futures also be with the Redskins?
Two of Washington's biggest needs are at pass catcher and corner, and it'd be hard for them to find better options for filling those needs than a dynamic 25-year-old wideout or a crazy athletic 27-year-old defensive back.
The Redskins would also have the added benefit of simultaneously bettering their roster while weakening their rival's. Bringing Cooper or Jones to the Burgundy and Gold would change the tenor of the division a decent amount.
They face the same question as the Cowboys do, however. Will they be ready to compensate either Cooper or Jones the way they want to be?
After moving on from vets like Josh Norman, Paul Richardson, and Jordan Reed, the Redskins vaulted themselves into the NFL's top 10 when it comes to cap space. Therefore, they'll have the cash. Whether Ron Rivera wants to invest so much into one star when he has so many other places to address will be the real issue.
Perhaps Dallas will somehow soon wiggle their way into retaining Prescott, Cooper, and Jones, making this discussion irrelevant. But if they don't, and Cooper, Jones or both look to go elsewhere, many other teams will gladly step in.
The Redskins very well could be one of those teams. If they ultimately are, they better not forget their wallets.
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