Dallas has lots to figure out over winter
Despite bowing out of the playoffs against the Rams, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott figure to lead the Dallas Cowboys into the future.
The biggest question is whether Prescott gets an extension before the final year of his four-year rookie deal. The Cowboys are all but certain to exercise the fifth-year option on Elliott, which would take him through 2020, and receiver Amari Cooper’s option for next season was picked up before Dallas acquired him.
Cole Beasley, who developed into an effective slot receiver, is an unrestricted free agent, as is Tavon Austin, who offers similar skills with more speed, and tight end Geoff Swaim.
The more significant questions are with their pass rushers, starting with DeMarcus Lawrence.
He had 101⁄2 sacks playing on a $17.1-million franchise tag. The sides weren’t close in negotiations last year, so he could get tagged again.
Defensive lineman David Ir ving has shown promise but played only two games after a four-game substance-abuse suspension, an ankle injury and other issues. He’s an unrestricted free agent whose future appears to be elsewhere.
Randy Gregory, who missed 30 of 32 games over the previous two seasons because of suspensions, achieved career highs with 14 games and six sacks. He’s an exclusive-rights free agent.
With young linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, Sean Lee’s future is in question going into the final year of his contract. He took a backup role after recovering from injuries.
Dolphins great dies
Former Miami guard Bob Kuechenberg, a six-time Pro Bowl pick and member of the only team to achieve a perfect season, died at 71.
Kuechenberg started every game for the team that went 17-0 in 1972, and started 16 games for the team that repeated as Super Bowl champions in 1973.