Dal­las has lots to fig­ure out over win­ter

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - Wire re­ports

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.

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