The biggest news on Friday in Cowboys Nation was perhaps the story that never came. After the staff shakeup that saw the team cut ties with six assistants and the promised return of Dan Quinn, most expected some definitive word on the status of Kellen Moore to close out the week. But the only update on the offensive coordinator comes from Moore himself, as he reportedly informed the Cowboys that he had been the first runner-up to Frank Reich for the Panthers head job.
Meanwhile, an agent looks into what the Cowboys should do with Ezekiel Elliott from a dollars-and-cents perspective, another outlet weighs in on Tony Pollard's future, and former Dallas coach Bill Parcells doesn't mince words when he gives his thoughts on the Cowboys' top playmakers. Micah Parsons has a busy week: named a finalist for a major award, bids farewell to one of his mentors, and heads back to college for the wrestling match of the year. All that, plus what are Dan Quinn's priorities now that he's back on the job? And lots and lots of opinions on Dak Prescott. That's where we start with our News and Notes.
McCarthy saw plenty of "great things" from Dak :: The Mothership
The Cowboys quarterback got plenty of criticism this season, but his head coach was also encouraged. "His resilience is exactly what you're hoping for. I don't think there's a man more respected in that locker room," McCarthy said, adding he also found things to be worked on. "Turnovers are obviously a huge negative area. I think this will all be part of how we look at our offense… We're not just going to change the date on how we do things in 2023; I promise you that."
Dallas Cowboys' reality: Dak Prescott isn't going anywhere. He needs serious help :: Fort Worth Star-Telegram
What's now clear is that Dak is a good NFL quarterback who needs top people around him; he's not the type to elevate average receivers into Pro Bowlers. So the Cowboys need to invest in real weapons for him rather than depend on the likes of Michael Gallup, Noah Brown, and Dalton Schultz to suddenly be transformed into championship-caliber talent.
What to do with Dak Prescott: Three options the Cowboys must consider :: ESPN
With Prescott set to count an absurd $49.13 million against next season's salary cap, the Cowboys could do one of three things. They could extend him to creatively make some cap room. They could let the money play out, knowing that it forces them into lots of one-year deals for others. Or they could draft a quarterback with an early- to mid-round selection, someone who has a realistic chance of being Prescott's successor.
Analyzing every NFL playoff team, projecting their futures :: The 33rd Team
Bill Parcells thinks the Cowboys are a good team overall, but true to form, the ex-coach also called it like he saw it. He says Dak Prescott isn't "top-quality," but good enough to win with, if the Cowboys put more pieces around him and run a more balanced offense. And he says it's time to invest at the running back position; he has concerns about Tony Pollard holding up physically, and he says Ezekiel Elliott is "near the end."
Agent's Take: Has Ezekiel Elliott played his last game with Cowboys? Sizing up options, what Dallas should do :: CBS Sports
Elliott has been trending in the wrong direction statistically since signing that $100 million contract. He says he'll take a pay cut to stay in Dallas, but the numbers say his 2023 salary would have to drop from $10.9 million to below $6.04 million for it to make sense. And he'd likely want the chance to earn that back in incentives, which would necessitate another Pro Bowl-type campaign. The most prudent thing for the Cowboys to do would be to part ways with their two-time rushing champ.
One free agent each NFL team can't afford to lose :: PFF
Not having him on the field for the second half of the divisional round proved just how valuable Tony Pollard is to the Cowboys offense. Slapping a franchise tag on him would cost around $10.1 million; keeping Ezekiel Elliott would cost even more: $10.9 million. That's an easy either/or decision.
With Dan Quinn staying, what are the Cowboys' offseason priorities on defense? :; Dallas Morning News
The DC is back, but it won't be rinse-and-repeat for his unit in 2023. Deciding which of the eight defensive free agents to bring back will be a key task. Making the right call on a second contract for Trevon Diggs, too. There needs to be more investment made in stopping the run, and cornerback depth continues to be a concern.
DPOY finalist Micah Parsons acknowledges former Cowboys assistant :: Cowboys Wire
Parsons's stats make a valid case for him earning the year-end award. But news of his inclusion in the list of finalists was followed shortly thereafter by word that senior defensive assistant George Edwards would no longer be with the team. "I wouldn't have made so many leaps with out you!" Parsons tweeted. "You will be missed!"
Micah Parsons heads back to school for Penn State-vs-Iowa wrestling dual :: Big Ten Network
Report: Kellen Moore told Cowboys he was 1st runner-up for Panthers HC job :: Panthers Wire
According to Panthers beat writer Sheena Quick, Moore told the Cowboys that the Carolina head coaching job came down to himself and Frank Reich. That would have put him ahead of Steve Wilks, who had been presumed the first of two finalists for the vacancy after his impressive 12-game run as the team's interim head coach this year.
Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire