CeeDee Lamb is work in progress

FRISCO, Texas- The Cowboys finished the longest season in history, the first with 17 games with a 12-5 record, the division championship and record numbers on offense with 22 players in the end zone, under a head coach, Mike McCarthy, that in his second year he won six games more than in the previous one.

But they fell short of the very high expectations they had when the season began and everyone in the NFL world began to realize that the defense could play at the highest level, led by rookie Micah Parsons.

However, one of the focus points this offseason has to be on their wide receivers, who finished below expectations in terms of the talent they have among the starters.

In his second season, since he was selected in the 2020 Draft, CeeDee Lamb was named to the Pro Bowl, after surpassing a thousand yards (1,102); team leader, even though he played 16 regular season games, because he missed one with concussion symptoms.

Amari Cooper, who is the organization’s leading receiver, was second in passing yards (865) in 15 games and tight end Dalton Schultz was third with 808 yards.

The top two receivers are under contract for next season, though many have speculated that Cooper has been left behind as the $100 million receiver that he is…

Worse yet, speculation has put Cooper out of the Cowboys heading into next season. But it’s really hard to think of that, considering that the third wide receiver on the 2021 roster, Michael Gallup, is a potential free agent and will have to rehab a knee injury he suffered in the last game, against the 49ers in the first round of postseason.

On paper, Lamb heading into his third season should have the potential to be the No. 1 receiver on any team, considering he was a 14th overall pick in the NFL. However, the Cowboys would have to decide whether to accelerate his development because at first it would seem that he needs more support from his peers to be that elite wide receiver the Cowboys need to fulfill their aspirations of breaking their championship drought.

“Honestly, I have no idea what’s going on right now,” Lamb said during Pro Bowl week in Las Vegas, when asked about the possibility of receiving receivers from the Cowboys, either by trade, free agency or cut. “I don’t pay attention to those external things. You never know what’s going to happen. The NFL is a professional league and I know a lot of the players don’t come back to their teams the next year.”

Lamb was considered the primary receiver for Dallas against the Chiefs, in absentia due to Cooper’s injury.

As the Dallas receiver who faced the best of the Chiefs’ secondary and game plan, he had only three receptions for 14 yards in an afternoon that was far from the best overall for offense and especially for passing. , with just 216 Prescott yards and two interceptions.

Lamb’s potential is there, but he needs more work and patience; something that in the NFL is often impossible due to the urgency of the salary cap. But it is a fact that for at least three more seasons, his presence is assured at a low cost by his rookie deal and the progress he has shown.

But it’s important for Cooper to be there alongside Lamb while actually establishing himself as a true No. 1 receiver in this league.

Also likely helping is the prospect of tight end Dalton Schultz, who the past two seasons has been synonymous with consistency as a receiver, plus he’s the best blocking tight end they have at The Star.

The issue again is the salary cap, considering he can become an unrestricted free agent, and Blake Jarwin’s contract, which unluckily opened the door for Schultz to showcase his talents.

The Cowboys basically have until March 14 to work out their chances with Schultz and at what price he’d be worth, including the franchise tag.

But that is another story for the team to analyze, at least until the March 8 deadline to designate franchise players arrives, in a period that opened last Tuesday.

Even those possibilities include risking trying to work out a long-term deal before July 15 or they would have to pay Schultz the average of the five highest salaries in the entire league at his position.

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CeeDee Lamb is work in progress