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Mailbag: Forecasting Cooper's Future? Easier To Keep Lawrence Or Hitchens?

THOMAS TRAUTWEINMILFORD, MA

It seems like Jonathan Cooper has finally found his footing. What are the odds that the Cowboys can keep him around? I know his stock may be pretty high at the end of the season but do you think there is a chance considering his struggles elsewhere he might take less to stay in Dallas?

Bryan:Jonathan Cooper has found his footing and the likelihood that he stays around is a possibility. The problem I believe they will face is there are so many teams that need offensive line help that he might consider an offer elsewhere. Then it would be difficult to match considering the other needs on this squad. 

David: I don't know if he'd take less, assuming there's another good offer out there. But considering his injury history and his struggles with other teams, the Cowboys might be the most interested team for his services. It's always hard to predict free agency,  but I like his odds of being here in 2018.


PATRICK BASILIOMILILANI, HI

Considering how well they've played so far this season and the expected price tag for each position, who would be more valuable to re-sign to a new contract between Hitchens and D-Law?

Bryan: Lawrence is more valuable. The plan I believe is for Jaylon Smith to play at middle linebacker next season and then draft another linebacker. Hitchens has been outstanding for you but is probably too expensive. 

David: If I had to guess right now, I'd assume the Cowboys are going to put the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence. That's why the tag exists — to give teams a chance to fight against the open market. Hitchens is interesting, because I think he's an incredibly valuable piece of this defense. But much like Barry Church last year, I'm not convinced the front office will want to compete with the type of price he can command in free agency.

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