Week 3 of the NFL preseason continues on Saturday with seven games. Among those is a battle of the Lone Star State, when the Houston Texans travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. So far this preseason, both the Texans and the Cowboys are 1-1. The Texans lost their preseason opener to the Packers in a 28-26 game but rebounded in Week 2 by beating the Lions 30-23.
It’s been pretty much the same story for the Cowboys, who lost their first game to the 49ers 17-9 but regained their composure and beat the Rams in Week 2, 14-10.
Cowboys Contractual Problems
A couple of stories have been well-documented this preseason. Antonio Brown’s helmet issue easily takes the cake, but not far behind is the holdout of standout running back Ezekiel Elliott. The two-time NFL rushing leader has been a complete no-show in training camp and preseason thus far.
While the Cowboys did kick in the fifth year of his rookie deal, in which he’ll make a little over $9 million, he is only making a little over $3 million this year. That, combined with the fact that the shelf life of running backs is far less than any other position, makes Elliott’s holdout understandable.
The Cowboys have said multiple times that they have put enough money aside to be able to extend the core offensive trio of Elliott, QB Dak Prescott, and WR Amari Cooper. While Elliott and the Cowboys haven’t reached an agreement yet, reports are out that he has been offered a pretty nice contract. The newly proposed deal wouldn’t make him the highest-paid running back in the league, an honor held by Rams’ Todd Gurley, but it would put him just under Gurley and above Le’ Veon Bell.
While we’re on the topic of contracts and the Cowboys, Prescott is also in need of a new deal. While Prescott isn’t holding out like Elliott, he has already declined a new deal that he was offered. The deal that Cowboys’ GM Jerry Jones proposed to Dak would have paid him more than $30 million a year. Quite the pay raise from a fourth-round rookie contract.
However, Prescott turned it down and reportedly wants to be the third QB in the league to be paid $40 million or more a season. That seems like an insane ask for a player who has never eclipsed 4,000 yards or 25 passing touchdowns in a single season.
Texans Look To Repeat
What a year 2018 was for Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans. The former Clemson product led the Texans to 11 wins and a division title, beating out the Colts by a game.
The offense as a whole was terrific, with it being the best year in Watson’s young career. He passed for 4,165 yards and 26 touchdowns against only nine interceptions. DeAndre Hopkins cemented his case as best wideout in the game, catching 115 balls for 1,572 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Even Lamar Miller had one of his best seasons in Texas, running for almost 1,000 yards and averaging 4.6 yards per carry. That offense will get even better, with a healthy Will Fuller and newly acquired Duke Johnson Jr.
While the third preseason game is often the dress rehearsal of the regular season, this year coaches have been bucking that trend. Starters are, smartly, playing even less than normal to avoid injuries. However, with the offensive prowess the Texans possess, and JJ Watt on defense, this game should be all Texans.