Watch Now: Time to Schein: The Cowboys can only win a Super Bowl if they pay Dak Prescott (4:10)

All eyes are always on the Dallas Cowboys, but not often do they glare with such impassioned gaze. The last decade has seen its ups and downs for the club, but they were mostly muddled in mediocrity during the Jason Garrett era, which left reticent team loyalists stuck between half-optimisms and aggressive pessimism that the organization would never do what it took to end a Super Bowl drought that now extends almost two and a half decades. In one fell swoop, however, the latter has been thrown back into their chair, witnessing the parting of ways with Jason Garrett and the ushering in of a new regime under a much more proven Mike McCarthy.

With McCarthy came a swift change in the Cowboys usually ho-hum approach to the offseason, both in free agency and in the 2020 NFL Draft. Positions that were routinely ignored were addressed first, and players who normally wouldn't get a peek from Dallas were suddenly on the phone agreeing to terms with them. The coaching staff was wholly revamped, but not entirely, with key retentions like offensive coordinator Kellen Moore hinting strongly at a more evolved McCarthy to come. As it stands, the Cowboys are again frontrunners to [re]take the NFC East crown but, for a team with five Lombardi trophies and the eyes of the world on it annually, it's never been about simply owning the division. 

It's been about returning to prominence as a premier contender in the league, and they're seemingly closer now than they've been in recent years. Earlier this offseason, I listed six steps they needed to take and they nearly accomplished them all, but there are still at least three moves that would send them soaring into the next solar system.

And here they are.

1. Secure extension with Dak Prescott

Pop a couple of NoDoz, because you're almost there.

At this point, you're suffering fatigue from constantly tracking down every crumb you can find regarding the contract talks between Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, seeing as it's been ongoing for a year now. You've bitten so hard into a false rumor or several that you're being fitted for veneers this summer, and all you want is for it to be over with. Well, the Cowboys want the same, positively-speaking, and it's likely they'll get their wish if all continues to go as expected. As it stands, the latest offer lobbed to Prescott was a five-year deal averaging roughly $35 million with upwards of $106 million guaranteed, sources tell CBS Sports, but that was back in March. Despite reports to the contrary, Prescott has not turned down the deal, but is instead mulling it over as he and his agent, Todd France, consider replying with a counteroffer.

CBS Sports broke the story in early February that the holdup in getting a deal done wasn't the price tag, but the length, and that remains the situation at hand in June. The Cowboys shaved their initial ask from upwards of seven years (offered in 2019) to the current five-year hill, and Prescott has come up from his initial rebuttal of three years (counteroffered in 2019) to four. Talks remain positive and there has been no regressing, but they are paused as Prescott mourns the untimely passing of his brother and takes on social injustice. Prescott and the Cowboys have until July 15 to agree to a long-term deal or he'll enter the 2020 season on a $31.5 million franchise tag. 

He refuses to sign it currently because he wants to be a Cowboy for a long time to come, and the team wants the same. And while it's possible the new deal could land at any moment, I'm told it'll more likely go down to the wire, with the expectation it ultimately gets done. The Cowboys have had a stellar offseason thus far, and the last thing they need is this looming over the head of their franchise quarterback as they look to turn the corner under McCarthy, who himself is all-in on Prescott as his signal-caller.

2. Acquire Jamal Adams, for the right price

Yes, the Cowboys are interested, but...

They have been since October 2019, when they attempted to land the All-Pro safety in a trade with the New York Jets, failing to do so because they justifiably refused to pay Gang Green the kitchen sink and half of the plumbing attached to it. The two sides never got close to agreeing on a deal, but the interest in Adams has gone nowhere. That doesn't mean the Cowboys have been in contact with the Jets since October though, because I'm told they have not. It's not difficult to ascertain why that is, considering the Jets were reportedly asking for a first-round pick plus a Day 2 pick initially and, eight months later, reports are they're asking for that same thing with more specificity -- i.e., a first- and a third-rounder in exchange for Adams.

For Dallas, that's going to be a hard and firm "no thanks." The reality is the Jets have time to grant Adams an extension, barring a holdout in camp and/or the regular season, having exercised his fifth-year option that keeps the former first-round pick tied to New York through the 2021 season. The fact he's likely to become the highest-paid safety in NFL history also factors into any sort of trade scenario, because Dallas would have to be willing to give up premium assets for the right to then set the market with Adams, which complicates the situation quite a bit. It's not that the Cowboys wouldn't be able to afford awarding Adams such a deal a year from now, but they can't yet be certain, because the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to impact the 2021 salary cap. 

There's also the pesky little tidbit about needing to sign Prescott to determine what the true cap space will be in 2020 and beyond, along with the fact the Cowboys will have other in-house talent hitting free agency next offseason they'd like to keep. The most prevalent of them is wide receiver Michael Gallup, who had a breakout 2019 and still has two years left on his rookie deal. Any reports of Gallup being included in a trade for Adams are "unequivocally false," a source told CBS Sports, and it makes sense they would be. For if the Cowboys are adverse to giving up a first- and third-round pick, they're not going to give up a premium pick and a potential premier wideout, and for a position they don't notoriously value highly and believe they've already addressed in the offseason.

This doesn't mean they wouldn't call the Jets again if the asking price for Adams was reduced, because they would and they'd be smart to do so. If compromise can be had (long shot), adding Adams to the revamped Cowboys roster would be the equivalent of throwing a match into a gasoline factory. 

3. Sign Everson Griffen

Pass rush, ahoy!

In my opinion, you can never have too many talented players on the defensive line who wake up every morning with the goal of fracturing an opposing quarterback's ego. The new-look Cowboys feel the same way, with defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and defensive line coach Jim Tomsula champing at the bit to turn the front four into band of serial QB killers. They now boast a defensive line that includes DeMarcus Lawrence, Dontari Poe and Gerald McCoy, but also rolled the dice on a now-reinstated Aldon Smith and expect to see Randy Gregory return to the field in 2020 as well. But wait, there's more, because Tyrone Crawford is set to return from injury and their heralded draft class includes high-ceiling talents Neville Gallimore and Bradley Anae and a potential undrafted steal in Ron'Dell Carter -- the latter having the potential to unseat a veteran in camp.

So, why sign Griffen? Well, I told you four sentences ago. When it comes to the pass rush, the Cowboys need to be gluttonous in their approach and, as an added bonus, their secondary would thank them for it. Griffen remains a free agent who's also shown interest in signing in Dallas, so there's no reason to not call and find out his price. 

It's worth a look, Cowboys.

For while Smith and Gregory are both capable of delivering double-digit sack seasons, respectively, the former hasn't taken a snap since 2015 and the latter himself didn't play in 2019. While it's true both could reacclimate swiftly -- as Gregory did in 2018 -- it's also possible it takes a few games for them to find their game legs and football lungs. There's also the matter of their future availability being perpetually tied to the hand of commissioner Roger Goodell, which in-and-of-itself should give the Cowboys motivation to add Griffen. Signing the four-time Pro Bowler not only provides insurance against the unexpected, be that suspension or injury, but also creates the possibility that -- if all goes well on all fronts -- they'd be able to field a defensive line that looks like Kevlar on paper. 

That said, I'm told the team had much more interest in Griffen before the draft, which means his asking price would have to be more team-friendly if he's to land with the Cowboys this summer. The team doesn't need Griffen, so to speak, but this isn't a column titled "three Cowboys needs." It's one detailing moves that can either remove unnecessary distractions (i.e., signing Prescott to an extension) and/or truly take them over the top in their pursuit of a Super Bowl win under McCarthy in his first year with the club. 

After roughly 25 years of getting no farther than the moon, it's time the Cowboys take aim at ... the stars.