In fact, Prescott is so confident that Lamb will break out in his third season that he’s already saying there’s “no doubt” that the former Oklahoma Sooner can be Dallas’ No. 1 wide receiver this year and moving into the future.
The Dallas Cowboys need CeeDee Lamb to become their undisputed No. 1
Even if Lamb wasn’t ready, the Cowboys pushed all their chips into the table with him this offseason, and they’re undoubtedly looking for him to carry a significant load in 2022 and beyond.
That became evident when Dallas opted to take advantage of the “out” in Amari Cooper’s contract and trade him to the Cleveland Browns. The Cowboys lost the deal, trading away their supposed No. 1 wideout for just a fifth-round pick and two sixth-round picks, but they saved $16 million in cap space.
Cooper, who notched 865 yards and eight touchdowns last season in just 15 games, was essentially a salary dump. The only way that move would have made sense for the Cowboys, though, even with their salary cap woes, was if Jerry Jones and company felt Lamb was ready to take on the added responsibility of being “the guy” in Dallas.
Ready or not, that’s what the Cowboys need him to be in 2022.
Cooper is with the Browns and Cedrick Wilson, who notched 602 yards and six touchdowns last season for Dallas, is running with Tyreek Hill and the Miami Dolphins.
The Cowboys did re-sign Michael Gallup to a massive five-year, $57.5 million contract extension, but he’s coming off a season-ending ACL injury, and he hasn’t functioned as anything more than an elite No. 2 or No. 3 to this point in his career.
Dak Prescott has ultimate confidence in Lamb
There’s no doubt about it. The Cowboys need Lamb to be their No. 1, and for what it’s worth, Prescott feels extremely confident that the 6-foot-2, 189-pound wideout will be just that.
He told John Machota of The Athletic that there’s “no doubt” that Lamb can be Dallas’ top dog moving forward.
“He hasn’t even scratched the surface,” Prescott said. “For him to be the main guy, I know he’s ready for it.”
That’s high praise from Dallas’ quarterback, but it’s worth noting that’s not the first time he’s hyped up Lamb, and it probably won’t be the last.
Back in mid-December of 2021 and with the Cowboys riding high off a 56-14 win over Washington, Lamb relayed that he felt he and Prescott had a bond from the very beginning.
“I feel like he trusted me as soon as I came in as a rookie and I trusted him when I was a rookie. Just building that foundation early and kinda getting tit-for-tat with each other, understanding what he does well and what I don’t do well. Kinda working on it. I mean I wish I could really just pinpoint what it is but I can’t. The rhythm, it’s getting there,” Lamb said, per ESPN.
For his part, Prescott gave the credit back to Lamb.
“He’s a playmaker, and when you’re very skillful and you have great awareness it’s easy to get on the same page,” Prescott said of Lamb. “That’s credit to him of just being a young player and communicating through everything, us talking, whether it’s option routes or whether it’s whatever it is.”
Can Lamb step up for the Cowboys?
Whatever the connection was that Prescott and Lamb developed and however they got to that point, it was apparent in 2021.
The ending of the Cowboys season, a shocking Super Wild Card Weekend home loss to the San Francisco 49ers, sullied an otherwise incredible campaign for Dallas. The Cowboys finished 12-5 and won the NFC East for the first time since 2018.
They also had the most opportunistic defense in the league, a unit that led the NFL in takeaways with 34, and the top-ranked offense league-wide. The Cowboys led the league in yards per game and points per game with 407 and 31.2, respectively. They also had the second-best passing game in the NFL, netting 307.6 yards per game through the air, and Lamb was a huge part of that.
In fact, he led all Dallas receivers with 79 receptions for 1,102 yards and six touchdowns. Cooper and tight end Dalton Schultz both notched more touchdowns than Lamb (eight each), but the second-year wideout out of Oklahoma was clearly Prescott’s favorite target.
He also led the team in targets with 120. Cooper and Schultz were a handful behind with 104 each.
Lamb has the trust of Prescott, but can he step up and be the No. 1 target in Dallas when every defense he plays knows the football is coming his way more often than not?
He’ll have to prove that rather quickly for Dallas, but if the confidence his quarterback shows in him is any indication, he’ll pass that test with flying colors.