I think they’ll rank them like this:
1. Quincy - while time is not critical, this extension is about messaging. If the executives believe he’s a franchise guy, then they need to extend him before his rookie contract expires because it’ll actually save them money long-term and it shows they’re committed to him as a franchise QB. The challenge will be finding the right balance financially.
1a. Demarcus Lawrence - time is critical on this one. He’s set to hit free agency, so my guess is he’ll be hit with the tag again while a long term deal is being worked out. Neither he nor the team want him under the franchise tag, so both sides are motivated to get the deal done.
2. Amari Cooper - even though he’s under contract through the 2019 season, his agent can (rightfully) claim that Quincy became a much better player because of Cooper, so Dallas can’t extend one without the other.
3. Byron Jones - thhis is a classic 50/50 ball. We picked up the fifth year option, so he’s under contract through 2019, but his salary commands could skyrocket if he has a season in 2019 like he did in 2018. It would be cheaper long-term to extend him now than risk paying an extra $3M+ per season if we wait. In all honesty, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Jones chooses to wait for that very reason. He can bet on himself and make more money, especially since Kris Richard is definitely returning next season.
4. Zeke - pay him sooner than later before he hits the RB wall. Statistically, he’s been the most productive RB two of the last three seasons, and it’s all three seasons when prorated against his absurd 2017 suspension.
5. Jaylon Smith - I think this is the contract he may want to wait on, but Dallas shouldn’t. Due to the more limited sample size from his injury, an extension now will favor Dallas. He absolutely deserves the extension, but waiting until after the 2019 season (or even during it) will land him a better contract when he gets extended. He’s another player who may choose to wait and bet on himself.
6. La’el Collins - sign him ASAP. He’s steadily improving, has been reliable, and shouldn’t be a bank breaker. Keeping him also keeps the o-line continuity, and that’s a precious commodity in the NFL.