# Is Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott good at math?

#### By Richard Ball

The 2019 salary cap is $188.2 million. Over the past seven years, the cap has risen by about $10 million per year so let’s assume that this trend continues – a fact that Prescott is counting on. This would put the Cowboys about $14 million over the salary cap.

At the end of the 2020 season, defensive back Chido Awuzie and safety Xavier Woods will become unrestricted free agents. Let’s assume that they will sign $15 million and $12 million average per year deals.

The Cowboys would now have 43 players under contract for the 2021 season not counting the 2020 draft picks at a cap hit of $224.1 million. Assuming the cap rises another $10 million to $208.2 million, the Cowboys will be $16 million over the cap with a need to sign another 10 players.

At the end of the 2021 season, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch will become an unrestricted free agent (let’s assume the fifth year option builds into his new contract). His new contract will likely be more than Jaylon Smith’s contract but for simplification, let’s assume they will be the same.

With the cap rising another $10 million to $218.2 million for the 2022 season, the Cowboys will have 21 players signed to contracts that total $219.1 million which is $1 million over the cap. But they will still need to sign 32 players to fill out a roster.

For the 2023 season with a $228.2 million salary cap, the Cowboys will have $211 million committed to 13 players. On paper they would be under the salary cap but they would have $420,000 to spend per player for the remaining 40 roster spots which is not possible since the 2019 minimum salary is $495,000.

This analysis was a simplification as each salary cap hit was assumed to be the same. Contrarians will say that the cap could be manipulated by lowering the early years and raising the later years. The fact that the 2023 cap is for practical purposes exceeded with only 13 players signed suggests that this is not likely to help.

Another opportunity to criticize this example will be the luxury signings of La’el Collins, Chido Awuzie and Xavier Woods. This would save the Cowboys $39 million on their 2023 cap meaning they would have $172 million assigned to 10 players leaving $56 million to sign 43 more players.