2 Cowboys stars make NFL’s ideal roster for current salary cap

Dallas Cowboys (Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys (Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports) /

Every year 32 NFL teams get a salary cap set by the league and do their best to create a Super Bowl-winning roster without going over that limit. If there’s a team that knows what it’s like to struggle with salary cap space, it’s the Dallas Cowboys. This year, they started the offseason with the third-worst amount of space at -$21 million.

Because of that, Jerry Jones and Co. had to make a variety of hard decisions and let go of some fan favorites in order to get back to the positive side of things. Whether you agree with the front office’s choices or not, they somehow made -$21 million turn into over $21 million in the green.

Understanding the minutia behind contracts and cap space maneuvers can be complicated, but NFL senior researcher Anthony Holzman-Escareno does that for a living. As he did last year, the researcher put together a 53-man roster comprised of players from all around the league in order to create what he feels is the best possible roster under the 2022 NFL salary cap.

It’s incredibly impressive and I highly recommend checking out his breakdown. There are some important parameters he set before compromising his list. First off, he was not allowed to have more than 24 players on their rookie contracts (with no more than four players drafted from each of Rounds 1-3 and 12 total from Rounds 4-7). He also was only allowed to use one player on a franchise tag and “sign” only one free agent to a veteran minimum contract.

Holzman-Escareno was able to get it done and did so with just over $18,000 to spare. He spent 41.5% on the offense, 57.2% on the defense, and 1.3% on special teams. DT Aaron Donald was the most expensive player and Chiefs guard Trey Smith was the least expensive player.

Unsurprisingly, two incredibly impressive young stars from the Cowboys made the list: Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs. Both were players who fans previously doubted when they were selected in the draft who ended up being Pro Bowl-level talent. Because they’re both still on their rookie contracts, the Cowboys are getting them for a steal at the moment.

Cowboys LB Micah Parsons and CB Trevon Diggs make the NFL’s best roster made within the 2022 salary cap

Parsons made the starting roster and New Orleans Saints’ Demario Davis was the other starting LB. In the article, Holzman-Escareno reminded football fans that the Cowboys LB was the only player in the NFL with at least 200 coverage, pass rush, and run defense snaps in 2021 per Next Gen Stats. The rookie also didn’t allow any touchdowns in coverage.

The starting cornerbacks were Jaire Alexander, A.J. Terrell, and Denzel Ward. Diggs made the depth chart along with Amani Oruwariye. Like many, the writer admitted that Diggs gave up a plethora of coverage yards, but he also more interceptions in a single season than any other player has in the last 40 years.

Other Cowboys players who were honorable mentions but didn’t end up making the roster were Tony Pollard, CeeDee Lamb, and Leighton Vander Esch. Obviously, all three of those players are talented, but they are also on affordable contracts right now.

Next. A Cowboys 53-Man Roster Projection. dark