The Dallas Cowboys need to make changes to their roster this offseason.
The same can be said for every team, but Jerry Jones and company can’t afford to sit on their hands after another premature playoff exit. Surrounding Dak Prescott with better weapons should be the number one priority.
Like last offseason, the Cowboys have work to do to get under the salary cap before they can make moves. The salary cap for 2023 is set at $224.8 million, and Dallas is currently $7.602 million over the cap, per Spotrac.
Stephen Jones’ actions indicate he doesn’t agree, but the salary cap is easy to navigate and manipulate. The Cowboys have several potential avenue to create more cap space, including releasing expendable players, cutting declining stars, trading away players, and restructuring contracts.
Everyone is pointing to Prescott as a potential restructure candidate, but that speculation is a waste of time because it isn’t realistic.
Why the Cowboys aren’t going to restructure Dak Prescott’s contract
Restructuring Prescott’s contract would free up $22 million in cap space, but it’d leave the Cowboys with a huge dead cap charge in 2025.
The Cowboys could stand pat, and let Prescott’s contract play out, and potentially move on from him in 2024, when there won’t be any guaranteed money left on his deal. That would be pretty reckless, however, assuming there won’t be a realistic path to acquiring another fringe top-10 quarterback. Unless Dallas drafts a quarterback this year or next, odds are they’re going to sink or swim with Prescott.
The more likely avenue to free up cap room is extending Prescott. Some fans might scoff at the idea of giving Dak more money after he led the league in interceptions, and understandably so, but it’s the easiest path to creating cap space, and the Cowboys need as much as possible to build a Super Bowl roster.
The Cowboys could add four years to Prescott’s current deal, and give him a massive signing bonus. That would knock down his 2023 base salary by a significant margin. Ipso facto, Dallas would have ample cap room to work with.
All of a sudden, the front office would be able to re-sign key free agents, sign outside free agents, extend core players including CeeDee Lamb and Trevon Diggs, whose big cap hits likely wouldn’t kick in until 2024 at the earliest, and even afford to bring Tony Pollard back on the franchise tag … all without being on the hook for a crippling dead cap charge come 2025.
That’s why restructuring Prescott’s contract isn’t happening. The Cowboys could make all the moves mentioned above by reworking his deal, but the organization should do whatever it takes to avoid that dead cap hit. If that means extending Prescott, then so be it.
Even with the interceptions, he was a highly efficient quarterback in 2022, and he’ll only get better if the team gives him more weapons.