3. Contract situations with CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons
The Cowboys might as well be putting a full starting lineup in free agency this offseason, but beyond expiring contracts, they've got a couple of key players -- probably the two best players on the team -- eligible for new deals this offseason.
And how they navigate these deals could determine the rest of what happens in the offseason.
Let's start with CeeDee Lamb, a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft who is just entering his fifth NFL season in 2024. Lamb is set to play on the fifth-year option that comes standard with every rookie deal in the NFL these days, a very fair price for the level he plays, all things considered. The price? Just $17.99 million.
Now, that's a lot of money, but Lamb is a top three NFL wide receiver right now, and as the market continues to increase at that position, he is almost undoubtedly going to reset the market at over $30 million per season, but the idea of that coming up could lead to the franchise tag in 2025, which means Lamb could ultimately be a holdout at training camp this Summer.
It's a lot to think about right now, but if the Cowboys give Dak Prescott a massive deal, can they occupy a similar percentage of the salary cap pie with CeeDee Lamb? Lamb is such a difference-maker that the Cowboys might go economical at the QB position just to keep him.
Micah Parsons's contract may just have to wait. The Cowboys' first-round pick in 2021 has emerged as one of the best pass rushers and overall defensive stars in the league, and he's currently projected to be a free agent in 2025. The Cowboys will undoubtedly pick up his fifth-year option and play the long game here, but the longer they wait to extend Parsons, the more that price goes up...