NFC rival gives Cowboys' Jerry Jones a lesson about handling contract-needy stars

Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys began mandatory minicamp on Tuesday and while Micah Parsons was in attendance after he skipped OTAs, CeeDee Lamb was not present. This all but confirms that Lamb won't report to the Cowboys until he signs a contract extension.

Fortunately, that might be around the corner after the Vikings made Justin Jefferson the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history. It's been reported that Lamb was waiting for the Jefferson domino to fall in his negotiations. Talks between Lamb and the Cowboys are expected to ramp up now.

Whether an agreement is reached before the end of minicamp remains to be seen, however. If Lamb misses the entire three-day installment, he is subject to a $101,716 fine. That sum likely means very little to the All-Pro receiver, who makes nearly $1 million per week on his current deal.

While it's a matter of when -- not if -- Lamb signs an extension, an elite front office would have ensured that his holdout didn't extend into minicamp. Teams like the 49ers are typically proactive in this regard and they proved that again by extending star running back Christian McCaffrey.

49ers' Christian McCaffrey extension makes Cowboys' Jerry Jones look foolish amid CeeDee Lamb holdout

McCaffrey signed a two-year deal worth $19 million per year. He'll receive an additional $8 million over what he was scheduled to make while adding a lofty $24 million in guaranteed money. The reigning Offensive Player of the Year, McCaffrey had two years and $24 million remaining on his contract.

At $12 million per year, McCaffrey didn't sniff the top of the RB market. With the extension baked in, though, he's now looking at a four-year, $62 million contract through his age-31 season in 2027. His annual average value is up to $16.057 million, which is tops at the position. He's also second in total value and first in both total guaranteed ($36.346 million) and fully guaranteed ($30.062 million).

One could argue that McCaffrey is still underpaid given he's the most important piece of Kyle Shanahan's offense. However, this is a textbook example of how to treat a contract-needy superstar; one that Jerry Jones should take notes on.

After all, McCaffrey didn't report to 49ers OTAs and his desire for a new deal was known within the organization, per The Athletic's Dianna Russini. While McCaffrey wasn't waiting for another running back to reset the market like Lamb was with Jefferson, it says a lot that San Francisco pushed the envelope to keep their superstar happy before practices became mandatory.

Lamb will eventually sign a lucrative extension with the Cowboys, but it should have never reached this point. Yes, it takes two to tango and Jerry Jones usually takes care of his guys, but Dallas has known for over a full calendar year that Lamb is someone they want in their long-term plans.

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