Cowboys fans' worst fear comes true thanks to Jerry Jones' cheapness

Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Chargers
Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Chargers / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys have hardly put a foot right this offseason. While signing linebacker Eric Kendricks was a smart, albeit obvious, move, it says a lot that fans were pleased when Jerry Jones re-signed swing tackle Chuma Edoga.

Beyond pinching his pennies, Jones has prolonged contract negotiations with quarterback Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb. It stands to reason both players will get signed at some point this spring or summer, but the Cowboys backed themselves into a corner by not getting the deals done ahead of time.

This is why Prescott's current contract is worth $40 million per year and not $35 million. The current market suggests Prescott will get upwards of $60 million on his next deal. That number could creep into the mid-60s if Dallas allows its QB to reach free agency.

As Prescott's contract saga has taken a backseat, more contract drama has entered the picture just before the start of voluntary offseason workouts. Per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, CeeDee Lamb is not expected to report to OTAs. This sets the stage for a possible training camp holdout.

Cowboys rumors: CeeDee Lamb expected to stage contract holdout

"Barring a contract extension that, when complete, is expected to make Lamb the highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history, Lamb won’t take the field. At least, that is the precedent he appears certain to follow. Lamb’s agent, Tory Dandy, did not respond to a request for comment on whether Lamb will accompany teammates at Ford Center at The Star for the Cowboys’ spring workouts."

Is this the end of the world? Absolutely not. Star players stage holdouts during offseason workouts every year. Just last spring, 49ers pass rusher Nick Bosa skipped voluntary workouts and though he reported for mandatory minicamp weeks later, he did not practice. Bosa ultimately signed a contract that made him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.

Lamb potentially skipping voluntary workouts isn't a huge deal, but it's still bothersome that Jones and the Cowboys let it get to this point.

By the end of Lamb's third year in 2022, he established himself as one of the 10-best receivers in the NFL. He averaged 87 catches for over 1,100 yards and seven touchdowns. Keep in mind he operated as Dallas' WR2 for two of those seasons while Amari Cooper was still around.

The Cowboys understandably got Trevon Diggs' extension done before Lamb's. They didn't have the luxury of a fifth-year option with Diggs. Again, though, it's baffling that Lamb's wasn't a contract they took care of as soon as possible.

Like Prescott, Lamb holds all the leverage. He was arguably the best WR in the game last season and broke multiple Cowboys receiving records. Had Jones and Co. been aggressive, they could've got Lamb locked up for around $25 million per year, which is what A.J. Brown got from the Eagles. Now, he's all but guaranteed to surpass Tyreek Hill's record-setting $30 million AAV.

Not to mention, the cap flexibility that would've been created by getting Lamb's deal done early. This is why the Joneses don't deserve fans' sympathy when they complain about not having cap space to make moves in free agency.

Lamb was a no-brainer extension candidate since Jan. of 2023. It's fully expected he'll get signed before training camp, but the fact a contract holdout is even on the table is another indictment on this front office.

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