Looking into Cowboys rookie extension candidates and what they might get

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It's no secret that the Dallas Cowboys blew it in the 2023 NFL Draft. Between asking Mazi Smith to lose weight and convert to a DT and selecting Luke Schoonmaker in the second round when Jake Ferguson was already established as the starting tight end, it was a nightmare draft.

Luckily, the Cowboys have previous drafts to fall back on. From 2020-22, the team nabbed myriad foundational pieces, including CeeDee Lamb, Trevon Diggs, Micah Parsons, Osa Odighizuwa, Tyler Smith, Ferguson and DaRon Bland.

With some of these players entering their fourth seasons, the Cowboys can now offer contract extensions to keep them in Dallas. We all know ownership loves to extend homegrown players, so let's take a look at some players from the 2021 class who have actually earned extension talks.

Disclaimer: Lamb was drafted in 2020. He's technically out of a contract and will presumably secure a monster extension this offseason.

Cowboys rookie extension candidates:

Micah Parsons

Parsons is arguably the best pound-for-pound defender in the NFL. He's knocking on the door of winning Defensive Player of the Year. He finished runner-up in his first two seasons before placing third this past season.

Parsons likely needs to push close to 20 sacks in a season to win the award, but he consistently ranks first or second in pressures and pass-rush win rate despite being one of the most double-teamed edge rushers in the league. Regardless, 40.5 sacks and 89 QB hits in three seasons is ridiculous production.

The Cowboys will extend Dak Prescott and likely Lamb before Parsons, but the 24-year-old superstar will soon become the highest-paid defender in NFL history. Ideally, the extension gets done this offseason before his price tag climbs even higher.

In September, Nick Bosa signed a five-year, $170 million deal with the 49ers, including $122.5 million guaranteed. With that in mind, Parsons will in all likelihood set a baseline of $34 million per year in negotiations.

Projection: Five years, $180 million (124 million guaranteed)