The Dallas Cowboys showed this offseason that they weren't afraid to break the bank.
By the end of training camp, they inked Trevon Diggs to a five-year, $97 million contract extension, Malik Hooker to a $21 million extension and Terence Steele to a $86.8 million deal. Additionally, Zack Martin received a two-year, $36.85 million raise, while Tony Pollard signed the franchise tag and Donovan Wilson and Leighton Vander Esch re-signed in free agency on multiyear deals.
Despite being one of the NFL's biggest spenders this offseason, fans were left wanting more after CeeDee Lamb wasn't extended. While the Cowboys are afforded extra time to sign Lamb thanks to his fifth-year option, it stands to reason that the receiver's price tag will only increase.
Luckily for Dallas, the Vikings failed to extend all-word wideout Justin Jefferson before the new season. Minnesota reportedly made a push to sign Jefferson to a record-setting deal before Week 1, but nothing came of it and the two sides will revisit negotiations after the season.
That last bit is music to the Cowboys' ears.
Cowboys must extend CeeDee Lamb before Justin Jefferson resets WR market
This is massive news for the Cowboys, who now have a golden opportunity to get Lamb signed before Jefferson resets the market.
Jefferson has long been viewed as the barometer for Lamb's next contract. While Lamb isn't the receiver Jefferson is (is anyone, really?), the Vikings superstar signing before the season would have drove up Lamb's price, which was likely to fall in the range of $24-27 million to begin with given the current market.
Dolphins speedster Tyreek Hill is currently the highest-paid receiver in terms of annual average salary. He makes $30 million per year and is second only to A.J. Brown in guaranteed money and Davante Adams in total contract value.
You have to think Jefferson will look to break the $30 million baseline, which could be why negotiations hit a snag. After all, he has the most receiving yards over the first three years of his career than any receiver in NFL history and just recently became the youngest player to reach 5,000 receiving yards.
In 2022, he led the league in targets, receptions and receiving yards and broke the Vikings single-season record for receiving yards.
Long story short, Jefferson will become the highest-paid wideout before long. Whether that's with the Vikings remains to be seen -- he could demand a trade if Minnesota keeps losing -- but that's of zero concern to the Cowboys, who have a get-out-of-jail-free card thanks to the Vikings' unthinkable mistake.
Beyond Jefferson, Mike Evans, Tee Higgins, and Brandon Aiyuk are all due for big-money extensions after this season.
It's unclear if Dallas will explore a Lamb extension during the season, but they need to get an agreement done before Jefferson and the next crop of receivers get signed if they want to get the best deal possible.