Frisco, Texas – Negotiations between the Dallas Cowboys and a Court End Dalton Schultz She was friendly, if not overly productive yet.
After skipping the final week of volunteer organized team activities, Schultz is in the mandatory mini-camp Tuesday as the clock approaches July 15, when the parties must either agree to a multi-year deal, or the season will play on the $10.9 million franchise tag.
While Schultz’s position may not be the perfect case study, it does speak to a question the Cowboys tried to answer: Why couldn’t they re-sign their players on early stretches?
Schultz is in keeping with the Cowboys’ stated desire to keep themselves rather than play in the deep end of the free agency complex. In the past two years, the 2019 fourth-round pick has had 141 passes for 1,423 yards and 12 touchdowns. Last season, he joined Jason Witten as the only tight end in franchise history with at least 75 receptions for 800 yards and eight touchdowns in one season.
But in his first two seasons, he had 13 assists, so it didn’t make sense to try to move forward with a long-term show. Moreover, the team that was traditionally aggressive has started to pursue long-term deals with its players to sit down.
Executive Vice President Stephen Jones attributes this to a number of factors: uncertainty about collective bargaining agreements, media contracts and the pandemic. The Cowboys also had to work through negotiations with quarterback Duck Prescott It resulted in a four-year deal worth $160 million.
“At this time last year, I don’t know if we knew we were going to fill the stadiums or not,” Jones said. “If we didn’t have stadiums full, it would have a massive impact on the salary cap. Now it looks like he’s back to business as usual.”
Considering he made just over $4.4 million in his first four years, the $10.9 million mark is safety for Schultz. But he sees what the Cleveland Browns pushed with a tight end David Ngoko (Four years, $57 million, $28 million guaranteed).
Without a middle ground, the Cowboys could simply use the franchise mark on Schultz again in 2023 and pay just over $13 million if it were produced for a third consecutive season. Or they can choose to walk away and let him take the free agency test while they hope to pick this year’s fourth round Jake Ferguson He can take over and add another court end through draft or free agency.
“The importance of the second contract, which every GM and every player in this league is trying to accomplish, and the ability to get important second contracts,” said coach Mike McCarthy. “It’s reached a point in a man’s career — 26, 27 years old — where they are in their prime.”
There was a time when cowboys didn’t bother getting these kinds of deals done.
Witten never came close to hitting the open market in his early years. nor CB Terence Newmanor DE DeMarcus Ware or QB Tony Romo. Later, the Cowboys reached deals with the likes of OT Tyrone Smith (2014), C Travis Frederick (2016), OG Zach Martin (2018) and OL Lyle Collins (2017, 2019).
While the cash layouts were favorable to the player, paying at the top or near the top of the market, the Cowboys were able to get longer contracts, allowing them some flexibility in the salary cap by restructuring those contracts several times. . In 2014, Smith signed an eight-year extension tying him with the Cowboys until 2023.
“I’ve seen other teams get shorter terms now than they were in the past,” said one agent who has dealt with the Cowboys on several multi-year deals. “They don’t want to do it that way.”
Jones acknowledged that the length of the deals has been beneficial to the Cowboys, who have relied on the label more in recent years.
In 2018 and 2019, defensive end De Marcus Lawrence They played on the franchise label before they eventually signed him to a five-year, $105 million deal that included $65 million in guaranteed money.
Prescott waited (2019) and waited (2020) before getting his guaranteed $126 million deal. The Cowboys thought they were close to striking a deal at the start of the 2019 season, but that never happened. Prescott played the 2020 season on the franchise’s $31.4 million mark, and even after suffering a compound fracture and dislocated ankle that season, he was able to get the contract structure he wanted that would theoretically allow him to hit the market when he’s 30 years old.
Prescott wanted a four-year deal. Cowboys wanted at least five. In the end, Prescott signed a six-year agreement that was canceled for four years. Even with the impending increase in the salary cap with new media deals over the next few seasons, the Cowboys can look to extend Prescott’s contract by giving him more money guaranteed while cutting their annual allowance to the middle.
Patience is tough for players who want big paychecks.
“It kind of lingers in there,” Martin said. “You just think about it a lot. When you’re ready for your contract and you know they’re talking about it and discussing it, it’s hard not to think about it too much.”
The risk is not eliminated by players signing profitable extensions before the contracts expire.
running back Ezekiel Elliot Held outside the bootcamp in 2019 before signing a six-year, $90 million extension that included $50 million in guaranteed funds. But Elliott’s production has declined over the past two years, although last year’s drop could be related to a partial rupture of the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee that he suffered early in the season.
The Cowboys also signed Collins and the full back Jaylon Smith into profitable extensions. But Collins missed the 2020 season with a thigh injury and was suspended for five games in 2021 for violating a drug policy. With the money guaranteed in his deal scrapped, he was released that season and counted $4.9 million against this year’s cap. Meanwhile, Smith failed to perform at the same level he did in 2018, and last year was cut four games in the season. He still counts $6.8 million against this season’s cap.
“I think the Zeke and Gaylon deals really freaked them out,” the agent said.
“You’re not going to hit them all,” Jones said. “I don’t know anyone who has it. But you should hope that you are much more right than you are wrong.”
Who’s next for the Cowboys and what’s the cost? After this season recipient sir lamb and Cornerback Tryvon Diggs Eligible for first-time contract extensions, although the Cowboys could put a fifth-year option on Lamb for 2024, buying them annually but also potentially raising the cost if Lamb succeeds as their first receiver.
Diggs is out of an 11 interception season, the most by a Cowboy since 1981. In the second round in 2020, he’s set to be a free agent after the 2023 season. The Cowboys can use their franchise tag on him or they can sign him to a long-term deal.
three corners – Gayer AlexanderAnd the Denzel Ward And the Galen Ramsey – Currently making at least $20 million a season. Alexander has five functional objections. Ward has 10 and Ramsey has 15. Diggs has 14 in his first two seasons.
“There is always an impact from the contracts being executed,” Jones said. “This is a fact. To what degree, this is different, but at what time is the contract concluded [elsewhere]It is looked at and can affect how you rate the player. …that is the nature of having a cover. “
Having players who want to keep them is a good thing.
“You’d better have this kind of ‘problem’, because if you’re not, you have to go to a free agency,” Jones said. “If you’re crafting the right way, you’re begging for that kind of success.”
by the way, Micah Parsons Eligible for an extension beyond the 2023 season.
How much will that cost?