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Key defensive players the Cowboys need to extend before it’s too late

contracts for superstar players get larger with virtually every new contract that is signed.

The have their own players to sign soon, and the emphasis should be on “soon”.

This article is part two and is dedicated to the defensive side of the ball. To read about the 's players worthy of extensions, click here.

Draft picks from 2020 are entering the last year of their contracts, with the 5th-year team option available for 1st-round picks.

The Cowboys' negotiating strategy is usually to make an initial offer below market value.

This creates a wide financial disparity between their offer and the amount that the player and agent are asking for.

The problem with this negotiating strategy is the rest of the league doesn't pause while Dallas attempts to hammer out a deal.

Other NFL teams sign players to record-setting deals during the long negotiations that the Cowboys are known for.

Often, the player signed to the record deal is not as talented as other players around the league who are also negotiating new contracts.

One team overpaying creates a domino effect of other teams having to top that contract for a player who has better on-field production.

The Dallas Cowboys have two defensive players who could reset the top of the market at their respective positions.

Patrick Mahomes Recognizes how Good CB Trevon Diggs is
Cowboys' CB

CB Trevon Diggs

Years left on contract: 1
Average annual salary/NFL rank: $1.58 million/79th

Trevon Diggs was drafted with the 51st overall pick from the University of Alabama in the 2020 .

His current average salary from his rookie deal is less than his teammates and .

Diggs' production since being drafted speaks for itself.

Key defensive players the Cowboys need to extend before it's too late
Top 20 list of most interceptions by a CB since 2020; photo taken from

The above graphic is sorted by most interceptions from a since Diggs was drafted in 2020.

Trevon is tied for the most interceptions in the NFL since 2020, alongside CB J.C. Jackson.

Those 17 career interceptions include a whopping 11 during his 2021 sophomore season, tying a Cowboys single-season franchise record set by in 1981.

Notable names on this list he has outperformed include , , Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Xavien Howard.

Ramsey, Howard, and Jackson all fall in the top eight of average annual salary for the cornerback position.

Key defensive players the Cowboys need to extend before it's too late 1
NFL cornerback average annual salary; photo taken from

The reason the Cowboys should extend Diggs soon is that the salaries on this list are not the only new contracts they will be competing with.

Notable cornerbacks who are also up for contract extensions include Cameron Dantzler, , C.J. Henderson, Jeff Okudah, and .

You might scoff at these names, thinking their production couldn't get them near enough to sniff what Trevon has done on the field.

However, Diggs and his agent will be watching these names closely.

If there is one thing you can bet on, it is that bad teams with space will overpay average players.

It happens every season, and agents of the top-tier players use those contracts to their advantage.

Dallas needs to get this deal done before the season starts.

Is it time to take away Micah's Phone?
Cowboys' LB

LB Micah Parsons

Years left on contract: 2 (3 with 5th-year team option)
Average annual salary/NFL rank: $4.269 million/54th

You might be asking yourself “Why is Micah Parsons on this list when he still has two years left on his rookie deal?”.

Technically, Parsons is not eligible for an extension until after the is complete, but already planning for this is the urgency I want the Cowboys to have.

An argument can be made that Micah is already the best defensive player on the planet with only two NFL seasons under his belt.

Parsons has stuffed the stat sheet in his first two seasons, compiling 26.5 , 33 tackles for loss, and 56 hits.

Those stats have earned him NFL All-Pro 1st team honors in each of his two seasons played.

He is also technically still listed as a by the Cowboys, even though he spent nearly 80% of his snaps as a in 2022.

Agents use every advantage to get the best possible deals for their players.

If another year goes by with Parsons lining up primarily as a pass-rushing defensive end, it won't matter if the Cowboys list him as a linebacker on the .

His agent will demand defensive end money.

It might seem silly to spend money on a player two years before a team is required to, but take a look at the current highest-paid defensive players in the NFL.

Key defensive players the Cowboys need to extend before it's too late 2
Top 10 defensive players by average annual salary; photo taken from

At a glance, which of these players has a higher impact than Micah Parsons?

, T.J. Watt, and Myles Garrett are the only players on the same dominant level as he.

Would Micah and his agent agree to a contract worth $30 million a year if offered to them immediately after the conclusion of the 2023 season?

Adding that contract to the books early might sting for the Cowboys, but it would be a bargain three years from now when the highest-paid defensive player is making $35-40 million annually.

It might not be a popular , but preparing to offer Micah Parsons a record deal at the conclusion of the 2023 season would be a smart move, and cheaper than a record deal in 2026.

Mario Herrera Jr.
Mario Herrera Jr.
Husband. Father of 3. Cowboys fan since 1991. Stat guy, although stats don't always tell the whole story. My job is a job, but writing about the Dallas Cowboys is my passion.

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