Defensive Lineman Tyrone Crawford is signed through the 2020 season, but high-priced veterans have been dropping like flies lately in Dallas. Crawford will be with the team in 2018, could this be his last season with the Dallas Cowboys?
While still just 28 years old, Crawford is one of the elder statesman in Dallas. He is the second-oldest player on defense behind Sean Lee and one of the highest paid players on the entire roster.
Tyrone is in the middle of a contract that Dallas gave him in 2015. They were projecting Crawford to explode as a defensive tackle in Rod Marinelli’s scheme, and they tried to preempt any sort of franchise tags or free agent bidding by signing him to a big, but not gigantic, deal ahead of his meteoric rise.
I say that sarcastically, of course, because Crawford is hardly a star player in the NFL. He’s never been to a Pro Bowl and only has 16.5 sacks for his entire career.
Dallas gambled and lost on Tyrone’s deal, and are overpaying for his services. But that’s not say he’s been a total bust, either.
While his sack numbers haven’t been stellar, Crawford has been a model citizen and leader on the defense. He’s also provided versatility as both an interior lineman and defensive end, and been solid in whatever role he’s been asked to play.
Tyrone’s not a liability on the field, just an over-payed player for what he brings. That’s not his fault at all, but teams will only pay for those mistakes for so long.
Some thought Crawford might’ve been a salary cap casualty this offseason, counting $9.1 million against the Cowboys for 2018. But because of where we are in the deal and past restructuring, Dallas would have incurred a $7.3 million penalty if they’d released him.
At this point in the offseason, Dallas clearly plans to ride with Tyrone for at least one more year. The modest cap relief was not enough to lose someone of Crawford’s value.
But next year, that penalty drops to just $4.2 million while the cap hit goes up to $10.1 million. That means about $6 million in cap space if Crawford is released.
With new contracts potentially coming for Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, plus whatever other business the team has next offseason, Dallas may finally have to cut bait on Crawford’s bad deal.
2018 is unlikely to give Tyrone Crawford a chance to live up that contract, either. Dallas has a lot of younger talent around needing reps, and Crawford shouldn’t get the kind of workload that would allow him to put up big numbers.
So as it stands, this year is probably Crawford’s last in Dallas. But some of us thought the same in 2017, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see.