Jerry Jones On Cowboys’ Financial Approach

The Cowboys’ lack of outside additions in free agency and movement in terms of extending their top players has been a key talking point this offseason. Many of Dallas’ younger in-house options will be counted on to take a step forward in 2024, while plenty of attention remains focused on the financial futures of quarterback Dak Prescott, wideout CeeDee Lamb and edge rusher Micah Parsons.

To no surprise, owner Jerry Jones has faced plenty of questions related to Dallas’ comparative inaction on the market in 2024. Linebacker Eric Kendricks and running back Royce Freeman represent the only veterans brought in to date, and the team’s tight cap situation is a key reason why. As Jones recently stated, retaining any or all members of the Prescott-Lamb-Parsons trio will lead to notable complications elsewhere on the roster.

“Our rules of this game is to have a salary cap,” Jones said, via The Athletic’s Jon Machota (subscription required). “There’s no question we’ve been operating on the credit card. That’s how we’ve had Dak Prescott plus his great supporting cast around him for the last three or four years… So if you decide to have a key player and you pay him to that extent, then he’s going to have less supporting cast around. Look around. That’s the way it works.

“We have known that you were going to basically have to have less in order to have some of the players that we want to have at the prices they are. You got to have less supporting cast. There’s no getting around it.”

The Cowboys have indeed enjoyed having Lamb and Parsons on their rookie contracts while retaining Prescott at a high cap hit. The latter is in line to play out 2024 on the final year of his pact, and while Dallas is hopeful a new agreement can be worked out, the 30-year-old recently suggested he is open to reaching free agency. Prescott could command $60MM per year on a new accord, and Lamb and Parsons could each approach the top of the market at their respective positions.

Especially in recent years, many teams around the league have attempted to get ahead of the curve by locking up top producers early and leaving others to react to a new price point. Jones confirmed the Cowboys are instead taking a different approach with their foundational players. In the case of Prescott and Lamb in particular, Dallas is content to wait for the next wave of new deals.

“We’d like to see some more leaves fall,” Jones added. “We’d like to see some more action… It’s on your mind. It’d be madness not to know that the contracts are ahead. I want to see a few more cards played, candidly. If you got trouble with when the timing is around here, it’s because I’m not ready to go.”

The top of the QB market has surpassed $50MM per season, while the league’s ascending receivers are benefiting from the position’s lucrative nature. Recent extensions for the likes of DeVonta Smith, Amon-Ra St. Brown and A.J. Brown have offered a potential framework for a Lamb deal. The likes of Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase and Jaylen Waddle could also push the top of the market even higher.

Lamb is absent from Dallas’ offseason program amidst the lack of negotiations on an extension. Given the way things are headed from a financial standpoint, any new deal (which could avoided for several months since he is set to play out his fifth-year option in 2024) will drastically alter Dallas’ cap situation. That is certainly true of Prescott and Parsons as well (both of whom also are still firmly in the team’s long-term plans), but a patient approach will apparently remain the Cowboys’ preference.

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