Cowboys’ Micah Parsons Expects To Become NFL’s Highest-Paid Non-QB

Micah Parsons is probably the Cowboys’ best player, but he appears to sit third in the team’s latest extension queue due to contract timelines. Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb‘s contract-year statuses make their situations front-burner matters. Parsons appears fine waiting.

Rather than push the issue ahead of his fourth seasons, Parsons is prepared to see where the market will go once his time to see market-changing money comes. During the fifth-year option era (2011-present), the Cowboys have paid three first-rounders (Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Ezekiel Elliott) before their fourth seasons. Dallas exercised Parsons’ fifth-year option, but it does not seem like an early deal — given the Prescott and Lamb matters — is coming.

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I’m patient. Patience is a virtue,” Parsons said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill. “I’m waiting my turn. Let CeeDee go get whatever. Let Dak get whatever. I kind of know where the money is. It’s not like I see the Cowboys with $90MM in cap space.

This market is going to just jump up and the cap goes up again next year. They’re talking about these contracts might for a high-caliber player might be up to $40MM by then.”

When asked if he expected to become the NFL’s highest-paid non-quarterback on his second contract, the All-Pro Dallas defender replied, “I mean, yeah.” Parsons, 25, will have a clear-cut case to surpass Nick Bosa‘s $34MM-per-year deal and Justin Jefferson‘s new $35MM-AAV accord. While the cap might not take another $30MM jump in 2025, it will check in higher than its $255.4MM place next year. This bodes well for Parsons, who has displayed transformative abilities during his rookie contract.

Frequently battling double-teams, the 2021 first-round pick is 3-for-3 in All-Pro nods (two first-team selections) and is one of just five players in the sack era (1982-present) to record 40 sacks over his first three seasons. The Cowboys did well by nabbing Parsons following a trade down to No. 12, which helped the Eagles outflank the Giants for DeVonta Smith; they will need to reward their impact defender in the not-too-distant future.

The 49ers’ Bosa extension talks came down to the wire last September, with the former Defensive Player of the Year inking a deal that placed him nearly $6MM north of previous top edge earner T.J. Watt. Although Brian Burns and Josh Allen have signed extensions this offseason, their deals barely outpace Watt’s for AAV. No one is within $20MM of Bosa’s guarantee number ($122MM); the San Francisco dynamo’s $88MM full guarantee checks in $8MM higher than Watt’s. The Bosa deal should set the floor for the Cowboys, who should have more financial clarity by the time they enter serious extension talks with Parsons (likely in 2025).

Parsons is tied to a $2.99MM 2024 salary and a fully guaranteed $21.32MM fifth-year option number. The Cowboys are in the rare position of needing to consider record-setting QB, WR and defender payments on one cap sheet. The team is expected to make a strong Prescott extension offer — one that would reduce his 2024 cap hit from its eye-popping $55.13MM place — this summer and has viewed 2024 as the Lamb extension window. Jefferson’s guarantees will complicate Lamb talks, which will occur as Prescott carries considerable leverage against his team.

Despite their past early extension efforts, the Cowboys have taken some heat for creating this situation. While this can be dubbed a good problem due to the talents of Prescott, Lamb and Parsons, the team will certainly see its depth tested if it opts to pay all three players. No trade rumors have emerged regarding the trio; Prescott holds a no-trade clause.

For now, Parsons appears set to play a fourth season on his rookie contract. Bosa and Aaron Donald did so in the past. But the Cowboys waiting with the Penn State product runs the risk of upping his asking price when negotiations commence.

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