Cowboys aligning financial dominos perfectly for the future

In the immortal words of the A-Team’s Colonel Hannibal Smith, “I love it when a plan comes together.” For Cowboys fans who were NOT born during the Carter or Reagan administrations, this is a television reference to the organization of multiple “dominos” which uses timing and kinetic energy to drop everything perfectly into place. Gold chains and a pretty sweet black van were often involved.

Hannibal may not be running things in Dallas but the current organization of this franchise’s contracts is enough to make the late colonel grin with approval.

The Cowboys are known for being hyper-focused on their long-term financial situation. With a keen eye to the future and the upcoming contract demands of their cornerstone players, they’ve refused to max out short-term spending.

Potential upcoming contract extensions for Micah Parsons, CeeDee Lamb and Trevon Diggs have all been used as reasons why the Cowboys have felt compelled to tread carefully in free agency. All three players threaten to reset the market at their respective positions (Parsons is all but guaranteed to) and all three become free agents in consecutive years (starting with Diggs in 2024).

This inevitability means any multiyear deals Dallas inks for high-end players in free agency will likely bleed into the future market-setting deals Parsons, Lamb and Diggs will soon sign.

It’s no wonder the Cowboys have avoided expensive free agents at receiver, defensive end and cornerback, because two highly paid players at the same position would negatively impact their ability to spread resources and divide experience throughout the roster to other positions.

The financial dominos are lined up

The Cowboys set out this offseason to make the roster better in the short-term without creating financial issues in the long-term. By trading for high-end veterans they scored ready-now solutions without locking in for a long-term commitment.

On March 14, Dallas traded for cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Under contract for just one more season, Gilmore’s deal ends at the same time Digg’s big deal theoretically begins. With CB3 DaRon Bland on his rookie deal through 2025, the Cowboys are set up to only have Diggs commanding a top salary at the cornerback position.

On March 19, Dallas traded for Brandin Cooks. Under contract through 2024, Cooks’ deal ends at the same time Lamb’s new deal would presumably begin. Additionally, WR3 Michael Gallup is financially expendable at the same time, setting the Cowboys up to only have Lamb commanding a top salary at the receiver position.


Standing pat elsewhere

Dallas didn’t add a new big name to their defensive ends list, but they tweaked the contract of a big one. Restructuring DeMarcus Lawrence’s current deal, they freed up just shy of $9 million. Lawrence will become financially expendable after the 2024 season – the same time Parsons’ new deal is slated to begin.

Defensive end Dorance Armstrong has just one season remaining on his deal, leaving Parsons as the only highly paid edge defender on the roster.

In each situation, the next domino doesn’t come into play until the domino before it falls.

Taper the experience and diversify the salary

An ideal roster is constructed with a mix of veterans and youngsters at each position; high-priced players executing at their peak performance and inexpensive young performers growing within the system.

Too many expensive players at one position can mean too many inexperienced players at another position. Spreading the money and resources is a top goal for successful roster building and it’s a goal the Cowboys front office seems to be on track to meet.

Dallas has satisfied their short-term needs for ready-now players without impacting their long-term roster building goals. New contracts come due at a time old contracts fall off.

As long as everyone plays up to expectations, the Cowboys are enjoying the best of both worlds and setting themselves up for a financially stable future in which to build.

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire

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