Micah Parsons is a weapon for the Cowboys, but could he be best used as an every down pass rusher?
But then there’s the Micah Parsons dilemma. And this “problem” will probably be diagnosed based off what happens with the team’s traditional defensive ends such as Gregory and Lawrence and even Dorance Armstrong, who is also a free agent.
But at some point, the Cowboys are going to have to figure out just where they want to play Parsons, who led the team with 13.0 sacks, setting a franchise rookie record. In fact, had Parsons not missed the Week 17 game in Philadelphia due to COVID, he might have been able to break the NFL’s single-season rookie sack record of 14.5 by Jevon Kearse.
And to think, he did all of that with a knee injury? Parsons revealed this week that he played through most of the season with a hyperextended knee that limited him in practices during the week.
So if Parsons can be the unanimous Defensive Rookie of the Year and flirt with Cowboys and NFL records throughout the year with an injured knee, just how good can he be in 2022?
What we know for sure is that Parsons has elite pass-rushing skills and proved that time and time again last year.
Cowboys DC Dan Quinn did a masterful job of putting Parsons in the right spots to be effective as a rusher.
Sometimes we saw Parsons blitz from the linebacker spot. At times, he would play first and second down at linebacker and then line up on the edge on third downs or pass-rushing situations.
And then, during the games the Cowboys were without either Gregory, Lawrence or both, Parsons saw extensive snaps as a rusher.
We all know how worried Stephen Jones is about the salary cap, here are a few ideas that may help the Cowboys breathe easier this off-season.
How they will do this is yet to be known. Some have suggested letting go of several of the 24 players set to become free agents. Others have suggested making cuts to star players in order to save money for the cap. Two names that have continually come up as potential cap casualties are Amari Cooper and DeMarcus Lawrence.
But do the Cowboys have to cut these two stars in order to get back to positive money in the salary cap? The answer is actually no.
While some believe that in order to hold onto free agents like Dalton Schultz, Randy Gregory, and Michael Gallup they need to make cuts, that just isn’t true. The Cowboys likely can’t re-sign all three, but they can keep one or two without cutting Cooper and Lawrence. How? Because, according to Blogging the Boys, Dallas can save almost $65 million by restructuring contracts. The Joneses likely won’t restructure all of them, but this number shows that significant monetary movement is possible.
The chart below shows all of the possible contracts the Cowboys could restructure in order to save money. It has already been reported that quarterback Dak Prescott’s final year of his contract will be manipulated to help save cap space.
Its getting close to the time of year where the Cowboys may have to open their wallets and spend a little bit to advance the team. Here are five names that may make sense for the Cowboys.
5. Free agent targets for the Dallas Cowboys – Jessie Bates
The Cowboys’ defense improved dramatically in 2021 but the unit could still use some help in the secondary. Safety was a particular area of concern for the Cowboys, who have been looking to upgrade that position for years but haven’t been able to land the type of star that could thrive in Dan Quinn’s Cover-3 based scheme.
Fortunately for Dallas, the safety crop is deep this offseason and one player who could catch their eye is Cincinnati Bengals’ star Jessie Bates. An ascending player, Bates was a dynamic force for Cincinnati’s defense on their way to the Super Bowl and will be a highly coveted safety on the open market.
The question here is whether or not Bates actually gets to free agency since the Bengals could choose to place the franchise tag on him. Expect Dallas to be in hot pursuit of Bates if Cincinnati decides to let him test the market.
4. Free agent targets for the Dallas Cowboys – Odell Beckham Jr.
On paper, this fit doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense for the Cowboys. One of the most dynamic position groups on Dallas’ roster is the wide receiver room as Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb have formed a terrific trio for Dak Prescott over the past two years.
That group could be broken up, however, as Gallup is set to become a free agent and could cash in on a big contract. Dallas is also considering whether or not to trade Cooper, who is just 27 but carries an exorbitant cap hit, in order to free up money to make necessary upgrades on the defensive side of the ball.
This is where a guy like Beckham fits nicely for the Cowboys as a lower-priced alternative to Cooper. Beckham is still a young player at 29 years old and could be looking to grab a one-year prove-it deal after tearing his ACL in the Super Bowl, which could give Dallas a quality receiver at a fraction of Cooper’s price tag.
Former Cowboys QB Troy Aikman rumored to be ESPN’s next MNF lead analyst - Rocky Garza Jr, Inside The Star
The former Cowboys Super Bowl-winning quarterback looks to be changing teams this offseason.
If true, Aikman would end his 21-year tenure with FOX Sports and long-time partnership with Joe Buck.
Additionally, Marchand gave details that his contract could be comparable or exceed the number of former Cowboys QB Tony Romo, who signed a 10-year,180 million deal with CBS that made him the highest-paid broadcaster.
Despite the latest rumor, Aikman’s name was also tied to Amazon Prime this past month, as they were attempting to make him the lead Thursday Night Football analyst and partner him up with Al Michaels to create a “dream-team announcing crew.”
During those rumors, Buck, Aikman’s longtime broadcasting partner, was asked in a Jan.26 Sports Illustrated media podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina, if he had imagined the thought of Aikman leaving FOX to Amazon, or to any major network.
Buck would wrap up his response by saying that Aikman knows how he feels, and he respects whatever decision Troy makes.
If Aikman were to take the ESPN gig, the biggest question will be surrounded on who will be his newest partner. There have been rumors surfacing today about FOX Sports wanting to dump a truckload of cash at Sean McVay’s place for the job, but nothing official has been reported on potential candidates to replace Aikman, nor has it been officially confirmed that Aikman has left FOX Sports yet.
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