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What “following the money” tells us about the Cowboys potential draft plans

The Cowboys are all about the cap and that comes in play when they make their draft selections.

ASU v Washington Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys have a process when it comes to how they build their roster. We know the team focuses on the draft and hardly gets their feet wet in free agency. The team has been so consistent that it’s becoming easier and easier to pick up on patterns and even project what this front office is going to do.

When it comes to the draft, it’s no different. They have a process. The team has a good sense of the type of players they want and tries to stay within those guidelines. In fact, the Cowboys have become so predictable over the years that people have been able to collect some of those behaviors and offer up some draft guidelines to help us get a sense of what they are going to do next.

Former BTB alum and current managing editor over at Cowboys Wire, KD Drummond, is one of those people who has paid close attention over the years to where he has helped author the “10 draft commandments” for the Cowboys. His latest edition just came out, and it is highly recommended to check them out to help get a better feel for what the Cowboys will do later this month.

On this week’s episode of The Star Seminar, KD joined Rabblerouser and me to go over these commandments and see if we can get any clues as to what they might be up to. Make sure to subscribe to the Blogging The Boys podcast network wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss any of our shows! Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.

One commandment, “Thou shalt follow the money” created an interesting conversation that could see the Cowboys attempting to replace some of their higher-priced players. Here are a couple of things the money trail theory might tip us off to...

Could Dalton Schultz be just a one-year rental?

Many fans were surprised when the Cowboys placed the franchise tag on would-be free agent Dalton Schultz at a 2022 cap cost of $10.9 million. Do the Cowboys love him that much? Maybe.

It’s tough to know exactly what the team’s long-term plans are with him, but it’s clear that they value his services. Does that mean a contract extension is on the horizon? The front office may choose to extend him or they may choose a wait-and-see approach. The Cowboys have four tight ends as part of their pre-draft visits (Cade Otton, Jeremy Ruckert, Jelani Woods, and Jalen Wydermyer). It just so happens that all of them are grouped in that Round 3 to 4 range, so it paints a small picture of when the Cowboys might strike in the draft to get their tight end. And while all these prospects are unique in their own way, it’s hard not to notice that one of them (Otton) is like a Schultz-clone. If the Cowboys manage to draft him, they could find themselves with a seamless transition for 2023.

Something’s gotta give at running back

The Cowboys have already invested quite a bit of money on running back as no other team in the league has more money allocated to the position. In fact, the Cowboys are spending 20% more than the next highest team (Tennessee, who has Derrick Henry under contract). Ezekiel Elliott is the reason for that as he has a cap hit of $18.2 million this year.

Financially speaking, the Cowboys are stuck with Elliott this year, but they could get out of future debt by releasing him after the season. Such a move would change $65 million of future cap space to just an $11.8 dead money hit.

Of course, that would mean the Cowboys would be without Zeke. And unfortunately, it would come at the same time when Tony Pollard’s rookie deal expires. In short, the Cowboys could go from having two quality backs to zilch in a matter of just one season.

The Cowboys could get ahead of this problem by going running back shopping in the upcoming draft. While no one expects them to use premium draft capital at the position, don’t be surprised if the Cowboys act a little earlier than expected or possibly even throw a couple of late-round darts at the position. If they could find something that sticks, that could save them quite a bit of money in the future.

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