As NFL fans, we are deep into one of the lull periods of the NFL offseason. OTAs are here so there is the possibility of some kind of news being made, but in general, changes on the NFL landscape are few and far between at this time of year. It is also the time of lists. Nothing passes the time better than arguing about the top ‘this’, or the worst ‘that’, or any number of angles on rankings, etc.
Today we have an article naming the most overpaid and underpaid players at each position. It just so happens a couple of Cowboys made it, as does an ex-Cowboy, and the absence of another ex-Cowboy on the list is a good thing. Let’s examine.
Underpaid offensive tackle: Tyler Smith, Dallas Cowboys
Smith was extremely valuable in his rookie season, playing all over the line for the Cowboys. The 2022 first-round pick could serve either at guard or tackle this year, and the versatility by itself makes him a bargain with a cap hit of just over $3 million.
This is the first of two Cowboys who are ‘underpaid’ and are also the subject of discussion around the position they play. Here Smith is listed as an offensive tackle, but he could very well spend the season at guard depending on the health of Tyron Smith. Of course, there is a strong likelihood that Tyron will miss games in 2023, possibly forcing Tyler outside to tackle.
Despite the uncertainty of where he’ll play, this listing only reinforces what we know - the selection of Tyler Smith in the first round a year ago was a very smart decision, even though many didn’t see it that way at the time. Hopefully another Smith, Mazi Smith, will follow in his footsteps and be another first-round success.
Underpaid outside linebacker: Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys
Parson’s payday will come soon enough, but until then, he will remain one of the most underpaid players in the NFL as an elite pass rusher. He’s been an All-Pro in both of his NFL seasons, totaling 26.5 sacks. Parsons’ cap hit is less than $4.7 million this season.
This was probably the easiest selection on the whole list. No matter how much he gets with his new contract, Micah Parsons will still be underpaid. And he is the second player on this list for the Cowboys who has a ‘position debate’ going on, even though we know that Parsons will line up as a pass rusher for the bulk of his snaps.
How about the ex-Cowboy who made the list?
Overpaid outside linebacker: Randy Gregory, Denver Broncos
Gregory struggled in his first season away from Dallas, with only two sacks in six games while missing most of the year due to injury. His cap hit is over $16 million this season, 13th highest among edge rushers.
At the time, it was easy to be angry that the last-second loss of Randy Gregory occurred in free agency. Now with hindsight, it turned out be a lucky move for the Cowboys who need that money that would have gone to Gregory for other extensions like Parsons, Dak Prescott, Trevon Diggs and CeeDee Lamb. And the Cowboys pass rush really didn’t suffer in his absence.
And the ex-Cowboy who didn’t make the list? That would be Ezekiel Elliott, who surely would have been the ‘overpaid’ running back on this list.