Stephen Jones has said often that roster construction in the NFL is a 24/7/365 proposition and it is hard to find the lie in that statement. While there are obvious points of roster construction like the opening of free agency or the NFL Draft, there are conversations happening constantly that have to do with the state of the team.
Take contracts for players as a very prominent example. The Cowboys, like all teams, have to carefully look at both the present and future and make a calculated decision about what is in the best interest of their team without mortgaging the future. It is for this reason that massive contract extensions can sometimes be a bit arduous.
It is no secret that the Cowboys have some larger-than-normal contract matters looming and it seems that training camp could provide a bit of a relief on that front.
Training camp may be when a long-term deal happens for Trevon Diggs or CeeDee Lamb
There are a lot of ways to look at the pending contract situations within the Dallas Cowboys, and depending on which one you take, you can make varying arguments on the priority of things. While Dak Prescott is in need of an extension (we’ll table this argument for another day) and both Terence Steele and Tyler Biadasz are entering contract years, Micah Parsons will be eligible for a new deal next offseason and that commands a certain level of attention.
But within all of that, CeeDee Lamb is currently eligible for an extension, although the team has his fifth-year option to rely on in 2024; however, they do not have that with Trevon Diggs who (like Steele and Biadasz) is in the final year of his rookie contract. You can see how a lot of balls in the air makes for a messy viewpoint.
ESPN recently took a look at the status of certain contract situations across the league and provided some analysis from Todd Archer on both Diggs and Lamb. Training camp was noted in both situations as an ideal spot for something to materialize.
Trevon Diggs, CB, Dallas Cowboys
Latest on negotiations: This would seem more likely to get done during training camp, similar to Dallas’ talks with wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. And also like Lamb, Diggs said he wants to remain with the Cowboys and is looking for a deal at the top of the market. But unlike Lamb, Diggs becomes an unrestricted free agent after the season, so there might be some more urgency, though the franchise tag always looms.
Green Bay’s Jaire Alexander is the highest-paid corner at $21 million per year, and he has 10 interceptions in five seasons. Diggs has 17 in his first three seasons, the fourth most in a player’s first three seasons since 2000. He can make a case to be the highest paid at his position, but this is a tricky negotiation when factoring in the potential deals for Lamb and Dak Prescott this offseason and Micah Parsons in 2024. — Todd Archer
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Latest on negotiations: Training camp seems to be the ideal place to work out a long-term extension. It’s what the Cowboys have done in the past. While they have put the 2024 fifth-year option on Lamb at a cost of $17.99 million, they want to secure their No. 1 receiver long-term as quickly as they can, with Trevon Diggs, Dak Prescott and Micah Parsons approaching the chance for new deals.
Cap space and cash will not be the issue, but the length of the deal could. Players want shorter deals to hit the market again, while teams want longer deals to help their cap. The Cowboys went through it with Prescott. There are 14 receivers making more than $20 million per season, and Lamb — who became the second receiver in team history to record a 100-catch, 1,300-yard season, joining Michael Irvin — figures to land between that mark and the $30 million Tyreek Hill earns as the highest-paid receiver.
“I’m going to be 100 percent honest, I’m not even distracted,” Lamb said. “Like the money, definitely worried about it but is not nothing that’s really on my mind every day that I wake up when I come to the building. I don’t really think about how much money I’m going to make if I do this, you know what I’m saying? It’s really all about coming in, showing my worth and then let everything else handle itself.” — Todd Archer
It is difficult to see the Cowboys making any sort of market-setting deals with either Diggs or Lamb, but the former has a resumé that certainly commands that kind of cash. But back to training camp and that specific window, the Cowboys have long gotten some of their more notable deals done with everyone stationed out in Oxnard. It is simply a time and place where everyone is together which generally (in recent history) has led to deals getting brokered.
Will the Cowboys take care of business with Diggs, Lamb or someone else while in California? We can only hope.