Dallas Cowboys offer QB Trey Lance another Four Years contract for $108 million

Why did the Dallas Cowboys offer QB Trey Lance another Four Years contract for $179million

Trey Lance’s support for the Cowboys amid the Dak Prescott contract standoff exposes shortcomings in the team’s roster management
It’s possible that the Cowboys, who look to make a major overhaul after 2024, won’t have both quarterbacks in 2025.
Dak Prescott, the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, is entering the last year of a four-year, $160 million contract that he signed in 2021. As of right now, his outrageous $55.1 million 2024 contract is scheduled to count against the team’s books—more than any other NFL player, save Deshaun Watson. Prescott’s contract also expires at the end of the current campaign, and he will become an unrestricted free agent because of a condition that bars the Cowboys from franchise-tagging him the following offseason.


And yet, the Cowboys haven’t made any changes to Prescott’s deal other than converting a $5 million roster bonus into a signing bonus and using $4 million of this year’s budget space—even after owner Jerry Jones publicly said that the team will be “all in” for the 2024 campaign. To provide more cap flexibility, they still haven’t extended the contracts of linebacker Micah Parsons or wide receiver CeeDee Lamb.

Additionally, Dallas lost Leighton Vander Esch to free agency and let starters Tony Pollard, Tyron Smith, Tyler Biadasz, Michael Gallup, Dorance Armstrong, and Jayron Kearse to depart rather than adding players in free agency, as was anticipated in the wake of Jones’ all-in proclamation.

enable Stephon Gilmore to remain unsigned and lose Leighton Vander Esch to retirement, in addition to permitting leave in free agency. This offseason, they have only signed two outside free agents: veteran running back Royce Freeman earlier this week, and linebacker Eric Kendricks to a one-year contract.

In addition, the signing of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and the new defensive staff to one-year contracts, along with the team’s decision to bring back head coach Mike McCarthy on a lame-duck contract, give the impression that the Cowboys are getting ready to reset almost everything after the 2024 season rather than going “all in.” And Stephen Jones, the executive vice president of the Cowboys, fueled the fire on Friday by dousing No.

3 quarterback Trey Lance with praise, and even making a favorable comparison to Prescott.

“He’s [Lance] done nothing but excite us even more as he’s worked here all of last season and in the offseason, in terms of his work ethic, his skill level. We’re very pleased,” Jones said during a radio appearance, via The Athletic. “He exhibits everything you would think a top-five, top-10 pick would exhibit. … Trey exhibits similar type work ethic [to Prescott]. Obviously Trey is a really good athlete, and the most important thing is his arm. He’s got a very live arm, very strong arm. He continues to improve with his footwork and his accuracy.”

When you consider that earlier this offseason, there were already reports that Prescott would indeed play out the final year of his contract without getting a new deal (despite his stated confidence that a contract would get done at some point), these comments are especially notable. But they’re also notable because, like Prescott, Lance is headed into the final year of his contract, so the Cowboys don’t have him under team control for next season, either.

If they allow Prescott to reach free agency, he would surely command one of, if not the single-largest free-agent contract in NFL history. He is coming off a season where he finished second in MVP voting and was named a Second Team All-Pro, and he will be just 31 years old when free agency kicks off next March. He is going to get a monster deal. And if that happens, Lance would have the Cowboys over a barrel if they wanted him to stay and be Dak’s successor. And that’s before we get to the impact of Prescott’s massive dead-cap hit if he were to leave in free agency.

All of which is to say, if the Cowboys are really not prepared to pay Prescott a market-setting contract and want to move on to Lance or someone else after this season, they have been extremely negligent in the way they have handled this offseason.

Prescott has a no-trade clause, but if the Cowboys weren’t going to re-sign him, they should have approached him to work on an agreeable trade so they could at least get something in return for him, and so they could limit the length of time they’d have his contract on their books, whether via active salary or a dead cap hit. Instead, it looks like they are going to play out the string on an era in which they don’t appear to have all that much belief, while also hamstringing themselves for the next era of Cowboys football due to their abject refusal to think proactively instead of reactively when it comes to roster-building.

They dug themselves a similar hole early in Prescott’s career, thanks to their repeated restructuring of Tony Romo’s contract, so they didn’t actually get the benefit of having a top-flight quarterback on a fourth-round rookie-scale contract. They dug an even deeper hole by delaying Prescott’s extension by two full years and costing themselves millions in the process, along with having to agree to carrots like the no-trade and and no-tag clauses, and by doing things like signing Ezekiel Elliott and Jaylon Smith to market-setting deals years before they needed to be paid.

Dallas made a similar mistake by not extending Lamb as soon as he was eligible last offseason, when he was already a two-time Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro, and it’s now going to have to pay him at the top of the market following a season where he led the NFL in receptions and was named a First Team All-Pro. And it looks like the Cowboys are about to do the same thing with Parsons, who has been arguably the single-best defensive player in the league since his debut three years ago and who is absolutely going to get a contract that makes him the league’s highest-paid defender at some point. The only question is whether the Cowboys allow someone else to raise the price on that market before they get his deal done.

The Cowboys seemingly refuse to learn from the mistakes of their past, and are instead not just willing but apparently determined to repeat them. When you have not only not won a Super Bowl but have not even been to a conference championship game in nearly 30 years, that is an astonishingly myopic way to operate.




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