Dallas Cowboys’ Best Bargain Player Revealed

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones

Getty Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones

The Dallas Cowboys have plenty of star power, on both sides of the football, but the biggest bargain of all might be All-Pro cornerback DaRon Bland.

Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon listed the most underpaid player on every roster across the NFL, and names Bland as the Cowboys’ most underpaid player on the roster.

“With all due respect to the underpaid CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons,” Gagnon writes.  “Neither stood a chance next to a guy who intercepted nine passes in a first-team All-Pro sophomore season while earning less than $1 million.”

In a secondary that also featured Stephon Gilmore, Bland was a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks and wide receivers during a record-setting 2023 season.

Can DaRon Bland Build on Historic Season?

Bland was named a First-Team All-Pro selection for the first time in his career, just two years removed from being chosen by the Cowboys in the fifth round of the 2022 draft.

One of the brighter diamonds in the rough the Cowboys have mined through the draft in recent years, Bland now holds the record for most interceptions returned for a touchdown in a single season, with five.

According to Pro Football Focus, Bland held opposing quarterbacks to a meager 50.9 passer rating when targeting him, underscoring his dominance in coverage.

Bland produced a career-high 69 tackles, intercepted nine passes, and broke up 15 more while garnering an elite 90.4 overall grade from PFF.

Through his first two NFL seasons, Bland has picked off 14 passes, logged 123 total tackles, broken up 22 passes, and has produced 2.5 tackles for loss, so far in his career.

Entering the third year of his rookie contract, Bland is set to make a base salary of just $985,000 in 2024 while counting $1.06 million against the cap for Dallas in 2024.

How Much Will Re-Signing CeeDee Lamb Cost the Cowboys?

On the opposite end of the value spectrum from bland sits CeeDee Lamb.

Emerging as one of the NFL’s most prolific wide receivers, and the Cowboys’ most dangerous weapon in the passing game, Lamb is coming off a career-high 1,749-yard and 12 touchdown campaign in 2023, setting new career highs in both key categories.

Lamb is set to enter his fifth-year option in 2024 while collecting $17.99 million for the upcoming season. However, the Cowboys will likely need to sign the 25-year-old emerging star to an extension in the coming months to lower his cap number and ensure he’s wearing a star on the side of his helmet for the foreseeable future.

“I can’t give you … numbers right now,” Lamb said on teammate Micah Parsons’ podcast leading up to the Super Bowl. “But I’ll tell you this … (I want to be) one of the top-paid wide receivers, for sure, if not the (highest-paid receiver). That’s always the goal.”

If Lamb is intent on being one of the highest-paid receivers, it could cost the Cowboys upwards of $28.63 million against the cap, which is San Francisco 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel’s annual cap hit as the third-highest-paid receiver in the league. To reset the receiver market, the Cowboys would need to exceed Tyreek Hill’s $31.3 cap number in terms of their commitment to Lamb.

Chosen by the Cowboys with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2020 draft, Lamb has caught 395 passes for 5,145 yards and 32 touchdowns through his first four seasons.

Read More