Cowboys Could Trade Projected $102 Million Star if Talks Get ‘Ugly’: Insider

Cowboys stars Micah Parsons (right) and CeeDee Lamb

Getty Cowboys stars Micah Parsons (right) and CeeDee Lamb

The Cowboys offseason has been a major disappointment, as five starters have departed and few reinforcements have been brought in behind them. One reason for the lack of activity has been the series of postseasons disappointments the Cowboys have suffered in past years. But another has a lot more to do with the future—namely the impending contract extensions Dallas will need to hand out to three top stars Micah Parsons, CeeDee Lamb and Dak Prescott.

And it remains entirely possible that the Cowboys look at the future and decide they can’t keep all three. Each is looking not only for a big payoff, but for the biggest payoff among all NFL players at their position. That will mean more than $50 million per year for Prescott, more than $30 million per year for Lamb and more than $34 million for Parsons.

If the Cowboys are forced to decide which of the three they can’t keep, it could very well be Parsons, according to The Athletic’s  Jon Machota.

Cowboys Trading Micah Parsons a Longshot Possibility

Now, to be sure, Machota writes that he thinks the Cowboys will sign all three players back. Why be so careful in free agency if the plan is not to keep the stars in place? The only way things could get off the rails is if Parsons wants to get well ahead of the $34 million per year that fellow edge rusher Nick Bosa got last year.

Here’s how Machota put it: “Parsons is the choice only because his asking price could get to a level where the Cowboys determine they might be better off going in another direction.

“San Francisco 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa currently tops the NFL as the highest-paid defender at $34 million per season. Parsons is probably going to want to top that number. But by how much? If it’s in that neighborhood, everything will probably work itself out. But what if it’s significantly more than that? If contract talks get ugly, maybe they try to work out a trade. I don’t see it getting to that level, but it can’t be completely ruled out.”

Trading Parsons would be a considerable shock, but given the circumstances—assuming Prescott and Lamb are re-signed—it is understandable. The Cowboys would want a hefty ransom in return and, even if they got a deal in place for Parsons, it is unlikely they could truly replace what he brings to the defense.

More Than Nick Bosa?

Parsons deserves to get paid, for certain. But how much and whether it should be more than Bosa is the big question. Spotrac projects his market value well below that of Bosa, at $25.4 million per year, for a total of $102 million over four years. That is dwarfed by the five years and $170 million Bosa is slated to get.

Parsons is just 24 years old and has been very durable in his three seasons, which include two All-Pro selections and three Pro Bowl selections. Parsons has missed one game in three seasons, and has had 13.0, 13.5 and 14.0 sacks in each of his years in Dallas.

He had a Pro Football Focus grade of 92.4 last year, which was second among all edge rushers, behind Cleveland’s Myles Garrett. The Cowboys are not likely to let a talent like that walk away, even if they play hardball with him in negotiations. It’s a possibility, but the best bet is still that Dallas keeps the trio of Lamb, Prescott and Parsons together.

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