Six year contract with Dallas Cowboys who can make money
Professional athletes in team sports have a double agenda. They want to win titles with their franchise, but they also try hard to maximize their income. Fortunately for everyone, the two are mutually supportive goals. Beating the free agency after your team does well usually leads to higher paychecks. The so-called contract year, or the last year of their old business, is when these future riches can be secured.
As our One Cool Customer put together earlier this year, the Dallas Cowboys have 34 players whose contracts will expire this season. Obviously, not all will have years leading to large paydays, and some will likely retire from their careers. But some can make significant increases with a good season. Here are the ones who could laugh to the bank.
EN Randy Gregory
There is no more moving story of salvation in the NFL than the pass-rusher of the Cowboys. If you have access to The Athletic, the latest piece on the road to salvation is worth every second it takes to read. He is ready to finally get the contract his talent deserves, but his personal struggles have not been made. Last year he showed off some of what he can bring to the table, even though it may not have been fully unleashed, as he noted and previously quoted by our David Howman.
As much as the 2020 season could prove to be a stepping stone, Gregory believes he was denied opportunities last year. He thought he had fulfilled his obligations under his 2019 perpetual suspension after a year of absence from the team, but the NFL saw it differently. His reinstatement was delayed because the NFL didn’t conduct drug testing during the pandemic, leaving Gregory unable to prove he was clean. The league allowed him to return to the facility earlier in the season but prevented him from playing the first six games, apparently to see if he could handle an intentional reintroduction.
For the remainder of the season, Gregory’s options behind Aldon Smith were limited.
“I felt like there was a bit of favoritism going on … I refused to overshadow their favorites,” he says. “They knew I could do it, so they did what they could to keep me in check. I’ve had my times when I was angry. I’ve always talked to Peter about it and the best I could do was go out into the field with the pieces they give me and appreciate those pieces. I did, but I really felt like I’d been robbed for a year last year. “
Now that Dan Quinn is in charge of the defense, we’ve really seen Gregory explode, and he’s almost physically untouched from the blows that take most pass-rushers. When he awaits the season, he will be one of the most desirable players in one of the most valuable positions in the game.
It may be expensive for the cowboys to keep, but they have invested so much in his recovery that they will surely try. This is a rare case of loyalty that runs both ways in the NFL. That doesn’t mean he’s going to give Dallas a hometown discount. That doesn’t mean he won’t either. If he stays healthy, someone will seriously enrich him.
G Connor Williams
In 2019 he was considered a weak link on the offensive. In 2020 he was the rock. Every other scheduled starter from the start of the season ended her on IR. Availability is called the most important skill for a reason.
Continuity on the offensive is important. All other starters are locked up for a while so the cowboys should be willing to make him a good offer to stay, but there will likely be other interested suitors around here. Williams might not be the elite player Zack Martin is, but he’ll get a nice bit of variety out of it somewhere.
WR Michael Gallup
The bad news for Gallup is that he’s pretty clearly WR3 to the Cowboys. The good news is that the two receivers before him are Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, who are one of the top double winners in the entire league. He had a 1,100-yard season in 2019 and still made it to 843 last year, with Cooper and Lamb eating up catches and a motley crew of quarterbacks throwing passes for the last three quarters of the year. Many teams will rightly see Gallup as an upgrade at WR2, and someone will likely think they have WR1 potential. He’s very unlikely to stay in Dallas, but this shiny new contract will at least make him feel better.
This could also be good news for Cedrick Wilson or Noah Brown, or possibly both. Neither of them should get a high-profile new deal, but if Gallup moves on, the team will want some experience behind Cooper and Lamb. It could mean a nice offer, just one that isn’t big enough to make this list.
TE Dalton Schultz
When Blake Jarwin was lost for the season, Schultz stepped in and proved he was a legitimate start tight end. He may keep this job, but even if Jarwin lands in front of him on the depth map, Schultz will be attractive to many. That probably includes the cowboys, although they should have a maximum price they’ll pay for him. Either way, he should get an entry fee in 2022.
LB Leighton Vander Esch
The Cowboys declined to take his fifth year option during the off-season. For Vander Esch, that could be the best that could have happened financially. He’s had a lot of problems last season but if that was really just a symptom of the team’s defensive efforts he’ll get a nice second contract a year earlier than he would have. We hope, of course, that Quinn will make better use of it. The large influx of new talents on the defensive should also work in his favor. Most project him as WILL next to Micah Parsons on MIKE. If Parsons is as good as most think and those inner defensive line issues are resolved, Vander Esch should play well enough to generate a lot of interest. The Cowboys may not be among those pursuing him, however, as they drafted Jabril Cox and still have Jaylon Smith under contract. If the latter is also having a better season for the same reasons, LVE will likely end up in a different kit next season.
QB Garrett Gilbert
OK, this one is partly humorous. He is certainly not entitled to an eight-figure annual salary. But it’s dirt cheap for a QB2, which the staff apparently are trying to make it. If Dak Prescott stays healthy, Gilbert could triple his salary by standing on the sidelines all season. With one and a half years of experience in the system alone, it can be worth it for the team. And then who knows? He could move on after football to become the next Dan Orlovsky just without Carson Wentz’s crush.