(Editor's Note: Over the next month, the staff of DallasCowboys.com is looking to answer the 20 biggest questions facing the team heading into the 2023 season. Today, the staff writers begin the series, discussing contract talk, debating on the next superstar to sign the dotted line.)
20) Who's the Next to Sign Long-Term Deal
Patrik Walker: This is definitely not an easy question to answer. While I believe it's entirely likely the first to get his deal done will be CeeDee Lamb, I'm going to lean toward Trevon Diggs here. That's because Lamb's fifth-year option was exercised while Diggs doesn't have one, so he'll hit free agency in 2023 unless the franchise tag is applied, but that's a projected amount of $20.15 million for a CB and a long-term deal on Diggs avoids that hit to garner Year 1 cap savings in 2024 that can be used to then secure Lamb and/or Micah Parsons.
Kurt Daniels: Remember the summer of 2019? Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott were all negotiating extensions with the latter even skipping out on training camp. So who was the first to make a deal? Jaylon Smith. Perhaps knowing there were no guarantees with his balky knee, he signed a contract to secure his long-term financial future. Now enter Terence Steele, who proved his worth before suffering his own ACL tear last year. Also with no promises of what lies ahead health-wise, might he slide in before the big money goes elsewhere and secure his own financial future? Would make sense.
Mickey Spagnola: Simple. Whoever is ready to sign. The Cowboys would like to sign Tony Pollard, Terence Steele, Trevon Diggs and CeeDee Lamb to multiple-year extensions. Those first three guys are all playing on one-year deals this season. At least the Cowboys have control of Lamb for these next two seasons. I would think they would offer Pollard, at age 26, and Steele, a restricted free agent at age 26, three-year deals. Do those guys want to bet on themselves this year, especially since both are coming off major surgeries. Diggs will be a bit more complicated. Of those four, if it were me, and I was being guaranteed just $4.3 million for this year like Steele, I'd take a three-year deal with at least that much guaranteed and would only be 29 for my next contract, young for a successful offensive lineman.
Nick Eatman: Personally, I think it's going to be someone like Terence Steele. But I don't think that's the spirit of this question. As far as Diggs, Lamb and Dak, I would lean towards trying to get Diggs done. If he's not done this season, then he has a chance to be a free agent and while the possibility to franchise tag him is always an option, it's not often met with the best reaction. While Diggs is definitely his own person, it doesn't sound like his older brother Stefon is too happy about his contract in Buffalo, and he's definitely making a lot more. So if anything, Trevon should understand the business side of things as well. Hopefully, the Cowboys can get him done sooner than later.