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Offseason | 2024

IMPACT: Jefferson's deal paves way for CeeDee


FRISCO, Texas — In the pre-draft press conference held by the Dallas Cowboys in late April, Jerry Jones said that he wanted to see "more leaves fall" before working on extensions with expiring contracts in the building, including star wide receiver CeeDee Lamb.

Well, a major leaf fell on Monday morning with Justin Jefferson agreeing to a four-year/$140 million extension with the Minnesota Vikings which ends his holdout with the team and resets the market for the wide receiver position and Lamb's impending negotiations with the Cowboys.

It was implied in the same press conference by Stephen Jones that both sides had to be willing to sit down at the negotiation table, and if you look at it from Lamb's perspective, he didn't have a reason to sit down at that table until Monday morning. The bar is now set for the negotiation, and where the number eventually falls will be compared with Jefferson's historic deal.

Looking at their careers side-by-side through four seasons, it's easy to make the claim for both being among the league's top five players, if not top three, at the position. Jefferson has 392 receptions for 5,899 yards and 30 touchdowns compared to Lamb's 395 receptions for 5,145 yards and 32 touchdowns. Jefferson has an Offensive Player of the Year award and three Pro Bowls, Lamb just has the three Pro Bowl nods. Both entered the offseason looking for extensions. Both have not reported to their respective team facilities. Now, one gets his deal.

What happens with the other?

The conversation starting at $35 million per year will give Lamb the opportunity to potentially cash in over that amount just four years into his career and reset the market himself, while the Cowboys will have the opportunity to get his deal done before another reset happens when Ja'Marr Chase agrees to his extension with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Sure, there could continue to be some chess play as both Chase and Lamb await the other's move, but Jefferson's deal gives both a benchmark that could at least accelerate negotiations that were stagnant going into Monday.

Is the radar officially blinking red for a deal to get done? It would certainly benefit the Cowboys (and Lamb's pockets) with minicamp starting this week.

But will the urgency be there from Lamb and his representation? That will be the determining factor towards pen hitting paper sooner rather than later.

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