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Mailbag: Al Harris' Impact On The Cornerbacks?


How do you feel new defensive backs coach Al Harris will change the secondary and how the corners play? Will they be coached more to turn for the ball? Seems like they always had their back to the ball as the wide receiver would pull in the catch over the years. — TYLER BAEM / SAN ANTONIO, TX

David: I would like to think we'll see a more aggressive style of play. After all, Al Harris had 21 interceptions and 140 pass breakups during his 14-year career. One of the main things we heard the Cowboys' defensive coaches talk about prior to the pandemic was the need to create more takeaways. It's been a problem for this team for years. It might lead to more big plays, but coaching your defensive backs to go after the ball more aggressively is probably the best way to do that.

Nick: That's the idea - to have Al Harris coach these guys to play the way he did. He was aggressive and took chances. That will lead to more picks and more deep balls against them as well. But you're right in thinking the corners always had their head turned around. I'm hoping to see Harris make a big impact in their technique.

Has anyone ever signed a contract tied to the NFL salary cap? What if Dak signed a deal that would pay him 15% of a team's salary cap money no matter what it is, and goes up accordingly as the money goes up? If the cap goes up in the coming years from TV revenues, then wouldn't that contract would go to match? — KIM WALK / SHIPPENSBURG, PA

David: I was honestly shocked that Patrick Mahomes' contract didn't tie to the salary cap. Regardless of how much money he signed for, it's a reasonable guess that Mahomes will lose money over the coming years as the market expands. To answer your question more directly, I don't think Dak would get that type of deal because Dak hasn't done enough to justify it. I think it makes more sense to pay him near the top of the market for a shorter amount of time. That way, there's less risk of the Cowboys hurting their cap situation in the long-term, and Dak gets another crack at a new contract while he's still in his prime.

Nick: I'm sure it's been done but there are reasons why it doesn't happen. Usually, you have to have a longer deal for a percentage deal to make sense. With the nature of the game and how quickly things change, most players and teams don't want to do those long deals. Now I'm not putting anyone in Mahomes' category. But just imagine if guys like RG3, Andrew Luck, Jameis Winston or any QB that had early success, were given a 10-year deal. Plus, teams like to be a little more flexible in the structure to just tie it to the cap, which is something that is negotiated beyond the team or the player's control.

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