Now that the Cowboys and Dak have reached a deal, how does this affect the salary cap situation? Will this help to get some other deals done? How much cap room will the Cowboys have now, after this deal? — JEREMY KINCHELOE / VIRGINIA BEACH, VA
Nick: This is a rare situation. The Cowboys locked up Dak Prescott to a mega-deal with the richest signing bonus in NFL history. He's one of the highest-paid players in sports. And yet, his cap charge actually is reduced significantly from last year. Don't forget he had a $31.4 million cap charge and now it'll be just north of $22 million. And that's a huge difference from having to play on the tag for about $38 million. So at least for this year, they'll have some room to go and do a few things – not many of course. But it doesn't kill the cap as some people suggested this contract would do.
Rob: This is why I've been saying it seemed like the right time for the deal to get done. For Dak, sure, we can talk about what he could have earned cumulatively this year on a tag and then in 2022. But he's getting a massive contract and he's also getting long-term security now. Every player wants that, and he most certainly has earned that. For the Cowboys, the deal does exactly what Nick said: it allows them to spread the money out and open up precious cap space in a year with unprecedented cap challenges due to league revenue loss from the pandemic. The 2021 cap level hasn't been announced, so it's hard to know exactly where they'll be as far as space. It's going to be tight this year. But this goes a long way toward helping them manage the cap with free agency around the corner.
Any word on how Trysten Hill has been progressing this offseason? Do you see him making a considerable jump in Year 3? — H. MELVIN / OCEAN CITY, NJ
Nick: From what I have heard, he's doing fine. He should be on schedule to return this offseason and the goal is to get him ready for the start of the season, if not a few weeks before to practice. But he was on his way before the injury to becoming a good, young player. There's no reason to think that will change at all with the injury. Pairing him inside with Neville Gallimore, and the Cowboys have a couple of young tackles with good quickness and power to get in the backfield.
Rob: Hill and Blake Jarwin, both rehabbing from ACL surgery, are in good hands with the athletic training staff. The injury was unfortunate for Hill because the Cowboys felt he might've been their most improved defensive player in the first five games last season. The first year back from an ACL injury can be tough, but I do think Hill has a chance to thrive in Dan Quinn's defense because it features tackles who can disrupt the run and push the pocket.