With Patrick Mahomes signing a record-setting contract with the Chiefs, at least in terms of length, what effect do you think it will have on the negotiations with Dak? Will the length influence him to consider a longer deal or will other incentives in the deal potentially give him more leverage? – CHRIS WINKLE / MARYVILLE, TN
David: I really don't think it means all that much for Dak. Patrick Mahomes had all the leverage in the world and clearly wanted to be in Kansas City for the long haul. Dak does not have as much leverage, and he wants to set himself up to secure future earnings. Perhaps the Cowboys can use this to leverage a five-year deal with more guarantees, and perhaps it raises the floor of Dak's asking price. But honestly, this contract is so far out of the atmosphere of what Dak and the Cowboys are negotiating, I'm just not convinced it's a good barometer.
Rob: Good question and we'll see. Obviously it means quarterback salaries continue to rise, but Mahomes' deal is in a category by itself – not just the NFL but the history of sports. Mahomes didn't reset the market so much as establish his own QB planet. The new money on his 10-year extension reportedly tops the NFL's previous highest-paid quarterback, Russell Wilson, by $10 million bucks a year. That's unheard of, and you really can't argue with the Chiefs' decision. He's the face of the league and a Super Bowl MVP at age 24. At the very least, Dak will have the eighth-highest quarterback average salary at $31.4 million on this year's franchise tag, but let's see what happens in the next nine days. Maybe they can still get something done.
Luke Gifford was making the most of his opportunities in camp last year, and it was looking like he was going to make the team before he got injured. What should our expectation be for him this year? 53-man roster? Practice squad? – BRYAN WALSH / MOUNT AIRY, MD
David: I really like his odds to make the active roster. You obviously have the trio of Jaylon, LVE and Lee. Joe Thomas is the primary backup behind them. That leaves Justin March and Gifford as the main candidates for reserve and special teams duty. Most NFL teams tend to keep six linebackers, if not seven. So yes, given his talent and his ability to play special teams, I feel really good about Gifford's outlook.
Rob: He's definitely in the conversation for a roster spot again. The Cowboys did bring back Justin March, a proven special teams player, and signed rookie free agents Francis Bernard and Azur Kamara. Bernard was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection at Utah and could have been a late-round pick. But I think Gifford can help on special teams, and that will be a critical part of the evaluation process with new coordinator John Fassel coming in.