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Mailbag: How To Account For Absent Fans?


If the salary cap is similar to this year's one, even with massaging the cap, wouldn't it be difficult to sign Dak to another franchise tag, in addition to what could be 10 draft picks? — GARET TANAKA / WAILUKU, HI

Rob: Short answer? Yes, $37.7 million would be a very large number for what's likely to be a shrinking cap. The floor for next year's cap is expected to be around $175 million. It could be higher, but it certainly might not match this year's $198 million level because of league revenue loss during the pandemic. Obviously there are ways to create space (contract restructures, etc.) but the ideal scenario would be to reach a new deal with Prescott after this season and reduce the cap hit that way.

Nick: Yes, it's going to be difficult to put that franchise tag on Dak again for multiple reasons. I don't really know if the draft picks factor into that so much. But having anyone playing for $38 million for one season just goes against everything this team typically tries to do with their cap. I could sit here and say "Nah, that won't happen. He will sign before then." But who knows? We never thought we'd be in this situation. But I just can't really see the Cowboys giving Dak that much for one season. Either he signs a new deal or maybe he's not tendered at all.

Given that some, if not all teams may have to play the season without fans in attendance, do you think the NFL will allow teams to pipe in crowd noise (like what is done at some practices) to replicate the feel of a game day experience? I ask, because It just seems like it will have some effect on the players to play without fans present. — ERIC BENDER / CASTLEROCK, CO

Rob: Well, it remains to be seen if there will be limited fans in attendance around the league. But I agree that adding canned crowd noise might create some semblance of normalcy out there. Major League Baseball is apparently doing that using simulated noise from the 2K video game "The Show." The NBA might do something similar with its restart. Here's what I'd be curious about: would every stadium have to use the exact same noise simulation during, say, a third-down situation for the opposing offense?

Nick: I think this is one case where the NFL will be looking at the other sports and how the game operation is working. I liked what I saw from the baseball games over the weekend. You heard crowd noise, music, etc. I think the NFL will do the same. Now, it's a little tricky if some teams are having fans and others are not. But yeah, I think you'll see some teams pipe in crowd noise. I mean, some teams have been doing it for years but now maybe it'll be allowed.

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