Why is no one talking about the $30 million that the Cowboys are showing over the projected cap for 2022? Which players will be most at risk? – J.D. EDMONDS
David: Personally, I've learned that way too much changes from year to year for me to stress too hard about next year. We're going to learn things about this roster that we don't know right now, and we're going to have different opinions in February than we do in June. The New Orleans Saints entered this offseason $30 million over the cap, and sure enough they managed to get under without blowing up their team. You are right that the Cowboys will probably have to get creative to make the cap work next year, but it's not something that's going to keep me awake at night.
Rob: There is no official projected cap level for 2022 at this point. We do know the ceiling will be a little over $208 million, and anything close to that would be way up from this year's $182.5 million. Regardless, how many times have we seen the Cowboys (through restructures, cuts, etc.) create as much room as they need to accomplish their goals in the offseason? Every single year. But to help with cap flexibility, it is important for young players to emerge as viable contributors on rookie contracts. It's a big draft class they're counting on to do that.
I know he is currently working with the linebackers, but do you think Keanu Neal will wind up starting any games as safety this season? – HORACE
David: That's an interesting question. It seems obvious that Neal's preference is to play linebacker, and the coaching staff is on board. For the record, he looked really good during OTAs. But it's a long season, and the Cowboys are very thin at safety. I'm going to step out on a limb and say yes. For some reason – maybe injury – they're going to ask him to move back to his old spot for at least a week or two.
Rob: I don't know if he'll ever start at safety unless injuries force the issue, but could we see him move around and play some safety within games based on certain packages or situations? That wouldn't totally surprise me. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has revealed very little about what the scheme will actually look like. But between Neal's versatility and Micah Parsons' position flex, seems like there can be ways for all the linebackers to get on the field a decent amount.