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How Should Make NFL Teams Build Around $ 30 Million Quarterback?

At first glance, the Seahawks and the Cowboys seem to have similar points in their franchise timelines. The two teams played in one of the wild-card playoff rounds of the last season (who finished in the 24-22 Dallas win). Next spring, both are expected to have up to 40 players holding a free agency and approximately $ 80 million in cover positions to change their rosters. But look deeper and there are many major differences in their team building techniques. In fact, the fact that the Seahawks have signed their quarterback on a top-of-the-market deal worth more than $ 30 million each time, while the Cowboys are not.

Before Russell Wilson signed his extension last month, there was a lot of debates around the league when it was careful to devote the percentage of salary cap-around 1

7 percent in 2020-to a single player, even a top-five QB. That concern (right) does not stop Seahawks-locked one of the most important long-term league players-and it probably will not stop Cowboys from giving the same contract of Dak Prescott. Cowboys' brass is not ashamed about his intentions to reward Prescott with a big payday this summer before he hits the agency free in 2020, and the willingness to keep him, even in a costly deal , indicates the direction the league has shifted over the years.

Types of trap traps at the door with moderate guarantees that provided teams with early outs (as given to Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick in 2014) gave way to two main types of QB contract: deal with monster veterans, deals and rookie deals. Currently there is 10 QB with an average annual cost of at least $ 24.6 million per year in the NFL, and that number is likely to reach 12 before the next season as Prescott and Philip Rivers get extensions. (At the other end of the spectrum, 14 teams will have clear starter on rookie deals this season.) With so many teams choosing the pricey QB route, the main question about position contracts is moving from the teams must provide huge deals at all, on how the teams should build around them. And that's where the Seahawks & # 39; and Cowboys are different.

Even with Prescott's new salary expected to haloo, the Cowboys will likely have $ 50 and $ 60 million in the cover of the next season (no care of other extensions). The problem for Dallas is that Prescott is far from the sole decision of high-profile contract on the horizon. The Cornerback Byron Jones, the extensive receiver Amari Cooper, linebacker Jaylon Smith, and the lingering linemen La & # 39; el Collins enter the last year of their deals, and the word wants the Cowboys to be more than the core as long as possible. And although Ezekiel Elliott does not reach an independent agency until 2021, an extension is unavoidable, and the team can choose to get done before the next season to overthrow his 2020 cap number. Get all the account contracts, and the cover space disappear in a hurry. If the Cowboys remain Cooper, Jones, Elliott, and Smith or Collins, they are likely to be tight against the cover of Prescott's first or second year deal, with eight players counted for at least $ 10 million in 2020 (including Prescott and recently expanded DeMarcus Lawrence, to check in more than twice that amount).

Some teams followed similar paths over the last few years, and they were faced with a tough decision and risky team building strategy as a result. The Vikings-who signed Kirk Cousins ​​for a three-year, fully guaranteed $ 84 million deal last spring-had to cut veteran relationships such as guard Mike Remmers and safety Andrew Sendejo in the offseason it is to produce some relief relief. Minnesota said the corneal Trae Waynes (which is set to count at $ 9.1 million against this year's cap) and may seek deals for longtime tight end Kyle Rudolph ($ 7.6 million). The defending end Everson Griffen also earned a $ 3 million pay cut, and on Tuesday, the team had to change the contract of Eric Kendricks's linebacker to create enough space to fit the first-round pick Garrett Bradbury is under salary. These are the kinds of belt-tightening movements that a team of expensive quarterback are forced to make-even a team like the Vikings, who offer QB money for many years and there are superstars like Danielle Hunter and Adam Thielen

Minnesota also needs to increase the Cousins ​​contract by taking players to the rookie deal in action as soon as possible. For example, Bradbury will appear immediately because the starting center of the team is simply because the Vikings have no choice. And Rudolph saw that gradually runs out after Minnesota took over the tight end Irv Smith Jr. in the second round. The Falcons-who navigated around $ 150 million extension Matt Ryan in the last spring-are in similar positions in cash and can also rely heavily on novel novels. After nabbed guard Chris Lindstrom at no. 14 pick, which traded the Atlanta at no. 45 and 79 picked up Rams to climb and take Washington to face Caleb McGary in the 31st pick. McGary-started 47 games for Huskies-profiles as the leading right of the Falcons, a vacancy left only after Atlanta cuts starter Ryan Schraeder to save money.

Throughout the entire era of Dan Quinn as head coach, the Falcons depend on some inexpensive, productive young players to regain Matt Ryan's cost and other expensive stars (like Julio Jones and Alex Mack). But those days are near. The fifth round pick, Grady Jarrett, is set to produce $ 15.2 million in the franchise tag in 2019. Starting on the linebackers Deion Jones and De & # 39; Vondre Campbell will be free agents after this season. Jones, especially, was assigned for a big payday from the Falcons, who felt his loss in a big way last season without getting 10 games with foot injuries. Atlanta wants to keep the term of Jones and Jarrett long, but the delivery of the two big deals will be more complicated next year when Ryan's hit will jump to $ 33.5 million (he'll be counted for only $ 15.8 million this season, after restructuring $ 8.8 million to create cover space).

The Cowboys situation should follow a similar trajectory in Atlanta's. Dallas is NFL's youngest team last season through the snap age, and the franchise has done a great job in finding talented young players who have outperformed their rookie deals. But ultimately, the measure should take place, and next time Dallas will cover the gymnastics caps that pays a quarterback north of $ 30 million each time. It's a similar victory to one that the Eagles and Rams are likely to have a little further on the road if and when Carson Wentz and Jared Goff get their second contract. The teams have three more stacked rosters in all football, and maintaining that deep while siping a large part of the cap is not easy.

That makes the Seahawks approach to Wilson a fascinating approach. Seattle cleanses almost all the expensive veterans in favor of cheap contracts and players in rookie deals. Today, Pete Carroll's team is set to have 44 free agents in 2020, including star linebacker Bobby Wagner. Only Panthers (52) and Raiders (49) are on the track to have more. Only five players in the roster will be held to make more than $ 5.4 million in the next season. Only nine can make more than $ 3 million (and one of them is a kicker). Some transfers have taken place without much influence from the team: Both Kam Chancellor and Doug Baldwin retire in this offseason due to medical issues; the pair is set to make more than $ 25 million combined with their current deals. But the Seahawks made many moves that showed that they have a clear plan in place.

Instead of trying to keep players like safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Justin Coleman, Seattle moved to. A month after announcing the same defensive backs walk, general manager John Schneider is trading franchise-tag defensive end Frank Clark with Chiefs for 2019 first-round pick, 2020 second rounder, and 2019 third-rounder. Accompanying the acquisition of extra picks from Kansas City, the Seahawks were traded down many times in this year's draft that they lost from having a four league-low options to have time selections that the draft is over. According to ESPN's Seth Walder all Schneider's rounds and Seattle's Seattle deal are the draft capital equivalent to a top-10 pick. Moreover, the team chose to keep his wallet somewhat closed to the free agency; The Seahawks are expected to get third- and fourth-round compensatory 2020 picks because of this.

As Wilson set out to count $ 26.3 million against the cap in 2019, the Seahawks have been systematically acquired as young and inexpensive as long as possible. According to Over the Cap, Seattle's 40 players are currently under contract for 2020, 15 are winning rookies. Instead of trying to keep its foundation together after spending on a QB, Seahawks are repreating their entire roster with the aim of keeping the flexibility.

The key to a strategy like Seattle, of course, is for draft picks to become a championship-caliber roster around Wilson. Holding that talent is a prerequisite for this plan to work. Just ask the Colts. Like Seattle, Indianapolis also decided to tear its roster on screws around Andrew Luck. The Colts have two-and-a-half, two – veterans of big deals on their roster (widely acceptable TY Hilton and offensive presence Anthony Castonzo, and both of them the contract was signed before GM Chris Ballard took over in 2017). Aside from those contracts, Indianapolis has a roster full of young players, some of them running home. Quenton Nelson, Darius Leonard, and Braden Smith all go on as Day 1 starters and well. Ballard's formulation allows the Colts to play the last playoffs and enter the free agency in 2019 with over $ 100 million in the cap room. It lies in the benefit of building around an expensive quarterback in the way the Seahawks and Colts: Front offices still have the ability to shape-and hand-to-hand their rosters however they see fit.

The Cowboys argument, of course, is that Seattle and Indianapolis are trying to develop the type of roster that Dallas already has. The purpose of the draft is to find players working up to the point they deserve the second (and third) contract, and the Cowboys clearly think that Smith, Jones, Collins, and Cooper have done just that. But by entering deals-with the huge extension of Prescott-the Cowboys are locked in the same situation both the Vikings and Falcons currently find themselves in: Instead of doing the moves they want, they are forced to do the moves they need.

To this point in the QB megadé age, there is little evidence that one type of approach is more effective than others. But results from teams such as the Seahawks and Cowboys-who may not have more disparate tracks-should provide a lot of evidence in the coming years.

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