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Micah Parsons

The other key contract situation for Dallas

The Cowboys have a lot of big contract situations to resolve in the next year. CeeDee Lamb and Dak Prescott are the ones you hear most about. But don't forget Micah Parsons. One of the game's best defenders is also due to get paid.

Parsons was absent from the start of voluntary OTAs, leading to concerns that there might be a holdout on the horizon. But he was in attendance this week, leaving us to wonder if he's content to play on the fourth year of his rookie contract -- or if a deal of some kind was close. Whatever the case, he's going to get a huge deal at some point. He's definitely earned it.

Lamb is one of the game's best wideouts, while Dak -- although there are critics -- has been one of the better franchise quarterbacks, playoff disappointments notwithstanding. And there aren't many defenders who have been more impactful than Parsons the past three seasons.

Looking at defenders who have recorded at least 50 total tackles and a dozen sacks, there have been only 25 such seasons the last three years. Just six players have done it more than once in that timeframe. Only one guy has done it all three years. That would be Parsons.

Search tools at pro-football-reference.com used to compile the below table, which is sorted by sacks.

DEFENDERS WITH 50 TACKLES, 12 SACKS, 2021-2023
SeasonPlayerTcklAstCombSk
2021T.J. Watt, Pit.48166422.5
2023T.J. Watt, Pit.48206819.0
2022Nick Bosa, S.F.41105118.5
2023Josh Allen, Jac.43236617.5
2023Khalil Mack, LAC57177417.0
2023Danielle Hunter, Min.54298316.5
2021Myles Garrett, Cle.33185116.0
2022Myles Garrett, Cle.37236016.0
2022Matt Judon, N.E.36246015.5
2021Nick Bosa, S.F.40125215.5
2022Alex Highsmith, Pit.38256314.5
2023Maxx Crosby, L.V.55359014.5
2023Micah Parsons, Dal.36286414.0
2022Micah Parsons, Dal.42236513.5
2021Micah Parsons, Dal.64208413.0
2023Justin Madubuike, Bal.38185613.0
2023Montez Sweat, Chi.-Was.38195712.5
2021Matt Judon, N.E.38226012.5
2021Cameron Jordan, N.O.38215912.5
2023Jonathan Greenard, Hou.36165212.5
2021Aaron Donald, LAR38468412.5
2022Maxx Crosby, L.V.58318912.5
2022Brian Burns, Car.34296312.5
2022Quinnen Williams, NYJ35205512.0
2021Harold Landry, Ten.51247512.0

Before Parsons showed up, Mike McCarthy lamented his absence as a "missed opportunity." Parsons reporting on Wednesday could be construed as a good-faith gesture, or maybe he's actually going to get paid in the next few days.

Fantasy-wise, Lamb and Prescott are more important to most people, but from an NFL standpoint, Parsons is also in the discussion of a critical team component. I don't know how Dallas is going to be able to pay all three, but the odds of the team getting back to its first Super Bowl in nearly 30 years might rely on it.

--Andy Richardson

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