Cowboys’ Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs named to best NFL team money can buy

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If it seems that in recent years, the NFL has been injected with a strong infusion of young talent, that would be correct. It wasn’t too long ago there was a lot of concern from the media, and likely from the league office, about who would take over for the aging superstars of the league. Whether it be an actual shift to players being better sooner, or just improved marketing, the league has plenty of you players seemingly born for the spotlight and destined for greatness.

Among those are Dallas Cowboys LB Micah Parsons and CB Trevon Diggs. Once maligned as a questionable use of high draft resources (yes, that was me) because he was an off-ball linebacker without much film showing pass coverage or pass rush, he has quickly ascended to All-Pro status. He was one of the best linebackers in the league in 2021, and one of the best pass rushers, finishing as a defensive player of the year finalist. Meanwhile Diggs started to show his worth towards the end of his rookie season in 2020 then took flight in 2021 with a team-record 11 interceptions. So when NFL.com’s Anthony Holzman-Escareno went about building the best roster under the 2022 salary cap, it was no surprise Parsons, Diggs and their rookie deals were part of the final result.

The Rules

Holzman-Escareno went about building a 53-man roster with a maximum 2022 ledger of $208.2 million, the amount without any rollovers for this season. He capped his roster at having 24 players currently on rookie contracts with no more than four players who were first rounders (equivalent to the standard number of first rounders still on a team with a rookie contract), second rounders or third rounders.

He allowed himself to use a first rounder on a player drafted in the second round, but not the other way around.

He also allowed himself one tagged (franchise or transition) player. Holzman-Escareno ended up spending 99.99% of his salary cap, a move Stephen Jones would normally be exceedingly proud of. The least money he spent was on the running back position and defensive tackle used the most space.

The Starting Lineup

Parsons was one of two linebackers in the starting “nickel” defense, along with New Orleans’ Demario Davis.

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Trevon Diggs makes the cut

While Parsons was named to the starting 22, a team is only as good as their depth. Diggs was one of the five cornerbacks who made the club.

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Trevon Diggs brings his wide receiver skill set to the defensive side of the ball. Diggs finished on the opposite end of the spectrum from Terrell, allowing the most receiving yards (1,016) in 2021. He also had the most interceptions (11) by any player in the last four decades. Though a tall task, Diggs has a shot to become the first player in the Super Bowl era with consecutive seasons of double-digit interceptions. On a roster like this, Diggs’ aggressiveness is far less of a worry.

 

No other Cowboys on the roster

Holzman-Escareno admitted that he was most thin at the offensive line interior, and that might not be the wisest move considering his only veteran quarterback is the 47-year old Tom Brady. The author did not include the Cowboys’ Zack Martin at right guard, instead going with Wyatt Teller of the Cleveland Browns.

Teller is currently only costing the Browns around $4.4 million against the cap, compared to Martin costing Dallas $12 million.

It should be noted that Martin is the only Cowboys’ player on a second contract who either made the club or was mentioned. 29 vested veterans made it, none of them from Dallas.

Cowboys who were mentioned

Of course Martin was mentioned as a top consideration, as was center Tyler Biadasz. The latter perhaps speaks to the dearth of quality cheap options at the position around the league. They were the only two offensive linemen from the club who were under heavy consideration.

Here’s a list of other Cowboys who were considered:

  • RB Tony Pollard (rookie deal)

  • WR CeeDee Lamb (rookie deal)

  • LB Leighton Vander Esch (prove-it deal)

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