Cowboys’ Crawford + Player Comps For Deal

The Cowboys have placed a lot of faith in the ascension of Tyrone Crawford to a plus-level defensive tackle. Will they follow suit with a new contract or let the player ride out his final year under his rookie deal? We take a look at a similar player to see if any insight could be gleaned into workable numbers.

The Cowboys hope moving Tyrone Crawford inside to defensive tackle unlocks the beast within. In 2014, due to a lack of depth at the position, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli moved his starting strong-side defensive end to the under tackle position with positive results. Now they’ve given him an entire offseason to prepare for the role and are expecting a terror from the position that stirs the drink for Marinelli’s scheme. This would work out extremely well for Crawford, who happens to be in the last year of his rookie deal. With the additional cap space Dallas currently has ($11.9 million, read how we arrive at this number in this link), it might behoove them to offer Crawford an extension before he breaks out.

In college, Crawford played defensive end in a 3-4 defense and was drafted by the Cowboys in 2012 to play the same position. However 2013 saw a switch to a 4-3 scheme with Monte Kiffin and then Crawford tore his Achilles early in training camp and would miss the season. The switch to Rod Marinelli last season brought about different philosophies, but Crawford’s combination of strength and speed is a perfect match for the pocket collapsing, penetrating three-tech the coach wants. Crawford didn’t rack up an extreme number of sacks in 2014, but with little experience on the interior, harassed quarterbacks relentlessly and ended up second on the team in total quarterback pressures. Both he and the club expect monumental growth.

So if the Cowboys were to lock up Crawford what kind of contract would he be looking at? Last season, CowboysHQ opined that Cole Beasley deserved a contract similar to the one signed by Cleveland’s Andrew Hawkins in 2013, and sure enough both players are now on four-year, $17 million (CHECK!!!!) deals now after Beasley signed his extension this offseason. Now, we’ll try to find comparable players to Crawford and right-size a potential deal for him.

First things first, let’s assess where Crawford is as a player. Here’s a look at his pressure statistics from last year:

PlayerSacksQB HitsQB HurriesTotal PressuresPass Rush SnapsPRP RatePRP Ranking
Crawford '1431225403077.511 of 32

Crawford’s statistics place him as an average pass rusher, but again, this is with no experience and no extensive training. He is preparing to be a full-time 3-tech as the Cowboys prepare to open training camp this week.

So, if the Cowboys like what they see in camp, what kind of offer would they be willing to extend to Crawford? Extending players during camp has been something the club has done several times in the past, For better or worse. Miles Austin received a six-year extension three days before the first game in 2010. Orlando Scandrick’s original extension was in late August 2011; a deal that at the time many scoffed at as premature and unwarranted. The team also offered third contracts Jay Ratliff (three days prior) and Jason Witten on Opening Day that year. In August 2013, Sean Lee received his six-year extension.

With knowing the team has a track record for these types of deals; it appears someone like Crawford would have the best chance of an extension. He is hardly worth a franchise tag, and even with an excellent year, there would be little track record to award him upwards of $12 million defensive tackles would command. Even if Crawford were to reach double-digit sacks, that would seem a laughable proposition that one year of production would earn the tag.

Crawford’s best comparison might just be Sen-Derrick Marks’ deal he received from Jacksonville prior to 2014. Marks 2013 stats are eerily similar to Crawford’s in 2014.

PlayerSacksQB HitsQB HurriesTotal PressuresPass Rush SnapsPRP RatePRP Ranking
Crawford '1431225403077.511 of 32
Marks '1341223395275.918 of 33

After signing on with Jacksonville on a one-year deal in 2013, Marks new deal in 2014 reflected a bit of “show us again”.

Marks’ deal was four years, for up to $20.5 million in new money. Signed in December of 2013, he received $800k in signing bonus. In addition to his $3m base salary for the next season, he also got a $1m roster bonus on the first day of the 2014 league year. He also had another $600k tied into achieving 8 or more sacks on the season, which resulted in this celebration late in the year.

In 2015, he has another $1.2 million tied to a similar incentive, as OTC is reporting it as Likely-To-Be-Earned. That designation is for stats that were met or exceeded the previous season. He also has roster bonuses of $1m in 2015 and the final two years of the deal.

Dallas normally doesn’t structure contracts in this fashion, but one could see themselves including incentives in the pot in a similar structure that they could walk away from the deal after two years with a minimal salary cap hit. A four-year deal for $18 million including a $4 million signing bonus would have Crawford’s cap charges as so:

YearBase SalaryS.Bonus ProrationW-out BonusLTBE IncentivesCap HitDead Money
2015$675k$1m$.1k$0 $1.83m 
2016$3.325m$1m$0 $0 $4.325m$3m
2017$4.5m$1m$0 $0 $5.5m$2m
2018$5.5m$1m$0 $0 $6.5m$1m

That would be a typical structure of how Dallas has doled out contracts in the past. However, with plenty of wiggle room on the 2014 cap and their edict to spend as much of the cap as possible, what if Dallas ate a larger portion of the signing bonus in the first year, to give them flexibility moving forward, should Crawford not live up to expectations?

YearBase SalaryS.Bonus ProrationRoster BonusW-out BonusLTBE IncentivesCap HitDead Money
2015$675k$250k$3m$.1k$0 $3.935m-
2016$3.325m$250k$0 $0 $0 $3.575m$750k
2017$4.5m$250k$0 $0 $0 $4.75m$750k
2018$5.5m$250k$0 $0 $0 $5.75m$750k

Here, Crawford walks away with the exact same amount of up-front new money ($4 million) but the club is better protected against disappointment and can walk away from the deal at any time in the future. It doesn’t give Crawford the same level of guarantee over time, but does give him the same guaranteed money.

Once Dallas has a clear indication of whether or not they need to augment their roster, they then analyze the cap space they have earmarked, and balance whether or not it would be best served to spend some now or roll it over. If the cap can take it, it often makes sense to absorb a percentage of the allocated signing bonus of a new deal, lessening the hit in subsequent seasons.


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\r\nIn 2015, he has another $1.2 million tied to a similar incentive, as OTC is reporting it as Likely-To-Be-Earned. That designation is for stats that were met or exceeded the previous season. He also has roster bonuses of $1m in 2015 and the final two years of the deal.

\r\nDallas normally doesn’t structure contracts in this fashion, but one could see themselves including incentives in the pot in a similar structure that they could walk away from the deal after two years with a minimal salary cap hit. A four-year deal for $18 million including a $4 million signing bonus would have Crawford’s cap charges as so:

\r\n

\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
YearBase SalaryS.Bonus ProrationW-out BonusLTBE IncentivesCap HitDead Money
2015$675k$1m$.1k$0 $1.83m 
2016$3.325m$1m$0 $0 $4.325m$3m
2017$4.5m$1m$0 $0 $5.5m$2m
2018$5.5m$1m$0 $0 $6.5m$1m

That would be a typical structure of how Dallas has doled out contracts in the past. However, with plenty of wiggle room on the 2014 cap and their edict to spend as much of the cap as possible, what if Dallas ate a larger portion of the signing bonus in the first year, to give them flexibility moving forward, should Crawford not live up to expectations?

\r\n

\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
YearBase SalaryS.Bonus ProrationRoster BonusW-out BonusLTBE IncentivesCap HitDead Money
2015$675k$250k$3m$.1k$0 $3.935m-
2016$3.325m$250k$0 $0 $0 $3.575m$750k
2017$4.5m$250k$0 $0 $0 $4.75m$750k
2018$5.5m$250k$0 $0 $0 $5.75m$750k

\r\nHere, Crawford walks away with the exact same amount of up-front new money ($4 million) but the club is better protected against disappointment and can walk away from the deal at any time in the future. It doesn’t give Crawford the same level of guarantee over time, but does give him the same guaranteed money.

\r\nOnce Dallas has a clear indication of whether or not they need to augment their roster, they then analyze the cap space they have earmarked, and balance whether or not it would be best served to spend some now or roll it over. If the cap can take it, it often makes sense to absorb a percentage of the allocated signing bonus of a new deal, lessening the hit in subsequent seasons.

\r\n","mobileBody":"

The Cowboys hope moving Tyrone Crawford inside to defensive tackle unlocks the beast within. In 2014, due to a lack of depth at the position, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli moved his starting strong-side defensive end to the under tackle position with positive results. Now they’ve given him an entire offseason to prepare for the role and are expecting a terror from the position that stirs the drink for Marinelli’s scheme. This would work out extremely well for Crawford, who happens to be in the last year of his rookie deal. With the additional cap space Dallas currently has ($11.9 million, read how we arrive at this number in this link), it might behoove them to offer Crawford an extension before he breaks out.

In college, Crawford played defensive end in a 3-4 defense and was drafted by the Cowboys in 2012 to play the same position. However 2013 saw a switch to a 4-3 scheme with Monte Kiffin and then Crawford tore his Achilles early in training camp and would miss the season. The switch to Rod Marinelli last season brought about different philosophies, but Crawford’s combination of strength and speed is a perfect match for the pocket collapsing, penetrating three-tech the coach wants. Crawford didn’t rack up an extreme number of sacks in 2014, but with little experience on the interior, harassed quarterbacks relentlessly and ended up second on the team in total quarterback pressures. Both he and the club expect monumental growth.

So if the Cowboys were to lock up Crawford what kind of contract would he be looking at? Last season, CowboysHQ opined that Cole Beasley deserved a contract similar to the one signed by Cleveland’s Andrew Hawkins in 2013, and sure enough both players are now on four-year, $17 million (CHECK!!!!) deals now after Beasley signed his extension this offseason. Now, we’ll try to find comparable players to Crawford and right-size a potential deal for him.

First things first, let’s assess where Crawford is as a player. Here’s a look at his pressure statistics from last year:

\r\n\r\n \r\n
PlayerSacksQB HitsQB HurriesTotal PressuresPass Rush SnapsPRP RatePRP Ranking
Crawford '1431225403077.511 of 32

Crawford’s statistics place him as an average pass rusher, but again, this is with no experience and no extensive training. He is preparing to be a full-time 3-tech as the Cowboys prepare to open training camp this week.

So, if the Cowboys like what they see in camp, what kind of offer would they be willing to extend to Crawford? Extending players during camp has been something the club has done several times in the past, For better or worse. Miles Austin received a six-year extension three days before the first game in 2010. Orlando Scandrick’s original extension was in late August 2011; a deal that at the time many scoffed at as premature and unwarranted. The team also offered third contracts Jay Ratliff (three days prior) and Jason Witten on Opening Day that year. In August 2013, Sean Lee received his six-year extension.

With knowing the team has a track record for these types of deals; it appears someone like Crawford would have the best chance of an extension. He is hardly worth a franchise tag, and even with an excellent year, there would be little track record to award him upwards of $12 million defensive tackles would command. Even if Crawford were to reach double-digit sacks, that would seem a laughable proposition that one year of production would earn the tag.

Crawford’s best comparison might just be Sen-Derrick Marks’ deal he received from Jacksonville prior to 2014. Marks 2013 stats are eerily similar to Crawford’s in 2014.

\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n
PlayerSacksQB HitsQB HurriesTotal PressuresPass Rush SnapsPRP RatePRP Ranking
Crawford '1431225403077.511 of 32
Marks '1341223395275.918 of 33

After signing on with Jacksonville on a one-year deal in 2013, Marks new deal in 2014 reflected a bit of “show us again”.

Marks’ deal was four years, for up to $20.5 million in new money. Signed in December of 2013, he received $800k in signing bonus. In addition to his $3m base salary for the next season, he also got a $1m roster bonus on the first day of the 2014 league year. He also had another $600k tied into achieving 8 or more sacks on the season, which resulted in this celebration late in the year.

In 2015, he has another $1.2 million tied to a similar incentive, as OTC is reporting it as Likely-To-Be-Earned. That designation is for stats that were met or exceeded the previous season. He also has roster bonuses of $1m in 2015 and the final two years of the deal.

Dallas normally doesn’t structure contracts in this fashion, but one could see themselves including incentives in the pot in a similar structure that they could walk away from the deal after two years with a minimal salary cap hit. A four-year deal for $18 million including a $4 million signing bonus would have Crawford’s cap charges as so:

\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
YearBase SalaryS.Bonus ProrationW-out BonusLTBE IncentivesCap HitDead Money
2015$675k$1m$.1k$0 $1.83m 
2016$3.325m$1m$0 $0 $4.325m$3m
2017$4.5m$1m$0 $0 $5.5m$2m
2018$5.5m$1m$0 $0 $6.5m$1m

That would be a typical structure of how Dallas has doled out contracts in the past. However, with plenty of wiggle room on the 2014 cap and their edict to spend as much of the cap as possible, what if Dallas ate a larger portion of the signing bonus in the first year, to give them flexibility moving forward, should Crawford not live up to expectations?

\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
YearBase SalaryS.Bonus ProrationRoster BonusW-out BonusLTBE IncentivesCap HitDead Money
2015$675k$250k$3m$.1k$0 $3.935m-
2016$3.325m$250k$0 $0 $0 $3.575m$750k
2017$4.5m$250k$0 $0 $0 $4.75m$750k
2018$5.5m$250k$0 $0 $0 $5.75m$750k

Here, Crawford walks away with the exact same amount of up-front new money ($4 million) but the club is better protected against disappointment and can walk away from the deal at any time in the future. It doesn’t give Crawford the same level of guarantee over time, but does give him the same guaranteed money.

Once Dallas has a clear indication of whether or not they need to augment their roster, they then analyze the cap space they have earmarked, and balance whether or not it would be best served to spend some now or roll it over. If the cap can take it, it often makes sense to absorb a percentage of the allocated signing bonus of a new deal, lessening the hit in subsequent seasons.

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