Stephen Jones on Micah Parsons’ position: He is a great defensive player
Micah Parsons’ move (or not) to full-time defensive end ranks as one of the most overblown stories of the offseason. Parsons is an edge rusher who played 738 snaps on the defensive line last season and 171 at linebacker.
In 2023, the Cowboys’ defensive star will spend the majority of his time rushing the passer, as he has the past two seasons. He also will continue to play some linebacker, with his versatility part of what makes him special, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said last week.
“Whether he gets 10-plus sacks a year at linebacker or defensive end, I don’t think it’s a big difference,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Wednesday, via Jon Machota of TheAthletic.com. “Micah is kind of a hybrid player. That’s what makes him great: He’s versatile.”
Where the position does make a difference is in the paycheck: Defensive ends are paid more than outside linebackers. The franchise tender for 2024 is estimated at $24.466 million for defensive ends and $20.062 million for linebackers.
Jones said it won’t be an issue when Parsons becomes eligible for a contract extension after this season.
“No, Micah is a great player. He’s a great defensive football player,” Jones said.
Parsons will have snap counts to back up his position that he should be paid as a defensive end. Either way, he is getting paid. A lot.
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL at $31.7 million a year. Parsons will command a contract somewhere around that annual average after two All-Pro seasons that saw him finish second in defensive player of the year voting in 2022.
Parsons is working hard to become an even better pass rusher than he was his first two seasons when he made 13 and 13.5 sacks respectively.
He has spent most of the offseason working out at The Kollective with Mo Wells in Austin. Parsons will return to the team facility next week for organized team activities.
“Yeah, we’re comfortable with that. That’s not unlike a lot of guys,” Jones said, via Todd Archer of ESPN. “Some guys get more attention for it than others. Obviously, historically, the majority of our team likes to work here. They live here, and they like to work here. But understand completely if Micah’s looking to get a little extra help. We’ve had players do that throughout the time we’ve been here.”
Parsons, who the Cowboys listed at 245 pounds last season, said a couple of weeks ago that his weight was up to 251.