Parsons’ position won’t be an issue for extension

Mike Florio and Chris Simms break down Stephen Jones’ comments about Micah Parsons’ position, as it pertains to his future, and discuss what makes him “a unicorn” of a player.

Video Transcript

- Let's talk some Cowboys. Cowboys making some news because Dan Quinn had some things to say recently about this question of Micah Parsons. Now, by way of background, Micah Parsons said apparently not that long ago he's bulking up this offseason in the hopes of becoming with the plan of converting to full-time defensive end. We talked about that a little bit. Hey, better place to get paid. Defensive ends make more than linebackers. Better position to get sacks, yada, yda.

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Here's Dan Quinn, the defensive coordinator of the Cowboys, from over the weekend, I believe, as part of the rookie minicamp when he was available to reporters on this question of whether or not Micah Parsons, an All-Pro linebacker, will now attempt to become an All-Pro full-time defensive end.

DAN QUINN: So he is a pass-rushing linebacker. So if you ever need position changes, come to me, OK? Not to any of the guys, and we can adjust to that. I think what he was probably trying to say is I'm really emphasizing some pass rush into my offseason.

- So that's what the boss is saying, and Micah Parsons may disagree. Again, I'm not sure whether or not he actually said it or someone characterized his words in a way that may have not been 100% accurate, but let there be no confusion. The guy who's responsible for the defense in Dallas says he's not moving to full-time defensive end, but he is a pass-rushing linebacker. We've seen it, they move him around, and that's the best thing you can be as a defensive player, versatile.

Play every position you possibly can. You can e deployed at a moment's notice here, there, and everywhere. Makes it harder for the offense for the quarterback for the line to know where the hell the red dot defender is, the guy that you always have to account for, throwing on top of the fact that he has a tremendous skill set that you have to contend with. You never know where it's coming from.


- That's right. He's an unreal weapon. And you're right. There's a guy that even as a stand-up linebacker that the quarterback, the center, the offensive line have to account for him a lot of the times in pass protection, even with other threats going on. Like, oh, they might blitz over here, but wait, Micah is standing up over here. So we can't have a back blocking Micah because that'll be a sack every time. So we've got to figure out how to get one of our five O-linemen over there with also being able to pick up a blitz over here, right? So that's where he has great value.

I think, ultimately, at the end of the day, right Mike, I mean, what do the numbers bear out from last year? Micah Parsons played defensive end somewhere north of-- I was going to say-- 700 snaps almost, something like that. There. Here's it. If you're watching on TV, here you'll see that it's 859 snaps on defensive line.

Off the ball, 203 snaps. So I don't think there's going to be much discussion when it comes to contract time on the current course we're on here, right? He's going to be a defensive end. That's where it's trending. That's where he's going to continue to go. And the other thing, Mike, is I don't even know even matters for this guy.

This guy has gotten to, I think, in a class of his own here where it's just like some of the quotes of what Dan Quinn and everybody said. This is a football player. This is hands down one of the best defensive players in football. It's a guy that I thought should have won the NFL Defensive MVP as a rookie over TJ Watt and his great year of 22 sacks and all of that. So that's where I think when the rubber meets the road and the contract and all of that, I don't think this is going to be an issue, at least as far as numbers are concerned.


- Can we put that graphic back up? Because it is a dramatic shift from year one to year two.

- Crazy.

- 60/40 off-the-ball linebacker as a rookie. 80/20 the other way in his second year. And they realized he can do a lot of damage as a guy rushing from the edge. And in many respects, he's more effective and more valuable to the team when he's doing that. Stephen Jones, a guy who carries many titles, son of the owner and GM is the most relevant as it relates to the future of the franchise. At some point, he'll probably be running the whole show. He said that what position he plays won't be an issue when it's time to talk new contract. He's a great defensive football player. That's his position.

- Right.


- And some guys are so good, they transcend the label that you put on them. It's not about saying, well, we have to pay you in relation to the rest of the market at your position.

- Right.

- Micah Parsons is a unicorn, one of one.

- Yes.

- And that's the downside of scratching off that lottery ticket and getting a big winner. The bigger the winner, the more you got to pay when the time comes to give him a new contract. And we both know from meeting with Micah Parsons, talking to Micah Parsons, he's a student of the business of the game.

- Definitely.

- He's not going to mess around when it's time to get paid, and he'll be eligible after this season. My guess is as soon as this upcoming season ends, Micah Parsons is going to make it clear I won't be back until I get what I have coming to me.


- I think that's perfectly fine. He's one of those rare cases where after three years in the NFL, there's no doubt. You know how special he is. Like you said, he's transcendent. There's a reason for the first two years of his career we all compared him to Lawrence Taylor, and someone that was a unicorn of himself 40 years ahead of time.

So you explained it right when you talked about the player. He's special from all aspects. He's a physical specimen, let alone he's just got great instincts to play the game. He likes studying it. He's all over it that way. And then he likes the mentality of it as well.

So it's like everything, physical, mental, love of the game, great natural feel, has everything. I mean, and then the way he moves here. I mean, come on. This is a 250-pound man who's moving like Saquon Barkley. That's crazy. It really is. And with him in the value, like you're talking about here, Mike, I mean, this is a position, other than quarterback, that I think affects teams winning the Super Bowl more than any other position, right? Pass-rusher D end, so of course I expect them to be there.

You go through time and you go through teams that won Super Bowls, right? Hey, you can go and Reggie White and the Packers, and of course everything he did with the Eagles. Richard Dent, high draft pick for the Bears, right? Bruce Smith, the Super Bowl runs there. Lawrence Taylor, like I've said. Von Miller. We can go down the list. This is the position here, and I would think they're going to pony up whatever they got to pony up for this guy.


- Every few, years we're reminded in very stunning and dramatic fashion at the Super Bowl what the value of a great pass-rusher is Von Miller, Super Bowl 50.

- Yeah.

- Super Bowl 55 when Patrick Mahomes couldn't get away from the pass rush of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now, the toe injury he had was a factor. Can we put that video back up?

- Yeah, right? Because you didn't know if it was Ja'Marr Chase at first, right? I didn't know it was Ja'Marr Chase at first.

- I also have a question. I also have a question. How did Danny DeVito get out there?

- I know.

- Look at Deuce Von.

- I know.

- My God.

- Right.


- My God, how small he is in comparison to the others.

- Well, he's 5' 6." But see, this is where size is different in the NFL because you go, wait, I've always been able to win with my speed and my quickness, and you're going to go now you're on the field to the guy that's 255, and he's faster and quicker than you are. So yeah, the size is there's a difference here. Here's Micah Parsons. I mean, that's Ja'Marr Chase. I mean, you know, I don't even care if they're not wearing cleats or somebody cheated the line a half an inch or whatever. That's just insane. Ja'Marr Chase is arguably the most explosive receiver in football not named Tyreek Hill. So it just tells you about Micah Parsons what kind of athlete and specimen he is.


- Yeah. I mean, Micah Parsons, special, special, and he will be getting compensated accordingly.


- Highest paid player ever, Mike, in defense? You think that kind of money? Are we talking that?

- Oh yeah. As the cap keeps growing, it's always going to be. Like, highest paid in history, it sounds good for media purposes, but what's it going to be? The highest paid player in the sport is going to be making less than the highest paid player in the sport was at that position 20 years ago? It's going to keep going up because it's driven by the cap.

- You think--

- We go back and forth and yesterday, and I made the mistake-- hang on a second. I made the mistake of responding because I guess people get upset with this idea that these guys are making so much money. Why shouldn't they make this money? It's an entertainment business that attracts interest eyeballs and dollars. It's a meritocracy.


And if people are surrendering their money, if advertisers are paying the money, if broadcast partners are spending the money, if people are spending the money at the stadiums, why shouldn't the players be the ones who get a lot of it? Why are we offended by the fact-- because I get the same old argument. Oh, schoolteachers don't get that much money. Well, nobody pays to watch schoolteachers teach. That's where the revenue comes from.

People pay. People spend their time. It's a spectator sport. It is part of our entertainment, our diversions from the crap of life. The men who are providing those pieces of entertainment for us deserve to get paid, especially when you consider the physical risk. So it just drives me crazy--

- Oh, it's insane.

- --that people resent the money that these guys make. I'm sorry for the diversion, but I was really triggered by this yesterday because the guy wouldn't let it go.

- No.

- He wouldn't let it go. It's destroying society. Get the hell out of here with that it's destroying society.

- I hear you. It's on your comments and even when the article that you write about it. It's everywhere. It's annoying. I see it too. And then you go on their social media and you look at them, and you go, wait, everything this guy believes is about capitalism, but not for the football player. That's where you're like what? He's all about it, but not for the athlete. And then it makes me think why? Why are you against the athlete? It's annoying.

Either way, Micah Parsons, though, Mike, back to that a little there, like, where this one's different, though, is because the highest paid player on the defensive side of the ball is a wide margin, right? With Aaron Donald, and then what do we got, TJ Watt as number two right now? So that's why I was asking. You think that Micah Parsons next year ups even Aaron Donald and sets a new standard at on the defensive side of the ball?

- I think that if the Cowboys are smart this time, if they've learned anything from mishandling Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, they will go to Micah Parsons immediately and offer him an extension that with new money APY makes him the highest paid defensive player in the history of the sport. Here it is.

And the best way to do it, the smart way to do it, I still keep waiting for someone to do this when they changed the CBA in 2011, to make it three years instead of two years before you could extend the contract of a draft pick. Technically, the window opens after the player's third regular season ends. I keep waiting for a team to have the contract pre-negotiated and signed the day after the regular season ends so the player doesn't have to go into the postseason of that year carrying the injury risk.

I keep waiting for a player to say I'm not playing after the regular season conclusion of my third year. We got a playoff game. I want my contract. This is the moment where I can get it. I want it. If the Cowboys are smart because they screwed around with Dak, they screwed around with Zeke. They did that whole aw shucks, take one for the team. You're a Cowboy. You're going to make all this other money, and it didn't work. It blew up in their faces, especially with Dak's contract.

I think they will have learned do not mess around with Micah Parsons. Have the contract ready. Have him sign it the day after the regular season ends. Take on the injury risk give him his reward. Make him the highest paid player on the defensive side of the ball in all of football, and be happy that you have him. That's what they need to do.

- Yeah, agreed with that. Agreed. You said it right, Mike. This is unicorn-- this is the kind of guy that comes around only so often. And then it's also-- I think what's crazy is I think he's only, like-- he hasn't even got to his top potential as a pass-rusher. You know? I mean, that's the amazing thing.

And just with a little more time and effort and working on that part of his craft as the hand-fighting, the body angles, having to read the offensive tackles on their sets and their footworks and where their hands are, I think he's only going to get better. Because, like, when I talk to coaches that like play Micah Parsons and Dallas Cowboys, that the one thing they always say.

It's like it's not that his moves are that great, he's just such a physical freak that people still can't block him, and that they say, man, when he starts to learn some different variety of moves and things, watch out. And I think we could see that this year. This is an awesome football player, like you said, and a guy you can't take your eyes off of when he's on the field.

- They would be-- I mean, they can't. I'm sure they'd love to be able to extend his contract now because the longer you wait, the more expensive it's going to get. They have to wait one more year. If they wait a year beyond that, it's going to get more expensive. Now, maybe they're playing the long game with one of these days, one of these guys is going to get injured, he's going to dramatically reduce his value, and it will have been smart to wait. But they weren't smart to wait with Dak. They weren't smart to wait with Zeke. They got into bad situations with both of them.