The Dallas Cowboys front office is often criticized. Their conservative approach to free agency and reluctance to explore the cash over cap philosophy doesn’t sit well with plenty of fans and media members.

This is what makes a recent Pro Football Focus article pleasantly surprising. In it, Brad Spieldberger ranks the 32 best contracts around the league. Turns out, the Dallas Cowboys had three different players on the list, including one in the Top 10:

9. OT Tyron Smith – 2 years, $28.1 million in cash remaining

21. EDGE DeMarcus Lawrence – 3 years, $40 million

29. WR Michael Gallup – 5 years, $57.5 million

It may come as a surprise to many that Tyron Smith ranked so high on this list. However, it’s easy to forget that in 2014, the Cowboys and Smith reached an eight-year contract extension.

In today’s market, that might be quite difficult to duplicate as the predominant trend in the league features shorter deals. Such a contract has allowed the Cowboys to have plenty of flexibility as they haven’t had to worry about one of the most important positions in the sport for a long time.

Even though he hasn’t been able to play a full season since 2015, he’s averaged 11 games per season since then. And that’s counting 2020 when he suffered a season-ending injury after just two games.

When he’s on the field, he’s still one of the most dominant offensive tackles in the game. At such a low rate, the Dallas Cowboys know he will be missed when he leaves the team.

DeMarcus Lawrence isn’t a big surprise, as the Cowboys reworked his deal in the offseason and it resulted in a win-win situation for the parties. Dallas didn’t have to pay a deal near the current market value for edge rushers while Lawrence got himself what he was seeking. A solid commitment in the form of money guarantees.

Lastly, Michael Gallup’s deal has to be considered a surprise on this list. But the $10 million signing bonus appeared a steal by Dallas.

Although the deal features a total of five years, the truth is the Cowboys can move on after a couple of seasons if they wish to.

Gallup’s contract could end up being one of the most valuable contracts in the NFL a few years from now.

The Dallas Cowboys cannot justify wasting what could be one of their biggest strengths with a conservative approach to the salary cap. But we have to give credit where credit is due. The front office absolutely nailed it with these three contracts.

Featured image via Jerome Miron-USA