As expected, the Dallas Cowboys officially picked up Micah Parsons' fifth-year option, per a team announcement. The surprise, however, is Parsons' positional designation. 

Parsons will receive his option as a defensive end and not as a linebacker, according to ESPN. In this situation, the Cowboys will save roughly $3 million. Parsons would make $21.324 as a defensive end for the 2025 season if he plays under his option. He would make $24 million as a linebacker. 

The Cowboys had until May 2 to apply the fifth-year option to 2021 first-round draft picks. 

Labeling Parsons as a defensive end is more than a cost-cutting move. Technically, Parsons was used more as a defensive end than as a linebacker last season. Just over 87% of Parsons' regular-season snaps last year came on the line of scrimmage, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Micah Parsons' career defensive snap alignment


Defensive Line








Defensive Back




*Data according to Pro Football Focus

This will likely be a moot point given that Parsons probably won't play under his fifth-year option. It is widely expected that Parsons will receive a lucrative, long-term contract sometime between now and before the start of the 2025 season. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said as much at Dallas' pre-draft press conference on Tuesday. He pointed to Parsons as a player the team hit on in the draft in the context of needing to pay quarterback Dak Prescott, wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and Parsons top-dollar deals, which will result in the team needing to be creative and efficient in how they build their supporting cast around their big three going forward given the salary cap. 

"Sometimes great things happen to you [in the draft]," Jones said. "You get a Micah Parsons. Well, Micah Parsons is gonna take some cap, to have Micah. And so does CeeDee [Lamb] . All of that, I wouldn't trade getting to do this for any job in the world and get to be here sitting here explaining what we're doing. So this isn't the world's smallest violin sitting up here, complaining or talking for our fans. I just want to try to be good enough to work through this. And let's have a winning season, which we got a chance to have."

Parsons is been one of the NFL's top defensive players since entering the NFL in 2021 as the 12th overall pick. Since then, the former first-round pick has earned three Pro Bowl nods, three All-Pro selections (Two first team nods and a second team selection in 2023)) and was tabbed as the 2021 Defensive Rookie of the Year. Parsons led the NFL in quarterback pressure rate (21.8%), quarterback pressures and pass rush win rate (35.%) in 2023. He did all of this despite being double-teamed on 35% of his pass rushes, the most in the NFL  according to the league's Next Gen Stats. No other edge rusher was double-teamed at 30% or higher percentage like Parsons. 

Along with Parsons, the Cowboys have upcoming contract decisions with quarterback Dak Prescott and wideout CeeDee Lamb. Lamb is currently slated to play under his fifth-year option in 2024. Prescott is entering the final year of a four-year, $160 million extension. Jones was clear he would like both of them to remain Cowboys for the foreseeable future.