By now everyone knows how the NFL’s salary cap picture has changed. 2021 will see a decrease in the salary cap for the first time in a decade and it likely will be a much bigger drop than before. After being at $198.2 million in 2020, the cap could fall as low as $175 million thanks to COVID-19 restrictions that eliminated in-person attendance to various degrees across the entire league. Some forecasts have the final number (which should arrive around the first week of March) around $185-$195 million, which will be a deep cut from the previously projected $210 million before the world changed.

In addition to this specific year’s cap, the NFL allowing teams to rollover unused cap space for the last several years was a game changer. No longer do teams feel the need to approach cap space like unused vacation leave, use it or lose it. Teams take last season’s unspent cap and it adds to whatever space they have for the current season. So spending just to spend, or making bad investments that don’t pan out is way worse in today’s NFL. It is here that we’ll study some decisions the Cowboys made in 2020 because they play a major role in 2021.

If the Cowboys are going to play hardball with quarterback Dak Prescott over $2 million, $3 million a season, it would stand to reason that bad decisions made last season are part of the cap space that could have gone to acquiescing to their star’s demand.

Here’s a look at a handful of bad investments the team made that come into play this offseason.