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How Benson Mayowa can opt out of Cowboys deal in 2018

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys surprised some by signing restricted free agent defensive end Benson Mayowa to a three-year deal worth $8.25 million.

If Mayowa performs at a high level the next two seasons, then he could have a chance to cash in as an unrestricted free agent in 2018.

Mayowa can opt out of the final year of his deal with the Cowboys if he plays in 60 percent of the defensive snaps over the next two seasons or records 10 sacks in 2016 and ’17. That would allow him to hit the market as a 27-year-old pass rusher with a much fuller résumé than he did as a restricted free agent.

He has to notify the Cowboys of his decision to opt out of the deal within 10 days following Super Bowl LII.

As part of the deal the Raiders chose not to match, Mayowa received a $3.3 million signing bonus and has base salaries of $700,000 in 2016, $1.5 million in 2017 and $2.75 million in 2018. He carries cap figures of $1.8 million, $2.6 million and $3.85 million.

While 10 sacks over a two-year run does not appear to be a Herculean task, Mayowa has two sacks in his first three seasons playing mostly in a reserve role with the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders.

The Cowboys view him as part of the rotation among their defensive line. His playing time early in 2016 could be greater with the four-game suspension of fellow defensive end Randy Gregory.