We’ve previously covered our distaste for the Cowboys offseason and how we feel a big championship window was missed here. They really nailed the Dak Prescott selection after years of stability from a similar draft gem selected later than they should’ve in undrafted Tony Romo. The NFL is in a chokehold right now when it comes to maximizing the value of a competent QB’s rookie contract. We are well past that window in Dallas. Without injecting any opinion, an easy T-chart of this offseason’s arrivals and departures can show the changes Dallas will have to reconcile this coming season.
- DE Dante Fowler – FA
- WR James Washington – FA (Injured)
- OT Tyler Smith – Draft
- DE Sam Williams – Draft
- WR Jalen Tolbert – Draft
- TE Jake Ferguson – Draft
- DE Randy Gregory (Denver Broncos)
- WR Amari Cooper (Cleveland Browns)
- WR Cedrick Wilson (Miami Dolphins)
- OG Connor Williams (Miami Dolphins)
- OT La’el Collins (Cincinnati Bengals)
- K Greg Zuerlein (New York Jets)
- TE Blake Jarwin
- Keanu Neal (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- CB Reggie Robinson II (Houston Texans)
- RB Ito Smith
- WR Robert Foster (New York Giants)
The above chart doesn’t account for players like Michael Gallup and Dalton Schultz, who the Cowboys brought back with new contracts, but it’s quite the export of talent with an influx of less proven players left to fill the voids. From a fiscal perspective, the Cowboys find themselves most committed to Dak Prescott, Zeke Elliott, Tyron Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Zack Martin, averaging around 30 years old in age and all with cap hits above $12M. These top earners are either in or past their prime, but Dallas has gone through an offseason indicative of a forced rebuild, or at least a reshuffling of their deck. The anticlimactic departures of Amari Cooper and La’el Collins will certainly hurt the most. Next year, it will be Trevon Diggs, Jourdan Lewis, and Tyron Smith ready for another pay day.
This year, the pressure is on for a number of Cowboys in a variety of roles. Great years from Dak, Zeke, Ceedee Lamb, and some rookies on offense could mean an easy transition into life after Amari, one of the league’s best offensive weapons. Their younger offensive linemen will be forced to grow and perform fast if they want to succeed like they have in the past, with a dominant offensive line. Their defense also typically wins up front, featuring leaders like DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons. At the end of the day, this is still a traditionally good franchise with a talented roster and an established starter at QB. Four of the last ten NFC East Divisional titles have gone to Dallas, but they’ll need to see some new stars develop if they hope to continue that trend. I expect them to dominate teams they should, split with the NFC East winner, and finish second in a division that has been weak in recent memory.