The thing many Dallas Cowboy fans thought would never happen finally has, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys have agreed to a new, record-setting deal. It's been a hot topic over the last few days but the Cowboys must now reset their offseason focus. They still have quite a few free agents of their own to re-sign, but this Prescott contract also allows them more freedom to spend in free agency if they choose to. And now that the 2021 salary cap has been released ($182.5 million), the Cowboys have about $2 million in cap space but have the ability to add more money by making contract moves and roster cuts.
If we take a look at the Cowboys needs now we can cross out starting quarterback but they still need a backup quarterback, depth along the offensive line, safety, cornerback, linebacker, and defensive tackle. Along with the reset in draft and free agency priorities, you will find possible free agents and draft prospects the Cowboys could have interest in based on links with the coaching staff as well as fits in their schemes on offense and defense.
Cowboys free agents: Xavier Woods
Possible free agent interest: Keanu Neal, Karl Joseph
Draft prospects: Trevon Moehrig, Talanoa Hufanga, James Wiggins
The Cowboys are heading into free agency with the possibility of losing one of their starting safeties in Xavier Woods. He will undoubtedly be an immediate focus for them now that Prescott is under contract. The Cowboys can’t afford to lose his veteran leadership and let’s not forget that Dan Quinn’s former defensive passing coordinator thought of Woods as a player who could fill the role Earl Thomas played in Seattle. But they will also need to fill the position if they are unable to sign Woods and depth at the position via the draft or free agency.
Cowboys free agents: Chibode Awuzie, C.J. Goodwin, Chris Westry, Jourdan Lewis
Possible free agent connections: Desmond Trufant, Richard Sherman, Dre Kirkpatrick, Kevin King
Possible draft prospects: Caleb Farley, Patrick Surtain II, Jaycee Horn
The Cowboys have some decisions to make on who they want to keep out of this group but they also have quite a few free agent options that are on the market now. Either way, they need to shore up this position as soon as possible as it was the one that many would say was the most problematic on a defense last season that ranked 27th in touchdowns (34) given up through the air, and 21st in yards per attempt allowing 6.7 yards per attempt. Outside of rookie Trevon Diggs, this unit needs an overhaul.
3. Defensive Tackle
Cowboys free agents: Tyrone Crawford, Antwaun Woods, Eli Ankuo
Possible free agent connections: Gerald McCoy, Kawann Short, Sheldon Rankins, Hassan Ridgeway
Possible draft prospects: Christian Barmore, Jay Tufele, Tyler Shelvin
The Cowboys are going to be pretty bare at interior defensive tackles. While they do need bodies to fill these holes, they must find players that can hold up in the running game. Last season their tackles were being pushed around allowing offenses to stay on the field. That lack of push led them to be ranked 31st in yards allowed with 2,541 yards, 25th in touchdowns allowed on the ground with 20 touchdowns, and 30th in yards averaged with 5.0 yards per rush. They have guys that can help disrupt the passing game in Neville Gallimore and Trysten Hill, now they must find run-stoppers.
4. Backup Quarterback
Cowboys free agents: Andy Dalton
Possible free agent interest: Nick Mullens, Brett Hundley, Andy Dalton
Possible draft prospects: Sam Ehlinger, Kellen Mond, Zach Smith
Just because the Cowboys have their starting quarterback for the next four years doesn't mean they are done shopping. We saw just how important the backup quarterback is to a team when Prescott went down. While they still have Ben DiNucci, Garrett Gilbert, and Cooper Rush on the roster, none of them outside of Gilbert really showed that they were up to the challenge although Rush never started for them last season. This may push the Cowboys to find a quality backup for Prescott whether it be via free agency or through the draft.
5. Offensive Line depth (guard and tackle)
Cowboys free agents: Greg Senat, Cameron Erving, Joe Looney
Possible free agent interest: James Carpenter, J.R. Sweezy, Alex Mack, D.J. Fluker, Ty Nsekhe, Rick Wagner
Possible draft prospects: Wyatt Davis, Josh Myers, Jalen Mayfield
Injuries really handcuffed the Cowboys hopes outside of losing Prescott last season. With all of their starters presumably coming back healthy they need to evaluate what they have in terms of depth at guard and tackle in Connor McGovern, Adam Redmond, Mitch Hyatt, Terence Steele, William Sweet, and Brandon Knight. They could look to find a future starter in the draft, and if that’s the case they are in a great spot in the draft with the tenth pick. They may also decide to look for veteran help in free agency for immediate help at their weak spots along the line.
Cowboys free agents: Sean Lee, Joe Thomas, Justin March-Lillard
Possible free agent interest: Joe Thomas, Kamalei Correa, LaRoy Reynolds, Deone Bucannon
Possible draft prospects: Baron Browning, Jabril Cox, Pete Werner, K.J. Britt
The Cowboys should be set at their weak side and middle linebacker positions but with Sean Lee possibly leaving they have a hole to fill at the strong side linebacker position. They have a few promising players in Luke Gifford and Francis Bernard but they need to show they are ready for the role. That may lead the Cowboys to take a look in free agency at veteran help and depth at the position.