Depending on who you talk to, determining the Dallas Cowboys team needs heading into the 2022 season will no doubt vary one way or another. Everyone has their own opinion about the depth, or lack thereof, at certain positions and how much value should be placed on addressing that depth. Today, we’re going to do a quick breakdown to determine just that. In this roundup, we’ll consider the Cowboys roster without their numerous current free agents and how that affects the position groups.
Randy Gregory and Dorance Armstrong are free agents, DeMarcus Lawrence is under contract but there have been minor rumblings about being a potential salary-cap casualty. Tarell Basham and Chauncey Golston are the only DEs on the Cowboys roster with much playing time to provide depth. Micah Parsons, of course, fits into the equation as well because of his versatility to play DE and LB, but overall the lack of depth at the position should be one of the Cowboys top priorities to upgrade this offseason.
With Leighton Vander Esch and Keanu Neal both free agents, Micah Parsons becomes pretty much the only LB the Cowboys can count on in 2022. As good as he was as a rookie, even he is going to need help, and there is always the defensive end question with him. Whether it’s through free agency or the NFL Draft, upgrading the depth behind him and finding his starting counterparts will be one of Dallas’ top team needs in the offseason.
Other than Donovan Wilson, the Cowboys have little to no proven depth at the safety position heading into 2022. Jayron Kearse, Malik Hooker, and Damontae Kazee are all free agents. Maybe Israel Mukuamu can emerge as a key contributor in his second year, but Dallas can’t depend on that happening. They need to be proactive in order to upgrade and stabilize the back end of their secondary.
Interior Offensive Line
Zack Martin will be a starter and Tyler Biadasz likely will be, but the lack of depth behind them, and the need to replace Connor Williams at LG, puts the IOL position near the top of the Cowboys team needs. The only somewhat proven depth they have right now is Connor McGovern, but sadly he failed as a starter at LG when the opportunity presented itself. Finding the right plug-and-play starter could stabilize the entire OL.
Right now, only CeeDee Lamb’s future seems to be a lock for the 2022 season. Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, and Noah Brown will all be free agents, and Amari Cooper could possibly be a salary-cap casualty. Even if Cooper returns the Cowboys could use more depth behind him and Lamb. It may be one of Dallas’ underrated team needs this offseason, but that could change significantly for the worse depending on what happens with No. 19.
Dalton Schultz is a free agent who could end up being out of the Cowboys price range regardless of whether or not they wanted to re-sign him. Blake Jarwin could end up being a salary-cap casualty after an injury plagued 2021 season. While Sean McKeon has shown some promise, he’s nowhere near ready for a starting role. All of that makes the TE position somewhat precarious moving forward.
The cornerback position is an interesting one for the Cowboys. While the depth at the position from 2021 could remain exactly the same, they could still stand to find a better starter opposite Trevon Diggs, especially since Anthony Brown could be a potential salary-cap casualty. Hopefully both Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright step up and improve their games, but the Cowboys shouldn’t rule out trying to upgrade the position this offseason.
Trysten Hill, Neville Gallimore, Osa Odighizuwa, and Quinton Bohanna provide some encouraging young talent. However, the Cowboys could still stand to bolster the position considering how they struggled against the run in 2021. Don’t be surprised if they try to find a few upgrades in both free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft.
As things stand right now, the Cowboys don’t have a long snapper or punter under contract for the 2022 season. There is a possibility that one or both could be re-signed, but the need is there. Also, they could be looking for a new kicker considering how much Greg Zuerlein struggled this year and the fact they can save some money against the salary-cap by releasing him.
Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard are locked in as the Cowboys top to RBs in 2022. Zeke’s production may be dipping year after year, but his contract pretty much assures him a roster spot for next year. Pollard, on the other hand, is entering a contract year, which could be his last in Dallas. With them fully entrenched as the RB1 and RB2, it’s highly unlikely Dallas invests much, if anything, into the position this offseason.
Depth-wise, the Cowboys aren’t as in terrible shape as some people would lead you to believe. In Tyron Smith and La’el Collins they have their starters and also a proven backup in Terence Steele. They also have an intriguing developmental OT in Josh Ball, who should factor more into the mix in 2022. Depending on how the Cowboys feel about Smith’s availability moving forward, upgrading this position may rank higher this offseason.
Not much, if anything, should change at QB for the Dallas Cowboys in 2022. They have their starter and backup in Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush and a couple of developmental players in Will Grier and Ben DiNucci. If they add anyone else to the mix it will probably be another developmental type of QB as either a late-round pick or a priority undrafted free agent. Otherwise, they will likely stick with the status quo.