The Dallas Cowboys have a great roster. We all have our own opinions about just how great it is, but we should all be able to agree that they have a pretty solid list of talent. With a strong foundation of quality drafting, the team has some stars at the top, while many depth players fill out the roster. When you look closely, they got a little bit of everything.
Yet for some reason, the team is always under scrutiny about how just how good they are. Lack of postseason success will do that. And considering the team just parted ways with Amari Cooper, Randy Gregory, and La’el Collins, it’s easy to understand why many remain skeptical.
But the Cowboys stay true to their roster-building process. Players they no longer feel are carrying their weight (or warranting their contract) are sent packing while the team backfills with more affordable options. On the surface, that could seem like it puts the team in dire straits or that it’s just a matter of time when all the talent they’ve acquired in the past fade away as players reach expiring contracts.
However, a closer look reveals something different. If we were to rank the Cowboys' top 10 players, what would that look like? Additionally, what do those top players cost? And finally, just how long are those players under contract? We realize rankings are subjective, but attempting to do so while answering the other questions produced the following list:
This isn’t meant to create a debate about who’s better than who. Yes, Ezekiel Elliott is not on this list, but that is because health and the recent sampling of production have made him a bit of a question mark. We just want to provide an overview of the team’s top players and get a sense of how long they could be sticking around. Is their window of opportunity closing in?
Looking at this list shows that only Dalton Schultz could be gone after the 2022 season. There could be a risk of Tyron Smith wearing down and possibly retiring, but outside of that, it looks like the gang will be sticking around a while. Six of the top 10 will be here at least three more years and wouldn’t hit free agency until 2025 at the earliest (Note: the years remaining on Micah Parsons’ and CeeDee Lamb’s deal include their fifth-year options because let’s face it, they’re keeping those guys).
It’s also nice to see half of the team’s top six players are outside the top 10 in salary rankings, meaning the team can still benefit from lower-cost rookie deals. Eventually, players like Trevon Diggs, Lamb, and Parsons will command sizeable deals, but they won’t have to cross that bridge for a while.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Parsons is the only player from the last two draft classes on this list, which speaks to how incredibly awesome he is, but also to how many of the team’s young players are still developing. This leaves an opportunity for many newcomers to emerge as they gain more experience. Players like Tyler Smith, De Williams, Osa Odighizuwa, Kelvin Joseph, Jabril Cox, Chauncey Golston, Jalen Tolbert, Jake Ferguson, and Damone Clark all have opportunities to turn into key pieces on this roster.
Does this make you feel better about the Cowboys' future? Which of the younger players do you expect to work themselves on this list next?