When it comes to free agency and signing outside free agents, the Dallas Cowboys seem to be one of the more penny-pinching organizations in the entire league. When it comes to re-signing their own though, they have been much more willing to open their pocketbook over the past several years and that likely won’t change after the 2022 season.
According to spotrac.com, the Dallas Cowboys have 22 players who will become free agents after the 2022 season. Knowing what we know about the Cowboys, only a handful at best will be retained via a contract extension. With that in mind, we narrowed it down to the top three who have the best chance of being re-signed next offseason.
TE Dalton Schultz
The stage is set for Dalton Schultz to have a huge 2022 season. After finishing second on the team in targets and totaling 78 catches in 2021, Schultz’s production should only increase this season with no Amari Cooper or Cedrick Wilson, especially early on while Michael Gallup continues to work his way back from last year’s season-ending knee injury.
If he performs as expected in 2022, the Cowboys will have to decide whether or not they want to lock him up long-term. Another franchise tag seems unlikely, but that’s an option as well. It’s going to be really interesting to see how No. 86 performs this year and just how much Dallas truly values him as their TE1 moving forward.
RT Terence Steele
Terence Steele has exceeded all expectations since joining the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent a few years ago. He’s played well as a spot starter at both left and right tackle, which likely factored into Dallas’ decision to release La’el Collins this offseason. Making that move probably means the Cowboys view No. 78 as their long-term right tackle.
While that may be true, Terence Steele still has a lot to prove before he’s considered the future. 2022 will be his first as a full-time starter and depending on how he performs in that role will likely determine his future in Dallas. He could be retained regardless of his play this year, but the difference in money between a starter and backup is pretty significant.
RB Tony Pollard
It seems to be a foregone conclusion Tony Pollard will be playing elsewhere in 2023. With the money the Cowboys have invested in Ezekiel Elliott and Pollard’s small usage over the years that certainly makes sense, however, don’t say your goodbyes just yet. He could very well still be in the future plans, especially considering Dallas has an out in Zeke’s contract after this season.
The biggest question about Pollard is whether or not he can perform at a high level as a lead back in the NFL. In a change of pace role behind Zeke he’s proven to be a dangerous weapon as both a runner and receiver over the past few years, but the question remains if he can remain effective in a full-time role. With an expected increase in touches in a versatile RB/WR role this year, No. 20 could prove he’s too valuable to let go.