We are merely days away from the start of the 2023 newly year and free agency, which officially gets underway on March 15. Although “legal” tampering has been going on already, nothing can be made official until the 15th at 4 PM. How the Dallas Cowboys end up approaching this year’s free agent frenzy is anyone’s guess, but as always, it should be interesting.
Today, we’re going to take a look at a handful of realistic free agent options the Dallas Cowboys could target this year in free agency. As we all know, they typically try to stay as cost-effective as possible by bargain bin shopping, however, there are signs they could be more willing than in years past two open up their pocketbook a little more this offseason. Of course, only time will tell though.
CB Patrick Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (33)
Patrick Peterson has stated in the past that playing for the Dallas Cowboys has always been a “dream” for him, but so far the two sides haven’t been able to come together even though they flirted with the idea just last year. Now that he could be looking for a new team once again, and with Dallas’ current need for more cornerback help, things could turn out differently this time around.
The future Hall of Famer is coming off a pretty good 2022 season and still has plenty left in the tank to help solidify/upgrade the Cowboys secondary. He tied for second in the league last year with five interceptions and his coverage grade (79.7) ranked sixth among CBs. Adding his veteran experience and leadership to the CB room could prove to be invaluable.
Considering both Anthony Brown and C.J. Godwin could both be leaving via free agency, and the fact Jourdan Lewis could be a salary-cap casualty, Peterson’s addition could be a win-win for both parties. And, if the Cowboys can sign him to a similar one-year, $3.5 million deal like he signed with the Vikings last year he’d be a cost-effective option as well.
WR Darius Slayton, New York Giants (26)
If you believe the rumors, the Dallas Cowboys are looking to make a “splash” moved to add another playmaker to the offense this off-season. Already they’ve been linked to DeAndre Hopkins, Brandin Cooks, and Allen Robinson, but right now there’s no way of knowing if any of those trades will ever come to fruition.
If they go the free agent route instead, former New York Giants WR Darius Slayton is someone who makes a sense for them. He’s had at least 45 catches and 700 receiving yards in three of his four seasons in the NFL, despite being in and out of favor during his time with the Giants. He’d add a much-needed speed element (4.39 40-yard dash) to the Cowboys offense and could be signed relatively cheaply. Spotrac’s current projection is a two-year, $7 million contract.
LG David Edwards, Los Angeles Rams (26)
Connor McGovern, Jason Peters, and Tyler Smith were all part of the Dallas Cowboys revolving door at left guard last season. As things stand right now, only Tyler Smith will be returning with very few other options to start. Adding more depth and a potential starter could be a top priority this off-season.
David Edwards, a 2019 fifth-round draft pick out of Wisconsin and former teammate of Tyler Biadasz, has 45 career starts at both left and right guard during his time with Rams. He did miss the last 13 games of the season last year after suffering two back-to-back concussions which is a bit of a red flag, but could also make him a cost-effective option for the Cowboys.
K Matt Gay, Los Angeles Rams (29)
Brett “Money” Maher had a fantastic regular season for the Dallas Cowboys last year, but unfortunately developed the yips in the postseason, tarnishing what should’ve been a highly successful season for him. His untimely bout with inaccuracy in the playoffs will likely keep him from getting re-signed by the Cowboys this offseason.
To stabilize the position, the Cowboys could turn to a familiar face, at least for special teams coach John Fassel, by signing the Los Angeles Rams kicker Matt Gay. In 2022 he missed only two field goals, both from more than 50 yards, and only one extra point. That’s the kind of consistency Dallas is looking for the position, making Gay/Fassel reunion a realistic possibility.
LB Bobby Wagner, Los Angeles Rams (33)
Bobby Wagner may not be as affordable as some of the other players on this list, but he’s still very much a realistic free agent option for the Dallas Cowboys. After all, the two flirted with one another in free agency just a year ago. Unfortunately, nothing ever really materialized. That was then and this is now.
The soon-to-be 33-year-old (June 27) and future Hall of Famer is coming off an excellent 2022 season with the Rams. His run-defense grade (91.1) and tackling grade (91.0) were the best among linebackers last year. He also had his best coverage grade (77.9) since 2018, which was a top 10 mark at the position in 2022 according to PFF.
The chance to reunite with Dan Quinn, play with Micah Parsons, and possibly compete for a Super Bowl might make the Cowboys one of Wagner’s preferred landing spots this year. And with Leighton Vander Esch, Anthony Barr, and Luke Gifford all potentially leaving via free agency, Dallas may be more agreeable to bring him aboard this time around.