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Cowboys free agency 2023: Luke Gifford leaving for 2-year deal, $5 million with Tennessee Titans

The Cowboys lose a core member of their special teams unit.

Indianapolis Colts v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

At the start of the second day of the NFL’s legal tampering period, the Dallas Cowboys are losing another player from their 2022 roster. Having already lost guard Connor McGovern to an agreed contract with the Buffalo Bills, linebacker Luke Gifford will be heading to the Tennessee Titans on a two-year deal worth up to $5 million.

For the Titans, this move makes sense, given they lost linebacker David Long to the Miami Dolphins on Monday. For the Cowboys, special teams coordinator John Fassel is sure to be bummed about this loss.

Gifford has been in Dallas since the 2019 season after he made a few pre-season plays that showed the undrafted free agent was worth keeping around. Since then, most of his role was working on special teams and a little at linebacker if called upon.

When Mike McCarthy came to the Cowboys in 2020, he brought long-time Rams special teams coordinator John Fassel to coach the unit in Dallas. Gifford became a favorite of coach Fassel, which kept Gifford around for a few more seasons.

Each year his production increased, and 2022 was his best season as a Cowboy, leading the team in tackles for special teams. Gifford’s best game of the season was against the Green Bay Packers, where he totaled five tackles.

Dallas already had a thin group at linebacker, so Gifford’s absence doesn’t help. Second-year linebacker Devin Harper is an obvious replacement for his role on special teams. The rookie sixth-round pick played three games on special teams in 2022 before going on season-ending injured reserve.

While Gifford isn’t a household name for the Dallas defense, he still played meaningful snaps for the Cowboys on special teams.

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