The New NFL League Year is approaching in less than two weeks, and when it arrives free agency will officially begin. Whether or not the Dallas Cowboys are big players in it remains to be seen, the team is generally not one to open up the pocket book in the name of signing a lot of outside veterans on the open market.
History does tell us that the Cowboys do like to keep their own, though. Stephen Jones just about said this week in the lead-up to the NFL Combine that the team will more than likely be placing the franchise tag on someone this offseason, and the heavy favorite to receive it is running back Tony Pollard.
Obviously the tag will prohibit Pollard from reaching the open market but there are other players that will, players the Cowboys likely want to keep to varying degrees.
There is no reported progress towards a Leighton Vander Esch deal, and one with Donovan Wilson remains unlikely
The “varying degrees” is important because it is what free agency is all about at its core. Players have an idea of their worth, teams have another, and deals are attempted to be made.
Since we know that the Cowboys like to keep their own players it stands to reason that they will want to retain defenders Leighton Vander Esch and Donovan Wilson given that they both played very well in Dan Quinn’s defense last year. The markets for both Vander Esch and Wilson figure to be elevated across the league which means they may be out of Dallas’ price range (or at least what they are comfortable with).
On Friday afternoon, it was noted by The Fort Worth Star Telegram’s Clarence Hill Jr. that there is no reported progress with Vander Esch and what’s more that a deal with Wilson would not be categorized as optimistic.
Cowboys are making no progress on a new deal with linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and there is not a lot of optimism for an extension for safety Donovan Wilson#Bigmovescoming— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) March 3, 2023
The hashtag of “big moves coming” seems to be a remark about Thursday’s report from The Dallas Morning News noting the Cowboys are focused on adding an impact player on the offensive side of the ball. As noted, the Cowboys are sort of notorious for not doing that sort of thing which is why many people are in a “I’ll believe it when I see it” sort of space.
Vander Esch and Wilson were both key members of the defense last season and losing either of them would be a blow to the roster. The Cowboys would look to replace them and would not be in as bad shape at the safety spot, but perhaps they have their eye on other veterans they can bring in to help shoulder the load.
While Tony Pollard is considered the likely recipient of the franchise tag, the Cowboys could use it on someone else if they chose to do so, Vander Esch or Wilson included.