The big waves of 2023 NFL free agency have come and gone. The Dallas Cowboys have re-signed some of their own, added a few outside free agents, and made a couple of very smart trades to get starters into their lineup. But what now? Are the Cowboys done in free agency? Probably not, but any signings moving froward will likely not include big names and won’t move the needle of fan reaction.
But the Cowboys will bring in more players, that’s a certainty. When free agency began, the Cowboys official website had this list of free agents:
Dalton Schultz Cooper Rush
Noah Brown Donovan Wilson Leighton Vander Esch
Dante Fowler Jr.
Some of those have already signed elsewhere, or back with the club, as indicated by the strikethroughs above.
Of the remaining ones, let’s take a look at who they could still re-sign.
Carlos Watkins - Watkins feels like the most likely to be re-signed. There has been talk of them wanting him back, and now that they have Johanthan Hankins back, they could turn their attention to Hankins. In his time in Dallas, Watkins has proven to be a reliable presence in the middle and the kind of depth player teams love to have on their roster. Hankins and Osa Odighizuwa figure to be the starters, and Quinton Bohana and Neville Gallimore are still on the roster, but Watkins re-signing would figure to close out the position.
Anthony Brown - Brown has been a reliable, if not spectacular, player for the Cowboys, manning one of the cornerback spots. His season-ending injury combined with his expiring contract already put his Cowboys’ future in doubt. Now with the addition of Stephon Gilmore and the emergence of DaRon Bland, Brown’s return doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Plus, Branding Cooks is taking his number, almost a sure sign Brown will not return.
Jason Peters - Early in free agency, Jerry Jones seemed to indicate that the team would like Peters back. While his skill set and ability still seem to be intact, his age and injury history make him a question mark. The Cowboys have three players that can man the starting tackle spots, but Tyler Smith moving out there for any reason would mean a change at guard. The Cowboys may wait a while to see if having a tackle/guard reserve in Peters makes sense.
Anthony Barr - The veteran caused a little excitement when he was signed last offseason, and he was a decent option at linebacker in 2022. But he didn’t exactly establish himself as a ‘must-have’ for Dallas, and with players like Damone Clark, Jabril Cox and Devin Harper looking to get playing time, and the return of Leighton Vander Esch, Barr’s return seems unlikely.
Brett Maher - The Cowboys have yet to fully fill their kicking position. Tristan Vizcaino is here, but they certainly want more competition. Maher is still out there, but the team indicated they are turning the page at this position. The question is - should they? Outside of the meltdown against Tampa Bay, Maher proved to be a very good kicker last season. With time and cooler heads, should the Cowboys reconsider and bring back Maher?
T.Y. Hilton - He was a stop-gap last year, but with Barndin Cooks here and Michael Gallup expected to be better in his second year after the ACL, there is little appetite for a Hilton return.
Matt Overton - The team signed long-snapper Trent Sieg, meaning Overton will not be back.
Which players above do you think the Cowboys should bring back?