Free agency is just over a week away and it’s just a matter of time before things start falling into place. The Dallas Cowboys have a lot of big decisions to make and it will be interesting to see what they do. Over the last ten days, we have constructed an offseason plan for each position group, providing one position group per day. Today, we compile all this information into one easy-to-find guide that includes a 40-point plan to get put the Cowboys back in business to go on another run in 2023.
- Extend Dak Prescott - Whether it’s via a restructure or extension, the Cowboys must reduce Prescott’s $49 million cap hit in 2023. And considering the 2020 draft class of quarterbacks (Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Tua Tagovailoa, and Jalen Hurts) are about to set the market with new gargantuan quarterback contracts, the sooner Dallas re-ups on Dak, the better.
- Sign a veteran free agent to a low-cost deal - If the Cowboys can bring back Cooper Rush for cheap, fine. He’s proven that he’s adequate. But if not, they should be able to still find a viable backup at a low cost.
- Take a late-round flyer on a quarterback to develop - It doesn’t hurt to throw a Day 3 dart to see if they can’t land a QB prospect with upside. Sometimes they’re DiNucci’s and sometimes they’re a little Purdy’er.
4. Release Ezekiel Elliott - A pay restructure appears to be in consideration, but they would be better served to just outright release Zeke.
5. Franchise tag Tony Pollard - It’s unclear if the team’s most explosive ball carrier will be a part of the team’s long-term plans, but he will at least be around for 2023.
6. Draft a rookie running back - This is a rich draft class with several talented running backs available. The Cowboys should definitely dabble in it, and it won’t require early draft capital to get them.
7. Allow Malik Davis to compete for a backup running back spot - The undrafted rookie looked good in limited action last year and he should again be a part of the mix next season.
8. Let Dalton Schultz walk in free agency - Schultz has been fantastic in recent years and deserves his money, but the Cowboys' depth and needs at other spots make it hard to justify keeping him around.
9. Draft a tight end with an emphasis on in-line blocking - The team has options in the draft as they can look for an athletic pass-catcher in earlier rounds or a role player in later rounds. Whoever they go after, he’ll need to be a viable blocker to have a meaningful role on this team.
10. Expand the roles of Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot - The rookies last year hit the ground running and should only be better in 2023.
11. Sign a low-cost free agent who can create separation - Everyone is expecting a big free agent splash here, but don’t be surprised if the receiver they add is a lesser-known player. We already identified three low-cost separators who should be on the team’s radar.
12. Exercise the fifth-year option on CeeDee Lamb - This is a no-brainer. The Cowboys will eventually give CeeDee an extension, but there is no rush to get this done.
13. Draft a wide receiver within the first three rounds - The Cowboys should try to get one of the top college receivers in this draft. It doesn’t have to be in the first round, but it should be relatively early.
14. Continue to develop Jalen Tolbert, Simi Fehoko, and Dennis Houston - These young guys didn’t pan out last year, but that’s not to say they won’t take a step forward in 2023.
15. Slap the tender on Terence Steele - It’s great to hear that Steele is rehabbing well from his knee injury. He’s a restricted free agent this year so tendering him is a foregone conclusion.
16. Reduce Tyron Smith’s base salary - I’d consider an outright release as his $13.6 million base salary is a good chunk of change for a player who has struggled to stay on the field. The Cowboys have other plans though, and if they can talk him into a reduced salary, then the risk becomes more appealing.
17. Draft an interior offensive lineman (or OT with guard flex) early in the draft - Tyron won’t be around much longer, so continuing to add talent is never a bad thing. Tyler Smith has position flex so they could go either OT or G.
18. Extend Tyler Biadasz - The team traded up to get Biadasz in the 2020 draft and it’s paying off. Now, it’s time to be paying him. He’s in the final year of his rookie deal, so it would behoove the front office to stay ahead of this one.
19. Continue to develop Matt Waletzko and Josh Ball for the swing tackle job - They missed out on finding out what Waletzko had to offer due to his shoulder issues, but hopefully, things will go better this time around. Ball is not a fan favorite, but he’s also still developing.
20. Let Connor McGovern walk in free agency - The transition from one Connor to the next didn’t provide much overlap, but it is what it is. And just like the Connor before him, McGovern should get better offers from other teams. The good news is, they still have Matt Farniok under player control for two more seasons and he should give them some nice depth.
21. Let Dante Fowler walk in free agency - Fowler was a great free agent signing last offseason, but he won’t be as cheap this year. The Cowboys should use their cap resources elsewhere.
22. Sign another low-cost veteran free agent - Whether it’s Fowler, Robert Quinn, or Aldon Smith, the Cowboys have done a great job finding one-year veteran rentals to help along the edge, and most of them are super thrifty. And they don’t want to shell out much anyways considering they’ll want them to have a role that isn’t a progress stopper to the younglings.
23. Be open to drafting another edge prospect with high-upside - While it’s not a position of need, you can never have too many edge rushers. If the right guys falls to them, be ready to pounce.
24 - Expand the role of Sam Williams and Chauncey Golston - Both these guys showed some promise last year and could be in for a nice jump in 2023.
25. Re-sign Johnathan Hankins - The team needs a big body in the middle and seeking out a low-cost veteran with power and good fundamentals would help. Hankins fits the bill, but if they can’t land him, they should at least target someone like him.
26. Take a flyer on another Day 3 nose tackle - The team doesn’t invest early in nose tackles, but they have found some talent late. John Ridgeway was last year’s flyer, but unfortunately, he was cut prematurely. This season, he could be in line to be Washington’s starting 1-tech.
27. Bring back Carlos Watkins - While it’s not sexy, Watkins has proven time and time again to be a solid filler in the trenches for a low cost. If they can’t find better options, Watkins should at least remain in consideration.
28. Re-sign Leighton Vander Esch - It’s tough to know what to do with LVE without knowing what he’ll command in free agency, but if he’s not too expensive, it would be great to see him back with the defense in 2023.
29. Draft a linebacker - Depending on how things shake out, the team could go early here or wait a bit. Either way, they need to bolster this position group with young players.
30. Expand the role of Damone Clark - After surprising everyone by returning to the field sooner than expected, the rookie Clark had a promising season and should only get better in year two.
31. Continue to develop Devin Harper - While Jabril Cox mysteriously faded last year, there’s a new athletic linebacker in line for reps as Harper’s season ended early with an injury. It will be interesting to see the step he takes this upcoming season.
32. Release Jourdan Lewis & Kelvin Joseph - The team has too many slot options on the roster to justify covering Lewis’ $4.5 million base salary. And the time is slowly approaching to concede that Boss Man Fat was a bust.
33. Re-sign Anthony Brown - An Achilles injury should drop his price low enough to fall right into a one-year, prove-it deal that will allow Brown to serve as a bridge to the younger corners.
34. Draft a rookie corner within the first two days - Corner is a premium position and the Cowboys need more of them. If a talent is there within the first three rounds, the Cowboys should jump on this opportunity to land them someone opposite Trevon Diggs.
35. Continue to develop Nahshon Wright - Like Joseph, Wright hasn’t lived up to expectations either, but his traits and work ethic give him the slight nod to hang on to his job for at least another year.
36. Let Donovan Wilson walk in free agency - We all would love to retain the splashy Wilson, but his highlight reel over-inflates his actual value and the Cowboys aren’t likely to be the ones who pay for it.
37. Sign a low-cost veteran for depth - Like they’ve done before with Jayron Kearse and Malik Hooker, there are players to be found on the cheap and the Cowboys should see if they can hit on another one.
38. Draft another sixth-round gem - Players like Kavon Frazier, Xavier Woods, Donovan Wilson, and Isreal Mukuma have been great finds in round six for the Cowboys, so why not keep firing bullets?
39. Give Isreal Mukuamu more opportunities in the slot - Mukuamu showed promise in the slot against Chris Godwin in the playoffs, and he could be in line for a larger role this upcoming season.
40. Continue to develop Markquese Bell and Tyler Coyle - These undrafted DB’s didn’t see much action on defense last year, but can they improve with further development?
If you want to check out any of these position groups in more detail, you can check them out by clicking on the link below...
- Cowboys 2023 offseason guide: Here’s what they should do at quarterback
- Cowboys 2023 offseason guide: Here’s what they should do at running back
- Cowboys 2023 offseason guide: Here’s what they should do on the offensive line
- Cowboys 2023 offseason guide: Here’s what they should do at wide receiver
- Cowboys 2023 offseason guide: Here’s what they should do at tight end
- Cowboys 2023 offseason guide: Here’s what they should do at defensive end
- Cowboys 2023 offseason guide: Here’s what they should do at defensive tackle
- Cowboys 2023 offseason guide: Here’s what they should do at linebacker
- Cowboys 2023 offseason guide: Here’s what they should do at cornerback
- Cowboys 2023 offseason guide: Here’s what they should do at safety