The Dallas Cowboys will have some choices to make after the 2023 season. How things play out in 2023 can alter plans, but we’re going to outline a plan for some of their free agents to come after this year is over. Earlier we noted three players the Cowboys should be proactive about and get under contract extensions before they hit free agency. Now, we’re going to look at three players the Cowboys should let hit free agency and not re-sign for the 2024 season and beyond.
Dorance Armstrong deserves a lot of kudos for his steady improvements over the last few years on defense and special teams. Filling the void left by the departure of Randy Gregory, Armstrong experienced a breakout season in 2022. He tallied a career-high 8.5 sacks and blocked a punt on special teams. Yet, with all that in mind, the team might have an even better option behind him on the roster in Sam Williams.
Williams played sparingly last season and still turned a few heads. Williams recorded four sacks playing on just 27% of the snaps last season. Williams made so much of an impact in his brief appearances that he finished sixth in voting for AP Defensive Rookie of the Year. With more playing experience, Williams should only improve. That’s not an indictment on Armstrong, either. Still, considering Armstrong is potentially seeking a third contract from the Cowboys heading into his athletic prime, he likely won’t return for cheap. Expect Armstrong to price himself out of the Cowboys’ market. Smart business says let Armstrong walk, have Williams occupy that space, and be content with the compensatory pick you receive after Armstrong signs a considerably large contract elsewhere.
It pains me to say this, but the Cowboys should let Tyron Smith go after this season. Tyron Smith is no question a lock for the Hall of Fame and one of the best offensive tackles of his generation. That said, Smith staying healthy has been a concern. He has not played a full season in eight years, playing only four last season. If available, he’s still an outstanding player, but when he’s not around, it sends the offensive line in a state of flux to occupy his role. Rookie Tyler Smith was affected by this change and placed in his stead to play left tackle after training at left guard in 2022.
Smith, entering his thirteenth season, will turn 33 in December. Although the plan is to play Tyler Smith in the interior, the Cowboys could still alter course after how he played in his rookie season at left tackle. Also, the Cowboys have added some prospects at offensive tackle for the future. The conclusion of 2023 will be goodbye for now since Smith undoubtedly will be enshrined in Canton and the Cowboys’ ring of honor.
Regarding Neville Gallimore’s standing on this team, it’s a matter of numbers. Though Gallimore has some quickness, he needs to be more consistent with his first step to be an under tackle as a 3-tech defensive tackle, which leaves him vying for playing time as a 1-tech defensive tackle. The problem with that is several other options on the roster that can fill that void. The Cowboys re-signed Jonathan Hankins, who the Cowboys sorely missed when he landed on injured reserve with a pectoral injury. Quinton Bohanna is on the roster as well. Bohanna hasn’t seen a lot of playing, but his 6’4”, 360 lbs. frame is an ideal fit for playing in the 1-tech spot.
Most importantly, the team drafted Mazi Smith in the first round in April’s draft. However, Gallimore competes directly with Bohanna for playing time, if not for merely being active on game days. There’s no room on the team for Gallimore beyond this year, barring an incredible season in the final year of his contract. Even then, considering his three seasons and the direction the team has gone this offseason, it’s likely Gallimore’s last season with the Cowboys.