Early Cowboys free agent targets after 2023 season ends with horrific playoff loss to Packers

Early Cowboys free agent targets after 2023 season ends with horrific playoff loss to Packers

The Dallas Cowboys had a busy offseason in terms of deals last year.

Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks were acquired by the Cowboys in two big swings; despite the Cowboys’ terrible

postseason run, these moves can still be considered successful.

Early Cowboys free agent targets after 2023 season ends with horrific playoff loss to Packers
Early Cowboys free agent targets after 2023 season ends with horrific playoff loss to Packers

There wasn’t a lot of free-agent action last year, at least not involving players that weren’t already in the building.

That could change this summer as Jerry Jones saddles up for one last ride with this core group of Cowboys.

The Cowboys of this year were lacking. This summer, a number of players are available that may help Dallas reach the

pinnacle, but which ones are actually attainable?

Which ones are even within Jones’ budget? At minimum, these names are worth checking out.

Chris Jones, DT

Chris Jones might fall into the “due diligence” category thanks to his price tag.

Jones is the best player available on this year’s free agent market, and the franchise tag north of $33 million that the Chiefs

would owe him should they decide to go that route all but guarantees a gaudy number for the veteran tackle.

There are ways the Cowboys can free up some cash to afford Jones, starting with extending Dak Prescott.

There’s no way the Cowboys can acquire Jones without softening Prescott’s $60 million cap hit significantly.

It would also take restructures from guys like DeMarcus Lawrence and Zack Martin, plus cap casualties in the form of

Michael Gallup and Leighton Vander Esch.

The Cowboys could be able to sign the top interior defensive lineman in football if they execute each and every one of those plays.

Does it really need to be said that the Cowboys could use him, after years of witnessing Dallas’ defence fail to stop the run?

Tee Higgins, WR

Now we’re approaching more realistic territory, but this target comes with baggage.

Tee Higgins has been sensational when he’s been able to take the field, but nine missed games in the last two seasons may

cause uneasiness for Cowboys fans who have spent that time watching Michael Gallup’s injuries hold him down.

That is who Higgins would replace on Dallas’ roster, after all.

Dallas can’t roster both Higgins and Gallup in their current cap climate, and they play the same role anyway.

Higgins is an obvious upgrade over Gallup, but is he worth the risk?

50/50 balls down the field aren’t exactly Prescott’s bread and butter, but Higgins has made a career out of chasing down that kind of throw.

The Cowboys thought they had a Higgins-type player in Gallup.

They believed strongly enough that they traded Amari Cooper to extend Gallup instead.

The Gallup endeavor was a miserable failure, but the fact the Cowboys extended him in the first

place means they believe Prescott can make plays to that type of target.

Prescott finished this season throwing the ball as well as anybody in the NFL.

Adding Higgins may unlock another facet of Presott’s game in a way Gallup could not

Christian Wilkins, DT

Christian Wilkins might be Dallas’ #1 target this offseason based on fit.

Although he isn’t the most gifted free agent available, the Cowboys defence,

which hasn’t been able to stop anyone on the ground in the past two years, should highly value his run-stopping skills.

Wilkins wouldn’t need a Chris Jones-level cap gymnastics either.

To acquire a player such as Wilkins, Jerry Jones and the Cowboys’ management would still need to

reorganise finances, but not by much.

So why prioritize a run-stuffing tackle in free agency?

Those types of players are already hard to find in the draft and, let’s face it, the Cowboys don’t hit on defensive tackles often.

Mazi Smith obviously has a long way to go before he blossoms into the player

Dallas hopes he can be, and any tackle available at the end of the first round this summer

likely wouldn’t make much of an impact in his first season either.

Wilkins is a sure thing at a position the Cowboys haven’t been solid at in years.

Dallas is in dire need of linebackers to stop the run too, but they have a much better chance of

finding a couple of guys who can contribute in the middle rounds.

When it comes to stopping the run at the line of scrimmage, the Cowboys need to focus on free agents like Wilkins.

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