The Dallas Cowboys have plenty of decisions to make regarding their 14 pending free agents. Who should they re-sign? And who can they afford to let walk? Eight of the 14 are starters while the other six are impactful rotational players. It’s tough to see anyone walk but the reality is they may not re-sign everyone.
From February until the completion of the draft comes some of the most crucial decisions that can make or break a season for a team. “Who are we drafting, who should we sign/trade for and who should we let walk” are some questions each General Manager and Head Coach has to ask themselves. When the new league year begins things will get very interesting, especially for the Cowboys. Here are the top priority free agents they should re-sign.
Top Priority Free Agents The Cowboys Should Re-Sign
The five-time Pro Bowl cornerback will be a free agent at the end of the season and should be a must-sign. Stephon Gilmore, who was acquired for a fifth-round pick last season from the Indianapolis Colts has been a key piece to the success of the Cowboys defense, especially after Trevon Diggs went down with an ACL injury. Gilmore’s veteran leadership has made him very valuable and goes well beyond the stat sheet although he’s having a good but quiet season. He has a career-high 68 tackles (54 solo, 14 assisted), 12 pass deflections, and two interceptions.
The Cowboys were robbed of an opportunity to have all three of their star secondary players on the field together but will next year be the year? A concerning aspect of Gilmore’s future is his age. He will be 34 years old at the start of next season but still shows flashes of his DPOY version. As Diggs continues to rehab from his ACL injury and with DaRon Bland becoming an All-Pro caliber player, if Gilmore does remain in Dallas the three of them could be the best secondary trio in the NFL.
The Derrick Henry speculation will once again come full circle. Right before the trade deadline, it was believed Henry would be shipped to Dallas. Now with him being a free agent, those talks may heat up and that could be bad news for Tony Pollard. Considering Henry’s age and the possible wear-and-tear on his body, it’s probably best the Cowboys stick with youth and sign Pollard to a team-friendly long-term deal.
It’s very unlikely the Cowboys will make the same decisions they did with Ezekiel Elliott by throwing a huge contract at Pollard but he’s played well enough to continue his career in Dallas. He hasn’t had the season he was hoping for especially while playing on a “prove it” type deal. Considering the injury he suffered last season and that being a huge part of the slight digression he deserves some grace and another opportunity.
It’s too early to jump ship on Pollard, despite the struggles from him and the offensive line he finished the regular season with 1,005 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Whatever they decide to do to address the running back “issue” he deserves another shot to be the featured back. He still has a lot left in the tank and should be back to his pre-injury form.
Jourdan Lewis shouldn’t get overlooked due to the other names in the secondary. He’s the type of guy every NFL team needs which is why Dallas should retain him. He’s fierce and looking to deliver contact which is the perfect fit for a Dan Quinn schemed defense. Lewis was exceptional for the Cowboys in run support which is why he finished the season as PFF’s top-rated cornerback in run support. He posted three games with a PFF grade of 90 or above in run defense, with his best game being a 95.4 against the San Francisco 49ers.
If the Cowboys do decide to re-sign Gilmore, which means Lewis is arguably the fourth-best cornerback on the roster, that means you have a pretty deep secondary group. Over the final three weeks of the regular season, Lewis showed why he can be trusted leading up to the postseason. If he does have a huge impact during this stretch of postseason games it’s a no-brainer that he should remain in Dallas for next year, because once again you can never have too much cornerback depth.
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