The Dallas Cowboys had moments this past season where it appeared this could be a true contender, but it was clear that wasn't the case. There should be somewhat of a reset this offseason, letting these four free agents walk.
The Dallas Cowboys are in offseason mode as we approach the Big Game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs. Seeing a division rival fight for a title must light a fire under the Cowboys. We know that there's perpetual pressure on the Cowboys. Being America's Team and having Jerry Jones as an owner automatically raises expectations. They need to find the right players to put them in championship contention this offseason.
To bring new players in, the team has to let some go. The Cowboys already have to make moves, as they go into the offseason $7 million over the salary cap, according to Over the Cap. However, some very small moves would save them a ton on the cap. Cutting Ezekiel Elliott would save them more than $10 million if they did it after June 1st.
With that said, the Cowboys have 24 free agents going into the offseason. Some stars include running back Tony Pollard, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr, and offensive tackle Jason Peters. However, there is one free agent who very obviously shouldn't be re-signed this offseason.
There is no way the Cowboys should bring back kicker Brett Maher. He was awful down the stretch. The Cowboys had to bring a kicker on the practice squad just to feel safe in the playoffs. Not only was he missing kicks, he was missing extra points. He was 1-6 on extra points in the postseason. That's literally the easiest part of his job.
Jerry Jones already said the Cowboys are starting over at kicker. Maher might not be anywhere in the league next year. That's crazy, considering he hit 90% of his kicks in the regular season. Maher fell apart at the end of the season and in the playoffs. His confidence is gone. Can he get it back? That's a problem for another team to figure out.
The Cowboys have some decisions to make in free agency. They can't afford to bring back everyone AND sign more talented free agents while also signing its draft picks. There are choices they need to make. They would be hard-pressed to let Vander Esch walk after the season he just had (despite the injuries). To make the money work, they can't afford to give a raise to a player like Anthony Barr.
Barr was once a highly-touted prospect who was supposed to be the next stalwart for the Minnesota Vikings. It never really worked out. He was a Pro Bowler for four years in a row, so he was definitely good. However, he never took that next step into superstardom.
The Cowboys gave Barr a one-year deal last offseason for just $2 million with a possibility it could reach $3 million. He recorded just one sack and recovered two fumbles. That was it. His impact was minimal, and he wasn't making any big plays.
Barr might extend his career with another team. High-profile draft picks who become Pro Bowlers get more chances than the normal player. Barr is a name, and teams will be willing to give him a chance to continue his career after he turns 30. However, it shouldn't be the Cowboys. They have bigger fish to fry.
Left tackle Jason Peters was the surprise of the season, taking the starting spot at 41 years old for the impressive Cowboys offensive line. He took that spot from Tyron Smith, considered one of the best at his position. Peters played well for his age, but based on the position, a massive drop off must be expected.
The Cowboys can't afford to let this kind of drop-off ruin their season. A bad left tackle can really hurt the team in the long run. Imagine wasting this core of Micah Parsons, Dak Prescott, Ceedee Lamb, etc., because they fail to fill the necessary positions with useful players are an age that makes sense. They need to make the right moves with this offensive line.
Peters only allowed one sack this season. It's not like he was bad. It's just the risk factor involved with bringing him back. At any point, Peters can fall off the cliff. Father Time is undefeated.
Right now, Jason Peters is the oldest active player in the NFL. Tom Brady's retirement confirms that. He could be retiring, but he hasn't said his plan for the 2023 season. If he comes back, it needs to be with another franchise. It's just not worth the risk for the Cowboys.
TY Hilton was a surprise midseason addition for the Cowboys. Everyone predicted the team would sign Odell Beckham Jr., but then nobody ended up signing Beckham. The Cowboys, instead, signed the former Indianapolis Colts star.
Hilton played just five games with the Cowboys, catching 10 balls for 159 yards and failing to score a touchdown. He did reach a first down on seven of his 10 catches. Hilton was efficient, but there's no reason to bring him back now. There are plenty of other wide receivers who would be big upgrades. Maybe Hilton would do better with a full offseason in the Cowboys system, but the Cowboys are making massive changes to the system with the replacement of Kellen Moore with Brian Schottenheimer.
The Cowboys also have a much harder decision at wide receiver. Noah Brown is a free agent. Four catches and 39 postseason yards in two games is nothing to call home about, but he had some clutch moments throughout the year. The Cowboys could easily replace them both, but Brown is much more likely to return.
The Cowboys have a lot of hard decisions to make this offseason. Prescott needs the best possible offense surrounding him if the Cowboys want any chance at fighting the Eagles for the NFC East division title, let alone more than that.2023-02-05T01:03:23Z dg43tfdfdgfd