10 Cowboys still on free-agency market as 2023 OTAs begin
The Dallas Cowboys may not have been able to cross the threshold to the championship game level in recent memory, but they have constructed some talented rosters over the years. There’s always a conversation, however, over whether or not the club’s roster receives more kudos than they deserve. Alluding to some level of markup because of the fame of the franchise, many outsiders think the talent on the Dallas roster sometimes gets overrated.
Whether or not that’s the case, as OTAs are set to begin around the league teams have solidified their off-season rosters. Following the draft and the first waves of free agency, teams have decided to take a wait-and-see approach on players who come with a veteran’s price tag in lieu of seeing if they can get comparable performance out of cheaper options.
Granted, many veterans have a reason to wait, as well. Contract offers from teams not expected to be competitive aren’t attractive to players who are on the back end of their career. Signing with a team predicted to pick in the top-10 of next April’s draft isn’t exactly a reason to put yourself through the offseason grind knowing your own ability to get ready and acclimated once training camp begins. For that reason, many familiar names still sit on the free agency ledger, including some of these 10 players who were on Dallas’ roster in 2022.
RB Ezekiel Elliott
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There’s no room to question Elliott’s toughness as he routinely lined up and gave it his all, fighting through injuries that would’ve sidelined men of less intestinal fortitude. Elliott had one of the best starts to a career of any back in recent history, but the injuries derailed bounce-back campaigns each of the last two years. His metrics show he is almost impossible to put in a negative yardage situation, but his inability to break big gains has him pigeon-holed as a short-yardage option and a well-regarded locker-room presence.
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The debate between those who have always wanted Dallas to improve on Brown and those that thought he was a serviceable player appears to have been answered. In a passing league, an under-30 boundary corner with 69 career starts still sits on the open market waiting to reach an agreement with a team.
OT Jason Peters
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The 18-year veteran hasn’t turned in his retirement papers, so he could conceivably sign on with a team at any given moment. That moment will more than likely not come until mid-summer, as he sat on the sideline last year until Tyron Smith’s injury brought him to Dallas. He suffered multiple injuries while with the Cowboys, including a hip injury that kept him out of the divisional round loss to the 49ers, but he could still help a club in 2023.
WR T.Y. Hilton
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Hilton’s 3rd-and-Universe connection with Dak Prescott will live in infamy among Cowboys’ fans for a long time. He came in and helped the Dallas offense when CeeDee Lamb was the only viable weapon in the passing game. He too, sat out waiting for the right opportunity with a contender to come along and it wouldn’t be surprising if that was his stance again in 2023.
Linebacker Anthony Barr
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Barr certainly wasn’t the player he was during his hey day with the Minnesota Vikings, but he was still a quality player when coming downhill to attack an offense. It’s the other aspects of the position that he had issues with. Still, there’s a place for him in the league to continue his career despite these apparent limitations.
Kicker Brett Maher
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Maher was waist deep in the best kind of NFL story, the guy who found his way. Until he wasn’t. We predicted Maher was the perfect prototype for a signing last year, a kicker who had lost direction, bounced around the league and landed someone for a second chance. Throughout the season he was wonderful, until the yips hit him when the playoffs began.
CB Xavier Rhodes
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OL Aviante Collins
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DT Anthony Rush
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LS Matt Overton
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