The Dallas Cowboys lost in the Playoffs again to the San Francisco 49ers, and the roster could look a lot different in 2023. But which Cowboys 2023 free agents should return?
The Cowboys front office has a lot of work to do this offseason. There are 22 players set to become free agents after this year.
So who should Dallas keep and who should be ready to pack their bags? Let’s break it all down:
Who the Cowboys should resign
Resigning Steele should be a top priority for the Cowboys this offseason. Dallas put its faith in Steele last offseason when La’el Collins was released, and Steele has proven that was the correct move.
He’s also playing on a miniscule deal as he accounts for less than $1 million in cap space. But Steele deserves a multi-year contract going into 2023.
Brown is another player far exceeding his value. The fifth-year WR is only making a tick over $1 million this season, but has been a diamond in the rough.
The Cowboys struggled offensively to start the year. With no Michael Gallup or James Washington, Brown stepped up when defenses focused their attention on CeeDee Lamb.
This season, Brown had 43 receptions for 555 yards and three touchdowns, which are all career highs. Expect Brown to return to Big D next season.
Rush epitomizes what every team looks for in a backup QB. In 156 pass attempts this year, he’s thrown just three interceptions which all came in his final start vs. the Philadelphia Eagles.
Rush didn’t post gaudy numbers in his five starts while Dak Prescott was sidelined. But his 4-1 record proves he did enough to keep the offense afloat without QB1.
The only problem may be if another team sees Rush as a starter and gives him the chance to lead an offense full-time. If that doesn’t happen, the Cowboys should look to retain Rush on a long-term deal.
The Cowboys kicking situation was a mess in the preseason. Maher was competing with Lirim Hajrullahu for the starting job and ultimately beat him out. But fans lacked optimism for Maher because the Cowboys cut him in the 2019 season due to accuracy issues.
Maher had a very good season overall, but he got the yips in the Playoffs, missing four extra points vs. the Buccaneers. It will be fascinating to see what Dallas does with him this offseason.
Unlikely to return in 2023
Only time will tell where Pollard plays next season as his fate will be determined by his asking price. The Cowboys are hamstrung by Ezekiel Elliott’s $90 million deal and the back is owed $10.9 million in 2023.
In an effort to avoid investing too much money in the backfield, Dallas may be forced to let Pollard walk and look to the NFL Draft for a back up RB.
Pollard’s injury against the San Francisco 49ers also complicates matters.
Schultz’s future with the Cowboys is dependent on Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot’s play for the remainder of the season. Schultz has dealt with knee injuries that have sidelined him for two games.
If injuries persist and the rookies continue progressing, Schultz may be on his way out of Big D. The Cowboys have already shown a reluctance to extend Schultz after contract negotiations went nowhere in the preseason.
McGovern struggled this season, posting a below average PFF grade. McGovern was expected to back up rookie Tyler Smith, but was promoted to starting LG after Tyron Smith’s preseason hamstring injury.
Tyron is expected to return in coming weeks, which would move Tyler to LG and McGovern to the bench. Assuming Tyron is healthy going into next season, which is a major ‘if’, it would leave no role for McGovern in 2023.