Dallas Cowboys: 15 best free agent acquisitions of all-time

Jay Novacek, Dallas Cowboys. Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger /Allsport
Jay Novacek, Dallas Cowboys. Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger /Allsport /
7 of 16
Raghib Ismail, Dallas Cowboys
Raghib Ismail, Dallas Cowboys. Mandatory Credit: Craig Jones /Allsport /

Raghib 'Rocket' Ismail. 10. player. 123. . Wide Receiver. (1999-01)

Raghib Ismail, as known as “Rocket” Ismail, was a college football sensation coming out of Notre Dame in 1991. Runner-up for the Heisman Trophy the year before, Ismail was a dynamic special teams returner and receiver for the Fighting Irish.

In 1991, Ismail made the controversial decision to pass on being the possible top selection in the NFL. The Cowboys owned the No. 1 overall pick. Instead, he signed with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts.

After winning the Grey Cup in his rookie season, Ismail would leave Canada after two years and join the then-Los Angeles Raiders, the NFL team that owned his draft rights, who took him No. 100 overall in the fourth-round of the 1991 NFL Draft.

Ismail struggled to live up to his own hype with the Raiders and was eventually traded to the Carolina Panthers. There, “Rocket” would find new life, recording 69 receptions for 1,024 yards and eight touchdowns in 1998.

Signing as a free agent with the Cowboys in 1999, Ismail took over the top receiver role in Dallas after longtime wideout Michael Irvin suffered a career-ending spinal cord injury four games into that season. Ismail would record 80 receptions for 1,097 yards and six scores under then-head coach Chan Gailey.

Unfortunately, a litany of injuries would plague Ismail’s remaining career in Dallas, never allowing him to match the success he found with the Cowboys that first season.