Anxiety is the correct word to describe being a Dallas Cowboys fan at the moment. Free agency is coming fast and the team has to make the most of it.
The Dallas Cowboys are inching towards the beginning of NFL free agency, which starts March 18th. Quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper will be the main focuses of America’s Team, as they work towards re-signing the two key franchise players. But there are other free agents from the 2019 team that the Cowboys need to focus on re-signing as well.
It appears likely that the defense will lose cornerback Byron Jones in free agency, due to a staggering price tag he carries on the open market, there is more pressure to re-sign cornerback, Anthony Brown.
Brown who has shuffled from playing both outside cornerback and inside playing nickel back, has been a consistent presence on the defense for the past four seasons in Big D. His 2019 season was cut short due to a triceps injury after playing in nine games.
Brown coming back to play slot receivers on 3rd downs would be a plus. His price tag won’t be steep at all. Over his four seasons, he has 32 pass defenses and 172 tackles. A solid option at nickel back, as the Cowboys will try to find a replacement for Byron Jones in the draft and free agency.
Shifting to the offensive side of the ball, the organization is most likely not bringing back future hall of fame tight end Jason Witten. Meaning bringing back restricted free agent tight end Blake Jarwin is a must.
The 25-year old Jarwin has quietly produced the past two seasons, even as his starting role was ripped away from him due to the return of Witten in 2019. His last 32 games, he has caught 58 passes and has found the end zone on six occasions.
A major part of offensive coordinator Kellen Moore’s offense in 2019 was getting Prescott out of the pocket on a play-action bootleg and finding the tight end in the flat on a misdirection type play. Witten’s lack of speed was a factor in that lay not being a complete success.
Jarwin has the speed to consistently get first downs off that play and won’t cost as much as a veteran tight end on the open market. His production could be doubled or tripled with more playing time in 2020. He learned from Witten, now it’s time for the young tight end to take over.
It would be tough to see linebacker Sean Lee leave in free agency, he has dedicated so much effort to America’s team for the past decade. But his production is not the same as it used to be. This was clear when former Super Bowl MVP linebacker Malcolm Smith played the last two games of the season with the Cowboys.
He has more speed than Lee and will cost next to nothing to bring back on a one-year deal. A great veteran to play selective snaps next to linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. Smith even forced a fumble Week 17, he still has a nose for the ball.
Don’t look into these players too much, they are cheap options to bring back and play key roles. Obviously they don’t make or break the 2020 Dallas Cowboys. Prescott and Cooper are the two key free agents that have to come back for the Cowboys to have a good chance of making a run over the next few years.
It is nice to focus on something different for a minute though, as Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper continue to be the anxiety of Dallas Cowboy’s fans until they re-sign with America’s Team.