Cowboys predicted to re-sign three top-35 free agents in 2021

Xavier Woods, Dallas Cowboys (Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports)
Xavier Woods, Dallas Cowboys (Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Dallas Cowboys are predicted to re-sign these three free agents

The Dallas Cowboys will have to make some big decisions this offseason. And the biggest could be surrounding the future of currently-injured quarterback, Dak Prescott.

Once again the veteran signal-caller will be entering this offseason as the NFL’s top-rated free agent. And again the Cowboys are expected to try to ink Prescott to a long-term deal.

Dallas failed to come to an agreement with their prized quarterback on a new deal earlier this year, resulting in the team using their exclusive franchise tag to retain him for 2020.

Unfortunately, Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week Five against the New York Giants and is currently well into his second month of rehabilitation. Getting him secured for 2021, either by signing Dak to a new deal or using the franchise tag on him for the second-straight season is clearly the top priority for America’s Team.

Beyond Prescott, the Cowboys have several other pending free agents to make tough decisions on before they hit the open market in March. Two of those names are cornerback Chidobe Awuzie and safety Xavier Woods. Both are playing on the final year of their rookie deals in Dallas as they were both selected by the Cowboys in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Awuzie was a second-round selection out of Colorado, while Woods was a sixth-round selection out of Louisiana Tech. Both have been longtime starters within the Cowboys’ secondary. And both could be playing elsewhere in 2021.

In a recent article titled 2021 Free Agency: Ranking the NFL’s top 50 free agents by the football analytics website, Pro Football Focus, Prescott, Woods, and Awuize were all named within the top 35 of their top-50 list. And all three are predicted by PFF to sign back with Dallas next year.

While Prescott’s re-signing is seen as a top priority, it’s unclear how the team feels about retaining both Awuzie and Woods. Certainly, both have been a big part of the secondary since their arrival.

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But just last year, Dallas was willing to part ways with secondary stalwarts like Pro Bowl cornerback Byron Jones and safety Jeff Heath. With the salary cap projected to be impacted negatively next season due to the pandemic, money will once again be an issue for the Cowboys in retaining talent.

And while Xavier Woods has been the only defender to play all 100% of the Cowboys’ defensive snaps in 2020, Chidobe Awuzie has missed a whopping seven out of the team’s 11 games this season due to a hamstring injury. So, the issue of availability might lead Dallas to sign one over the other.