PFF named this Cowboys signing its least favorite move

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Dallas Cowboys stayed relatively quiet when free agency kicked off two weeks ago. That after inking their franchise quarterback, Dak Prescott, to a massive four-year, $160 million deal.

While those signings have ramped up this past week with deals for safeties Keanu Neal, Jayron Kearse, and Damontae Kazee; the Cowboys are still expected to make their secondary a major focus in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft.

Specifically at the position of cornerback, where Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II, Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley, and South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn are all thought to be in play for Dallas with the 10th overall selection in the first round of April’s draft. Although, Farley’s recent back surgery could have his draft stock slipping a bit.

The Cowboys’ depth chart at cornerback/defensive back heading into free agency included Anthony Brown, Trevon Diggs, Deante Burton, Reggie Robinson II, Saivion Smith, Chris Westry, Rashard Robinson, Steven Parker, and Kemon Hall. Maurice Canady, an opt-out from last season, could also provide some depth if he returns.

Corners Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and C.J. Goodwin were all scheduled to be unrestricted free agents this month. Awuzie ended up signing with the Cincinnati Bengals, while the Cowboys retained both Lewis and Goodwin.

Here’s what Anthony Treash of the football analytic website Pro Football Focus wrote after naming the re-signing of Lewis as his least favorite decision made by the Cowboys in free agency so far.

"“This year’s free agency class was littered with talented slot corners, but instead of bringing in someone new, Dallas retained Lewis, who was the fourth-lowest-graded player at the position in 2020 … A fresh face to man the slot would have been a better route for Dallas to take.”"

Lewis ended up signing a new three-year deal in Dallas worth a maximum of $16.5 million. The new contract included an $8 million guarantee.

The 25-year old recorded 59 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, two pass deflections. and 2.0 sacks in 2020. Lewis failed to record an interception for the first time in his four-year NFL career.

After posting a strong rookie season, the 5-foot-10, 195-pound Lewis appeared to lose favor under former defensive back coach Kris Richard in his second season. The former third-round selection out of Michigan saw his defensive snaps drop from 746 (71%) in 2017 to only 187 (18%) in 2018.

Under a new coaching staff, Lewis started 13 games for Dallas in 2020, a career-high. His re-signing helped to maintain some veteran stability within a unit containing several unproven defensive backs.

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While the re-signing of Jourdan Lewis might not be a popular decision, he’s flashed the potential to become a dynamic playmaker at the position. At some point, that potential has to become a reality in order to justify the investment. But the Dallas Cowboys clearly think Lewis is worth taking that chance on.