Has the Dallas Cowboys’ free agency really been that bad?

Jayron Kearse, Dallas Cowboys (Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Jayron Kearse, Dallas Cowboys (Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Dallas Cowboys, Michael Gallup
Dallas Cowboys, Michael Gallup (Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports) /

Discussing the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive free agent signings to see whether they were helpful or not

The Cowboys first two big free agent decisions both came prior to the unofficial start of free agency. Dallas decided to use the franchise tag on tight end Dalton Schultz on the last day they could do so. Because of this decision, Schultz will likely play the 2022 season at a salary of $10.9M.

Schultz is neither the best tight end in football nor is he a top-tier tight end. His 2022 cap number, however, has him tied for the third highest-paid tight end. Schultz will make more this upcoming season than Ravens tight end Mark Andrews, the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce and the 49ers’ George Kittle, who are all better players. He will also bring in more money than Atlanta’s second-year star Kyle Pitts and the Raiders’ Darren Waller.

To his credit, Schultz has improved every season, posting nearly 80 receptions for just over 800 yards and eight touchdowns in 2022. The free agent pool at this position was shallow at best and this year’s draft is not any better, so the Cowboys were between a rock and a hard place.

If the Cowboys can bang out a long-term deal and lower his 2022 cap number, that would be ideal. As it stands now, I’m giving this move a B- grade.

Dallas also inked receiver Michael Gallup the day before the free agent period really got going. Gallup signed a five-year, $57.5 million deal with $27 million guaranteed. In reality, it’s really a two-year deal worth almost $25M. Dallas can get out of it after 2024 with only $6M going to dead cap space.

This move clearly puts Gallup in the WR2 role regardless if he’s ready for that or not. Comparative to other deals this spring, however, this move looks like a fiscal steal for Dallas.

Jacksonville basically gave former Cardinals receiver Christian Kirk $14 million more than Gallup. Both came into the league in 2018. Kirk has the exact same career yards as Gallup and just two more touchdowns. Russell Gage (Tampa Bay) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Kansas City) also signed similar deals to Gallup. Both came into the league in 2018 as well and both have underperformed in comparison to Gallup.

Aside from not being ready for an upgraded role, Gallup may physically not be ready as he is coming off a late-season ACL tear. It will not be shocking if he does not return to full form until mid-October which does have to factor into this signing as well. All in all, I’ll give this move a B based largely on other, less productive players getting equal or more money.

Dallas also retained backup tight end Jeremy Sprinkle on a one-year deal worth $1.04M. Sprinkle will battle Sean McKeon for the role of TE2, likely being used mainly for blocking purposes. This deal means essentially nothing, so a grade will be unnecessary.

As mentioned before, Dallas added to their receiving corps by signing James Washington for one year at $1.18 million. In a best-case scenario, Washington ends up a WR4 which would vault this maneuver into an A grade. Other, bigger names are still available but likely are looking for more money making this deal a strong B-.