How many compensatory picks will Cowboys receive in 2023?

Randy Gregory, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Randy Gregory, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys have waxed poetic about wanting to builder their roster via homegrown talent as opposed to free agency and trades. That’s obviously the correct way to cultivate a roster, but their unwillingness to go the extra mile to sign or trade for a potential game-changer has long irked the fan base.

It doesn’t help that the Cowboys are often used as leverage to get a bigger contract or elevate a player’s trade value, but there’s no doubting they goofed by not adding one of Von Miller, Bobby Wagner or another defensive playmaker.

In bypassing those studs, Dallas is essentially banking on the continued development of recent and new draft picks, but there’s another reason the front office has opted against spending top dollar in free agency: compensatory picks.

In the 2022 draft, the Cowboys had two comp picks in the fifth round (Nos. 176 and 178 overall) for losing Andy Dalton and Chidobe Awuzie. So, how many comp picks is Dallas poised to receive for next year’s draft?

If you asked NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein, who recently projected the comp pick inventory for all 32 teams, he’d say three is the magic number.

The Cowboys should receive three comp picks in the 2023 draft.

The Cowboys free agency was all about outgoings as opposed to incomings, so it’s no surprise they’re expected to net three additional picks next year. Per Zierlein, they’ll receive these picks in exchange for losing Randy Gregory, Connor Williams and Cedrick Wilson. Like this year’s draft, these picks should come in the middle rounds

Here’s what Zierlein said of his projection.

"The Cowboys appear to have definitely decided they will play the comp-pick game as it pertains to losing and signing free agents. Since 2020, Dallas has accumulated seven compensatory picks, and another three are slated to come in 2023. Despite the team-friendly 2022 cap number of the deal Gregory signed with the Broncos, his total contract value is set to bring Dallas a fourth-round pick. The departures of Williams and Wilson are slotted into sixth-round selections, based upon their contracts."

As Zierlein notes, the Cowboys have long been the pioneers of the compensatory pick movement. Unfortunately for them, no team can receive more than four such picks and they can only fall between Rounds 3-7. If Zierlein’s projections are accurate, Dallas will receive a fourth for Gregory and two sixths for Williams and Wilson.

They’ll be just one of three teams, including the Raiders and Cardinals, in line to receive three picks. Ironically enough, the Rams and 49ers, last year’s NFC Championship Game participants, are the only teams expected to get four picks.

Of course, these projections are subject to change.

While Gregory should net Dallas a fourth-rounder regardless of his production with the Broncos, Williams and Wilson could potentially improve to fifth-rounders if they star in Miami. That’s more like to happen for Williams, as Wilson could struggle for targets in the passing game after the Dolphins traded for Tyreek Hill.

Still, a sixth-round comp pick is better nothing.