The franchise tag period has passed and free agent signings are shortly approaching. Teams are allowed to officially agree to terms with players starting on Wednesday, March 15 at 4 p.m. eastern time.
The Dallas Cowboys will likely be busy before then trying to clear cap space to sign several free agents. Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith have been rumored to be possible cut candidates for the Cowboys, while Dak Prescott is expected to receive an extension to clear more team cap space.
There are a lot of different ways the Cowboys can attack this offseason, but one thing is for sure: Tony Pollard will be with the team next season. Dallas franchise tagged the Pro Bowl running back for approximately $10.09 million for the 2023 season.
Pollard topped career-highs in rushing yards (1,007), rushing touchdowns (9), receiving yards (371), and receiving touchdowns (3) last season. His home-run ability is going to be much-needed again for the Cowboys next year.
Despite franchise tagging Pollard, the Cowboys failed to lock down any more of their free agents for the future. Dalton Schultz, Donovan Wilson, and Leighton Vander Esch all seem to be on their way out after failing to be close on a deal.
The Cowboys enter free agency with a lot of needs to address. But not all additions to the team have to be big-money signings. These players won’t wow you, but they can be effective enough to make an impact offensively in Dallas.
3 cost-effective free agents the Cowboys should sign in 2023
1. Robert Tonyan, TE
After the Cowboys failed to make any progress on a new deal with Schultz before free agency, it’s evident that the tight end will be leaving Dallas this offseason.
Despite his departure, the Cowboys still have a plethora of tight ends on their roster before March 15th even begins. Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot will enter their second seasons with the team and Sean McKeon will enter his third.
But don’t be surprised if Dallas still brings in a veteran to the tight end group. Ferguson definitely showed some potential when Schultz missed games last season; though at 24 years old he still needs to develop.
So why not sign a player like Tonyan?
A player who will almost cost you almost nothing and can be another weapon for Dak Prescott. According to spotrac, Tonyan’s market value for this upcoming season is just $5 million. That’s $10 million less than what Schultz might be asking for in free agency.
Tonyan likely won’t put up over 750 yards. But on a one-year deal, while allowing Ferguson and Hendershot to continue developing, he can certainly be a nice addition for Prescott.
Last season, the former Packers’ tight end finished with 53 catches for 470 yards and two touchdowns. Like Michael Gallup, he was recovering from an ACL tear the prior season and wasn’t fully 100%.
But before his ACL tear in 2020, Tonyan put up 52 catches for 586 yards and a whopping 11 touchdowns. Again, signing him won’t wow you. However, if the Cowboys can get a 6-foot-5 tight end that is a big red zone threat and can stretch the field, that will be huge for them.
Plus, Tonyan already played for Mike McCarthy for half a season as a rookie before he got fired in Green Bay. McCarthy might look to pick up his former tight end.