Cowboys Free Agency 2023: Arrivals, departures, and rumors from Day 1
By Jerry Trotta
There’s a reason Dallas Cowboys fans dread the start of free agency. While other fan bases celebrate statement signings made to help their team take a step forward next season, Cowboys Nation kicks its feet up and watches the madness unfold without much stress.
It was much of the same as this year’s free agency frenzy kicked off on Monday. The legal tampering period is underway, and multiple teams agreed to deals with players. All that’s left is waiting until Wednesday, the official start of the new league year, for the signings to be made official.
The Cowboys sadly weren’t involved in the madness, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have anything to recap and analyze.
We know Dallas is pushing hard to retain Donovan Wilson and Leighton Vander Esch. Even Dante Fowler got a surprise mention in that regard by ESPN’s Todd Archer. It’s understood Wilson tops the front office’s priority list, but there wasn’t much movement at the safety position in the opening hours of free agency.
Let’s recap everything from Day 1 pertaining to Dallas.
Cowboys departures in 2023 free agency – Day 1
Connor McGovern, OL
- New team: Buffalo Bills
- Contract: 3 years, $23.3 million
McGovern was an expected loss, but that doesn’t make it any less significant for the Cowboys, whose offensive line was hindered by injuries in 2022. McGovern appeared in 45 of a possible 49 regular season games since 2020. He started 15 games at left guard last season, and filled in at right guard for eight starts in 2020 when Zack Martin was battling injury.
The Cowboys had interest in retaining McGovern, per the Dallas Morning News, but the money Buffalo offered was too significant to counter.
Since there were no arrivals, let’s jump right into a rumors roundup.
Cowboys Free Agency Rumors – Day 1
Cowboys pushing hard to re-sign Dante Fowler
Fowler was mentioned by ESPN alongside Wilson and Vander Esch as priority free agents for the Cowboys. Roughly five hours into the legal tampering period, CBS insider Josina Anderson reported Dallas is “working hard to get an agreement to the finish line with DE Dante Fowler Jr. There’s mutual interest in both sides to get a deal done. Looks like Fowler could be back in North Texas for the 2023 season.
Dallas hasn’t made an offer to Dalton Schultz
While the Cowboys would like Fowler, Wilson and Vander Esch back next season, Schultz seemingly isn’t in the plans. NFL Network’s Jane Slater reported Dallas hasn’t made Schultz an offer. They attempted to extend the tight end last offseason after his breakout 2021, but no deal came to fruition.
The latest on Bobby Wagner and Adam Thielen
Jane Slater was full of intel on Monday, adding that Dallas has had “initial conversations” with linebacker Bobby Wagner. Much like last offseason, Wagner joining the Cowboys, and reuniting with Dan Quinn, will boil down to the money.
Additionally, Slater revealed Dallas could show “potential interest” in Adam Thielen given his production in the league. Look for Thielen to be a distant fallback option in the event the Cowboys swing and miss on Odell Beckham, DeAndre Hopkins, Brandin Cooks, or other potential impact receivers.
Dallas restructures Michael Gallup’s contract
The Cowboys restructured Michael Gallup’s contract to create $7 million in cap space. Dallas had an easy out of Gallup’s contract slotted for next offseason, but this move confirms what we already knew: the team believes he’ll bounce back another year removed from ACL surgery. Let’s hope that happens.