3 Cowboys headed for bigger roles in 2023 after first wave of free agency

Cowboys, Jake Ferguson. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Cowboys, Jake Ferguson. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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March 15 signaled a new calendar year for the NFL and there have already been a lot of moves in free agency. The Dallas Cowboys were able to retain a couple of their own players, including safety Donovan Wilson, and even made a huge — and unexpected — trade for Stephon Gilmore.

In addition to their signings, some important players were lost in free agency. Now with the first wave settled, let’s see which young players are set up for a bigger role in 2023.

3 young Cowboys headed for bigger roles in 2023

Cowboys, Devin Harper
Cowboys, Devin Harper. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

3. Devin Harper, LB

There was a lot of coverage surrounding the release of Ezekiel Elliott but he was far from the only player to leave Big D this past week. In fact, one very important member of the roster exited and hardly made any news when he did.

Linebacker Luke Gifford signed a two-year deal worth $4 million with the Tennessee Titans. For casual NFL fans, this might not seem like a huge loss but those who follow Dallas know what he brought to the table.

Primarily a special teams ace, Gifford had 17 tackles last season but the coaching staff believed he was ready for a larger role. That belief was due to the fact that Gifford was nearly automatic once he got his hands on the ball carrier.

With him out, Dallas will likely turn to second-year linebacker Devin Harper. A sixth-round pick from Oklahoma State, Harper is undersized at 6-foot-0 and 235 pounds and only saw the field on special teams.

His role with that unit should grow as they lean on his 4.5 speed in punt and kick coverage. Gifford left big shoes to fill but Harper has the tools to take over.