The first wave of free agency was a roaring success for the Dallas Cowboys. The second and future waves will be focused on covering bases and plugging holes in whatever way possible before the 2023 draft.
They accomplished that three-fold on Tuesday by making their initial two external free agent signings in offensive lineman Chuma Edoga and running back Ronald Jones. In the late afternoon, Dante Fowler became the Cowboys’ third signing of the day.
It’s a one-year deal for Fowler, who will look to build on a resurgent 2022 in which he reunited with former head coach Dan Quinn.
You have to think Quinn had major influence in Fowler’s decision to return. Whatever the case, the front office once again deserves a round of applause for checking off another box with over a month to spare before the draft.
More importantly, Fowler returning means the Cowboys will flaunt elite pass-rushing depth for the second year in a row.
The Cowboys re-signed pass rusher Dante Fowler after a resurgent 2022.
Fowler signed a one-year, prove-it deal with Dallas last offseason, and exceeded expectations. He tied for third on the defense with six sacks; the same as DeMarcus Lawrence despite playing less than half the snaps of Lawrence (343 to Lawrence’s 697).
On top of the six QB takedowns, Fowler notched seven tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, 36 pressures, 24 hurries and 15 defensive stops.
Those are more-than-serviceable numbers for a rotational edge. Quinn knows how to get the best from his players and no one proves that more than Fowler, who will continue working behind Lawrence and Micah Parsons, and just ahead of 2022 second-round pick Sam Williams in the DE pecking order.
The Cowboys could add more DE depth in the draft, but Fowler’s place as the third edge rusher means Williams can continue to develop at his own pace, and ensures Dallas can afford to spell Lawrence and Parsons when they need a breather.
That, of course, assumes Parsons cooperates and comes off the field.
In all seriousness, it’s great to see Dallas continue to operate with a aggression and urgency. Re-signing Fowler was among the top of their priorities when the legal tampering period started and they got it done.
One would have thought Fowler would find a new home on the open market after he bounced back last season. The fact he’s back in Dallas for another go-round is a testament to the foundation Dan Quinn has built on the defense, and the Cowboys organization for continuing to re-sign their own.