3 Cowboys free agents who could be forced into retirement

Washington Commanders v Dallas Cowboys
Washington Commanders v Dallas Cowboys / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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The Dallas Cowboys have 14 players set to become free agents in the new league year, including Tyron Smith, Tony Pollard and Stephon Gilmore. Jerry and Stephen Jones have scaled back the former's "all-in" comments from a month ago, so fans have tempered expectations ahead of a franchise-altering offseason.

Even though the Cowboys have multiple superstars and star players who are just entering their respective primes, they're aging at several key positions. The team could use a fresh injection of youth and that could spell bad news for some Dallas veterans who are in the twilight of their careers.

Multiple Cowboys free agents could find it harder than expected to find a new home. Whether it be their injury history, recent performance or age (or a combination of the three), don't count on these three players playing in the NFL next season.

3. LT Tyron Smith

Can we say with absolute certainty that Smith will be back in 2024? It's been reported by trusted insiders that Smith wants to play another season, but what if his free agent market isn't as robust as reports indicate? Could the oft-injured tackle call it a career in that scenario?

Smith undoubtedly deserves a pay day and to compete for a Super Bowl. Neither seemingly will happen with the Cowboys. The Chiefs feel like an obvious suitor, but they're not flush with cap space ($3.46 million as of this writing).

In a vacuum, Smith can retire today and have a puncher's chance at making the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He's an eight-time Pro Bowler, two-time First Team All-Pro, three-time Second-Team All-Pro and a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 2000s. You'd be hard-pressed to name a better left tackle from his generation not named Trent Williams.

Whether or not it's in Dallas, Cowboys fans would love to see Smith play another season. He's committed to the grind, but he hasn't played a full season in eight years. Over the last four seasons, he's played 30 of a possible 66 games in the regular season.

Limiting Smith's practice reps helped keep him healthy for most of 2023, but we can't help but wonder how big of a toll the injuries have had.