3 Cowboys free agents who could be forced into retirement

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2. DE Dante Fowler Jr.

It's definitely a long shot that Fowler retires, but he's quietly been in the league for a while and he wasn't nearly as productive this season relative to 2022.

Appearing in all 17 regular season games, Fowler posted 4.0 sacks, five tackles for loss, seven quarterback hits and 36 pressures. He finished with a respectable 70.7 pass-rush grade, but at this stage in his career he's best served as a fourth-string pass rusher.

Fowler was a solid signing by the front office, but he was often the team's fourth-best pass rusher. There were even times when he was outplayed by Sam Williams and Chauncey Golston, and his propensity to commit penalties (10 in two seasons, per PFF) overshadowed a lot of his work getting after the quarterback.

A former No. 3 overall pick of the Jaguars in 2016, Fowler will turn 30 in August. We've seen players retire at much younger ages. We wouldn't rule out Fowler reuniting with Dan Quinn in Washington, but it wouldn't be the least bit surprising if Fowler hangs 'em up if he doesn't get a suitable offer in free agency.