3 free agents Cowboys must sign after restructuring Dak Prescott's contract

Jan 14, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) drops back to pass
Jan 14, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) drops back to pass / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
1 of 3

The Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott haven't agreed to a contract extension, but they seemingly took a major step toward reaching a middle ground on Monday. Per reports, the Cowboys converted a $5 million roster bonus due to Prescott into a signing bonus, clearing $4 million in salary cap space.

Prescott's cap number now sits at $55.45 million and the move adds two additional void years through 2028 for cap management purposes.

This isn't a traditional restructure, so this maneuver required Prescott's permission. It might not seem like it, but that's notable. Collaborating to help the Cowboys navigate the cap is a good sign for Prescott and Dallas achieving an extension. That isn't expected to happen until training camp and the team has plenty of roster holes to address in the meantime.

With that in mind, here are some free agents the Cowboys can now afford thanks to Prescott's reworked contract.

3. DE Derek Barnett

The Cowboys simply cannot justify not signing an edge rusher. There's likely hope within the organization that Sam Williams will make a profound impact in year three. Whether or not that happens, though, Dallas' pass-rush rotation is three-strong right now: Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence and Williams.

Yes, Chauncey Golston is still around, but he plays all over the defensive line. He's not an outright edge rusher. Though underrated and impactful as a versatile DL, Golston isn't enough to overcome the loss of Dante Fowler, let alone Dorance Armstrong.

Barnett is a familiar name for the Cowboys given his time in Philadelphia. He was surprisingly waived by the Eagles in November after agreeing to a revised contract. Barnett landed on his feet in Houston, where he played a crucial role in the Texans' run to the playoffs.

It's admittedly only a five-week sample size, but Barnett posted a 86.1 pass-rush grade with 18 pressures, 2.5 sacks and nine quarterback hits from Week 14-18, per Pro Football Focus. Still just 27 years old, signing Barnett would do a lot to help offset the losses of Armstrong and Fowler.