Latest buzz all but confirms departure of 2 key Cowboys free agents

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys' time-hallowed conservative approach in free agency has given fans no choice but to temper expectations every offseason. This year feels eerily similar, even though Jerry Jones promised to be all-in after the Cowboys' wild card loss to the Packers.

As it turns out, Jones' all-in pledge referenced handing out big-ticket contract extensions to Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons. It seems the Cowboys offseason will once again revolved around extending their homegrown stars and re-signing key free agents that fit into the 2024 plans.

Like any offseason, though, Dallas will have to let several free agents walk. A bombshell report dropped over the weekend claimed LT Tyron Smith won't return next season. Smith's agent met with the Cowboys at the Combine and negotiations were seemingly dead on arrival.

This begs the question of whom could follow Smith out the door. According to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News and ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, center Tyler Biadasz and defensive end Dorance Armstrong are all but locks to leave as free agents.

Cowboys Rumors: Dallas could lose Dorance Armstrong and Tyler Biadasz in free agency

"The Cowboys do not consider themselves positioned to be financially competitive for Biadasz’s services on the open market, a person close to the situation told The News. That is not considered a reflection on Biadasz, who is respected not only for his production level but his study habits, toughness, effort and overall consistency."

It's seems increasingly likely that Biadasz will follow the path of Connor Williams and Connor McGovern as homegrown offensive linemen to leave after their rookie contract. Re-signing Biasadz would keep continuity on an OL that could also lose its bookend left tackle, but the Cowboys could find an upgrade in April's draft.

Ultimately, Biadasz's inconsistency as a run-blocker was a big hindrance to the offense. Gehlken's report makes it sounds like Biadasz will command a bigger contract than expected. It would make little sense for Dallas to enter a bidding war for an inconsistent player at a non-premium position.

Transitioning to Armstrong, Fowler listed the 2018 fourth-round pick as a "sleeper free agent getting buzz" before the new league year.

"This key Dallas defensive lineman has plenty of interest. He most likely won't be back with the Cowboys; new Commanders coach Dan Quinn could try to snag him in Washington," Fowler said of Armstrong.

Talk about a double-edged sword. The Cowboys re-signed Armstrong to a two-year contract after the 2021 season. The former Jayhawk has outplayed his deal, racking up 16 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, 28 QB hits, 74 pressures and 45 defensive stops, per Pro Football Focus.

It's no surprise that Armstrong is headed for a substantial pay day. He could sign for north of $8 million per year and that isn't in the Cowboys' purview since they're already paying DeMarcus Lawrence and have to reserve funds to make Micah Parsons the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.

Make no mistake, though: Armstrong was a key chess piece on Dallas' defensive line. He played multiple positions and brings more versatility as a special teamer. If he leaves, he'll be sorely missed and the Cowboys better make it a priority to find a worthwhile replacement.

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