Stephon Gilmore sends clear message to Cowboys ahead of 2024 free agency

October 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Stephon Gilmore (21) warms
October 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Stephon Gilmore (21) warms / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys officially have a defensive coordinator, as they agreed to terms with Mike Zimmer on Monday. The timing couldn't be better as the Cowboys have a shopping list of free agents on the defensive side of the ball.

It would behoove the Cowboys to hire a new defensive coordinator as soon as possible because the defense has a shopping list of free agents. The biggest name of the bunch is Stephon Gilmore, who proved to be a godsend in the secondary in the wake of Trevon Diggs' season-ending injury.

With Diggs returning in 2024, folks might assume the Cowboys can let Gilmore leave for the highest bidder. However, No. 3 cornerback Jourdan Lewis, who played spectacular to close the season, is also a free agent.

Re-signing Gilmore would allow Dallas to fulfill its dream of Diggs, 2023 DPOY finalist DaRon Bland and Gilmore patrolling the secondary.

Speaking to 105.3 The Fan ahead of Super Bowl 58, Gilmore put the proverbial ball in the Cowboys' court as he gets set to hit free agency.

Free agent Stephon Gilmore wants to return to the Cowboys in 2024

"For sure, I want to be back. I for sure think we have the pieces to get to where we want to be, and I want to be a part of that. March is when free agency starts, so hopefully we can get something done. I want to run it back with B. Cooks and all of these guys, have the opportunity to play with Bland another year and Trevon coming back off the ACL."

Stephon Gilmore

That is music to Cowboys fans' ears. Gilmore was acquired under the assumption he'd be CB2 behind Diggs with Bland manning the slot. While Bland matched up against opposing team's No. 1 receiver most games, Gilmore handled that burden for a good chunk of the schedule as well.

Gilmore locked up A.J. Brown in the Cowboys' thrilling home win over the Eagles in Week 13, which proved pivotal in Dallas winning the NFC East. The week prior, Gilmore neutralized D.K. Metcalf in the second half against the Seahawks after Metcalf torched Bland in the first half.

For the season, Gilmore allowed just a 54.9 completion rate on a whopping 91 targets, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). He added two interceptions and nine pass breakups to boot with a 83.3 passer rating allowed. He also missed just five tackles, which is impressive given he played the most snaps of any Cowboys defender.

Gilmore's market value checks in a $11 million per year, according to Spotrac. It's a slight increase from what Gilmore earned this season, but the Cowboys can obviously afford to meet that price. And considering that Gilmore wants to return, it stands to reason he'd be flexible in contract negotiations.

Simply put, re-signing Gilmore is a no-brainer.

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