Free-Agent Contracts Cowboys Must Pursue After Preseason

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxCorrespondent ISeptember 5, 2022

Free-Agent Contracts Cowboys Must Pursue After Preseason

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    Keelan Cole (Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

    The Dallas Cowboys are gearing up for a Week 1 showdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While the season-opener is only days away and the preseason has concluded, Dallas isn't quite done tweaking its roster.

    The Cowboys have added veteran offensive tackle, Jason Peters, to their practice squad, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. This isn't too surprising, as starting left tackle Tyron Smith is on injured reserve with an avulsion fracture.

    It wouldn't be a shock to see the Cowboys bring in some other post-cut free agents as well. Dallas has $12.7 million in cap space and is hoping to contend for a championship in 2022. Which other free agents might the franchise consider? That's what we're here to examine.

    Here, we'll look at three free agents the Cowboys must consider coming out of the preseason. We'll break down how each could help the team in 2022 and what sort of contract offers would make sense for Dallas.

OT Daryl Williams

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    Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

    Even if the Cowboys can rely on Peters, it would make plenty of sense to kick the tires on free-agent lineman Daryl Williams. This is primarily because of the depth the 30-year-old could provide across the board.

    Williams has experience playing at both tackle positions and at both guard spots. He started all 17 games for the Buffalo Bills last season and played 98 percent of the offensive snaps.

    The Cowboys could use Williams for depth behind Peters and/or rookie first-rounder Tyler Smith. The latter is viewed as an option at left tackle, though the rookie is likely to have some growing pains.

    "Will we pay some price for it? Yes. Can we win with paying a price? I think so, yes," franchise owner Jerry Jones said, per Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram.

    Williams could also provide depth at right guard and right tackle, where the Cowboys parted with Connor Williams and La'el Collins, respectively, this offseason.

    As a potential starter and a multi-position backup, Williams could be a tremendous addition to the Cowboys in 2022.

    Contract Offer: Two Years, $11 Million

DT Ndamukong Suh

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The Cowboys should be looking to bolster their defense as well, specifically up front. Last season's run defense ranked just 23rd in yards per carry allowed (4.5) and broke down late in the year.

    Dallas surrendered an average of 130 yards per game over the final 10 weeks of the regular season. In its playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, it gave up 149 yards on the ground.

    Strengthening the defensive line should be a priority, and five-time Pro Bowler Ndamukong Suh would be an ideal target. He could help stonewall opposing ball carriers and complement DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons as a pass-rusher.

    Last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 35-year-old notched 27 tackles, 15 solo stops and six sacks while playing 63 percent of the defensive snaps. He started every game last year and hasn't missed a start since serving a two-game suspension in 2011.

    Suh's reliability should be a big selling point for a Cowboys team hoping to make a deep playoff run. The big question is whether Dallas would be willing to shell out most of its remaining cap space.

    According to The Athletic's Tashan Reed, Suh is looking for a deal in the $9 million-per-year range. If Dallas can convince Suh to sign for anything less than that, it should make the deal with haste.

    Contract Offer: Two Years, $16 Million

WR Keelan Cole

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    Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images

    Along with the offensive line, Dallas' other big question is at receiver.

    The Cowboys parted with Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson Jr. this offseason. Michael Gallup is still working back from a torn ACL, Jalen Tolbert is a rookie, and free-agent addition James Washington is on injured reserve with a foot injury.

    Dallas could use an experienced receiver to strengthen its depth early in the season. It should take a long look at 29-year-old Keelan Cole.

    Cole has consistently produced as a complementary receiver, despite questionable quarterback situations—with the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets. Over the last five seasons, he has averaged 538 yards and 37 catches per year. Last season with the Jets, Cole averaged 16.0 yards per carry and finished with 449 yards and a touchdown.

    With an upper-tier quarterback like Dak Prescott, Cole could be even better. He could start in a pinch and would help provide insurance in case Gallup isn't back to 100 percent and/or Tolbert doesn't adapt to the NFL quickly.

    Cole could also be the sort of budget signing that allows Dallas to sign multiple other free agents. He signed a modest one-year. $1.3 million deal with the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason but was released.

    Contract Offer: One Year, $1.3 Million

    *Cap and contract information via Spotrac. Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference.

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