3 Contracts Cowboys Must Prioritize in 2022 Offseason

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2022

3 Contracts Cowboys Must Prioritize in 2022 Offseason

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    Rich Schultz/Associated Press

    The Dallas Cowboys built a strong roster to contend for the Super Bowl, but they fell short in the wild-card round and now enter another offseason filled with questions.

    Most of the primary roster pieces are in place thanks to massive contracts paid out to Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott over the last few seasons. 

    The upcoming offseason will be all about retaining some of Prescott's favorite targets to make sure the offense does not face any type of drop off in the 2022 season.

    Defensively, the Cowboys should be ready to move on from Keanu Neal and Leighton Vander Esch, but they could hold on to one of their safeties headed for the free-agent market. 

Dalton Schultz

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    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    Dalton Schultz picked the right time to have a career season. 

    The tight end caught 78 balls for 808 yards and eight touchdowns in the final year of his contract. 

    Schultz's success proved how much he can contribute in the passing game and how reliable he is in the eyes of Dak Prescott. 

    Dallas should realize how important the quarterback-tight end connection is and prioritize the re-signing of Schultz. 

    The Cowboys have shown no reluctance in splashing out money on key offensive pieces in previous seasons, as Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper all received massive contracts. 

    Dallas needs to work around its salary-cap deficit to provide Schultz with a reasonable offer. The Cowboys enter the offseason $21 million above the cap line, per Over the Cap

    If Dallas wants to bring back Schultz that bad, it will find a way to manage the cap to have as many offensive weapons in place to help Prescott lead the franchise to the NFC East title again.

Cedrick Wilson

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    Matt Patterson/Associated Press

    Cedrick Wilson came on late in the regular season as a No. 3 target to replace Michael Gallup.

    Wilson may be the better free-agent option to bring back to Dallas over Gallup because of the potential cost of his contract.

    Gallup performed well in Dallas over the last few years and he could command more money as he attempts to move up the depth chart from the No. 3 wide receiver position.

    Wilson had 602 yards and six touchdowns in 2021. Those were the best numbers of his career and some teams may not be willing to pay him a ton of money because of that small sample size.

    Dallas would be wise to bring back Wilson to thrive in the Gallup role alongside Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb.

    Wilson might even get lucky and be elevated to the No. 2 spot if the Cowboys opt to offload Cooper's contract in a trade, but that is a decision that is nowhere close to being made yet. 

Jayron Kearse

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    Micah Parsons' rapid development and Dallas' NFL draft success in recent years make Leighton Vander Esch and Keanu Neal expendable. 

    The Cowboys should turn their free-agent focus to safety to retain Jayron Kearse over the pair of linebackers. 

    Kearse, like Schultz and Wilson, is coming off his best season as a professional. He had 67 solo tackles, nine tackles for loss and six quarterback hits.

    Kearse should demand a decent-sized market this offseason, and that may make it hard for the Cowboys to keep him.

    The Cowboys do not have a ton of money tied up to the secondary for the 2022 season, and if they trade Cooper, more cash would open up to re-sign Kearse. 

    A potential Kearse return would give the Cowboys a strong defensive foundation with him, Parsons, Trevon Diggs and Demarcus Lawrence. 

    If Dallas looks strong in each layer of its defense, that unit could be the difference-maker in a potential Super Bowl run in 2022. 

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