Washington: Evaluating Which Impending Cowboys Free Agents Must Be Retained


The new head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Mike McCarthy, has unofficially hired the majority of his coaching staff.

To see the list of new hires, click here.

So far, the only returning coach is Kellen Moore as the offensive coordinator. Further, Moore will keep his play-calling duties.

The new staff is not the only overhaul that McCarthy is having to deal with. There are currently 30 free agent players on the roster. Below is a list and ranking in priority of who the team should sign.

Dak Prescott – QB


He is the future of the franchise, make no mistake about it. If Jerry Jones wants to sign him long-term, he better sign him quickly before the market resets with Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs looking to land a mega-deal that may never be touched again. However, it may be smarter to franchise tag him this year and see how he plays under McCarthy’s scheme. If he doesn’t perform well, part ways with him and draft or trade for a quarterback that McCarthy desires to fit his scheme.


Amari Cooper – WR

The Cowboys gave up a first-round pick for this guy, so he is not going anywhere. He wants to stay so Dallas should figure out a top-five salary for him and be done. Prescott and the entire offense is better when he is on the field.

Robert Quinn – DE


Coming off a great season and leading the team in sacks, Quinn deserves a spot on the roster for years to come. The hard part is getting him at a small portion of the $90 million that Demarcus Lawrence received on the other side of the offensive line.

Randall Cobb or Tavon Austin

Unless they both take a small salary to stay on the team, you can’t keep them both. With Cobb having a history with McCarthy and Austin being unable to stay on the field, Cobb is the safe bet here. However, Austin can be more of a playmaker and he fits well in the versatility of what McCarthy likes to run on the offense, so it’s a bit of a toss-up here but still a priority.

Byron Jones – CB

Another first-rounder that you can’t let go of is Jones. The main issue here is the Cowboys need him to take a friendly deal and teams will be offering Jones big money, so the ball is in his court.

Antwaun Woods – DT

This is a diamond in the rough and he had a great season. The Cowboys believed in him when others didn’t and he’s responded well and gels with the “HotBoyz” brand. He’s a must-sign even if the defensive scheme goes from a 4-3 to a 3-4.

Blake Jarwin – TE

New tight-end coach, Lunda Wells, will work to improve the blocking skills for Jarwin.  His ability to play as an additional wide receiver while being lined up as a tight end is a bargain steal and he’s looking to take over the reins for one of the greatest to ever play the game in Jason Witten.

Michael Bennett – DE

If Quinn can’t be re-signed, Bennett will be aggressively targeted to retain. The Cowboys re-constructed his contract last year to a one-year deal, but that doesn’t close the door on bringing him back.

Xavier Su’a-Filo – G

This is a no-brainer. Sign him and let him keep improving.

Maliek Collins – DT

You have to have depth at the 3-4 and Collins fits the athleticism and has the ability to break off of holdings to tackle the running backs.

Joe Thomas -ILB

Again, depth is important in a 3-4 defense and Thomas proved himself when given the opportunity. He won’t go anywhere unless another team offers him something he can’t refuse.

Cameron Fleming – T

Inconsistency is what hurts his chances of returning. If he accepts a low salary, it’ll be worth to keep him on and he has to work hard in the offseason to perfect his playing technique.

Kai Forbath – K

He hasn’t missed yet, why on earth let him walk away.

Anthony Brown – CB

Give him one more shot on a one year deal to prove himself.

C.J. Goodwin – CB

Although he is listed as a cornerback, he’s a special team threat. He’s worth every penny he requests.

The remaining players may either decide to retire or be better off on another team and will more than likely not be part of the discussion to bring back. Explanations will not be present for all players.

Jason Witten – TE

This is the unpopular thing to do here, but Witten may let the team off the hook and retire again. If he does come back, the terms will favor the team.

Sean Lee – LB

Injuries are what keeps him from returning. With Leighton Vander Esch expected to make a full recovery, a one-year deal here is the most the Cowboys will get out of Lee.

Kavon Frazier – S

Nobody got to see his season potential since he was placed on injured reserve. While this may be a complete toss-up, out of Frazier or Heath, Frazier has more up-side.

Christian Covington – DT

Jeff Heath – SS

Here’s a hard-hitter, but the Cowboys will be looking to trade or draft a safety. It’s been the missing link on defense as of late, and the patience of not having a strong safety has disappeared.

L.P. Ladouceur – LS

Kerry Hyder – DE

Malcolm Smith – OLB

Ray-Ray Armstrong – ILB

Darian Thompson – FS

Justin March – OLB

Daniel Ross – DT

Cooper Rush – QB

Adam Redmond – C


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