Dallas Cowboys: With fifth youngest roster, the future is bright

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Is the window opening for the Dallas Cowboys or is the window closing? This has been a topic of debate after the Cowboys plummeted to 6-10 last season, despite facing some very suspect competition. Which direction this franchise is going matters as we enter the most important step in the offseason –the NFL Draft.

After finishing third in the NFC East, it’s understandable some are down on the Cowboys. Cornerstone players like Dak Prescott, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and La’el Collins missed considerable time. And talk of rebuilding in some of those most critical areas has circulated many Dallas Cowboys draft circles.

But are we at a place where we need to be thinking rebuild? How old really is this team? And how long do we give this roster before we start thinking about the long-term future?

Surprisingly, the Dallas Cowboys had the fifth youngest SWA roster in the NFL last season.

By averaging all the ages of the entire roster, we can get a rough idea of a team’s general youthfulness. But doing it so simplistically can be a little misleading. It doesn’t account for who’s starting and who’s just a reserve.

By averaging the age of all the expected starters we can get a better idea of the key players, but it doesn’t account for rotations and sub packages (the Dallas Cowboys are in nickel defense and 11 personnel roughly 70% of the time).

Luckily Football Outsiders solved this quandary years ago by calculating snap-weighted age every offseason. By weighing the age of a player according to the number of snaps he played we can see how young the main members of the roster really are. And as the headline indicates, the Dallas Cowboys were the fifth youngest.

Obviously injuries played a hand in the Dallas Cowboys youthfulness since injury reserves are most likely younger than the men they are replacing. But the Cowboys weren’t the only team in the NFL that suffered significant injuries and generally, everything evens out across the league in the end.

Plain and simple: the Dallas Cowboys are one of the youngest team’s in the NFL.

The two positions the Dallas Cowboys clocked in the oldest was at quarterback and special teams. The 33-year-old Andy Dalton replaced the 27-year-old Dak Prescott most of the season, so the jump is understandable. Dallas’ SWA for QB was 30.1 (12th in the NFL). Their average special teams age was 33.4 (3rd oldest in the NFL).

With a healthy O-line, we can expect the Cowboys to increase in age there, but QB and special teams will essentially counteract that with their significant drops in age (long-snapper and punter will get younger significantly).

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Many of the Dallas Cowboys offseason signings (specifically Keanu Neal, 25, and Damontae Kazee, 27) are fairly young for veteran free agents. And since the draft is expected to yield at least two rookie starters, we’ll see the age drop even further.

Young teams aren’t usually good teams so it’s understandable Dallas struggled so much last season. But youth sells the promise of a better tomorrow and as such the Dallas Cowboys have a boatload of promise. As it stands now, Dallas looks like a legit playoff contender, and that’s not even taking into account the upcoming draft.

The Dallas Cowboys have a very good chance at being a top-10 team in the NFL and do it with a bottom-10 SWA. The future is very bright for the Dallas Cowboys

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There’s nothing worse than being underachieving and old. The Dallas Cowboys are ready to bounce back in 2021 and do so with one of the youngest rosters in the NFL.

  • Published on 04/20/2021 at 12:36 PM
  • Last updated at 04/20/2021 at 12:38 PM