Dallas Cowboys: 5 veterans likely playing their last season in Dallas

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Last season for these Dallas Cowboys

Connor Williams, OG

2022 contract situation: free agent

Playing on the last year of rookie deal, Connor Williams is about to cash in, and cash in big. He is coming off another impressive season and at age 24 has yet to even approach his ceiling as an offensive lineman.

Last year he was the only offensive lineman to stay healthy and playing alongside a collection of undrafted free agents he posted his best season to-date, grading as PFF’s 24th rated guard in football. He’s essentially the second best guard in the NFL in his age group and in a league starved for good O-line play, he will be a coveted commodity next March.

While it’s possible the Dallas Cowboys can get in front of this and sign him before he boosts his value any higher, the feeling is the Cowboys have dedicated too much money already to the offensive side of the ball and need to start paying defenders to better balance the team.

What about Randy Gregory?

As you may have noticed, I left the maligned Randy Gregory off this list. One might think a guy who has missed more snaps than he’s played, might be the first player to be shown the door, but I disagree. Despite all of the suspensions and limited production, the Dallas Cowboys and Randy Gregory have forged quite the relationship. And I believe both sides feel it.

If one player is re-signed before/during/after the season, I think it’s going to be Gregory. Why, you ask? Here’s three reasons:

  1. He’s going to be a bargain (kind of)
  2. He plays defense
  3. He plays a critical position

Randy comes with baggage. Dallas knows it and Randy knows it. Even if he puts up a double-digit sack season (like I expect), he’s not going to demand top of the league prices. I believe everyone is realistic here and Randy will get paid…a lot…but it will be with protections and will come in below market prices.

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Randy also plays defense. Dallas needs to move money to the defensive side of the ball. So while Connor Williams and Michael Gallup would be worthy of big new deals, they make the disparity of wealth even worse.

Finally, he plays the critical position of pass-rusher. Coverage may ultimately be more important to winning than pass-rush, but coverage is a single-point failure job task that requires multiple players and lots of money. Pass-rushers can work alone and can cover up weaknesses elsewhere.  The best thing you ca do for a young and cheap secondary is get them pass-rushers.

That about sums it up. Unless a deal is made this week, I see Michael Gallup, Connor Williams, Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, and Jourdan Lewis all playing their last seasons in Dallas this year. I think Randy Gregory is the favorite to stay and Dalton Schultz the wildcard in this whole thing.

light. Must Read. Why Randy Gregory is in store for a career season

dark. Next. Can the Cowboys O-line keep Dak Prescott safe?

What do you think? Will the Cowboys do something different?