12 Cowboys Who Won't Return Next Season

Now that the Cowboys' offseason has officially begun following the Super Bowl, don't expect to see these 12 players in a Dallas jersey next NFL season.
RB Tony Pollard is one of 12 Cowboys who won't return for the 2024 NFL season.
RB Tony Pollard is one of 12 Cowboys who won't return for the 2024 NFL season. / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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5. Brandin Cooks, WR

The Cowboys made a big splash last April when they acquired veteran wideout Brandin Cooks from the Houston Texans in exchange for two future draft picks. With Michael Gallup plateauing, Dallas hoped that the six-time 1,000-yard receiver would make for an adequate WR2 behind CeeDee Lamb.

The 2023 campaign proved to be a mixed bag for the former Oregon State Beaver. On one hand, Cooks' eight receiving TDs were tied for the second-best mark of his career. On the other hand, he only recorded 657 yards — his fewest since 2019 — while his 41.1 receiving yards per contest was a new low.

For those hoping that he'll bounce back next season, I wouldn't hold my breath. Cooks has had a terrific career, but he's now had back-to-back campaigns with fewer than 700 yards — not exactly the type of production that warrants a $10 million cap hit in 2024. He also turns 31 shortly after the next season begins, which is around the age when wide receivers tend to fall off a cliff.

If the Cowboys want to get out of his contract, there are options. Dallas can either trade or release Cooks before June 1 to free up $4 million in cap space or wait until after that date to save $8 million. Either way, it looks like there's a good chance that the Stockton, CA native won't be around AT&T Stadium next season.