3 Cowboys Dallas Can't Afford to Let Hit Free Agency in 2024

The NFL's free agency period opens next month. If the Dallas Cowboys want to compete for a Super Bowl next season, they can't afford to let these three players hit the open market.

The Cowboys can't afford to let CB Stephon Gilmore hit free agency next month.
The Cowboys can't afford to let CB Stephon Gilmore hit free agency next month. / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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Cowboys Can't Let LT Tyron Smith Hit Free Agency

It's hard to imagine the Cowboys' offensive line without Tyron Smith providing protection. After all, the eight-time Pro Bowl blocker has been a starter for Dallas ever since he was drafted ninth overall in 2011, playing 161 games during that stretch.

Having said that, Smith's future in the Lone Star State is up in the air. He's slated to hit free agency next month and while a good portion of the fanbase wants him back, he turns 34 in December and just registered his eighth consecutive season playing 13 or fewer games. It wouldn't be surprising if the Cowboys aren't willing to pay him the big bucks to remain in town.

But even if Smith asks for a lot of money, chances are that he's worth every penny. The ex-USC Trojan finished the 2023 campaign as PFF's No. 4-graded tackle overall (83.7) and the top-rated pass blocker (89.3). It was also the fifth time in the last six seasons that he allowed one or fewer sacks.

I understand that age and injuries are a concern, but I'm not too worried. Smith just named All-Pro for the first time since 2016 and I wouldn't be shocked if he has another campaign or two at the level still inside of him.

If the Cowboys want Dak Prescott to lead them to a Super Bowl, Smith must be on the field protecting him next season.