It's hard to build a contending team in the NFL and it's even more difficult to keep that team together. The Dallas Cowboys are well aware of this since they're no strangers to seeing key players leave in free agency. Just this past offseason, they said goodbye to Dalton Schultz, and the year before that it was Amari Cooper — although that one was self-inflicted.
Looking ahead to 2024, the Cowboys will again have some tough decisions to make. There are several key players scheduled for free agency and they're going to have to decide if they want to pay them while still needing to work out new contracts for Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, and eventually Micah Parsons.
With those deals coming up, these four players are most likely going to be allowed to test the open market in 2024.
4. Dante Fowler, Jr., EDGE
The former No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Dante Fowler, Jr. originally signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 2022. He worked briefly with Dan Quinn in Atlanta — before Quinn was let go — and was seen as a great fit in his defensive scheme.
In his first season with the franchise, he provided a huge spark as a rotational pass rusher. Despite never starting a game, Fowler had 27 tackles and six sacks. It was enough for him to be retained on another one-year deal.
This year, his snap count has declined slightly and his production hasn't been the same. Fowler has just eight tackles with 2.5 sacks through 12 games. With Sam Williams behind him, the Cowboys are likely ready for a youth movement. And if they were going to pay a veteran, Dorance Armstrong — who has 13.5 sacks over the past two seasons — would be the top choice.