5 Cowboys Fighting For Their Jobs After Free Agency

These five Dallas Cowboys players' jobs are far from safe as the franchise continues to navigate the NFL free agency period.

QB Cooper Rush is one of five Cowboys who's still fighting for his job.
QB Cooper Rush is one of five Cowboys who's still fighting for his job. / Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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5. DT Mazi Smith

Like Vaughn and Schoonmaker, Mazi Smith was another 2023 draft pick who failed to live up to expectations as a rookie. The 22-year-old defensive tackle was drafted 26th overall to further solidify Dallas' defensive line last season, but he did anything but that more often than not.

Smith hardly saw any playing time in Year 1, playing just 304 defensive downs (28%) and 21 special teams snaps (5%) despite appearing in all 17 games while starting three times. He only recorded nine solo tackles with one sack while missing a whopping 13.3% of his tackling attempts. He was expected to stop the run but couldn't even do that, finishing with a 31.8 run defense grade — the seventh-worst grade among 137 eligible interior defenders, per Pro Football Focus.

At the end of the day, PFF graded Smith as the No. 113 interior defender out of 130.

It's going to be interesting to see if Smith can turn things around as a sophomore. Reports indicate that the Cowboys asked him to lose around 30 pounds, which could be one reason why he was thrown off his game. At the same time, there's always the possibility that his shortcomings stem from him not being as good as Dallas' scouts envisioned.

While the Cowboys had one of the best secondaries in the NFL, they were only average against the run. Hopefully, Smith bounces back and helps improve the frontline. If not, his future in Dallas is murky at best.

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