2023 has been quite the year for the Dallas Cowboys. After an underwhelming 3-2 start to the campaign, the Cowboys are now 10-5 heading into a Week 17 matchup with the Detroit Lions, marking the franchise's third consecutive season with a double-digit win total.
Even though the Cowboys have been good enough to clinch a playoff spot and potentially challenge for Super Bowl LVIII, fans shouldn't get used to the status quo. The offseason begins in less than three months, meaning several Dallas players will likely be on their way out soon whether it's due to free agency or a trade.
With that in mind, here are five Cowboys who are likely leaving Dallas in the New Year.
5 Cowboys Not Returning to Dallas in the New Year
1. Trey Lance, QB
It's safe to say that Trey Lance has had quite the fall from grace. After the San Francisco 49ers traded three first-round picks to the Miami Dolphins to draft Lance third overall in 2021, the former North Dakota State quarterback has only made eight appearances (4 starts) since then.
Once it was clear that Lance didn't have a future with the 49ers, the Cowboys acquired him for a 2024 fourth-round pick back in August.
While some fans thought the 25-year-old might usurp Cooper Rush for the backup QB job behind Dak Prescott, that hasn't been the case. Lance has spent his entire Dallas tenure as the team's third-stringer and likely won't see any action this season unless Prescott and Rush go down with injuries.
I just have a hard time buying Lance to stay with the Cowboys for the long haul. Even if he's relatively young, he hasn't shown that he has 'it.' He also carries a $5.3 million cap hit in 2024, which is a lot of money for a backup QB who hasn't thrown a regular-season pass in Week 2 of the 2022 season. Besides, Rush is also the more affordable option of the two next year at $2.875 million.
Lance's entire 2024 salary is fully guaranteed, meaning the Cowboys must find a trade partner if they don't want to eat any of his salary. A deal might be a long shot, but where there's a will, there's a way.