5 Cowboys on Thin Ice Heading Into Free Agency

There's a ton of pressure on the Dallas Cowboys to succeed in 2024. With that in mind, here are five individuals who are on thin ice in Big D heading into free agency.

WR Michael Gallup is one of five Cowboys skating on thin ice ahead of free agency.
WR Michael Gallup is one of five Cowboys skating on thin ice ahead of free agency. / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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3. DT Mazi Smith

There was a ton of hype surrounding Mazi Smith ahead of his rookie campaign last fall. The former Michigan Wolverine was selected 26th overall last April due to his impressive physical qualities, leaving Dallas fans hoping that he'd become a mainstay on the defensive line for years to come.

Instead, Smith's rookie year left much to be desired. A big chunk of that had to do with the Cowboys making him lose a ton of weight before putting him in defensive situations that he didn't experience during his time at Michigan. Once his first pro season wrapped up, Smith finished with just nine solo tackles while missing 13.3% of his attempts and one sack while playing 28% of defensive snaps.

Even worse is the fact that the 22-year-old was Pro Football Focus' seventh-worst graded interior defender against the run out of 137 eligible players.

Smith is still way too young to be labeled a bust, but I also wouldn't be surprised if the Cowboys aren't as high on him anymore. Mike Zimmer is also the new defensive coordinator in town, meaning there's the possibility that Smith doesn't fit his vision for the future.

If the Cowboys want to stop the run more consistently in 2024, Smith's role could be in trouble.