The Dallas Cowboys are not in a good place financially.
They have a lot of holes in the roster with many free agents that likely cannot be retained given their position relative to the salary cap.
The Cowboys lack sufficient funding to keep all their weapons. Shedding four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper’s hefty cost would help salary cap compliance. https://t.co/4jHcw9ojTd
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) March 4, 2022
Because of this, they will need to select free agents scrupulously.
The two position groups in most need are safeties and linebackers.
Here are the reasons why.
Each had a one-year deal for the 2021 season.
If the Cowboys can muddle through their finances and aim high, they could potentially go after Tyrann Mathieu who is a free agent who may or may not be re-signed by the Chiefs.
Report: Free agent S Tyrann Mathieu is expected to test the open market, per @RapSheet
— JPA Football (@jpafootball) March 6, 2022
He comes with a big dollar figure estimated at $14.8 million annually by Spotrac.
Another possibility is Ronnie Harrison, a free agent with the Cleveland Browns.
His four-year rookie contract, valued at $3.38 million, expired at the end of the 2021 season.
Micah Parsons is obviously a superstar, but he needs a partner.
The Cowboys did not pick up the fifth-year option for Leighton Vander Esh.
Injuries and inconsistent performances have plagued him.
His projected contract value, according to Pro Football Focus, is a three-year deal valued at $25 million.
Keanu Neal is also a free agent; he signed a one-year deal for $4 million for the 2021 season.
The obvious choice to join Parsons became available just this week.
He is Bobby Wagner, and he worked with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn when Quinn was the assistant head coach and defensive line coach in 2009 and 2010.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) March 11, 2022
Wagner was entering the final year of his 3 year $54 million contract when the Seahawks released him; Pro Football Focus estimates his contract value to be a one-year deal worth $8 million.
Where Is The Money Coming From?
With the Cowboys in a penny-pinching mode but yet needing players to fill out this roster, where will the money come from?
Reportedly, the team approached Demarcus Lawrence about restructuring his contract to make room.
Salary … CAP🧢:
DeMarcus Lawrence and Amari Cooper are currently at odds with the #Cowboys front office view of how to acquire 2022 cap space — Lawrence himself having recently stiff-armed a request for a pay cut.
DETAILS ⬇️ https://t.co/bKRMJvldbX
— Patrik [No C] Walker (@VoiceOfTheStar) March 7, 2022
The #DallasCowboys restructure quarterback Dak Prescott's & All-Pro guard Zack Martin's contracts before the start of free agency.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) March 8, 2022
What happens with Cooper will dictate how the Cowboys approach free agency.
If they trade him and get draft picks, they will look to the draft to fill some of the holes.
The Cowboys have more needs than linebackers and safeties.
Offensive linemen and a kicker would also be beneficial.
For an owner who is an accomplished businessman, it is hard to understand how the Cowboys are so cash-strapped.
They have a lot of decisions to make in a short period of time so it will be interesting to see how they proceed.
NEXT: Cowboys May Take Their Time With Amari Cooper