Dallas Cowboys make blockbuster moves to start the offseason

Starting off the 2023 off-season, Jerry Jones and the front office have been making moves. They have resigned vital players and have traded for veteran players at positions of need. It has been an off-season not many fans were expecting to see, especially after last year’s free agency. The Dallas Cowboys seem to be on a roll, kicking off the off-season.

Dallas trades for veterans

Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys have traded for Texans star WR Brandin Cooks. Photo by Cooper Neill/ Getty Images

Undeniably, the Dallas Cowboys are having a great off-season currently. Thus topping it all off, they have added two players that will make an immediate impact.

The first trade was a shock to most. It was unexpected, especially for the compensation that was given up for it.

The Cowboys traded for five-time Pro Bowl cornerback, Stephon Gilmore. They sent a 2023 fifth-round compensatory pick (176). Gilmore, 32, turns 33 in September but age hasn’t slowed down the veteran corner. He was graded at a PFF grade of 79.1 and was ranked as the fifth-best CB in the league. Gilmore was also PFF’s sixth-highest-graded cover corner in the league. This move adds the former DPOTY to an already weak CB room. Gilmore will play on a base salary of $8 million in 2023.

The Cowboys didn’t stop after trading for Gilmore. They traded a 2023 fifth-round pick (161) and a 2024 sixth-round pick for Brandin Cooks. To complete the trade, the Texans agreed to pay $6 million of his $18 million salary in 2023. During last year’s trade deadline, the Cowboys reportedly tried to trade for Cooks but it fell through due to a disagreement that included day two draft picks. Brandin Cooks has recorded a 1000+ yard receiving season six out of nine times in his career. Cooks will be joining CeeDee Lamb, who just had his best year yet, and a fully-healthy Michael Gallup. The Cowboys have rebuilt their wide receiver room.

Resigning in-house players

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The Dallas Cowboys were able to retain their top players set to hit free agency.

The first player that Dallas was able to retain was Tony Pollard. Pollard is coming off the best season in his career so far, having ran the ball 193 times for 1007 yards and 9 touchdowns. PFF had graded Pollard at 89.5 and he was voted as the third-best running back in the league by the NFLPA. The Cowboys placed the franchise tag on Pollard, worth $10.9 million. Pollard, who suffered a broken fibula in the divisional round versus the 49ers, is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.

Another player that Dallas was able to retain, was Donovan Wilson. After day one of free agency, Wilson saw his market starting to heat up with many teams in play for the talented safety. The Cowboys agreed on a three-year deal that is worth up to $25 million. Wilson led the team in tackles (101) and had a PFF grade of 70.1. He also recorded 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 interception in 2022. The Cowboys got back a key piece to this defense on a bargain deal.

The Cowboys struggled to get a deal done with linebacker Leighton Vander Esch during the initial start of contract talks. Vander Esch, who was able to stay healthy for most of the season, saw improvements made to his game in 2022. Last off-season, Vander Esch signed a “prove it all” veteran minimum contract, worth $2 million. After a better showing in 2022, the Cowboys were able to bring back Vander Esch on yet another deal that seems to be a bargain. The contract is a two-year deal worth $11 million. Vander Esch was second in tackles (90) and had an overall grade of 70.8 by PFF.

Cowboys departures

Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has been released after failing to agree on a restructured deal.

The Cowboys officially released long-time running back, Ezekiel Elliott, after failing to come to terms on a newly restructured deal. The deal would have required Elliott to take a “massive” pay cut. Elliott and his party believe that he is still a starting running back in the NFL, which resulted in Elliott testing the free agent market.

Additionally, other departures include:

Connor McGovern (OL): Buffalo Bills

Noah Brown (WR): Houston Texans

Luke Gifford (LB): Tennessee Titans

Altogether, the Dallas Cowboys have had one of the better offseasons they have had in a long time. This comes after retaining key players and making bargaining trades for two veterans who will make immediate impacts in Dallas. Jerry Jones has already done more this offseason than he did last year. Dallas is filling in holes of need.

Keith Inglis
Hey, I'm Keith and I am a huge sports fan. I am currently a senior at Humphreys High School in South Korea with aspirations of becoming a sports journalist in the future. I am also the owner of @thecowboysdaily_ on Instagram where I post daily Dallas Cowboys news and content.

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