There’s still time left before the season starts, but so far the Dallas Cowboys haven’t had the splashiest offseason. The Cowboys lost key pieces like Amari Cooper, Randy Gregory, and La’el Collins, and some of the big-name free agents that were previously rumored to be attached to Dallas ended up elsewhere. This might not be the offseason Jerry Jones and company pushed all the chips to the center of the table, but that doesn’t mean the front office has sat on their hands all summer.
Even after losing pro bowlers and other key contributors early on this offseason, the Cowboys still weren’t far off from contention. The bulk of the Cowboys’ core of talent remained in Dallas, and the front office made several offseason moves to shore up the roster and keep the team competitive in 2022-23.
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Cowboys’ Best Offseason Moves
Retaining coordinators Kellen Moore and Dan Quinn
Once the Cowboys’ season ended a few months ago there was plenty of chatter about Kellen Moore and Dan Quinn bolting for a head coaching gig. Both coordinators had interviews around the league, but ultimately decided to stick around for another year in Dallas.
Since Moore took over as offensive coordinator in 2019 the Cowboys have had the number one gaining offense in the league every year, and last season they led the league in scoring as well. There was a lot of speculation last season that some franchise in the league would make Moore their next offensive wunderkind head coach, but when the dust settled Moore was committed to another year in Dallas.
Moore was outdueled in last season’s NFC Wild Card game against the 49’ers by Kyle Shanahan and another offensive upstart, Mike McDaniel who went on to beat Moore out for the Dolphins’ vacant head coaching job. Now 0-1 in the playoffs during his career as an offensive coordinator, the loss raised some questions about whether Moore’s offensive mind is as good as they say or if the Cowboys have just run up the score in enough NFC East games to inflate their team offensive statistics.
The truth is that the Cowboys were good offensively against playoff teams last season. Dallas averaged 29.6 points per game against playoff teams in 2021. Moore is still one of the top offensive coordinators in the league. Bringing him back for another year was a win for the Cowboys this offseason.
Contrary to Moore, there was little debate about whether the Cowboys should bring back Dan Quinn as Dallas’ defensive coordinator. Granted, Quinn was aided by the arrival of Micah Parsons and a breakout year from Trevon Diggs and others in Dallas’ defense, but Quinn’s turnaround of such a dismal defense from the 2020 season into a serviceable one last year is a credit to his abilities.
The product Quinn helped put on the field speaks for itself, but Quinn’s impact in the locker room is one that shouldn’t be underestimated. Quinn is a defensive coach that has earned a lot of respect in the NFL since his days helming the Legion of Boom in Seattle. Having him in the clubhouse teaching the younger members of Dallas’ defense is valuable. Micah Parson’s reaction to hearing Quinn would return as Dallas’ defensive coordinator tells you all you need to know about how highly the players think of their defensive coordinator.
The Cowboys’ 2022 draft class
The Cowboys have been known not to pass on the best player available in the draft. It was that principle that landed them CeeDee Lamb in 2020, but this year’s draft class addressed a few more immediate needs for the Cowboys. First-round pick Tyler Smith shored up an inconsistent offensive line, Sam Williams added pass-rushing depth to the team in the wake of Randy Gregory’s departure, and Jalen Tolbert is expected to start at wide receiver in the early stages of next season while Michael Gallup recovers from surgery.
It’s hard to expect rookies to step in right away and replace the production of the players Dallas lost this offseason, or to fix things that were wrong with the team from a season ago. They are rookies, after all. But in an offseason that the Cowboys were not overly active in the free agent market, it’s clear that the front office felt they could plug some holes through the draft. Time will tell if the players they brought in are up to the task.
Re-signing Jayron Kearse and Malik Hooker
Maybe no bigger question mark on the Cowboys’ roster last season was at the safety position. Dallas bought low on a former first-round pick in Malik Hooker and placed a ton of trust in Jayron Kearse by thrusting him into an everyday role he had never played before in the NFL. The pair of gambles paid off nicely, and suddenly the Cowboys had to make a decision on whether to bring both Kearse and Hooker back in the same offseason.
The Cowboys pulled the trigger on both Kearse and Hooker, inking two-year deals for each of the veteran safeties. Bringing Kearse back keeps the Dallas secondary competitive against tight ends and bigger wide receivers, and Hooker’s versatility in limited snaps last season makes him an important piece for Dallas in terms of both running and passing defense.