The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Divisional Round. Naturally, that put an end to the Cowboys’ 2022–23 campaign. Even though free agency is still a few weeks away, it is likely that they have already started to put together their list of prospective targets. Simply said, this club requires a ton of depth and extra help on both sides of the ball. Here we’ll look at five sneaky good NFL free agents whom the Cowboys must consider signing in the 2023 offseason.

Keep in mind that the Cowboys have been a consistent playoff contender, but have failed to make a deep run in recent seasons. Despite having just one losing season in the last seven years, the team has only managed one playoff victory. That was an unimpressive 24-22 win over the Seattle Seahawks. However, this season’s Cowboys team, led by Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, Micah Parsons, and coach Mike McCarthy, was a more formidable group. They demonstrated their strength with an impressive 31-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card Round. Unfortunately, their playoff journey ended early with a 19-12 loss to the Niners in the next round. Although the team appears to have the necessary components for a Super Bowl run, they must regroup and focus on building a better squad for the upcoming 2023 campaign.

Let’s look at five sneaky good free agents whom the Cowboys must sign in the offseason. We have a couple of re-signees and a few others from other teams.

5. RB Tony Pollard

Let’s begin with arguably the most important free agent on the Cowboys’ list. They face a dilemma regarding the future of their top running backs. Tony Pollard, the team’s offensive MVP in 2022, is set to become a free agent and is likely to command a high salary. Meanwhile, Ezekiel Elliott’s future with the team is uncertain. His production may no longer justify his compensation. The Cowboys must decide whether they can afford to keep Pollard and avoid using the franchise tag, which would come with a one-year, $10 million guaranteed salary.

Although Pollard is rehabbing from a fractured fibula and high ankle sprain, the Cowboys have expressed their desire to keep him. Moving ahead, expensive as it may look, Dallas does not need to part ways with Elliott to sign Pollard. As such, they can pass the baton to the younger running back as the primary starter. While a long-term deal with Pollard would be desirable, it may be difficult to pull off given his potential market value.

Dallas might see their top ground weapon be priced way out of their pockets.

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4. RT Terence Steele

The Cowboys see Terence Steele as a player who could be a long-term fixture at right tackle, and the team is enamored with everything about him. Fortunately, he is a restricted free agent, making it easier for the Cowboys to retain him. However, like Pollard, this player is also dealing with an injury concern. He is currently rehabbing from a torn ACL. That means that there is some uncertainty about whether he will be ready to play by the start of the regular season. Still, the Cowboys would be better off signing him than losing him.

3. DT Daron Payne

Star defensive player Micah Parsons has voiced his desire for the Cowboys to acquire Daron Payne in the upcoming free agency period. Payne, a first-round talent and former 13th overall pick, led his team with 11.5 sacks in 2022. He then earned his first Pro Bowl selection. Despite only posting 14.5 sacks in his first four seasons, Payne’s remarkable performance in 2022 has put him in a prime position to secure a lucrative deal. Parsons is eager to have him on the team. He believes Payne’s presence in the middle of the Cowboys’ defensive line would greatly enhance his own productivity.

2. WR Marvin Jones Jr.

After moving Amari Cooper, the Cowboys were left without a reliable No. 2 receiver to complement CeeDee Lamb. Despite not having the most memorable name, Marvin Jones is quite a great NFL receiver. In playing for three different clubs, he has had over 45 catches in seven of the previous eight seasons. Jones would be an interesting target for Dak Prescott in the 2023 campaign.

1. LB Germaine Pratt

Dallas has the option of bringing LB Vander Esch back for another year in 2023, given that he performed well on a one-year contract. However, they might also consider signing another linebacker, Germaine Pratt of the Cincinnati Bengals. Pratt had a career year and could represent an upgrade at the position. His skills as an early-down tackler have been complemented by steady improvement in his coverage ability. Take note that he missed only 5.5 percent of tackle opportunities in 2022. That’s a better record than all but four linebackers with comparable tackle numbers. Although Pratt’s impressive coverage grade of 90.1 cannot be ignored, it should be noted that the Bengals often substituted him with Logan Wilson on third downs due to his less favorable coverage abilities. As a result, it is likely that Pratt will walk and continue to develop his skills with another team going forward.