With the completion of Week 5 of the 2017 NFL season, the Dallas Cowboys have now officially started their bye week. This is the time where teams around the NFL use to get healthy and examine what is working and what is not. The Cowboys coaching staff would be wise to use this time to their advantage and soak up as much information as possible.
Since news will be pretty slow regarding the Dallas Cowboys for a while, I thought it would be a good time to examine who will become a free agent at the end of the season and which players the Cowboys might like to retain. Below is a list of those 2018 free agents.
Byron Bell, T
Bene Benwikere, CB
Brice Butler, WR
Jonathan Cooper, G
Justin Durant, LB
Rico Gathers, TE (ERFA)
Anthony Hitchens, LB
David Irving, DT (RFA)
L.P. Ladouceur, LS
DeMarcus Lawrence, DE
Joe Looney, G/C
Darren McFadden, RB
Kellen Moore, QB
Alfred Morris, RB
Stephen Paea, DT
Brian Price, DT (ERFA)
Keith Smith, LB (RFA)
Kyle Wilber, LB
*Restricted Free Agent (RFA)
*Exclusive Rights Free Agent (ERFA)
After looking at the Dallas Cowboys players who will become free agents in 2018, there's not really anybody that stands out with the exception of maybe DeMarcus Lawrence. Lawrence is having a fantastic season so far, but he is likely playing himself out of the Cowboys price range.
I think it's unlikely the Cowboys re-sign Lawrence. I think there will be some team out there willing to pay more than the Cowboys are, plus there's always the concern his back injury flares up again. Of course, the franchise tag is always an option, but I don't think the Cowboys would go that route.
Defensive lineman David Irving is another player that stands out among the Dallas Cowboys 2018 free agents. But, there is no way he is going anywhere. The Cowboys could sign him to a contract extension after the season, but it's much more likely they place a first or second round tender on him securing his service for another year.
I would love for Anthony Hitchens to stick around, but I don't think the Dallas Cowboys can guarantee him a starting spot. Like Lawrence, I think another team will pay him more than the Cowboys and give him a better chance to start. But, Hitchens may prefer to stay in Dallas and be willing to take a hometown discount.
The Cowboys could try to bring back Jonathan Cooper or Joe Looney for depth purposes. Both can play guard or center, which is valuable on game days. But, I think the Cowboys will look to add depth through the draft.
I hate to say it, but it might be time for the Dallas Cowboys to find another long snapper. L.P. Ladouceur is no spring chicken and might be ready to hang up his cleats. I would love to have him back, but only at a reasonable price.
The only other player I think the Dallas Cowboys may consider bringing back is FB/LB Keith Smith. Smith likely won't break the bank and is a valuable member of the team. He is a core special-teams player, the starting fullback, and a reserve linebacker. I wouldn't be surprised if he is back with the Cowboys in 2018.