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2021 Offseason Guide to Fix the Dallas Cowboys

Fixing the Dallas Cowboys over the 2021 offseason.

The Dallas Cowboys may be coming off one of their most disappointing and embarrassing seasons in the Jerry Jones era, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still have a bright future ahead of themselves. The core of the roster is still really strong and with just a few good additions in the offseason they could be a team to be reckoned with in 2021.

Today I decided to put on my General Managers hat and share with you my 2021 offseason guide to fixing the Dallas Cowboys. Below I’ve identified the players I think the Cowboys should retain, free agents I think they should sign, players they should acquire via trade, and who I’d like to see them draft based on these offseason moves.

Let’s get started…


3 Contracts to Renew, 1 to let go

Dak Prescott, Quarterback

Whether it’s on a long-term extension or franchise tag, Dak Prescott won’t be playing for anyone else but the Dallas Cowboys in 2021. It’s fun to speculate otherwise, but it’s in Dallas’ best interest to retain his services to have any chance of any kind of postseason success in the near future.

Joe Looney, Center

Tyler Biadasz should be the Cowboys starting center in 2021, but depth behind him is a concern. Bringing back Joe Looney would no doubt ease those concerns if he doesn’t receive a better offer elsewhere.

Aldon Smith, Defensive End

Unless Aldon Smith signs a big money contract with another team, Dallas is going to do everything within their power to retain his services. With him, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Randy Gregory the Cowboys would have some really good pass rushers in 2021.

One to let go: Chris Jones, Punter

The Dallas Cowboys found their new punter last season. Hunter Niswander’s play in 2020 makes Chris Jones expendable and by making him a pre-June 1 cut the Cowboys can save $2 million in salary cap space.


Free Agent Moves to Make

Marcus Williams, S, New Orleans Saints

It’s way past time the Dallas Cowboys invest in the safety position. Marcus Williams, 25, is exactly the kind of free safety Dan Quinn needs in his heavy Cover 1-3 scheme. Williams isn’t going to be cheap to sign considering his youth and playmaking ability, however, the expenses justifiable considering he immediately upgrades and solidifies the backend of the defense for the foreseeable future.

Richard Sherman, CB, San Francisco 49ers

At 33, Richard Sherman may not be the playmaker he once was but he could be exactly what the Cowboys are looking for for the short term. They need a bridge player in the secondary while they rebuild the CB position and Sherman could provide just that. Considering his age and the fact he only played in five games last season, he shouldn’t be too expensive to bring aboard.

Gerald McCoy, DT, Free Agent

Age (turns 33 February 25) and recent injury history could make Gerald McCoy a cost-effective free agent signing for the Cowboys this offseason. Much like Richard Sherman, McCoy could help Dallas’ young DTs develop further while also providing much-needed depth at the position. If he can return completely healthy from his season-ending quad injury he’s a pretty big upgrade as well.


2 Players to Acquire via Trade

Foyesade Oluokun, LB, Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta is currently a little over $23 million over the salary cap, meaning they are going to have to make some tough decisions to rectify that this offseason. One such decision will be letting go of players they would probably like to retain. Foyesade Oluokun is one such player. He is coming off a breakout 2020 season and is entering a contract year in 2021. With a lot of money already tied up in Deion Jones and another promising, young LB in Mykal Walker, Oluokun is likely the odd man out. With questions about how well Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch will fit in Dan Quinn’s system, trading for a player who knows and fits said system already could be a win-win for all parties concerned.

Malcolm Brown, DT, New Orleans Saints

Like the Falcons, the New Orleans Saints are in terrible shape salary-cap wise, currently over $94 million in the hole. Teams like the Dallas Cowboys are going to try to take advantage of that by poaching players who will likely become salary-cap casualties. That’s where Malcolm Brown comes in. He signed a three-year, $15 million contract in 2019 with the Saints so he will be entering a contract year in 2021. Because of that he will likely become expendable and the Cowboys should pounce on acquiring him via trade. He would be in immediate upgrade over Antwaun Woods in the middle of the Cowboys defensive line and instantaneously help improve what was the worst run defense in the league last season.


2021 Mock Draft After Offseason Moves

Round 1, Pick 10 – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

The offseason moves I have the Dallas Cowboys making free them up to take the best player available with the 10th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. I initially was hesitant about adding a player like Kyle Pitts because I believed he was a luxury, but I’m now coming around to the idea. With Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, and Dalton Schultz all entering contract years, Pitts provides much-needed depth to both positions for 2021 and beyond.

Round 2, Pick 42 – Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse

At 6’2″, 212 pounds Ifeatu Melifonwu is exactly the kind of tall, lengthy CB Dan Quinn prefers in his outside corners. With Richard Sherman’s addition in free agency the Cowboys can rely on his veteran presence and leadership to help their young, talented CBs transition more smoothly into the NFL. Melifonwu and others can learn firsthand from someone who’s excelled in the past in Quinn’s system.

Round 3, Pick 74 – Jabril Cox, LB, LSU

After trading for Foyesade Oluokun the Cowboys have a capable starter if Jaylon Smith or Leighton Vander Esch struggle again in 2021, but it doesn’t eliminate the need for more LB depth. Jabril Cox would be a great fit as a WILL LB in Dan Quinn’s system. He is exactly the kind of LB who excels in space and coverage they are currently missing.

Round 3, Pick 100 – Talanoa Hufanga, S, USC

Donovan Wilson’s play last season gives him a shot at the starting strong safety job in 2021, but with a new defensive coordinator that’s not a guarantee. Drafting Talanoa Hufanga could change that as well. He would play that Kam Chancellor role as an enforcer in and around the line of scrimmage in Dan Quinn system. A role that fits him better than I think it does Wilson.

Round 4, Pick 115 – James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati

James Hudson is a project pick with the future in mind and that’s okay if everything goes as planned and both Tyron Smith and La’el Collins return healthy for the 2021 season. Hudson needs a little more time to develop to fine-tune his skills, but he should be Smith’s eventual replacement at LT in the not so distant future. In the meantime he can serve as the swing tackle.

Round 4, Pick 140 – Keith Taylor Jr., CB, Washington

My Dallas Cowboys CB makeover continues with the selection of Keith Taylor Jr., despite already adding Richard Sherman via free agency and Ifeatu Melifonwu through the draft earlier. Taylor is another tall, lengthy CB prospect who has experience playing both inside and out. With him, Trevon Diggs, and Ifeatu Melifonwu Dallas’ CB position has a promising future.

Round 5, Pick 178 – Foyesade Oluokun, LB, Atlanta Falcons (Trade)

Considering Avery Williamson was traded for a fifth-round pick it’s conceivable that’s what it would take for the Cowboys to acquire Foyesade Oluokun, especially considering he’s entering a contract year. He’s an excellent special teams player and someone who can challenge, if not win, a starting job. After the season Dallas can let him walk and hopefully receive a compensatory pick in return or try to lock him up long-term depending on how his season goes.

Round 6, Pick 189 – Malcolm Brown, DT, New Orleans Saints (Trade)

Malcolm Brown is also entering a contract year in 2021 and will carry a price tag of a little over $6.4 million. I think with some finagling the Cowboys can absorb that cap hit or they could choose to try to extend him a couple years and spread it out. Like Oluokun, this could be a one-year tryout to see if Brown is worth extending long-term and at worse a player that could net them an additional 2022 compensatory pick.

Round 6, Pick 224 – JaCoby Stevens, S, LSU

JaCoby Stevens played a variety of roles during his time at LSU and could do the same with the Cowboys. I think he’s kind of a hybrid S/LB defender and as such a player Dan Quinn could get creative with. He would not only add much-needed depth at both positions, but also be a core special teams player as well.

Round 7, Pick 236 – Lorenzo Neal, DT, Purdue

At this point in the draft I’m looking for traits to develop and Lorenzo Neal definitely has some intriguing intangibles. He’s a natural athlete with good short area quickness and lateral agility. He needs to play with better leverage and pad level, but with better NFL coaching he could clean up those areas of his game quickly and become a good rotational piece to the Cowboys DL as a rookie.

What do you think?

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Written by Brian Martin

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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  1. Aldon Smith is not the type of player you want on the edge. He is much to slow and inflexible. The Tampa Bay Defensive Ends showed just what type of player you need at that position. Very flexible, fast, and strong. Gregory and Lawrence are adequate, but need strong interior linemen to free them up to do their job. If the opposing offensive line has no trouble blocking the DTs with one on one blocks, then Gregory and Lawrence will be at a disadvantage. I don’t think a 33 year old defensive tackle, coming off a year of IR is a good answer. Youth, speed, and strong technique is what is needed. You only find these players in the first 2 rounds of the draft. Dallas needs to invest heavily in the draft and rebuild their team. Forget about the Super Bowl, you are not going to get there with bandaids. As far as the players they have now, they should use some of them as trade value. I would try to gain some high draft picks for them. Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Gallup, and a few others could be traded without a drop in production. All they need to do is pick up a 3rd or 4th round running back in the draft. They are a commodity! The secondary needs a complete overhaul. It may take a couple of years to do that, but so what. Rebuild for the long haul.

  2. All in agreement except the pick you suggest with the first round. Not an offensive weapon please. In needs to be DEFENSE, DEFENSE, and more DEFENSE. Surtain or Farley with the first pick and forget about Sherman as well. Dont give these ideas to Mr Jones.

    • I wasn’t on board with the idea of Kyle Pitts with the 10th overall pick for the Cowboys at first either, but the more I think about it the more I like it. He will arguably be the BPA on the board and can be either a Mike Evans type of WR or a Darren Walker type of TE.

      As far as Richard Sherman is concerned he should be a relatively inexpensive veteran who can help the Cowboys young CBs transition into Dan Quinn’s scheme. He’s insurance until one of the young guns are ready to start.

  3. Until Jerry starts doing owner things and puts good people in place to do football things and hold the players responsible WITHOUT INTERFERENCE from ownership NOTHING ELSE MATTERS

  4. This guy has the cowboys taking a TE with the 10th overall pick? Lol that would be the dumbest move the cowboys could possibly do. First of all, they clearly don’t need a TE, based on how the TE’s played this past season, and with Blake jarwin coming back. Good thing this guy isn’t a GM. awful mock draft.

    • Kyle Pitts isn’t just a TE. I think he compares more favorably to WR Mike Evans (Buccaneers) and someone who provides much-needed depth at both the WR and TE position for the future. Like I mentioned in the article Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, and Dalton Schultz are all entering contract years and Pitts is capable of replacing any one of them.

  5. Why pick a TE when you have so many holes to fix and TE is not one of them. You also have Ifeaty Melinfonsu way to high. If the Joneses and McClay where paying attention last night the defense won the game. Brady just managed the game, like he always does. The Cowboys are not winning the Super Bowl next year, they need to draft good defensive players and one or two offensive tackles and slide Brandon Night inside. I agree with some people saying that they should trade some players but looking at the Cowboys history that won’t happen.
    1)Caleb Farley or Patrick Surtain, Cb’s. 2) Jay Tufele, DT. 3) Richie Gant, S. 4) Carlos Basham, DE. 5) Samuel Cosmi, OT 6) Walker Little, OT. 7) Ifeatu Melinfonsu, CB. 8) Baron Browning, Lb. 9) Patrick Johnson, Edge. 10) Khyris Tonga, DT.

    • I understand why you wouldn’t like the Kyle Pitts pick, but he does provide much-needed depth at both WR and TE and that will be needed with Gallup, Wilson, and Shultz all entering contract years. Melifonwu in the second for the Cowboys isn’t a reach IMO. Many draft analysts are giving him a second-round grade.

  6. Brian, agree with a lot of your article except for the TE (big surprise) in the first round. Not that he isn’t a very promising player, but because it is not a glaring need. Our TEs now are good enough, especially when you add in our 3 front line WRs, that are very good. IMO, first rounder should be on the defensive side.

    • That’s been my way of thinking as well, but I’m really starting to come around to the idea of Kyle Pitts at 10. He’s just such a unique and versatile weapon it be hard for me to pass up. Plus it makes sense considering Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, and Dalton Schultz are all entering contract years and Pitts adds much-needed depth to both positions.

  7. Were our defense not so atrocious, I would be more open to drafting a Pitts type talent. He looks like a guy that could blow up in the NFL and be dominant.

    My concern is we reach for a lesser talented player at a perceived position of need, and pass on a superior talent. The cowboys need players that can be game changers. Who do we have that like that?

    I’m also concerned as to whether our top targeted CBs Surtain and Farley are that good or are they just the best the draft has to offer? That said it would be a shock to me if we take an offensive player unless SEWELL falls to us.

    • I kind of feel the same as you do about Caleb Farley and Patrick Surtain II. Would they be the best CBs in just about any other draft class or just the best this year? Farley really just has one year experience and some injury history concern and there are questions about Surtain’s speed, which could be a problem considering a lot of teams are going to speedy/shifty WRs. I honestly don’t view Ifeatu Melifonwu much differently than either of those two and I believe he has just as much upside. With that in mind, Kyle Pitts starts making much more sense IMO. I also really like Rashawn Slater there as well considering he can probably play any position on the OL at a high level.

  8. Pitts is beyond idiotic at ten
    Why? Why go wr again slice it any way you want that’s
    A wr
    Also Malcom brown and McCoy would be progress stoppers to gallimore and hill so why?
    Hufanga I get but not over Wilson when Wilson already showed he’s a very capable ss
    I don’t know
    How do you justify spending money on Sherman and old dudes when you have surtain on the board but you go pitts
    I hope you never become Gm of the Cowboys lol

    • I don’t think Pitts is idiotic at 10 it all. His versatility to play either WR or TE would definitely come into play next year when Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, and Dalton Shultz become free agents. Why not go ahead and address that need now if he’s the BPA available?

      I don’t believe Malcolm Brown or Gerald McCoy would be progress stoppers. Brown plays the 1-tech so that wouldn’t impact Gallimore or Hill’s progress. McCoy adds much-needed depth and someone who can help mentor Dallas’ young DTs. Plus, Hill will be coming off an injury.

      I like Donovan Wilson, but it wouldn’t stop me from drafting a player like Hufanga who I believe will be a much better player. Let them both compete to see who wins the starting job and the other provides much-needed depth, which is pretty much nonexistent.

      I wouldn’t spend a lot of money to sign Richard Sherman. I think due to his age and the fact he only played five games last season could make him a relatively cost-effective free agent signing. If he’s not I’d look elsewhere for veteran CB help.

    • Right now they do, but next season Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, and Dalton Schultz all become free agents. The selection of Pits was one with both the present and future in mind.

  9. No Brady didn’t just manage the game , he IMPLEMENTED his offense into this Bruce Arians offense , play action throws to RBs and TEs , runs with the RB , without Brady , the Bucs wouldn’t SNIFF a Super Bowl , i don’t care how good the Bucs team is , they ain’t winning without Brady cuz they’d still be doing what BA wants , which is AGGRESSIVE down field throws , no runs , and little to no emphasis on throwing to TEs/RBs which as we saw early on in the Bucs season , it wasn’t working , the offense changes and now they can’t be stopped.

    The D though by Tampa was UNBELIEVABLE , 9 points by KC ? This may have been Mahome’s WORST GAME in his career , though i do believe the lion share of the blame goes to Andy Reid for the lack of running the football vs. cover 2 , you got to run the football so that you make those safeties come up or make them go to 1 safety deep , slows down pass rush , and keeps Mahomes out of harm’s way , the lack of Tackles became a BLATANT problem early on with KC , Shaq Barrett and company were getting there almost INSTANTLY WITH JUST 4 RUSHING , if you able to get home with just 4 , able to play cover 2 deep , and have athletic LBs , you can beat the Chiefs cuz of the lack of a run game

    Either way at this point with Brady , i don’t think it’s a convo about whether he’s the GOAT in just Football , I think the convo now is he the GOAT in all of sports ? And i’d say yes , 7 Super Bowls which is more than any single team has gotten in the history of the NFL , the 2 closest are Pitt and NE with 6 which is where of course Brady won those 6 , he owns a bunch of Super Bowl records , he’s DEBUNKED the idea of him needing Belicheck to win Super Bowls , he’s the first QB to win a Super Bowl with a team in different conferences , he joins Peyton Manning in super bowl wins with 2 different teams , the list goes on and on , the only guy at this point who could possibly catch him is LeBron if he can continue as far as longevity , but even he has a ways to go with chips , and age wise , 42 to 36 respectively ,

    YOU CAN’T DISPUTE IT , IF YOU DO THEN YOU JUST LOOK LIKE A BIASED IDIOT TO EVERYONE ELSE

  10. I’m coming around to Kyle Pitts , bruh how many points do you’ll think we’ll score with Pitts and these 3 WRs and Dak ? The O would DEFINITELY BE ELECTRIC with him and Ceedee going forward

    • I was a firm NO! initially in regards to Kyle Pitts at 10 for the Cowboys, but the more I started thinking about it for both the present and future it started to make more and more sense. I don’t know if Dallas fills the same, but I can definitely get on board with the pick now. There offense would be ridiculously good for the next several seasons.

  11. A TE at #10? You’re joking right? With Jarwin and Schultz the position is set. There’s only one football and with 3 great WRs, Zeke, Pollard, TE is the LEAST necessary position on the entire team. Maybe they could find a K to draft #1
    Aside from that your analysis would be much more credible if you got specifics correct, like McCoy. His injury was a quad, not a hammy. Not picking? Maybe, but if you want to project yourself as some kind of expert, details matter.

  12. I was the same way Brian , ask John WIlliams and when he proposed this with his Kyle Pitts article XD XD XD

    I WAS ADAMANT but now I wouldn’t be mad at the pick , if the Bucs taught me anything it’s that you can’t have too many weapons , they had going into the season at TE Gronk , O.J. Howard , and Cam Brate , Howard goes out for season , and with them and 2 pro bowl WRs and oh BTW they added AB which everyone wasn’t sure about as they thought that would be too many mouths to feed , looks like it wasn’t they got 3 RBs in McCoy , Fournette and Jones , so yeah there’s never too many weapons ,

    at this point i think it makes more sense bringing in a sure thing like Pitts than it is to bring in someone we need and hope they turn out

  13. Dave’s at you don’t like smith. Say he is a fuck up all valid don’t say he is to slow coming off the edge. It either makes you look like you don’t know football or no nothing about him. He is far from slow around the edge. His 3 cone speed was in the top 90 percent and not for nothing but his first 3 years in the league, he had more sacks than anyone ever in the same amount of time . He isn’t huge. His first move or best is not a bull rush it is his first 3 steps getting by tackles around the edge. So he might be many things and for that you or a gm, coach might not like him but that is not anything anyone has ever questioned cause it’s not true.

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