The Dallas Cowboys aren't lacking for options at cornerback in 2022. Between recent draft picks and returning veterans it's a large group that could lead to a tough cut before the regular season. Could that potentially mean veterans Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis are fighting for the same roster spot?
Trevon Diggs has two years left on his rookie deal while Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright each have three. Unless Joseph's legal issues take an unexpected turn or cause him to run afoul of Roger Goodell, these three young corners should all be on the roster.
One spot at CB is generally reserved for C.J. Goodwin, though he's really on the team as our special teams ace. Still, if push comes to shove with the math at other positions, the Cowboys have given Goodwin limited reps at corner at times.
Last year all of these players were on the 53-man roster but with a few caveats to consider. Joseph didn't actually play until Week 8, spending the first part of the year on injured reserve. Wright, while a 3rd-round pick, was used sparingly as a raw talent who needed more development time.
Things things may be different going into next season. Joseph and Wright will both have more experience and development. And now in later years of their contracts, Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis will offer the Cowboys more financial incentive to release them.
Brown is entering the final year of his deal and offers $5 million in cap relief if released or traded. Lewis has two more years on his but would still give the Cowboys $3.47 million if cut after June 1st, pushing $1.17 million in dead money to the 2023 cap.
Cap space may not seem like a big deal in early September but it could potentially be rolled over to the following offseason. And with the likelihood that a fifth cornerback may not even be active for a lot of games could that additional spending power for the new free agent market ultimately be more valuable?
Dallas needed greatly Brown and Lewis' experience last year when Trevon Diggs was the only other corner they could trust. But depending on where Joseph and Wright are in their progress in 2022, could the Cowboys now feel freer to parts ways with one of their veterans?
While 6th-round picks are hardly roster locker, Dallas did acquire DaRon Bland from Fresno State in last week's draft. He'd make a lot more sense for a spot on the bottom of the roster, not expected to dress every week, than an expensive veteran or a prospect who needs playing time like Nahshon Wright.
Lewis definitely feels like the guy who should be looking over his shoulder the most. After all, Brown was a full-time starter last year and proved a worthy wingman to Diggs.
But even if he starts getting edged out at cornerback, perhaps Jourdan would find another route to the roster as a backup safety. Lewis has been considered for this role before and there's a lack of depth there right now that could present him with an opportunity.
It's entirely possible that Dallas will go log at cornerback to keep all of these players together, especially with Anthony Brown becoming a free agent in 2023. But if the young guys have improved and the Cowboys don't want to stunt their further growth, parting with Brown or Jourdan Lewis at final cuts is not outside the realm of possibility.