Anthony Brown just had his best season ever in the NFL but it could very well be his last one with the Cowboys. Between potential cap relief for Dallas and some younger players behind him, the seventh-year cornerback may be looking for a new team in 2022.
Brown beat out Jourdan Lewis, Maurice Canady, and others last year to be a starting CB opposite Trevon Diggs. He started every game until the Week 18 finale and posted a career-high three interception. He also added 17 pass deflections and a forced fumble, generally making a positive impact on the vastly improved Cowboys defense.
Like most corners, Anthony was on the wrong end of some plays as well. His four penalties in the Thanksgiving loss to the Raiders drew the wrong kind of notoriety, and he struggled at times against some of the top receivers in the NFL.
Still, Brown is a great late-pick success story. The former 6th-Round selection in 2016 has defied expectations to be a serviceable corner. But circumstances in 2022 may still force him off Dallas' roster.
Brown has one year left on his contract and a $6.5 million cap hit in 2022. With only $1.5 million in dead money, Dallas would create a nice chunk of $5 million in cap space by releasing Anthony in the coming weeks.
Cornerbacks are valuable, even the semi-average ones, and losing a player of Brown's caliber is less than ideal. But the blow is softened by having last year's 2nd and 3rd-round picks, Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright, to go along with Diggs and Lewis as a core CB group.
Joseph suffered a groin injury in the preseason finale that limited him for most of the year. But the rookie got extensive work late in the year, even starting two games, and showed plenty to make Dallas optimistic about his potential with a larger role next season.
Wright was mostly used on special teams last year but had been a standout during last year's training camp. Always seen as a raw talent since the 2021 Draft, Nahshon can hopefully add more technique to his game and be a contributor next year.
Throw in the mysterious Reggie Robinson, a 4th-Rounder from 2020, and there's an intriguing stable of young CB prospects for Dallas to work with. There's always a fresh draft class in 2022 for the Cowboys to add some additional talent as well.
This puts Anthony in a tough spot. He's a solid player but that $5 million may ultimately be more attractive given Dallas' other issues. And with so many younger prospects to work with, Brown could be seen as a progress stopper for Kelvin Joseph and others with perhaps greater upside.
Unfortunately, this points to Anthony Brown's six-year run with the Cowboys likely coming to an end this offseason.