The Dallas Cowboys' biggest priority in free agency was taken care of last week when they signed Dak Prescott to a four-year extension. Now, with the official start of the new league year beginning on Wednesday, the Cowboys are already securing some of their own free agents for the 2021 season.
The Cowboys brought back two wide receivers as Noah Brown agreed to a one-year deal and an original-round tender was placed on Cedrick Wilson. Also, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Cowboys are placing a right of first refusal RFA tender on Defensive Tackle Antwaun Woods for $2.133 million.
The #Cowboys used the right of first refusal RFA tender on DT Antwaun Woods, per source.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2021
Woods came into the offseason as a restricted free agent. What that means is that he can negotiate with any team. If he accepts an offer from them then the Cowboys will have “the right of first refusal” which is a five-day period in which they can match any offer or refuse to, in which they would receive draft pick compensation from Wood’s new team. However, with the Cowboys placing the right of first refusal tender on Woods it means that if they don't match an offer sheet from another team then there will be no draft pick compensation for him.
The former undrafted free agent has started 32 of the 39 games he's played in for the Cowboys since signing a two-year deal for $1.05 million in 2018. He's accumulated 80 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and two fumble recoveries over that span.
If Woods is retained it will give the Cowboys a solid rotation on the interior defensive line along with Neville Gallimore who showed great upside as a rookie in 2020, and Trysten Hill who was forming into a solid presence before tearing his ACL back in October. However, it won't stop the Cowboys from addressing the defensive tackle position in the NFL draft or free agency, which could mean a reunion with veteran Gerald McCoy who suffered a season-ending quadriceps last August.
It's uncertain if Woods is in the Cowboy's long-term plans like the two youngsters but you can't undervalue the importance of depth and experience.
The former USC Trojan recently tweeted about making less than his backups in each of his three seasons with the Cowboys. Now, he has an opportunity to earn his first lucrative payday before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2022.