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Donovan Wilson may not be a priority free agent for the Cowboys

In his four seasons with the , has far exceeded expectations. The Cowboys selected Wilson in the of the 2019 draft. The assumption was for him to be a career-long backup and player.

However, in recent years he has emerged as one of the most important players on the Cowboys' .

When Wilson replaced in week four of the , he wasted no time in making his mark. He quickly made his name as a thumping, physical, downhill .

Despite missing games in 2021, Wilson became 's best-kept secret.

His ability to play down inside the box and deliver decapitating hits turned him into a key player on the defensive side of the ball.

He entered the in the final year of his rookie contract and had a career-best season while spearheading a three-headed monster in the Cowboys' with and .

Donovan Wilson may not be a priority free agent for the Cowboys

He led the Cowboys with 77 solo tackles and had a career-high five and will enter the as an unrestricted for the first time in his career.

But just how much higher should the Cowboys put Donovan Wilson on the list of priorities this season?

Dan Quinn will undoubtedly make a big push for Wilson to be part of his defense in 2023. After all, he turned down head jobs to stay in Dallas, which may have come with some conditions.

Donovan Wilson was an unsung hero for the 2022 defense

, , and draw most of the media attention while Wilson quietly makes play after play.

In an ideal world, the Cowboys would ink Wilson to a multi-year contract. And in turn, make a significant stride in solving their somewhat constant defensive secondary woes.

However, as things stand, the Cowboys are $7 million over the 2023 cap space.

Donovan Wilson may not be a priority free agent for the Cowboys 1

Even when they do make moves to get under the limit, they might not make enough space for Wilson to return.

Wilson could likely demand a $6 million-per-year contract in , and he's shown to be worth it.

For the past three seasons, Wilson has played an important role in the defense and last year was one of the best players in the unit. And he never earned over $1 million a year.

The Cowboys definitely got their money's worth.

So, it's unlikely the Cowboys would be able to convince Wilson to pass up on testing the market and getting a big payday in favor of taking a hometown discount.

With Malik Hooker and Jayron Kearse under contract through 2023, the Cowboys might think the position is in good hands even without Wilson.

Kearse and Hooker have been solid at safety since joining the team in 2021. If Wilson does walk away, the position would not be completely lost without him.

Donovan Wilson, Dalton Shultz, , and top the list of Cowboys this . On paper, it would be ideal to bring them all back for 2023 and beyond.

But and Trevon Diggs will be looking for big contracts this off-season too.

The Cowboys simply won't be able to keep up with the market value for Donovan Wilson. And with a worryingly long list of needs, the Cowboys probably shouldn't move mountains to keep on his helmet.

Ross Love
Ross Love
Cowboys fan and sports blogger from across the pond in Scotland. Tell me how wrong my opinions are on Twitter @rosslove22

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