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Post-draft veteran free agents: Who makes sense for the Dallas Cowboys?

Contrary to popular belief, the is not the final stage in the player acquisition phase of the .

Now that the draft has come and gone, teams know what roster holes remain after the draft.

At the same time, available veteran free agents often wait until after the draft to have a more clear understanding of what team(s) best presents an opportunity for significant snaps or simply to make the final .

The Dallas Cowboys entered the draft with few true holes. One perceived hole was a starting left guard. Many fans were shocked — specifically left guard — was not addressed until day three of the draft.

There are a few starter-caliber guards still available in , but I think they may let left guard play out in training camp with who is already on the roster.

They have several recent draft picks and signed in March after trying to for him at the .

The team also did a lot of work on the draft class but did not draft one. Even so, looking at the and the available free agents, it's hard to see the benefit of bringing one in barring an injury.

On that note, I know the rookie season for WR was disappointing, but the fact Dallas didn't address the position is a vote of confidence in him.

He didn't start playing football until his junior year of high school and the Cowboys admitted they threw too much at him as a rookie. Last year was a redshirt season and he will be much better in 2023.

With all that being said, the three positions I believe the Cowboys can/should address with a veteran free agent are: running back, , and kicker.

Running Back

The choice to bypass running back until round six was a major surprise. Even with the selection of RB — who I love — at 5'5″ and 179, he's much more of a change-of-pace scatback than a true RB2.

Maybe the team feels the addition of in free agency and the projected development of former undrafted free agents and will suffice.

Competition for RB2 should be added. Especially a bigger back to do the dirty work so that Tony Pollard can stay fresh in-game and throughout the season.

Here are three potential options.

Post-draft veteran free agents -- Who makes sense for the Dallas Cowboys 1

Leonard Fournette

After 1,266 total yards (rushing and receiving combined) and averaging 4.5 yards per carry (YPC) in 2021, received a three-year $21-million .

In 2022, he saw his YPC drop to 3.5 and lost his starting job which ultimately led to his release in March.

Fournette has had a very up-and-down career to this point but has the size (over 220 pounds) to be a short-yardage back.

Kareem Hunt

is a six-year veteran and only 27 years old.

He missed nine games in 2021 with calf and ankle injuries but averaged nearly 70 total yards per game and 4.9 YPC as a backup that year.

He was supposed to be 100% in 2022 but was far less productive averaging under 40 total yards per game and only 3.8 YPC.

Prior to the injury-filled 2021 and poor 2022, many thought he would receive a large payday in free agency this year.

For three years prior to 2021, he was one of the best RB2s in the entire NFL. Did he truly lose a step or could he be in line for a bounce-back season in 2023?

Ezekiel Elliott

Ok, I buried the lead a little on this one. I'm not saying this will happen and who knows, maybe the bridge in 's mind is burned.

Before getting hurt last year, Zeke did look to have some juice left and was able to grind out those tough yards.

I am one of the who has said for a few years that Zeke's best years were behind him and I was all for his release given his salary cap numbers.

Despite fitting the short-yardage, junkyard dog role I feel is needed to pair with Pollard, I still would not be on board with re-signing him.

My concern is if the team can be disciplined to truly reduce him to a short-yardage role while fully turning the backfield over to Pollard.

The Cowboys have left the door open to bring him back and after their lack of investment in the position early in the draft, it seems more plausible now than it did when he was initially released.


This one might be a little more surprising given the selection of DeMarvion Overshown in round three.

Behind projected starters and , the Cowboys have Jabril Cox, Devin Harper, and Overshown.

Cox played 37 defensive snaps last year while Harper played zero.

Despite being labeled as a linebacker, Overshown is only 229 pounds and has only played the position for a few years. He's likely going to need time to develop both physically and mentally as a linebacker.

I do not have faith that the trio of Cox/Harper/Overshown can be enough to replace an injury to LVE/Clark.

The flexibility of Micah Parsons, , and Donovan Wilson helps, but if Vander Esch or Clark were to miss time, a true linebacker would be needed.

We'll discuss three options but there's a lot of veteran linebackers available that would make sense.

Post-draft veteran free agents -- Who makes sense for the Dallas Cowboys 2

Anthony Barr

Anthony Barr was part of the team in 2022 and remains unsigned. Even though PFF grades have their flaws, he graded out as the #49 overall linebacker last season.

It wasn't necessarily a great season, but the familiarity with the system would not only help him hit the ground running but also help the young players get acclimated.

The biggest question is whether Barr would be willing to accept a backup role and the salary that accompanies it.

Deion Jones

is a former second-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons during the time that current Dan Quinn was the Falcons' .

For the first five years of Jones's career, Quinn was his coach.

During those five seasons, here is where Jones ranked for linebackers by season according to PFF: 26th, 4th, 17th, 10th, and 12th. In the two years not under Quinn? 80th and 71st.

After earning a massive deal prior to his fourth season, he is no longer viewed as a top player at the position.

Reuniting with Quinn could help provide much-needed veteran depth for the Cowboys, but also help unlock the best version of Jones.

Rashaan Evans

Rashaan Evans does not have any ties to the Cowboys nor anyone on the staff that I know of but fits the experience requirements they should be looking for.

The former first-round pick has never lived up to his draft status and is coming off a season where he played on a one-year $1,750,000 deal. A similar one-year deal in Dallas would make sense for both parties.

For Evans, there is a path to significant snaps given the injury history of Vander Esch and Clark and the uncertainty behind them.

For the Cowboys, it's a deal they can easily get out of with little cap impact if the combination of Cox/Harper/Overshown shows enough to make Evans expendable.


The Cowboys currently have one kicker on the roster, Tristan Vizcaino.

He's been on four teams in three years and has attempted 12 field goals in that time. Oh, and he's 15-20 on extra points in his NFL career.

The Cowboys mentioned they would be looking at a veteran kicker in their post-draft press conference after missing out on one in the draft.

We'll keep this list to just two names.

Post-draft veteran free agents -- Who makes sense for the Dallas Cowboys 3

Robbie Gould

Robbie Gould is an 11-year NFL veteran who has not missed a single kick in 68 attempts in the . That's right, he is 29-29 on field goals and 39-39 on extra points.

After the fiasco during last year's playoffs, a steady presence would be welcomed especially in those pressure-filled moments.

I'm not sure about his asking price, but I don't really care. Shoring up the kicking game would likely be the most significant move they can make at this point in the off-season.

Mason Crosby

Mason Crosby was Head Coach Mike McCarthy's kicker for the Green Bay Packers in 12 of the 13 seasons McCarthy coached in GB.

After the Packers selected a kicker in the sixth round of the draft, Crosby's return to Green Bay seems even more unlikely.

Crosby has played 16 seasons and has a career percentage of 81.4% on field goals and 97.3% on extra points.

He made 25 of 29 field goal tries last year while converting 95.9% of his extra points.

Damon Smith
Damon Smith
Lifelong Cowboys fan from the Gulf Coast. Love talking football and sharing my opinion especially when it comes to team building. Follow me on Twitter @DBailey22

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