Among the Cowboys' many free agents in 2022 are Defensive Tackles Brent Urban and Carlos Watkins. After playing on just one-year contracts last season, how likely is it that one or both of these veterans will return to Dallas on new deals?
With significant uncertainty at the DT position coming out of 2021 the Cowboys added Urban and Watkins on nearly identical contracts, each getting one year at $1.75 million total. The only difference was in the guaranteed money; Brent's was fully guaranteed while Carlos' only had $400k promised to him.
Much like their compensation, Urban and Watkins had fairly equal shares in playing time to start the year. In fact, Watkins was slightly higher with over 50% in some games while Urban averaged right around 43% from Weeks 1-5.
Unfortunately, Brent's season was cut short with a triceps injury in October. He hit injured reserve following Week 6 and never returned. And while Carlos did play most of the year, his snaps went down once Neville Gallimore and Trysten Hill found their ways back into the lineup from PUP and IR to start the season.
Indeed, Gallimore and Hill are just half of the young stable of DT talent that the Cowboys have going into next year. Osa Odighizuwa and Quinton Bohanna are exciting prospects from the 2021 Draft and give Dallas more established in-house options for the position than they had last year.
With this new landscape going into the offseason, does that leave much room for Brent Urban and Carlos Watkins to return?
While he didn't get to contribute much as Watkins last year, Urban may have a leg up thanks to his specific strength and skill set as a run blocker. While everything about Dallas' defense improved last year under Dan Quinn, run stoppage was still a problem at times and got worse once Brent left the rotation with his injury.
Gallimore, Hill, and Odighizuwa give the Cowboys a nice competition for one spot on the line. But for that pure run stopper to play next to then, re-signing Urban to compete with Bohanna or some other incoming talent this offseason could be a smart move.
As with all things for Dallas right now, money will be a key issue. With multiple positions potentially getting rocked by free agency, plus the need to upgrade the offensive line, the Cowboys may not have much left to use at defensive tackle.
Unless Urban or Watkins are willing to come back for similar low-end deals as they had in 2021, Dallas may lean on its youth and hope for talent development to solve the problem.
With free agency starting in just a little over a month the Cowboys will likely start making internal roster moves very soon. Will Brent Urban or Carlos Watkins be among them? Both players' futures in Dallas are definitely up in the air as we look at it today.