* = 2019 full-time starter

Need #1: Quarterback

Notable Free Agents:

  • Dak Prescott* (coming off best his professional season in 2019, and from a statistical standpoint was one of the top quarterbacks in the league, but in actuality, was far more inconsistent than the numbers indicate, with Prescott often struggling against good teams and in crucial matchups, see Week 4 vs. Saints, Week 12 vs. Patriots, Week 13 vs. Bills, Week 16 vs. Eagles, while Prescott will likely be given a lucrative contract extension this offseason, the organization may at least consider alternative options, with Jason Garrett gone, the ire of the Cowboy fans will now be focused on Prescott if the team continues to disappoint)
  • Cooper Rush (the Cowboys can do better at backup QB)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Clayton Thorson (2019 5th round pick of the Eagles, spent the year on the practice squad and has some theoretical upside)

Need Level: Very High

Need to Address:

  • The Cowboys will need to either resign/franchise Prescott or find a different franchise QB. The backup spot will also need to be addressed.

Updates:

  • Franchise-tagged Dak Prescott
  • Resigned Cooper Rush
  • Round 7: Ben DiNucci (started at Pitt but finished college career at JMU, competitive and tough, has some nice developmental tools, will compete with backup group for a roster spot)
  • Signed Andy Dalton (excellent signing, the Cowboys backup situation goes from one of the worst to arguably the best)
  • Released Cooper Rush

Need #2: Defensive Tackle

Notable Free Agents:

  • Maliek Collins* (relatively underwhelming over 4 seasons with the team, still has some untapped upside, injuries have limited him)
  • Antwaun Woods* (ERFA, undersized nose tackle type, minimal statistical production, primary function is run defense, arrested in December, new coaching staff might choose to move on)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Trysten Hill (2019 2nd rounder, fans viewed selection as a reach and were proven right as rookie season was a total bust  - he barely played, number one advocate was Marinelli who is now with the Raiders, he's got talent, but is already on the hot seat)

Need Level: Very High

Need to Address:

  • The Cowboys need to add at least one but arguably two new starting DTs. They also need depth at the position.

Updates:

  • Signed Gerald McCoy (not quite the perennial Pro Bowler he once was, but was still a solid player for Panthers last year, he is an upgrade from what they've had in the past - especially from a pass rush perspective)
  • Signed Dontari Poe (similar to McCoy - Poe is not the dominant player he was a few years ago - but he is still an effective starter, the 346 pounder should provide a boost to the Cowboys run defense, injuries could be an issue)
  • Round 3: Neville Gallimore (productive career at OU, high-motor player, flashed disruptive skills on a consistent basis, needs refinement - but a great value in Round 3)
  • Resigned Antwaun Woods
  • Released Gerald McCoy (following season-ending injury, unfortunate for player and team - he appeared to be set up for a big season, Hill and Gallimore will have to step up to the occasion)

Need #3: Cornerback

Notable Free Agents:

  • Byron Jones* (superb player, has the size and elite athletic ability to matchup with anyone - including TEs, only mark against him is lack of INTs)
  • Anthony Brown (speedy CB who missed big portion of 2019 with injury, was solid in 2018, verdict still out on whether or not he is a starting caliber CB)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Chidobe Awuzie* (impressed in 2017 and 2018, so much so that some predicted a Pro Bowl berth in 2019 - but he ended up taking a step backwards and was even benched at one point, he needs a bounceback in 2020)
  • Jourdan Lewis (has played well whenever given the opportunity - which were hard to come by under former DB Coach Kris Richard's ridiculous: size > player mindset)

Need Level: Very High

Need to Address:

  • If Byron Jones leaves in free agency the Cowboys will need to add at least one but maybe two starting caliber CBs to the fold. Also note that both Awuzie and Lewis will be free agents in 2021.

Updates:

  • Resigned Anthony Brown
  • Signed Maurice Canady (good size, showed some promise after joining the Jets in the second half of the 2019 season, low-risk signing with some upside)
  • Round 2: Trevon Diggs (offers an impressive combination of size, athletic ability, and experience, is a former receiver with good ball skills, likely to play a substantial role as a rookie)
  • Round 4: Reggie Robinson II (lengthy CB with awesome testing numbers, had an impressive senior year, good special teams player, a high-ceiling developmental prospect)
  • Signed Darryl Worley (Cowboys are his 4th team since 2016, lots of starting experience, good length, quality of play to this point has been about average, buzz his signing signals a shift to safety for Awuzie)
  • COVID 19 Opt-out: Maurice Canady (was on roster bubble)

Need #4: Wide Receiver

Notable Free Agents:

  • Amari Cooper* (a very productive and talented receiver, though the organization may have some reservations about handing him a long-term contract - considering his inconsistent tendencies)
  • Randall Cobb* (was an effective slot man and developed a strong chemistry with Prescott as the year wore on, I assume the Cowboys will be interested in retaining him, though he may have the option of getting paid more elsewhere)
  • Tavon Austin (outside of a few splash plays here and there, the Tavon Austin experiment hasn't been very fruitful)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Michael Gallup* (took a big leap forward in year 2 and some now consider him to be a WR1 caliber player, he certainly looked like one at times in 2019)
  • JonVea Johnson (wowed in training camp but struggled with drops in the preseason, if he can correct the drop issue he should be able to make the team)

Need Level: Very High

Need to Address:

  • The Cowboys will need to address WR1 (either resign or replace Cooper) and WR3 (either resign or replace Cobb).

Updates:

  • Resigned Amari Cooper
  • Round 1: CeeDee Lamb (X-FACTOR, perhaps the steal of the 1st round, a dominant college player with natural-born playmaking ability, has elite upside, Cowboys WR group is probably the best in football right now, this selection gives the team flexibility when Gallup's contract is up after the 2021 season)

Need #5: Safety

Notable Free Agents:

  • Jeff Heath* (standout special teamer but not a starting caliber safety, Garrett's loyalty to him held the defense back over the years)
  • Darian Thompson (special teamer, struggled in 4 starts last year)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Xavier Woods* (established himself as key member of the defense after a solid 2019 season)
  • Donovan Wilson (2019 6th rounder, wowed in the preseason but barely played thereafter, has some upside)

Need Level: Very High

Need to Address:

  • The Cowboys need to add a starter opposite Woods. Depth must also be addressed.

Updates:

  • Signed Ha Ha Clinton Dix (very solid and durable player in prime of career, somewhat surprised he only got a one year deal, should be a big upgrade over Heath)
  • Resigned Darian Thompson
  • Released Ha Ha Clinton Dix (reportedly struggled in training camp, Thompson appears to be the favorite to start, but acquiring 'someone' new seems like a possibility)

Need #6: Tight End

Notable Free Agents:

  • Blake Jarwin (has the talent to put up big numbers if entrusted with the starting job)
  • Jason Witten* (a Cowboys legend, but last year did nothing more than impede the progress of the younger, more dynamic Jarwin)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Dalton Schultz (2018 4th rounder who has done next to nothing in 2 years with the team, perhaps the removal of Witten will open things up for him)

Need Level: Very High

Need to Address:

  • The Cowboys need to come up with a solution at starting tight end and increase backup competition.

Updates:

  • Resigned Blake Jarwin
  • Signed Blake Bell (2015 4th rounder, only 38 career catches but has the athletic profile to be more than just a blocking specialist)

Need #7: Special Teams

Notable Free Agents:

  • Kai Forbath (went 10 for 10 on FGs after joining team in December, but career has been defined by inconsistency)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Chris Jones* (coming off a down year, needs to earn starting job in training camp)

Need Level: High

Need to Address: The Cowboys needs to find a long term option at kicker, while Jones could use some competition at punter.

Updates:

  • Resigned Kai Forbath
  • Signed Greg Zuerlein (possess one of the strongest legs in football, injuries have been a nagging issue, only made 73% of FGs in 2019, but historically a very good kicker)
  • Released Kai Forbath (Zuerlein is now locked-in at kicker)

Need #8: Defensive End / Edge Rusher

Notable Free Agents:

  • Robert Quinn* (led team with 11.5 sacks last season, quickness off the edge was elite, but his success in 2019 will probably place him out of the Cowboys price range)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Demarcus Lawrence* (recorded 5.5 sacks and had a solid overall season, but underperformed relative to the massive contract extension he signed last offseason)
  • Dorance Armstrong (took a mini step forward last year with 2 sacks in limited snaps, has some upside)
  • Tyrone Crawford (seems like a dinosaur at this point, missed majority of 2019 season with injury, regarded as a positive locker room presence, tends to play at solid / unspectacular level when healthy)
  • Joe Jackson (2019 5th rounder, was a healthy scratch for most of the season, will have opportunity to earn a larger role this offseason)
  • Randy Gregory (has been suspended for the majority of his career, when on the field he posses elite speed/quickness of the edge)
  • Jalen Jelks (2019 7th rounder, placed on I.R. before the season began, should be in contention for a rotational pass rush role in 2020)

Need Level: High

Need to Address:

  • Quinn's starting DE spot will likely need to be filled, though there are a few intriguing internal options (including Gregory).

Updates:

  • Signed Aldon Smith (a special talent from 2011 to 2013, now 30 years old, he's been out of football since 2016 due to substance and legal issues, has history with Cowboys DL coach Tomsula, this is a low risk, shot in the dark... that could pay off)
  • Round 5: Bradlee Anae (ultra-productive edge rusher, lacks ideal length and athletic ability, but plays with great instincts and technique, was dominant at the Senior Bowl, may end up as a major steal)
  • Signed Everson Griffen (one of the more accomplished DEs in the league, 74.5 career sacks, recorded 8 sacks and 66 pressures in 2019, excellent training camp addition, the Cowboys pass rushing unit goes from a question mark to a strength)

Need #9: Offensive Tackle

Notable Free Agents:

  • Cameron Fleming (swing tackle, struggled in spot starts for Smith last season)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Tyron Smith* (continues to be one of the league's best left tackles, but he hasn't completed a full 16 game season since 2015 due to a variety of injuries, organization would be wise to begin the process of developing his eventual replacement)
  • La'el Collins* (established himself as one the league's better RTs in 2019)
  • Mitch Hyatt (2019 UDFA, spent most of season on practice squad, Cowboys reportedly believe he has a bright future)
  • Brandon Knight (2019 UDFA, made 1 start at RT as a rookie, could be in swing tackle conversation in 2020)

Need Level: Moderate

Need to Address:

  • Swing Tackle / Developmental Prospect

Updates:

  • Signed Cam Erving (42 career starts, has never lived up to 1st round billing - but offers needed depth, will compete for the swing tackle job, but also can play inside)

Need #10: Interior Offensive Line

Notable Free Agents:

  • Joe Looney (experienced and decent backup interior lineman)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Zack Martin* (one the league's best offensive lineman, but has missed time with a lingering back/neck issue that may never really go away)
  • Travis Frederick* (had a triumphant return from the medical scare that cost him his 2018 season, a rock solid force at center)
  • Connor Williams* (was about average in 2019 - which was an improvement from rookie year, but tore his ACL late in the season)
  • Connor McGovern (2019 3rd rounder who missed his entire rookie season with a hip injury, was a good college player)

Need Level: Moderate (updated after Frederick retirement)

Need to Address:

  • Competition at Starting Center
  • Depth

Updates:

  • Resigned Joe Looney
  • Travis Frederick Retired (Cowboys are in better shape than most think - McGovern has starting upside and Looney has starting experience)
  • Round 4: Tyler Biadasz (experienced center prospect, played a key role in clearing lanes for Badgers dominant running game, Wisconsin program is probably the best in the nation at producing NFL-caliber IOLs, better run blocker than pass blocker, will compete for the starting center job as a rookie)

Need #11: Linebacker

Notable Free Agents:

  • Sean Lee (proved serviceable in 2019 and is an excellent locker room guy, but his age and injury history are issues)
  • Joe Thomas (solid backup linebacker and special teamer)
  • Justin March (more of a special teams only guy)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Jaylon Smith* (exciting young LB, can do a bit of everything - pass rush, coverage - but run defense was spotty at times)
  • Leighton Vander Esch* (similar analysis to Smith, excellent young LB who at times struggles vs. the run, front office has to be concerned over his neck - it cost him 7 games in 2019 and some teams reportedly left him of their draft boards because of "neck issues")
  • Luke Gifford (2019 UDFA, made the team out of camp, saw some special teams action before an injury sent him to IR)

Need Level: Moderate

Need to Address:

  • The Cowboys need depth at LB, Smith and Vander Esch make up a thrilling young duo, but both have serious injury histories.

Updates:

  • Resigned Sean Lee
  • Resigned Joe Thomas
  • Resigned Justin March

Need #12: Running Back

Notable Free Agents:

  • None

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Ezekiel Elliott* (don't quite understand the "down" year critique, he scored 6 more rushing touchdowns and averaged only 0.2 yards less per carry than he did in 2018, needless to say, Zeke is still one of the league's best)
  • Tony Pollard (2019 4th rounder, averaged over 5 yard per carry and added an explosive element to the offense, makes up an awesome 1-2 punch with Zeke)

Need Level: Low

Need to Address:

  • The Cowboys need to add competition for the #3 job.