2017 Free Agency Preview: Dallas Cowboys

Top free agent targets for the Dallas Cowboys, players that must be re-signed, and more to get you ready for free agency.

| 3 months ago
Barry Church

(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

2017 Free Agency Preview: Dallas Cowboys

[Editor’s note: This preview was originally published on Feb. 23, 2017, and updated on March 6 to reflect changes in the market do to franchise tags, re-signings, cuts, etc.]

What you need to know

Coming off their No. 1 seed and Divisional Round exit, the Dallas Cowboys front office will have their work cut out for them. Their recent restructuring of contracts helped, and if quarterback Tony Romo gets cut, then they could come close to eight-figures in cap space. Still, that’s not a lot of room to work with to try to sign any of their own players they wish to keep, account for their incoming rookie class, and potentially look at outside free agents.

Salary cap room

$3,352,937 (32nd in NFL; as of 3/6/17)

Biggest needs

  • Defensive end
  • Cornerback
  • Wide receiver
  • Defensive tackle

Notable free agents

  • Barry Church, S, 86.2 overall grade in 2016
  • Morris Claiborne, CB, 84.9
  • Ronald Leary, G, 81.8
  • J.J. Wilcox, S, 81.6
  • Brandon Carr, CB, 75.3
  • Terrance Williams, WR, 74.1
  • Jack Crawford, Edge, 40.2

Must re-sign

Barry Church, S, 86.2 overall grade in 2016

Calling any of the Cowboys’ free agents ‘must re-signs’ is probably a stretch, but the one who is best to consider is safety Barry Church. He has slowly improved in coverage and cut down on his missed tackles last year, while always being an astute run defender. His price tag also shouldn’t be too high, compared to someone like Mo Claiborne, where another team may consider spending big money.

Dream splash signing

A.J. Bouye, CB, 90.9 overall grade in 2016

The Cowboys don’t have the cap space, but they could use an upgrade at cornerback with their pending free agents. Brandon Carr has been sufficient, but hasn’t earned an above-average coverage grade since 2012, and Morris Claiborne continues to have injury issues around limited spots of good play. Bouye has the potential to become a No. 1 cornerback after a stellar season that featured a 50.5 completion percentage and 58.5 passer rating into his coverage last year.

Top 2017 free agency prospects

DeMarcus Ware, Edge, Denver Broncos, 77.4

A reunion between Ware and the Cowboys shouldn’t be out of the question. At this point, he would really just be a situational pass-rusher, where Dallas definitely needs some help. Ware would have to be willing to sign a team-friendly or incentive-laden deal, but at the right price, he would be worth signing.

2017 NFL Team Free Agency Previews

NFC EastDallas Cowboys
NFC EastNew York Giants
NFC EastPhiladelphia Eagles
NFC EastWashington Redskins
AFC EastBuffalo Bills
AFC EastMiami Dolphins
AFC EastNew England Patriots
AFC EastNew York Jets
NFC WestArizona Cardinals
NFC WestLos Angeles Rams
NFC WestSan Francisco 49ers
NFC WestSeattle Seahawks
AFC WestDenver Broncos
AFC WestKansas City Chiefs
AFC WestLos Angeles Chargers
AFC WestOakland Raiders
NFC NorthChicago Bears
NFC NorthDetroit Lions
NFC NorthGreen Bay Packers
NFC NorthMinnesota Vikings
AFC NorthBaltimore Ravens
AFC NorthCincinnati Bengals
AFC NorthCleveland Browns
AFC NorthPittsburgh Steelers
NFC SouthAtlanta Falcons
NFC SouthCarolina Panthers
NFC SouthNew Orleans Saints
NFC SouthTampa Bay Buccaneers
AFC SouthHouston Texans
AFC SouthIndianapolis Colts
AFC SouthJacksonville Jaguars
AFC SouthTennessee Titans
2017 Free Agency Rankings
Top 50 free agents
Every 2017 free agent ranked by 2016 overall grade
10 free agents who can make an immediate impact
10 veteran free agents worth a one-year contract
10 sleeper free agents who could bring surprise upside
10 splash free-agent signings we’d like to see
Quarterback rankings
Running back rankings
Wide receiver rankings
Tight end rankings
Offensive linemen rankings
Edge defender rankings
Interior defender rankings
Cornerback rankings
Safety rankings
Linebacker rankings

| Analyst

Matt has been an analyst for PFF since 2013. He is also a contributor to 120 Sports and a former NCAA Division-III football player.

  • crosseyedlemon

    Jerry Jone’s ego wasn’t already big enough so they decided to induct him into Canton….yikes! The only question now is how long it will take him to undo the recent good work of the GM by micro-managing the team back to mediocrity.

  • dbonedig

    Mr. Jones has made the NFL what it is today. Without his input, the NFL would be behind Baseball and Basketball in terms of cash flow. The human has changes the way the game has evolved. And now, because of him, players will be able to play on Marijuana soon.