NFL News & Analysis

2017 Free Agency Preview: Dallas Cowboys

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: Barry Church #42 of the Dallas Cowboys jogs on the field before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

[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.

NFC EastDallas Cowboys
NFC EastNew York Giants
NFC EastPhiladelphia Eagles
NFC EastWashington Redskins
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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
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