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FA Forecast: These 9 Likely To Test the Market


With a new coaching staff and a long list of eligible free agents, the 2020 offseason promises to be a fascinating and critical stretch for the Dallas Cowboys.

The NFL's free agent signing period officially begins March 18, when unrestricted free agents can test their value on the open market. The Cowboys also have a March 18 deadline to make qualifying offers to their restricted free agents and obtain right of first refusal.

With so many decisions looming, the staff has grouped the Cowboys' 30 free-agents-to-be into five categories to analyze throughout the week.

We continue the five-part series with a closer look at a few unrestricted free agents who might not be at the top of the Cowboys' priority list. That doesn't mean they won't re-sign with the Cowboys or get a deal elsewhere. But sometimes, teams will let the market do the talking. And for these guys, it's likely they will get to test the market.

Wait & See

Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver:

The Cowboys traded a sixth-round pick for Austin in 2018 as a special teams returner who could be incorporated into the offense in various ways. In 2019, he rushed for one touchdown and caught one 59-yard touchdown, but a clear role for him within the offense was never fully established. He will be 29-years-old at the start of the 2020 season.

Xavier Su'a-Filo, Guard:

Su'a-Filo provided crucial depth for the Cowboys' offensive line when starting guard Connor Williams tore his ACL in Week 13. Su'a-Filo, 29, started four games for Dallas, but suffered a fractured fibula in a Week 16 loss to the Eagles and was placed on injured reserve, perhaps hindering his chances of returning to Dallas. The Cowboys signed Su'a-Filo during the 2018 season.

Christian Covington, Defensive Tackle:

If re-signed, Covington, who Dallas acquired prior to last season, could potentially play a larger role in the defense if Maliek Collins is not retained in free agency. Covington, 26, started only six games for the Cowboys in 2019, but he appeared in all 16 games and ranked 14th on the team in tackles.

Kerry Hyder, Defensive End:

Hyder played in all 16 games, but played less than 50 percent of defensive snaps in 10 of those games. He was undrafted in 2014 and spent three seasons with the Detroit Lions before the Cowboys signed him prior to last season to add some depth to the defensive end spot. He will be 29 at the start of next season.

Justin March, Linebacker:

As a linebacker, March was never much of a factor in the Cowboys' depth chart, but as a special teams player he appeared in every game for the past two years. He recorded 10 tackles in 2019. Dallas signed March, 26, before the 2018 season, and re-signed him to a one-year contract prior to last season.

Kavon Frazier, Safety:

Frazier spent the majority of last season on injured reserve after sustaining a pectoral injury in September. The Cowboys drafted him in the sixth round of the 2016 Draft, and while he has spent little time at safety, he's been relied upon at special teams for Dallas. Frazier has played an average of just over 64 percent of the special teams snaps in which he was available.

Malcolm Smith, Linebacker:

Smith was signed by the Cowboys for the final two games of the 2019 seasons to help combat a rash of mid-season injuries to their linebackers. He played over half of the defensive snaps in both games and recorded a combined five tackles. Smith, 30, was the Super Bowl MVP with the Seattle Seahawks in 2014.

Darian Thompson, Safety:

Thompson, 26, was a prominent special teams contributor for the Cowboys last season, ranking second in special teams tackles for Dallas. He also started four games at safety for the injured Jeff Heath including against the Chicago Bears in which he recorded 11 tackles and a sack.

Ray-Ray Armstrong, Linebacker:

Dallas signed Armstrong prior to Week 17 for additional depth after numerous injuries to linebackers. He did not end up playing any defensive snaps in his one game as a Cowboys, but did see the field as a special teams player. Armstrong, 28, was undrafted in 2013.

Next Up:

  • Wednesday: For The Right Price (6 Players)
  • Thursday: Big Decisions to Make (5 Players)
  • Friday: High Priority Free Agents (5 Players)

More FA Forecast: