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Free Agency Tracker | 2023

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Free Agency: Watkins Agrees to Join Cardinals


The great run of re-signings has come to a bit of a halt for the Cowboys, with defensive lineman Carlos Watkins foregoing a return to Dallas — instead heading to Arizona

FRISCO, Texas — There are a lot of smiles walking around the Dallas Cowboys front office as of late, considering their stellar run thus far in 2023 NFL free agency but, as the saying goes this time of year, you can't keep everybody. So one day after securing veteran run-stopper Johnathan Hankins on a one-year deal, they were unable to agree to terms with defensive lineman Carlos Watkins.

The latter has agreed to terms with the Cardinals for the 2023 season, per the organization in Arizona.

Watkins, 29, has been quite the silent bully for the Cowboys since arriving in Dallas. Those who watch him closely can attest just how impactful he's been in both of his seasons following an initial one-year deal in 2021 that would later be followed by another in 2022.

It'd be easy to look at Watkins' stat sheet and draw an erroneous conclusion based upon it, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn would be the first to point out how critical he was to both pressuring the opposing passer — creating disruptions — as he was in helping to stop the run.

His "Thick-Six" interception and defensive touchdown against the Saints illustrates this point on the former fourth-round pick, who began his career with the Houston Texans and spent the majority of his young NFL career in South Texas before packing up and driving his talents north to the Metroplex two years ago.

He'll now take those same talents to the desert and hope for the same good fortune. For the Cowboys, it'll be about seeing what the talented youth movement has up its sleeve — e.g., Chauncey Golston, Neville Gallimore, etc. — in addition to possibly adding a body via the draft, though you shouldn't go ruling them out of, potentially, adding another veteran in free agency.

The Cowboys have had a great run lately in striking gold with those types of signings, Watkins being a prime example.

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