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Mailbag: Predicting Which FAs Come Back?


Other than Dak, how many of the Cowboys' free agents do you feel will be targets to return, if any? — D. PERRY / DAPHNE, AL

David: It's a great question, and fortunately for the Cowboys, the list isn't as star-studded as it has been in years past. The big one is probably Aldon Smith, as I'd expect them to at least make a run at keeping him. I would also guess they try to make a run at Chido Awuzie or Jourdan Lewis -- but that depends a lot on the price. It also wouldn't surprise me if they try to keep Cam Erving as a swing tackle/depth signing.

Rob: I would guess more than you might think following a 6-10 season, but so much will depend on what the salary cap level is and what the Cowboys can do under that limit. The draft can't address/fix everything. So, like Dave said, I would imagine they're hopeful to bring back part of the secondary to help with the depth. Aldon Smith, Andy Dalton, Joe Looney, Joe Thomas, CJ Goodwin and Erving and more did a nice job in their role and would make sense to try to re-sign. But there always will be changes year to year.

Am I the only one thinking that, if a good offensive tackle is available to Dallas in the first round, they should take him replace Tyron Smith in the future ? Dak needs a good blind side tackle to operate efficiently and I believe this would be a good investment for the offense. — RANDY SNYDER / NEWALLA, OK

David: I'd like to think that, after what we just saw with CeeDee Lamb, everyone understands that you should take the best player possible in an effort to improve the roster. Everyone knows the Cowboys need help on defense. At the same time, it would be lunacy to avoid drafting a top-notch tackle just because you "need" defensive help. That's how you screw up the roster. No one can predict in January what the options will be in late April, but I trust the scouting department to figure it out. They've earned that benefit of the doubt.

Rob: Yeah, it's an interesting hypothetical and CeeDee Lamb at 17 last year is a great example. Under this scenario, if an offensive tackle is far and away the best player on the board, then absolutely. No question the depth at that position is a legitimate need. But, if it's close between a tackle and a terrific defensive prospect, I would probably lean defense based on the way this season went and the number of expiring contracts they have on that side of the ball. That's just my opinion, of course.

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