Once again, the Cowboys find themselves with over 20 players who have expiring contracts. But still, there's a large percentage of players on the roster already in place. Over the next few weeks, the staff writers will evaluate those players under contract, reviewing their past performances with an outlook to the future. Today, we'll continue the series with linebacker Jabril Cox.
What Worked: We haven't seen much of Cox since the Cowboys selected him in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of LSU. A torn ACL in Week 8 of his rookie season against the Vikings cost him the remainder of that season and a rehabilitation process that bled into the 2022 season. Eventually Cox made his return to the field midway through last year to play nine games and played almost exclusively on special teams with six tackles.
Needs Some Work: Like a couple of players we've run through during this series that could make an impact next season, Cox needs to get on the field consistently. A fully healthy offseason should go a long way in achieving that goal and there is still plenty to like. The Cowboys and fans alike know what they could potentially have in Cox in a larger sample size, though they just have yet to see it over a longer period of time.
His Best Work: One of the strengths of Cox coming out of LSU was his ability to defend in pass coverage at the linebacker spot. At 6'3 and 233 pounds he still has the athleticism to cover in space and could give the Cowboys another strong coverage linebacker along with Leighton Vander Esch and Micah Parsons when he's not lining up on the edges. If not there, then his ability to translate that skill to special teams where he has seen the majority of his career snaps could also prove useful for what will be a reworked special teams unit in 2023.
Contract Consideration: The Cowboys are on the hook for nearly $1.2 million next season with Cox, earning a base salary of $940,000 with a signing bonus of $192,813. Should the team decide to cut ties and move on from Cox, he holds a dead cap hit of $385,626 and will be eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.
What's Next: The most likely scenario for Cox heading into next season is that he could be in the running for the role that Luke Gifford fills on special teams over the last few years before departing to Tennessee during free agency this offseason. He could also of course see time at his natural linebacker spot behind fellow LSU alum Damone Clark, Parsons and Vander Esch. That spot is also a potential area the Cowboys elect to address during the draft or with a veteran free agent addition.