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 defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa.
What Worked: Odighizuwa made a quick and strong first impression during his rookie campaign in 2021 and followed that up with a better sophomore season under defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Across the board the 24-year-old saw all of his stats modestly increase, including solos and combined tackles along with his tackles for loss and sacks all while starting all 17 games and two postseason starts. Alongside midseason acquisition Johnathan Hankins and Carlos Watkins, Odighizuwa helped solidify the Cowboys' interior defensive front.
Needs Some Work: For as dominant as the Cowboys' defense was for a vast majority of the season, the one thing that seemed to hold them back was their struggles in stopping the run game. While that doesn't all fall on the UCLA product in Odighizuwa of course, he will be a crucial piece moving forward for Quinn to help rectify the run-stopping issues that plagued the Cowboys in 2022. The good news? Odighizuwa has seen steady improvement in each area of his game after two years, giving hope that he will continue to address his game.
His Best Work: There were plenty of big moments that Odighizuwa produced this season, but maybe the most memorable was his first career postseason sack on Brock Purdy against the 49ers in the NFC Divisional Round this season. Though the sack numbers weren't eye-popping, Odighizuwa proved to be a violent force up the middle for the Cowboys time and again.
Contract Consideration: The Cowboys selected Odighizuwa in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, putting the defensive tackle on his rookie deal through the 2024 season. He has two years left on that contract with a base salary of around $1.3 million next season and $1.6 million the following year.
What's Next: There's no question Odighizuwa has quickly become one of the steadier producers for the Cowboys over the last two seasons on the defensive side of the ball. He'll undoubtedly continue to play a big role up front in 2023, and his trend of improving from Year 1 to Year 2 is something the Cowboys' brass will hope translates into Year 3.