The start of the 2022 Cowboys season is a must at this point (yes, I know it’s April). Everything is bigger in Texas and the scandals and the narratives do not escape it. There will be many new faces for 2022 and fundamentally, youth. Expectations should be measured with respect to those created last year.
The 2021 roster, in name for name and especially on the offensive end, was one of the best in the entire league. In addition to this, Dan Quinn powered up the defensive unit significantly and turned Trevon Diggs into a ballhawk and Micah Parsons into the DROY. The pieces were there, Dallas had made each and every one of the decisions necessary to be a contender and sadly was the only home team eliminated in the Wild Card round after suffering a 23-17 loss at the hands of the 49ers , with an end to the memory.
The game-ending play for the Cowboys ⬇️
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 17, 2022
During free agency, Dallas was silent, as we have been accustomed to a few years ago. Jerry Jones’s philosophy and, above all, his son Stephen’s, is based on drafting well and “rewarding” his own free agents with fairly lucrative contracts. They use free agency to get depth in some position of need but not to sign the most brilliant names. Anyway, this year they managed to be in the mouth of the press. The Cowboys were well below the salary cap and not only did they have to restructure Dak Prescott’s contract to clean it up, but they also traded their WR1 Amari Cooper, who contributed more than $20M against cap. As if this movement were not very striking, the franchise was involved in a somewhat unusual event after announcing on their own social networks the renewal of the link with Randy Gregory, so that minutes later Denver did the same with the player and ended up staying with the graduate of the University of Wisconsin. Gregory himself was in charge of clarifying that there were certain clauses in the contract that Dallas tried to impose at the last moment – after having agreed on the numbers and the extension of the bond – and they were not to the player’s liking.
The needs of the Dallas Cowboys for 2022
Needs: OL, DL, WR
Although the Cowboys OL still has two All Pros in Tyron Smith and Zack Martin , in another move to safeguard salary space, they had to part with RT La’El Collins and in free agency they let Connor Williams go, so this unit will look significantly different than it did in 2021. Even last year he was linked to Dallas with several of that year’s top prospects though they ended up drafting Micah Parsons. Finding the pieces necessary to protect Dak Prescott and open up space for Zeke Elliott and Tony Pollard is critical. Fortunately, this Draft has great prospects at the position and it would not be unusual for them to choose an offensive lineman on the first night and even in the following ones.
Other needs are also found on offense and specifically in the receiver position. Amari Cooper’s departure means the loss of nearly 4,000 passing yards and 27 TDs through the air. Cooper was without a doubt the WR1 of this team. CeeDee Lamb showed that he has plenty of talent to take on that responsibility and gave Michael Gallup a new contract to line up opposite the Oklahoma alum. That said, today Dallas has only one experienced WR behind these two and although Dalton Schultz had a great season as an escape valve for Dak Prescott, the truth is that the Cowboys must find a receiver in the next Draft who can play in the slot and give depth to the position.
Perhaps a little further back in the order of priorities is the defensive line. The vast majority of the players who were in 2021 return for the 2022 season, with the exception of the aforementioned Randy Gregory. Cowboys managed to retain Demarcus Lawrence and what Parsons showed as a rusher are reason enough to be calm about the unit, however Mike McCarthy himself was in charge of clarifying that DROY will not make the transition to lineman and will continue training as a LB, for what adding a quarterback will be welcome for the unit commanded by Dan Quinn.