NFL Offseason Outlook: Cowboys Look To Forget About Ugly 2020, Retool Roster For 2021

Videos by OutKick

It was one of the most frustrating seasons for the Dallas Cowboys in recent memory. The team that had nothing but potential and a chance to easily win their division, but instead they went 6-10 in the awful NFC East.

The season got off to a terrible start. The defense gave up 146 points in the first four games, and the team went just 1-3.

Then, just as it appeared they were ready to get a big win against the rival Giants, their franchise quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a broken right ankle, ending his season less than four weeks in.

From there, the season was full of twists and turns, ups and downs. The team beat the Giants, but then lost four in a row before beating the Minnesota Vikings to improve to 3-7.

Two more losses followed by three wins put the club at 6-9 going into the season’s final week against the Giants, where they lost once again to wrap up the year at 6-10.

Dallas has a lot of work to do this offseason to try to eliminate the bad taste of 2020, and it has to start with the most important position on the field – quarterback.

Prescott was having huge days before he got hurt, including a 500-yard passing day in a loss against Cleveland.

He entered 2020 willing to play on basically a one-year franchise tag, and that blew up in everyone’s face when he went down less than four weeks in.

Assuming his ankle is okay, it’s time for Jones and company to get serious and open up the bank book to pay Prescott and maintain stability at the QB spot. All you had to do was watch some of the other QBs who took snaps, like Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci, to know that this is the right move.

With 20 unrestricted free agents, the QB position should not be a concern for the Cowboys, and they can remedy that right away with a deal to Prescott. It’s time to pay this man and give him the long term deal he has deserved the last two years.

Here’s the list of the 20 UFAs for the Cowboys as the offseason gets rolling:

DT Eli Ankou
CB Chidobe Awuzie
TE Blake Bell
WR Noah Brown
DL Tyrone Crawford
QB Andy Dalton
OT Cameron Erving
CB C.J. Goodwin
LS L.P. Ladouceur
LB Sean Lee
CB Jourdan Lewis
C Joe Looney
QB Dak Prescott
LB Justin March
OT Jordan Mills
DE Aldon Smith
LB Joe Thomas
S Xavier Woods

There’s not a ton of big names on the list outside of Prescott, and if any of these players saw significant playing time in 2020, it was probably out of necessity, not ability.

Offseason Outlook: The Cowboys need help in a lot of areas, but let’s start on defense, where they were ranked 28th of 32 overall in points allowed.

The team has pushed aside the safety spot long enough, and they need to figure out an impact player or two who can man the defensive backfield.

The defensive line could use a boost stopping the run and putting pressure on the passer, and the linebacking corps was downright tough to watch at times, with too many missed tackles and too few impact plays.

This team should sign a couple of big name defensive players, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them use some high draft picks on defense as well.

As for the offense, there’s already been rumblings about moving running back Ezekiel Elliott, but he’s one of the only big playmakers on offense. Despite a season with just 979 yards and six scores, low numbers for him, he’s still the best option moving forward.

Another critical spot for Dallas is their offensive line, which may have been the worst in football in 2020.

Again don’t be stunned to see them grab a high profile free agent to play on the line, as it’s a position that this team clearly had a lot of trouble with in 2020.

On paper, the NFC East already looks like it won’t get all that much better in 2021, so the Cowboys reshaping their roster and adding some pieces and parts should be enough to put them in contention. They could possibly have a solid season with double-digit wins.

Written by Matt Loede

Matt has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. His coverage beats include the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. He's written three books, and won the "2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award."


Leave a Reply
  1. Open up the bankbook and pay Prescott lol you know we are talking about a QB that has yet to win anything and is being paid 30 plus mm a year. And how did that huge payday for mr mexico elliot work out after JJ caved yep guy didn’t do a damn thing.

Leave a Reply