Across the NFL, teams will have to make some money moves in the off-season. The Dallas Cowboys are no exception.
Free agency begins March 14, but teams can designate franchise or transition players Feb. 20.
Here’s a look at the free agents and their status with the Cowboys:
Unrestricted free agents
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DE DeMarcus Lawrence: After a breakout season, Lawrence isn’t going anywhere. He could be staring at a franchise tag that would pay him more than $17 million, although the Cowboys could negotiate a long-term deal to lessen the immediate burden.
LB Anthony Hitchens: An underrated player on the defense. The Cowboys will attempt to re-sign him, but another team might view him more valuable than his own a la Barry Church last offseason.
LG Jonathan Cooper: A steady presence at left guard the final 13 games. It would be cheaper to retain him than what it would have taken to re-sign Ron Leary.
LS L.P. Ladouceur: Aledo resident who has never botched a snap in his 13-year career. Sure, cheaper options might exist, but would the Cowboys really want to risk losing a game on a bad snap? He should be re-signed.
QB Kellen Moore: Demoted to the practice squad during the season. It might be time for him to pursue a coaching career.
RB Alfred Morris: Veteran locker room presence and all-around good guy. But better opportunities elsewhere will likely present themselves.
WR Brice Butler: Another likeable guy who set a career-high in receiving yards (317). But the Cowboys will be looking to upgrade their receiving corps this off-season.
CB Bene Benwikere: Acquired in a trade with Cincinnati, he played in 12 games with no memorable moments. He won’t be a priority this offseason.
OL Byron Bell: Six-year veteran earned the swing tackle job after Chaz Green’s disaster in Atlanta. But the Cowboys will be looking to upgrade here.
OL Joe Looney: Spent two years as a reserve interior lineman with the Cowboys and brought levity to the team. He could be back.
LB Kyle Wilber: He’s been with the Cowboys for six seasons and remains a solid player on special teams. He won’t break the bank, although the Cowboys could fill his role via the draft.
Restricted free agents
(Cowboys can match any offer another team makes to these players)
FB Keith Smith: Remarkable story going from linebacker to fullback, and has fared well at his new position. The Cowboys don’t use him often but, if they carry a fullback, he should be the guy.
DT David Irving: Disruptive force when he’s been able to stay on the field. He’s worth bringing back, especially considering he’d be in a contract year next season.
Exclusive rights free agent
(Unable to negotiate with other teams unless not tendered by Cowboys)
DT Brian Price: Claimed off waivers and solid role player before knee injury landed him on injured reserve.