2023 NFL Free Agency: Potential exodus of big name NFC East players

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The only team currently left standing out of the NFC East division is the Philadelphia Eagles after knocking out the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys falling to the 49ers this past weekend. No matter how the season ends for the Eagles, they and the rest of the teams in the division are going to have quite a few tough decisions to make this off-season and ahead of 2023 NFL free agency. Each of them has players on these 2022 rosters that are going to hit the market and we know that they aren’t going to be able to play everyone leading to a possible exodus of talent from the division or at least from each team.

Three out of the four teams in the division (Eagles, Giants, Commanders) have questions looming about the quarterback position coming up this season and next season which will restrict their abilities to spend money to keep everyone they want. The Cowboys don’t have that issue but do have holes on both sides of the football that they will need to fill if they want to continue to be competitive in what looks to have become to toughest division in football once again. Let’s take a look at each of these teams, their players, and salary cap projections in order to see what they might be able to do this off-season from a team-building perspective.

First up, America’s Team.

2023 NFL Free Agency: Mass exodus from the NFC East?

2023 NFL Free Agency

2023 NFL Free Agency: Tony Pollard #20 of the Dallas Cowboys carries the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Levi’s Stadium on January 22, 2023, in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Dallas Cowboys 2023 Free Agents

2023 Projected Salary Cap Space: $6,732,313

Big Name Free Agents: RB Tony Pollard, LB Leighton Vander Esch, TE Dalton Schultz, CB Anthony Brown, OT Terence Steele, S Donovan Wilson

Who Possibly Stays: Tony Pollard, Terence Steele, Leighton Vander Esch, Anthony Brown

Who Possibly Goes: Donovan Wilson, Dalton Schultz

The Dallas Cowboys haven’t been a team that’s been willing to open their checkbook in order to bring in or retain talent if they don’t play a position they see as essential. Owner Jerry Jones and his defacto general manager son Stephen Jones made that very clear last year by dealing receiver Amari Cooper and letting defensive end Randy Gregory walk in free agency after talks broke down. It’s tough to see them changing things up and opening their checkbooks this off-season, but, maybe this second loss and the play of quarterback Dak Prescott will light a fire under this front office to make moves.

The first order of business for them though will need to be decisions on who they are going to let walk in free agency and who they are going to sign. The four big names that stand out as players they are going to try hard to keep will be Pollard, Steele, Vander Esch, and Brown due to the fact that when they left the field there was a clear drop in production on both the offensive and defensive sides of the football. Pollard brought explosiveness to this offense while Steele brought the mean streak and physicality, on defense Vander Esch was a force in the running game while Brown was a nice complement to the secondary across from Trevon Diggs.

The Cowboys would love to keep all of them but Wilson while a very good player but could get more money from another team as the Cowboys have never really valued the safety position. As for Schultz, the Cowboys saw 2022 draft pick Jake Ferguson, and undrafted rookie Peyton Hendershot both make big plays at tight end this season making Schultz more expendable.

I also wouldn’t be surprised to see this front office make a free agency splash as well to help quarterback Dak Prescott in the passing game.

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