Cowboys Starter Persuaded to ‘Look Forward’ to 2021 Free Agency

Dallas Cowboys defense

Getty Dallas Cowboys defense

Jourdan Lewis was dealt a fortuitous hand for 2020, gifted a full-time starting job following the free-agent defection of Byron Jones. And if Lewis plays his cards right, he’ll likely be dealt a fat contract next offseason.

Bleacher Report lumped the fourth-year Dallas Cowboys cornerback among a list of seven NFL players who “should look forward to free agency in 2021,” their respective stars beginning to illuminate the league landscape.

Via columnist Maurice Moton:

Over the last two terms, Jourdan Lewis has been a solid slot defender for the Dallas Cowboys. The 5’10”, 195-pound cover man can also line up on the perimeter as he did during his rookie campaign, logging 10 pass breakups and an interception.

In 2019, Lewis suited up for 16 contests and played 55 percent of the defensive snaps. Yet he provided impact in multiple ways, registering four sacks, four tackles for loss, six breakups and two interceptions.

This offseason, the Cowboys bolstered the cornerback group, acquiring Daryl Worley, rookie second-rounder Trevon Diggs and fourth-rounder Reggie Robinson II. The front office also re-signed Anthony Brown, who can play in the slot or on the outside.

With so much depth at cornerback, Lewis may find it difficult to reach his full potential in Dallas. As an unrestricted free agent, he could explore his options and compete for a full-time starting spot elsewhere.

Lewis’ versatility could help him land a high-end deal relative to slot cornerbacks, or he may see a significant bump in salary if the team that signs him intends to play him primarily on the perimeter.

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Projected Role

Entering his age-25 campaign, Lewis is due for a significant uptick in activity after playing just 589 defensive snaps (55 percent) across 16 appearances in 2019, when he notched two interceptions and 51 combined tackles. He’s penciled in as a starter opposite Chidobe Awuzie, whom the team is considering for a move to safety.

Dallas — led by a new coaching staff, including DB coaches Maurice Linguist and Al Harris — bolstered the secondary in recent months, importing CBs Trevon Diggs, Reggie Robinson and Maurice Canady and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the replacement for Jeff Heath (who bolted to the Raiders) and presumed bookend to Xavier Woods.

Lewis, a 2017 third-round pick, is due to collect $2.133 million in base salary in 2020, the final year of his rookie pact. He changed his jersey number from No. 27 to No. 26 in preparation for a potential breakout campaign, becoming the 20th player in franchise history to don those digits.

Diggs Practices Against Star NFL Wide Receiver [LOOK]

The second-round rookie can’t yet punch the clock at The Star, thanks to ongoing concerns about COVID-19, so he’s keeping his game sharp outside of the Cowboys facility.

Diggs, as shared on social media, took part in a non-socially-distanced workout earlier this month with Pittsburgh Steelers ex-Pro Bowl wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Below is a photo of Diggs lining up against Smith-Schuster, courtesy of reddit.

Chosen with the No. 51 overall selection in April’s draft, Diggs was a four-year contributor at Alabama from 2016-19. He totaled 43 solo tackles, 17 pass breakups, four interceptions and a defensive touchdown across 48 career games. He broke out in 2019 with three INTs and two defensive scores — a pick-six and fumble-return TD — earning first-team All-SEC honors.

Wearing Jones’ old No. 31, Diggs should slide in as a day-one contributor alongside Lewis, Robinson, Canady and Anthony Brown, whom the club re-signed this offseason.

READ NEXT: Jadeveon Clowney Makes Clear Interest in Signing With Cowboys: Report

Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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