The Dallas Cowboys could be looking at an offseason of change.
Following the Cowboys’ 19-12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the playoffs, the team has already moved on from key assistant coaches. The likes of offensive line coach Joe Philbin, running backs coach Skip Peete and several others won’t be brought back as the Cowboys go through a coaching overhaul.
With that being said, coaches won’t be the only ones looking for different jobs — players will, too. According to Adam Beasley of Pro Football Focus, cornerback Jourdan Lewis is a “potential” cut candidate moving forward.
Cowboys Could Cut Jourdan Lewis for Small Dead Cap Hit
Lewis has a cap hit of just under $5.9 million with a base salary of $4.5 million for the 2023 season. The Cowboys would absorb a dead cap hit of just $1.1 million by moving on from Lewis.
The 27-year-old has been a key cog of Dallas’ rotation of cornerbacks since his rookie season in 2017. In fact, Lewis has largely served as the team’s nickel cornerback over the past few years. Of his 83 career appearances, Lewis has started 43 of those games, with 26 of those starts occurring during the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
However, Lewis went through a tough 2022 campaign due to a season-ending Lisfranc injury suffered during the Cowboys’ Week 7 game versus the Detroit Lions. Lewis appeared in a career-low six games, making 26 tackles to go along with one interception.
Dallas struggled to replace Lewis following his season-ending injury. The team’s cornerback situation became even more complicated when Anthony Brown was ruled out for the season due to an Achilles’ injury in December.
The Cowboys went through an assortment of options at cornerback, relying on youngsters Kelvin Joseph and DaRon Bland along with veteran free agents in Xavier Rhodes and Trayvon Mullen. In fact, the Cowboys played Rhodes in the team’s playoff game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just days after being signed by the team. He played 24 snaps in the playoff win (29 percent of defensive snaps).
The reliance on veteran free agents late in the season showed how desperate the Cowboys were for cornerback help following the injury to Lewis. Considering how valuable Lewis has been, would Dallas really move on from the veteran to save roughly $5 million?
Why Cowboys Could Cut Jourdan Lewis in 2023
Based upon advanced analytics, Lewis was not having a great season prior to his injury. In fact, according to Pro Football Focus, Lewis posted a 59.1 defensive grade and 55.9 grade in coverage. Those were the lowest marks of his career outside of his 2020 season.
Secondly, he allowed receptions on 82.8 percents of targets he faced (24 receptions on 29 targets). That was easily the highest-mark of his career.
Furthermore, the Cowboys actually have four key cornerbacks under contract outside of Lewis entering 2023 — Trevon Diggs, Nahshon Wright, Joseph and Bland. If there was ever a time to move on from Lewis, it would probably be now after Wright, Joseph and Bland played valuable snaps all through the 2022 season.
Given Dallas’ bloated depth chart at cornerback, it would make sense for the Cowboys to move on from Lewis.