Cowboys Enter Free Agency Talks with Ex-Falcons Starter: Report

Jerry Jones

Getty Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones surveys the field before an NFL game.

The Dallas Cowboys could be adding another key piece to their offense with a free agency visit to a former starter for the Atlanta Falcons.

The Cowboys have had an active start to the free agency window by restructuring contracts and re-signing several members of the 2022 roster. They’ve added new blood with names like WR Brandin Cooks, but they’ve focused more on keeping the squad together.

On April 1, Dallas met with former Falcons guard Elijah Wilkinson, a six-year NFL veteran who most recently spent the 2022 season with Atlanta. He has yet to re-sign with the NFC East franchise or anyone else, and the Cowboys are apparently interested per the official NFL waiver wire.

Dallas has a fairly rigid situation at the offensive line, as veterans Tyron Smith and Zack Martin are guaranteed starters and 2022 first-round pick Tyler Smith quickly made the left tackle spot his own.

But the Cowboys could still use the help at the interior offensive line, and Wilkinson is a fairly solid option for a veteran in free agency. Adding a top talent in the draft is certainly on the table, but Dallas can invest in the future elsewhere by adding Wilkinson as reinforcement.

Wilkinson Spends 2022 with Falcons

Coming out of UMass in the 2017 NFL draft cycle, Wilkinson was not a top prospect and was always going to be a long-shot in terms of being a draft pick. However, he was a sought-after undrafted free agent and signed with the Denver Broncos that Spring.

He earned his first snaps as a rookie in 2017, but spent most of the season on the practice squad. Pro Football Reference shows that he worked his way into a starting role by the following season, getting the nod seven times that season.

Over his four years with the Broncos, Wilkinson started 26 games. However, he and Denver parted ways ahead of the 2021 season leading him to a backup role with the Chicago Bears.

Wilkinson again changed teams last March, joining the Falcons on a one-year deal. He again earned a spot on the starting offensive line, but was placed on the injured reserve in early November with an undisclosed injury.

Wilkinson has a history of injury issues, but the Cowboys could do far worse than a player who consistently competes and earns starting jobs for pretty much any team he signs with.

Cowboys Declare Steele as Swing Tackle

Coming into the 2023 offseason, there was speculation that Dallas may try and fit tackle Terence Steele into the starting offensive line. However, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones shut that down at the NFL Owner Meetings in March.

“To me, what Steele does (well) is be a part of a three-man position look when you look at the tackles,” Jones said per the Star-Telegram. “That is the best that we’ve ever been fixed. We have Tyron when he’s available and we have Steele there that’s going to get his snaps. And may get a lot of snaps. And then you have your young (player) Tyler who is just outstanding and has nothing but upside ahead of him.”

“The Smiths” are understandably difficult to displace, but Steele has also proven to be a reliable option with 40 starts over the past three seasons. Things can change and Steele could get back into the starting job, but it’s clear he’ll be splitting time rather than shifting inward or forcing Tyron Smith inward.

That means Dallas should still look to improve the interior offensive line, whether that’s with Wilkinson or a draft talent.