The Dallas Cowboys freed up salary cap space over the past week, and they are making quick use of those new funds with a new contract for a key player.
Just a couple of weeks ago, it was unclear exactly which direction the Cowboys would go for the free agency window. With the franchise tagging of running back Tony Pollard and Dallas handing safety Donovan Wilson a new contract, it’s clear they want to keep the core of the team.
On March 14, NFL media insider Mike Garafolo reported that Wilson was returning to the Cowboys on a three-year deal that could pay him up to $24 million.
“The #Cowboys have agreed to terms to re-sign S Donovan Wilson to a three-year deal worth up to $24 million with the first two years fully guaranteed ($13.5 million), sources say,” Garafolo wrote on Twitter. “The deal was confirmed by Wilson’s agents Kevin Conner and Robert Brown of @UniSportsMgmt.”
Wilson has grown into a prominent role with Dallas since being drafted in the 6th round of the 2019 NFL draft. Now, he is being rewarded with a sizable contract that will reward him as he sees out the deal.
Wilson Develops New Skill in 2022
Modern NFL safeties have to be able to do it all: cover receivers and tight ends, meet running backs in the hole and contribute to the pass rush as a blitz option. Wilson hasn’t established himself as an elite player in any specific category, he has been a jack of all trades.
Pro Football Reference shows how he contributed in a variety of ways in 2022. Besides two passes defended, Wilson brought down an interception, forced two fumbles, made 77 solo tackles and added five sacks.
The sacks stand out in a big way, as that was the fifth-most on the Dallas roster in 2022. He also had 3.5 sacks in 2020, showing that the 2022 season wasn’t an anomaly in terms of his pass-rushing abilities.
Wilson isn’t a household name by any means, but he has made a significant amount of plays for the Cowboys in his first four years. There’s no reason to think he won’t continue that trend in 2023.
Cowboys Trying to Retain Another Defender
Besides Wilson, another defender that is apparently in the Cowboys’ plans is edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr. The former Florida Gator joined Dallas on a one-year deal before the 2022 season, but had not signed an extension heading into the free agency window opening on March 13.
Josina Anderson of CBS Sports is reporting that the Cowboys are making a push to sign the pass-rusher to a new deal.
“I’m told the Cowboys are working hard to get an agreement to the finish line with DE Dante Fowler Jr. They ‘want him back’ and the feeling is ‘he wants to be back,’ per league source,” Anderson tweeted on March 13. “Cowboys still have to get an agreement to the finish line with Dante Fowler Jr., so we will see.”
Despite not being a starter, Fowler contributed in a big way in 2022. The 28-year-old put up six sacks in 2022 and forced two fumbles in the process.