Ex-Player Gives Cowboys Harsh Warning as Team ‘In Trouble’ With NFL Draft Nearing

Cowboys star Dak Prescott

Getty Cowboys star Dak Prescott

It’s been well-documented, of course, just how poorly this offseason has gone for the Dallas Cowboys. The team has been unable—unwilling, actually—to retain its own free agents, has hardly gone out and added other free agents and has not yet found a way to re-sign the three star players who need new deals.

It is only April, and we’re still more than a week from the start of the NFL draft. But in some quarters, the sky is already falling for Dallas.

One of those quarters happens to be ESPN headquarters, where former NFL veteran defensive back and longtime analyst Louis Riddick made some bold warnings for the Cowboys on Wednesday morning.

“Dallas could be in trouble,” Riddick said on “Unsportsmanlike” with Chris Canty, Evan Cohen and Michelle Smallmon. “There’s still time. But now what has happened is their margin is like slim and none. They better nail the draft and they better knock it out the park.”

Cowboys Facing Tough Negotiations With Stars

The Cowboys are in the midst of three tough negotiations on possible new contracts, with quarterback Dak Prescott, receiver CeeDee Lamb and edge rusher Micah Parsons all eligible for extensions. The talks with Prescott have gone nowhere, and both Lamb and Parsons are sitting out of voluntary workouts this week.

That’s the source of the Cowboys’ inactivity. In a way, it’s not a bad thing—having players who need big new contracts means you’ve drafted well and developed the guys you picked into stars.

“Every team wants to be able to draft somebody and then when their contracts come up, retain them and pay them at market, above market, because that means you picked the right guy. CeeDee deserves his, Dak deserves his, Micah, I get it,” Riddick said.

But the problem is, the Cowboys of 2024 won’t be better than the Cowboys of 2023 as they sit now.

“The fact is, your team as currently constructed, let’s say at the end of last year, wasn’t good enough,” Riddick said. “When you say you are all in, you know that everyone else is interpreting that as meaning you’re doing whatever it takes to get over the hump. Not to just get there. But to get over it—because they’re worse than they were last year. They’re worse. They have one true starter on the offensive line and they don’t really have a running game. Quite honestly, as they sit right now, they’re in trouble. They’re in trouble.”

Holes to Fill, But Some Hope

No doubt, Dallas has spots to fill. Tyron Smith, the starting left tackle, is off to the Jets. Tyler Biadasz, the starting center, is also out, heading to Washington. Michael Gallup, the starting wide receiver, is gone. Tony Pollard, the starting running back, is in Tennessee. Starting defensive lineman Dorance Armstrong will join Biadasz in Washington.

Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch retired, and cornerback Stephon Gilmore is out as a free agent.

That gives the Cowboys a very long to-do list in the upcoming draft. But things might not be as bad as they seem. Rico Dowdle can at least be half of a rushing attack at running back. The Cowboys have confidence in backup lineman T.J. Bass, as well as new center Brock Hoffman, and will get linebacker DeMarvion Overshown back after he missed his rookie season with knee surgery.

The group went 12-5 it might be a bit dramatic to suggest they can’t get back to that level, or near it.

Riddick is down on their prospects, however. “They’re not going to win the division, they’re not even going to come close to winning the division,” he said.

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