Cowboys Urged to ‘Upgrade’ Key Position with Ex-Commanders Starter

Jerry Jones

Getty Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and CEO Stephen Jones discuss before an NFL game.

The Dallas Cowboys have handed out another big payday as they prepare for the 2023 season, but they made need another move in free agency as well. Paying legendary guard Zack Martin an extra $8.5 million over the next two years helps, but now the Cowboys are being urged to build on that.

This is where Andrew Norwell comes in. The former Washington Commanders and Jacksonville Jaguars starter was named in an August 15 piece from’s Mike Fisher. Martin being at camp and happy is good, but Dallas hasn’t addressed the second string.

“Somebody around here might want to ‘focus’ on the fact that the performance of the second group – part of a line that gave up four sacks in the first preseason game – suggests Dallas should get busy on acquiring a veteran offensive lineman,” Fisher wrote. “Andrew Norwell and Dalton Risner are among the free agent guards with credentials. Wouldn’t they upgrade this second unit?”

There is some concern after a preseason performance that failed to convince, but a look into the nine-year veteran’s career gives a better idea of whether he works as a reinforcement for the Cowboys.

Andrew Norwell Joins Commanders After Jaguars Payday

On paper, it often makes sense to add a former All-Pro to an NFL roster. Norwell boasts that honor thanks to his 2017 campaign with the Carolina Panthers, but he has not reached such heights in the five seasons since.

Norwell had a rare rise with Carolina, first going undrafted in the 2014 NFL draft cycle but getting on the roster and then starting nine games. According to PFR, he started 55 times for the Panthers, including a full 16-game stretch for his All-Pro season in 2017.

Norwell hit his peak in a contract year, leading the Jaguars to pay him a 5-year, $65.5 million deal, according to Spotrac. The former Ohio State Buckeye started 57 games for Jacksonville, but failed to perform at the same level as his final two seasons with the Panthers.

Norwell took a massive pay cut accordingly, taking a $10 million, two-year deal with the Commanders entering the 2022 season. Norwell only missed one contest, but was again released as the team is focused on younger, cheaper talents like Saahdiq Charles and Sam Cosmi.

Cowboys Could Go for Similar Deal to Jason Peters

Last season, Dallas was forced to sign Jason Peters when star tackle Tyron Smith tore his hamstring. In 2023, the Cowboys could wait for an issue to arise or look to add Norwell or another option in preparation.

Dallas paid Peters just under $2 million for his services, but it may not be realistic to get such a cheap deal for Norwell. At 31, the former Commander is not ancient by any means and was just getting paid $5 million a season in D.C. He could accept a lower salary, but $2 million feels less than he may demand.

Further, Norwell may just not want to be a backup. Sure, free agents at this stage have far fewer options than at the beginning of the window, but Norwell also knows the nature of football and that opportunities will open as starting offensive lineman get injured.

If he is waiting for a situation similar to Peters and the Cowboys’ last year (waiting for a starting role to appear,) signing Norwell as a backup may prove difficult.