The Dallas Cowboys have had a busy offseason, but one key acquisition from 2022 appears to be on the way out. ESPN’s Todd Archer reported that four-time Pro Bowl defender Anthony Barr “will not be back” with Dallas predicting the team will likely add another linebacker this offseason.
“The Cowboys have covered just about every spot with their offseason moves so far, but adding another linebacker could make some sense even after re-signing Vander Esch,” Archer wrote on March 23, 2023. “They lost Luke Gifford to Tennessee and Anthony Barr will not be back. The Cowboys love Damone Clark, but still have questions about Jabril Cox and Devin Harper. Oh, and Micah Parsons is more pass rusher than linebacker now.”
Rumors linking Barr to the Cowboys dominated the 2022 offseason before the longtime Vikings defender signed with Dallas last August. Barr had 58 tackles, four quarterback hits, two fumble recoveries and one sack during 14 appearances, including 10 starts in 2022. The veteran earned an underwhelming 59.7 grade from Pro Football Focus for his play last season.
The Pressure Is on the Cowboys to Add a Linebacker
The Athletic’s Jon Machota concurs with Archer noting that Barr is “not expected to return.” This news combined with the departure of Luke Gifford puts pressure on the Cowboys to address the position early in the upcoming draft unless the team makes a significant move in free agency.
“Bringing back Vander Esch was a big move to provide some stability here,” Machota detailed March 20. “Damone Clark and Jabril Cox are the next two on the depth chart. Some depth is also needed here with Luke Gifford signing with the Tennessee Titans. Anthony Barr is an unrestricted free agent who is not expected to return. Another impactful player is needed.”
Stephon Gilmore on Cowboys: ‘They’ve Got to Throw It Somewhere’
Dallas has already been aggressive in addressing holes at other positions making significant trades to upgrade the wide receiver and cornerback groups. During his first comments since being traded to Dallas, star corner Stephon Gilmore made it clear that teaming up with Trevon Diggs is going to be a problem for opposing quarterbacks.
“It’s going to be fun,” Gilmore told DallasCowboys.com’s Patrik Walker during a March 16 interview. “When the season gets here, they’ve got to throw it somewhere. One of us is going to get tested. Just gotta be able to make the play when it comes our way. …They gotta throw it. One of us is gonna make the play.”
The Next Significant Move for the Cowboys Could Be at Defensive Tackle
The Cowboys are slowly working their way through a to-do list this offseason by addressing weak spots on the roster. Sports Illustrated’s Mike Fisher reported that Dallas is aiming to re-sign Johnathan Hankins who the team acquired from the Raiders last season ahead of the trade deadline. If the Cowboys are unable to reach a new deal with Hankins, Dallas may be forced to look to the available free agents.
“Hankins was brought in to anchor down the middle of the Dallas defensive line at nose tackle, and that’s what he did, which is why the Cowboys are looking for him to re-sign – maybe as the next guy, a source tells us, during this Monday flood of second-tier moves,” Fisher wrote on March 21.