Eric Kendricks [608x342]
Eric Kendricks [608x342] (Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Brewers put Miley on IL with elbow inflammation

NFL free agency is off and running, and we're keeping track of every major signing, trade and release of the 2024 offseason, with analysis from our NFL Nation reporters and grades from our experts. The new league year begins March 13 at 4 p.m. ET, which means free agent signings can be made official after that. The first round of the 2024 NFL draft begins April 25 on ESPN.

Here's a breakdown of every 2024 NFL free agent signing by the Dallas Cowboys and how each will impact the upcoming season:

Eric Kendricks, LB

After initially agreeing to terms with the Chargers, Kendricks decided to join the Cowboys on a one-year deal.

What it means: Linebacker was at the top of the need list for the Cowboys after getting through last season with converted safety Markquese Bell playing the spot after Leighton Vander Esch's neck injury. With Vander Esch's career uncertain, the Cowboys have a player more than familiar with Mike Zimmer's scheme after playing for the Cowboys' new defensive coordinator for seven seasons in Minnesota. He has had at least 92 tackles every year of his career. With him knowing the scheme, his value goes beyond the field and into making sure everybody knows where to line up.

What's the risk: He is 32 and maybe not the player he was back in his first go-round with Zimmer, but there is little financial downside on this one-year deal. And it does not take the Cowboys out of looking heavily at linebacker in the draft. It takes some pressure off of Damone Clark with Kendrick handling the communication job.

Jourdan Lewis, CB

Lewis is back with Dallas on a one-year contract.

What it means: The Cowboys have their slot corner back in the fold as they prepare for Trevon Diggs' return from a torn ACL that cost him all but two games in 2023. With DaRon Bland, who led the NFL in interceptions last season, the Cowboys have a good trio that could be made stronger if free agent Stephon Gilmore returns. Lewis played in 16 games and made eight starts after coming back from a serious foot injury in 2022. He had 52 tackles, one interception, five pass breakups, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two tackles for loss last season.

What's the risk: There is always some risk, given the nature of the foot injury, but he played every game he was on the roster last season and got better as the year went on. It also protects the Cowboys at cornerback, knowing they have their top three corners back and won't need to reach during the draft. Lewis is one of the toughest players on the team and considered a core player at a demanding position.

Rico Dowdle, RB

Dowdle is re-signing with Dallas for one season.

What it means: It doesn't mean the Cowboys have an RB1 with Dowdle's return, but he at least had 89 carries as Tony Pollard's backup last season. He had two games with 12 carries. He finished the year with two rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns, while catching 17 passes. Dowdle has had difficulty staying healthy, but he played in 16 games last season. He might not be a true No. 2 ball-carrier, but he can do the job if needed, while also having the ability to help on all four special teams' units.

What's the risk: Like the other additions, there's no real financial risk, and the decision to retain him does not take the Cowboys out of the market for another veteran in free agency or an early draft pick in April. Pollard's departure for the Tennessee Titans has the Cowboys needing more of a sure thing in the backfield, but they are likely going to use a number of backs to get the job done in a different way than they have done in recent years with Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott.

Trent Sieg, LS

The Cowboys are bringing Sieg back for 2024 on a one-year deal.

What it means: Surely it means the Cowboys are all-in, no? After the Cowboys were the only team not to re-sign one of their own free agents or agree to a deal with an unrestricted free agent, the angst was high among fans who want them to do ... something. With Sieg's return, the Cowboys will have their same special teams trio back from last year with Pro Bowl kicker Brandon Aubrey and Pro Bowl punter Bryan Anger. Aubrey was especially complementary of Sieg's work in his first year with the Cowboys, knowing the snaps would not be an issue as the kicker set records last season.

What's the risk: None. There's little guaranteed money. They needed a long-snapper. They've wrapped up a need. So this is as no-risk a move as they come.

Chuma Edoga, OT

The Cowboys are re-signing Edoga to a one-year contract.

What it means: The Cowboys have covered themselves at the swing tackle spot. Edoga appeared in 17 games last season, starting four at left tackle and two at left guard. He struggled late in the season against Miami, but he did enough to warrant to be brought back for another look. Eventually the Cowboys have to see what recent draft picks Asim Richards, Matt Waletzko and Josh Ball can do.

What's the risk: None. If Edoga does not make the final roster, then there is little downside financially. This does not take them out of looking for a tackle in the draft in any round. This moves gives them some veteran insurance.

C.J. Goodwin, CB

Goodwin is staying with the Cowboys on a one-year contract.

What it means: Goodwin has been the Cowboys' best special teamer the past few years when healthy. He missed 12 games last year with a pectoral injury but still finished fourth on the team in special teams tackles. If there is a change in the kickoff rules then having Goodwin will be a benefit, but he is a terrific gunner on the punt team and often requires double teams.

What's the risk: He had the injury last year and he is 34 years old. Financially, however, there is very little risk. His return gives special teams coordinator John Fassel a coach on the field.