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Antwaun Woods has started 32 games for the Dallas Cowboys over the last three years, playing in 39 of them. The free-agent find who was originally a UDFA with the Tennessee Titans in 2016 has been a staple of the interior of the defensive line since joining Dallas. Because of the rules of the CBA, he’s never been financially compensated for his level of performance, which was a major sticking point when he was an exclusive rights free agent in 2020.
He waited until the last minute to sign that tender in late July 2020. This year, as a restricted free agent, he did not wait. He signed the tender relatively quickly, locking himself in for a non-guaranteed base salary of $2.13 million. It appears the brass was using him as a place holder though, because following a draft haul when the club brought in three defensive linemen, the team has released Woods.
It would be a fair conversation to have if the Cowboys are clearing space to make a move on the free-agent market. Monday was the final day for any free agent to count against the compensatory pick formula and teams are likely preparing to add a veteran or two now that they know what the draft brought them in terms of projected starters and role players.
The Cowboys could be in that market, but had just $7.5 million of cap space in which they will have to pay their rookie class and carry space into the season for injury replacements or trades.
Woods is a 1-tech defensive tackle out of USC. He has 2.5 sacks and 80 tackles in his three seasons.
The club also released journeyman cornerback Saivion Smith, who was set to make $780,000 in 2021. Smith was not part of the team’s top 51 offseason salary cap calculation while Woods’ slot will be filled by a player moving up, meaning the actual savings on the cap will be around $1.4 million.
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