3 Cowboys who are definitely playing their last season in Dallas

These three Cowboys need to enjoy their final campaigns in Dallas.
Dec 24, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA;  Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) celebrates
Dec 24, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) celebrates / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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Cowboys fans are focused squarely on the 2023 season, but the team's front office is already making concrete plans for 2024 and beyond. That process will include the jettisoning of several big-name veterans.

It might be painful for fans in Dallas but it's a vital step for the franchise to take if they want to maintain solid salary cap management.

Things could change if any of the three players on this list exceed expectations, but the odds favor each star playing their football elsewhere in 2024. That doesn't mean they won't play a ton of meaningful snaps this year for head coach Mike McCarthy, but it does mean that each player will be replaced by a lower-cost guy in a matter of months.

The list begins with a solid safety who just doesn't justify his salary cap figure.

No. 3 Cowboys player definitely in final season: Jayron Kearse

Kearse is a decent starting safety but his play doesn't stand out for the Cowboys secondary. That makes him a solid cap casualty given his current salary of just over $5.8 million.

Things might be different if Kearse played cornerback. The current NFL landscape doesn't see safeties getting big-money contracts unless they are bona fide difference makers. Kearse is a solid player but it would be a stretch to name him as a difference maker.

Instead, look for the Cowboys to spend a modest draft pick next year to find a starter with a little more big play ability. Unfortunately for Kearse, he is unlikely to even be a starter for Dallas this season as Donovan WIlson is currently ahead of him on the depth chart. He's picked a bad time to lose his starting job. He'll enter free agency looking for a big money deal but the Cowboys won't be the team to give it to him.