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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Stephon Gilmore is a solid veteran but he is only a stopgap as a starter for the Cowboys' defense.
Jan 1, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Indianapolis Colts cornerback Stephon Gilmore (5) / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 Cowboys player definitely in final season: Stephon Gilmore

Gilmore is another Dallas player who doesn't have a long-term future in defensive coordinator Dan Quinn's defense. Father Time is going to cost Gilmore the chance to play another season for the Cowboys.

The veteran defensive back's current contract structure is a clear sign that he isn't a meaningful part of the team's future. The front office is giving the former All-Pro over $9 million but they were not willing to give him anything longer than a one-year deal. They want him to be a high-level starter this year but they are wise not to hand out a multi-year contract to a corner heading into his age-33 season.

Much of Gilmore's future will be determined by how he plays this season. If he maintains his level of play as an above-average starter as either an outside or nickel corner then he will enjoy a nice market in free agency. The Cowboys might be willing to offer him another incentive-laden, one-year contract but it's likely Gilmore can get more guaranteed money elsewhere in that scenario.

The other possibility is that GIlmore loses another step or two and no longer functions as even an average starter. It's not impossible to envision a scenario where he falls off to the point that he's unplayable for a team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations next year. That could make Gilmore a solid candidate for retirement. Either way it goes, it's hard to see him returning to Dallas for another season.