FRISCO, Texas (AP) — The Dallas Cowboys have re-signed defensive tackle Carlos Watkins, tight end Jeremy Sprinkle and punter Bryan Anger, bringing to 12 the number of free agents they have retained.
The Cowboys are sticking with the same offseason formula used in recent years, choosing less-expensive options over bigger names with pricier contracts. They haven't given a big-money deal in free agency to a player outside the organization in a decade.
Dallas offered defensive end Randy Gregory a $70 million, five-year contract to stay with the Cowboys, but he chose Denver instead.
Watkins started 14 games for the Cowboys last season, but his re-signing is more likely about depth, with Dallas expecting Neville Gallimore and Osa Odighizuwa to start in the middle of the defensive line. Gallimore was limited to five games in 2021 because of an elbow injury.
Sprinkle provides depth behind Dalton Schultz, who will return on a $10.9 million franchise tag unless he and the club agree to a long-term deal. Sprinkle's return comes after the release of Blake Jarwin, who recently had a hip operation that could threaten his career.
Anger made his first Pro Bowl in his Dallas debut after setting a club record with a 44.6-yard net average on punts. The 33-year-old is going into his 11th season.
The other returning free agents are linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Luke Gifford; receivers Michael Gallup and Noah Brown; safeties Jayron Kearse and Malik Hooker; defensive end Dorance Armstrong; and long snapper Jake McQuaide.