FRISCO, TX - It was quite an eventful day for the Dallas Cowboys as they worked through Day 2 of NFL free agency, and that's saying the least. Only hours before striking a trade with the Indianapolis Colts to land All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore in exchange for a 2022 fifth-round compensatory pick, they succeeded in securing their top in-house free agent: Donovan Wilson.
Wilson will remain in Dallas on a three-year deal worth roughly $24 million, keeping him in the building through the 2025 season and a key piece of defensive coordinator Dan Quinn's unit from being wooed away to another club.
"I'm just really blessed and excited to be around familiar faces, and back in the building," said Wilson after putting pen to paper on Tuesday. "It means a lot. We talked about brotherhood a lot, and it was a lot of hard work getting here. I'm just looking forward to the future here."
The move keeps the three-headed hydra of Wilson, Malik Hooker and Jayron Kearse intact atop the secondary, solidifying a secondary that now features Gilmore opposite Trevon Diggs with Jourdan Lewis and rookie sensation DaRon Bland patrolling underneath.
"You can expect a lot of leadership and we're gonna fly around and do what we do," said Wilson of what's to come from the Cowboys defense going forward. I feel like it's the chemistry we have and just how close we [are]. That was a big part of me coming back."
It was a career-best season for Wilson in 2023, the former sixth-round pick finishing the year with a team-high 101 combined tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception in 17 regular season games, and he missed no games over the course of the 19-game campaign (includes two postseason outings).
"I just feel like I was more prepared," he said. "Everything just fell into place for me. I'm excited for the next chapter ... and looking forward to it."
And with his new deal in hand, Wilson says the Cowboys can expect to get what they paid for and, previously, the same former Aggie who clawed his way from the ranks of being a late-round pick in 2019 to one of the elite and most versatile (and hardest-hitting) players at the position.
"The same hitman," he said."The same person - ready to work everyday and get it done."