When the 2017 regular season concluded, the Dallas Cowboys [VIDEO] had to take a deep breath and try to digest what went wrong. However, preparation for the upcoming season started right away, and a big part of getting ready in Big D was for the Cowboys [VIDEO]to keep as many of their free agents as they possibly can.

Key losses

Linebacker Anthony Hitchens was one of Dallas’ top priorities to resign when the season came to a close. In the end, Hitchens ended up heading to Kansas City to play for the Chiefs. That was a huge loss for Dallas, but the Cowboys for whatever reason didn’t want to pay Hitchens as much money per season as the Chiefs did, and in the end, the money won out.

According to 247 Sports, Kansas City inked the linebacker through the 2022 season and will pay him an average of $9 million per campaign. The Cowboys will likely look to the draft to replace Hitchens.

Dallas also lost fellow linebacker Kyle Wilber and fullback Keith Smith to the Oakland Raiders, while wideout Brice Butler and cornerback Bene Benwikere are both heading west to play for the Arizona Cardinals. Last but not least left guard Jonathan Cooper is now a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

Additions

The Cowboys did retain free agent Pro Bowl defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, but they had to slap the franchise tag on him to do so. According to an ESPN update, Lawrence will earn a hefty $17.143 million in 2018. The Cowboys are reportedly hoping to strike a long-term deal with the defensive star by sometime before the preseason begins.

Dallas also used a second-round tender to retain defensive lineman David Irving. While Irving could still in theory sign with another club, the tender makes it a bit more difficult for a team to sign the restricted free agent.

The Cowboys have also added five new free agents to the 2018 roster including wideouts Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson, linebacker Joe Thomas, and offensive linemen Cameron Fleming and Marcus Martin. The Boys also retained long-time snapper L.P. Ladouceur and backup offensive linemen Joe Looney. Ladouceur has been doing the long snapping in Dallas since 2005.

Draft needs - all defense and a wideout?

As for the Cowboys draft needs, it seems that Dallas will make every attempt to bolster their defensive line. Dallas has made it quite evident that they are eyeing Vita Vea out of Washington and former Michigan Wolverine Maurice Hurst. The Cowboys finished in the middle of the pack in terms of sacking the quarterback and getting off the field on third down efficiency in 2017.

Getting more pressure on opposing QB's is going to be one of the priorities this offseason - especially after losing Anthony Hitchens.

The Cowboys may also be looking to add a wide receiver or two this April. According to the Star-Telegram, Dallas plans to have three wideouts visit them before the #NFL Draft. On the list are Alabama's Calvin Ridley, Maryland receiver D.J. Moore, and Texas A&M's Christian Kirk. All three are projected to go in the first or second round in this year's draft. #dallas cowboys #NFL