Could the Dallas Cowboys find a veteran in free agency to help them with the pass-rush in 2016? A look at who’s available and how they could help…
The Dallas Cowboys had no bigger need entering draft weekend than defensive line. The Cowboys let Jeremy Mincey and Greg Hardy enter free agency without a fight, while DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory will both be serving four-game suspensions to start the season.
The Dallas Cowboys will essentially be starting the 2016 season without their top four defensive ends from 2015. Despite this exigent need, they failed to address the defensive line until round three.
While Charles Tapper at defensive end and Maliek Collins at under tackle may provide immediate help in the pass-rush department, the odds say they will take time to develop. Unfortunately the Dallas Cowboys need help now.
The first four weeks of the season are critical and that’s why a veteran free agent may be the best way to go…
First of all, forget Greg Hardy. After leaving the door cracked for his return earlier in free agency, Jerry Jones has now unequivocally closed the door. The most talented pass-rusher left in free agency is now off the radar of almost every team in the NFL. And that’s probably a good thing.
Another former Dallas Cowboys end, Jeremy Mincey, is still waiting by the phone for an opportunity as well. Mincey may not be the pass-rusher that Hardy is but he’d proven to be moderately effective on the field as well as a strong presence in the locker room.
Jermey Mincey, 33, didn’t log a single sack last season for the Cowboys, but may still have something left in the tank should the Cowboys give him the opportunity. Only one year removed from his career six sack season of 2014, Mincey was hampered by an elbow injury throughout the 2015 campaign.
"“This arm ain’t been able to straighten out since the offseason,” Mincey said."
It’s likely that injury impacted Mincey’s abiity to repeat his 2014 success. But elbow injury or not, Mincey may have worn out his welcome by discussing the Greg Hardy situation to the public. In the offseason, Mincey aired some dirty laundry by discussing Greg Hardy’s tardiness and the subsequent player resentment that followed.
Dwight Freeney, 36, is another veteran pass-rusher who may be able to help the Dallas Cowboys next season. Freeney, the longtime Colts sack artist, experienced a revival last season with the Arizona Cardinals. After contemplating retirement, Freeney agreed to join the Cards as their pass-rush specialist.
Over the course of 11 games, and playing just 264 snaps, Freeney racked up eight sacks. According to Pro Football Focus, Freeney finished ranked fourth among 3-4 edge rushers with 36 total pressures.
Dwight Freeney Obviously isn’t an ever-down or long-term solution at defensive end but he is a player who can consistently bring pressure on obvious passing situations.
Jason Jones, 29, is a free agent who has already drawn interest from the Dallas Cowboys. The former New England Patriot and Detroit Lion has been visited and courted by the Dallas Cowboys but after contract talks stalled, so did the interest.
Jones is exactly the type of well-rounded linemen the Cowboys like. He’s strong against the run and serviceable against the pass. He collected 9.5 sacks over the past two seasons and appears like he could be this season’s version of Jeremy Mincey/George Selvie to the Cowboys and Rod Marinelli.
While negotiations with the Cowboys were said to have stopped fully, Jones hasn’t drawn much additional interest around the league. The Dallas Cowboys are still very much in play from a supply and demand perspective and both sides may be forced to compromise to get a deal done before camp.
The Dallas Cowboys have options in free agency and still have time to add veteran leaders to the team’s weakest position. The pickings are slim but the Cowboys can ill-afford to get picky with a defensive end Band-Aid at this point.