Dallas Cowboys: 3 Veteran Free Agent DTs

Nov 30, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Baltimore Ravens defensive end Chris Canty (99) against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Ravens won 33-27. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 30, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Baltimore Ravens defensive end Chris Canty (99) against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Ravens won 33-27. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys need depth on the defensive line. Here are three veteran free agents who could provide instant help.

The Dallas Cowboys knew they needed to upgrade the defensive line this offseason. But after the departures of Greg Hardy and Jeremy Mincey in free agency, and the four-game suspensions of Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence, the Cowboys have done exactly the opposite.

While defensive end remains the direst of needs, the Dallas Cowboys will take pass-rushing help anyway they can get it. If that means adding pass-rushers at defensive tackle, then so be it.

The good news is the current stable of talent on the Cowboys has enough versatility to move to the outside.

Jack Crawford, Tyrone Crawford, and David Irving are all DTs that can contribute at end for the Dallas Cowboys during those first four critical weeks of the season. This versatility will allow the Cowboys to add interior pass-rushers, as well as edge pass-rushers.

On Friday, we looked at three veteran defensive ends that are still available. While none are considered starters or full-time players, they do have enough recent production to indicate they could be instant contributors on a defensive line that’s looking more desperate by the day.

Related Story: 3 Veteran Free Agent DEs

Today we look at the defensive tackles…

Kevin Williams

Kevin Williams, 35, is free agent whose best years are clearly behind him. The 6’5” 311lb DT has been walking the retirement line for the past two seasons. Playing for the New Orleans Saints in 2015, Kevin Williams turned in another strong 564 snap performance, meaning he can clearly still contribute at this age.

Williams, a former first round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, was rated as the NFL’s 33rd interior defensive linemen by Pro Football Focus. That ranks him ahead of Tyrone Crawford (81), Jack Crawford (119) and Cedric Thornton (44) and would provide an instant boost to an otherwise under-performing unit.

The key thing in this, of course, is keeping Williams from retiring and convincing him to join the Dallas Cowboys.

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 Chris Canty

It’s been seven years since Chris Canty has worn the star on his helmet, but memories of the former Bill Parcells draft pick still remain fresh in Cowboys Nation. The 6’7” 320lb linemen once played DE in the Cowboys’ 3-4 defense, but since then, the 33-year old has spent his time playing various positions and various roles along the defensive line.

Canty, 33, has never been a dominant player and the likelihood of that suddenly happening at this ripe age are slim to say the least. But Canty is a strong, well-rounded player who rates equally against the run and pass.

Canty, rated by Pro Football Focus as the 42nd ranked interior linemen in 2015, has plenty of football left in him to contribute to a DL-needy team like the Dallas Cowboys. Best yet, unlike Kevin Williams, Canty won’t need convincing to continue his career.

Stephen Bowen

The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t and that’s why another former Dallas Cowboy makes sense. It’s difficult to say how much Stephen Bowen has left in the tank. The 32-year old DT only played 141 snaps last season for the Jets but did manage to score positive grades along the way.

It’s been four years since Bowen logged a career best, six sacks, with the Washington Redskins. But Bowen knows the 4-3 under tackle defense and could likely be a minimum wage contributor from day 1.

Next: Cowboys Pass-Rush: Are Tapper and Collins Enough?

Much like the free agent defensive ends, the answer to all of the Cowboys’ problems cannot be solved by one man. Veteran free agents do serve a purpose as long as they aren’t progress stoppers to buddy young players like Maliek Collins, Charles Tapper, David Irving, Jack Crawford, etc… Let’s see if the Dallas Cowboys choose to give a veteran a chance.