The Dallas Cowboys will have a lot of work to do on their roster during free agency. But what is exactly the best way to go about preparing for 2018?
The Dallas Cowboys will have several positions that they will need to address over the course of the coming months. A big factor to the Cowboys roster building will be free agency and how the market looks prior to the 2018 NFL draft.
Some fans want to see the team make major cuts in order to be bigger players in free agency, others just want the Cowboys front office to work on re-signing their own. Let’s take a look at what may be the most optimal option.
The Dallas Cowboys currently have around $20 million in cap space, which is pretty good for Dallas. Over the last few seasons, the franchise has found themselves strapped for cash in March which has forced some key players out of the door.
This year will likely be a little different as the Cowboys actually have some room and some options. The biggest changes we could see would be with the team’s depth at the wide receiver position.
It is no secret that the Dallas Cowboys wide receivers underperformed in 2017 which was a big factor in the team not making the playoffs. Dallas saw contract extensions for both Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams which has led to some buyers remorse.
Williams is seemingly a must release at this time, as he has proven he cannot beat opposing teams second starting corner. While I do think the Cowboys thought process to extend Williams is fairly sound, not having anyone competing for his role/ lack of an adjustment to his struggles is what exacerbated the problem.
Williams would be a solid third of fourth-string wide receiver however he is not getting paid $17 million to do that. Beasley’s struggles are what happens when the best wide receivers on your team cannot make plays.
Dez Bryant suffered a knee injury in Week Nine that did not make his life any easier. It was not widely known however until after the season, whatever injury plagued Bryant it clearly affected his style of play.
Beasley could be a lot more effective once the passing game actually gets going but at 29 he could be finding it harder to make the same plays he did when he was younger. It seems obvious that the Dallas Cowboys need to add some talent to their wide receiving corps and they should do that not only in free agency but through the draft as well.
In free agency, Dallas may look for a bargain in players who did not perform as well as they have in the past. Examples of these types of players could be guys like John Brown, Donte Moncrief, Taylor Gabriel, Paul Richardson, and of course Brice Butler.
Yes, even with Butler’s public gesturing and comments he should be on the Cowboys list of receivers to target in free agency. He outplayed both Beasley/Williams and should have had more of an opportunity to play alongside Bryant.
In reality, I could see the Cowboys moving in another direction and attempting to land Gabriel or Brown. Both players are extremely fast and can be difference makers on the field.
Most important of all, they could be fairly cheap to acquire. Richardson is more of a possession guy than a deep threat but if he is the last option on the board late into March, Dallas could take a chance on him.
Amendola had a terrific 2017 and should get plenty of attention despite his age. Lee is a bit of a wildcard to me, the Jaguars will likely release him as they have to also re-sign Allen Robinson. Lee has been inconsistent throughout his career but over the course of the last two seasons has seemingly pulled it together.
At 26 Lee could be one incredible difference maker on the outside. It is not just the receiving corps that needs work, the Dallas Cowboys could look for a permanent fix to their offensive line problems.
Signing the best guard/tackle in free agency seems like a pipe dream at this point but if say a player like Nate Solder was available the Cowboys could look to lock up the former Patriot.
There is always the possibility that they could just re-sign Cooper and draft a younger guard after the first round however this is seeming to be more and more unlikely. On the defensive side of the ball, signing anyone other than Demarcus Lawrence right away would make little sense.
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I could see them going after safety Kenny Vaccaro at some point considering that the coaching staff likes him and the Saints are unlikely to bring him back (he should also come fairly cheap).
Bringing back linebacker Anthony Hitchens could cost more than adding a potentially more impactful free agent. After a solid season, Hitchens is destined to get overpaid however players like Jonathan Casillas, Paul Posluszny, or even Aldon Smith should be available for a decent price.
At the end of the day, it is going to take a solid draft class, and some stellar free-agent additions to provide a boost for this roster. It is possible for the Dallas Cowboys to fix most of their issues during the offseason however they may need to be a bit more active than usual.