Since the Dallas Cowboys can’t keep everyone, tough decisions must be made on some good players, here are five losses I would endorse
The operative word here is “should”. Because this is editorial season, I’m going to make a case for jettisoning five QUALITY free agents this winter/spring in the name of fiscal restraint. Readers, of course, are going to have different opinions regarding who to keep and who to show the door. That’s great. Let’s hear your plan in the comments. But now, here’s my plan to consider.
It’s not like the Dallas Cowboys absolutely have to let good players leave in free agency. They are loaded with cash and as we’ve discussed many times before – the salary cap is very manipulatable.
But even though it’s easy to work around, does not mean overspending is without consequences. Poor investments and overspending eventually catch up with teams, so most teams proactively apply restraint. The Dallas Cowboys are one of these “responsible” teams.
Obviously some players we know are on their way out. We’re talking about players we generally like here. Players who are performing and will continue to perform no matter where they go next season. So let’s start it off with a player who’s about to strike it rich in free agency
Maliek Collins was one of the players that made up Dallas’ historically great draft class of 2016. The 6-foot-2 308 lb monster in the middle took some time to develop as a pro but he’s hitting free agency coming off his best season to date.
Collins’ 4 sacks, 12 hurries, 5 knockdowns, and 21 pressures are career bests. He finished in the top-5 of Next Gen’s pass-rush win rate (among interior pass-rushers) and proved he’s one of the rising stars in the middle. So why not pay the man?
Basically because he’s going to cost a ton of money, he’s abysmal against the run, there’s a ton of DT talent hitting free agency this offseason, and I’m prioritizing edge rusher Robert Quinn instead (who is expected to be a little cheaper given his age).
For the money, I’ve identified D.J. Reader as my favorite DT to target in FA. He’s going to cost more than Collins but he’s basically the same age, plays at a higher level, and is able to play both 1-tech in a 4-3 and NT in a 3-4 (something the Dallas Cowboys will tinker with). I’m fine playing the waiting game and getting Collins on a bargain deal should interest dry up in free agency – but I don’t see that happening. He’s too good of a pass-rusher for that.