Dallas Cowboys: 3 Steps to Rebuilding the Interior Defensive Line

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 15: Maliek Collins #96 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 15: Maliek Collins #96 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Dallas Cowboys
BALTIMORE, MD – DECEMBER 29: Michael Pierce #97 (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Step 3

Bargain Hunt

This is something we know the Dallas Cowboys do quite well. Stephen Jones and Will McClay like to plug all needs with stopgaps in free agency. Then roll into the Draft without feeling obligated to pick a position of need. It doesn’t always work out, but it’s a solid strategy.

The reason Dallas can’t solely rely on this method this year is because so much work needs to be done inside. Dallas can’t afford to wait it out at DT. Because if a bargain doesn’t fall, the Cowboys are basically SOL. That’s why they had to pursue an actual starter in Step 2.

But since they basically just have Trysten Hill under contract, they need to use multiple avenues to fill the need inside.  Free agency is absolutely loaded with DTs this year. And after teams start making cuts, it’s going to be an even deeper position group. Someone’s going to slip through the cracks.

Michael Pierce is an elite run-stuffer who may be a bargain later in free agency. Mike Daniels is another guy who may have to settle for a short cheap deal this spring. Shelby Harris is a good pass-rusher to keep an eye on. As is Jarran Reed.

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Gerald McCoy and Ndamukong Suh are names everyone knows. If they find themselves unemployed a couple weeks into free agency they may opt for a short deal in Dallas to build their value. Heck, Maliek Collins may even find the market tough and decide to come back for one more season to boost his value.

The point is, if the Dallas Cowboys find an elite option at the start of free agency, they can afford to be patient and find a second starter later in free agency.

All of this would position Dallas nicely heading into the draft. They can afford to spend the money contrary to some people’s opinions) and would be better served using the draft for cornerback. Besides, there’s very few good cornerbacks in free agency this year so everyone is likely to be overpaid. Plus, CB is a fairly deep position in the draft.

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This doesn’t leave much money left over for other positions but it’s a good use of funds given the market this year. It also plays to the strengths/weaknesses of the draft.