Dallas Cowboys: 3 lower-cost options to replace Robert Quinn at DE

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 29: Robert Quinn #58 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 29: Robert Quinn #58 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /
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ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 24: Shaq Lawson #90 (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

Shaq Lawson

Age: 25

PFF Rank: 52

Shaq Lawson is perhaps the best bargain edge player in free agency this year. The former first rounder has been underwhelming as a pro and even though he’s coming off a career year, Buffalo is unsure if the real Lawson is the guy that struggled for three seasons, or if he’s really the guy that shined in his contract year.

Lawson isn’t the flashy edge rusher with quick twitch explosion and Gumby-like bend that we get excited over. He’s more of an all-around end who plays the run reliably and wins pass-rushing through technique and secondary moves.

Think of a younger version of Tyrone Crawford. Heck, Lawson can even kick inside in nickel situations like Crawford.

At 6-foot-3 267lbs, Shaq’s a nicely built base end who projects best on the left side (DeMarcus Lawrence’s spot), but he’s coming off a career year where he collected 13 tackles for loss, 18 QB hits, 38 pressures, and 6.5 sacks in just 298 pass-rushing snaps.

Consider this: Quinn had 57 pressures in 404 pass-rush snaps  giving him a 14.1% pressure rate while Lawson had a pressure rate of 12.8% in his 298 pass-rush snaps. That’s not too bad of a fall off since Lawson is an excellent run defender (while Quinn is horrific against the run), not to mention Lawson is five years younger and still an ascending talent.

There is the possibility Buffalo re-signs Lawson. They would probably have to cut the underperforming Trent Murphy to do so, though, which would give Dallas another cheap option. Murphy doesn’t have the upside of Lawson is but he will probably be available for half the cost as Lawson if he hits the market. He collected 5 sacks last season and rated as Pro Football Focus’ 26th DE in the NFL last year playing 721 snaps. So, not a bad money-saving consolation prize…