Dallas Cowboys: Expect wholesale changes in defensive personnel

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 4
dallas cowboys
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Dallas Cowboys Defensive Line Personnel Changes

Pending Free Agents: Tyrone Crawford, Aldon Smith, Eli Ankou, Antwaun Woods

Tyrone Crawford is as good as gone. He’s always been a liability against the run and this season he hasn’t even been able to rush the passer. His two sacks last week are his only two for the season and at age 31 there’s no reason to think things will get better.

Note: It wouldn’t shock me to see Crawford retire and come on as a coach in some capacity. He’s respected in the locker room and has a clear passion for the game.

Aldon Smith is a guy everyone in Cowboys Nation is hungry to re-sign. The only problem is, he may not want to. Aldon is going to have options in free agency this winter and Dallas may not be the most desirable spot for him. It’ll likely come down to money with Smith, and since he has five years of missing paychecks to make up in a short amount of time, expect him to go to the highest bidder.

The middle of the defensive line has been a catastrophic failure. Every DT that’s taken a snap this season has scored negatively as both a run stopper and pass rusher. The Dallas Cowboys are 32nd against the run in 2020 and that’s directly related to the play at DT.

Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore will be back as rotational and developmental pieces but fans shouldn’t expect either to start. They’ve each flashed potential but have a ways to go before they can be relied on as starters.  Antwaun Woods probably has to go as well. He’s regressed considerably this season and the run-stopper hasn’t been able to do much in the way of stopping the run (you can see the problem in that).

We should fully expect Dallas to bring in a free agent or two to take over starting duties at DT next year. Brining Gerald McCoy back on a short deal is not out of the realm of possibility, but Dallas needs a clear starter at 1 tech as well. It’s clear they need a stout veteran to hold down the fort and protect the linebackers more than anything.

Speaking of linebacker…