Dallas Cowboys: What “needs” are left to fill?

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys went defense-heavy in the draft to address some of their “needs”. Now, whether or not the players they grabbed will ultimately fill those needs remains to be seen, but assuming they have at least filled some of them, there are some gaps potentially still to be filled. Listening to Stephen and Jerry tell it, they are hoping all of the rookies fill the holes and even take over for some veterans, for “cap reasons.”

The biggest need for the Dallas Cowboys over the past decade has arguably been safety. Looking at the draft, they are hoping sixth-round pick Israel Mukuamu, along with free agent Damontae Kazee, can fill the need. There was a rumor they wanted Trevon Moehrig but missed out on him. Interesting that once they missed, they didn’t bother to address it later.

The Dallas Cowboys still have some needs left they could fill

So the question is how would they even go about filling safety if they determine they need more there. The easiest path would be to see who is released now that the draft has happened. This can be hit or miss, as these players are available for everyone and it would require a bidding war. The other issue is a lot of the players released may not be much better than what they currently have. The next path would be to seek a trade. With the drafting of Simi Fehoko, Michael Gallup’s days may be numbered and a trade may be possible instead of playing him next season or letting him walk for nothing.

Another potential “need” is at corner. Yes, the Cowboys have Trevon Diggs and newly drafted Kelvin Joseph on the outside and Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis on the inside, but there is a visible dropoff after them, and a lack of experience on the outside. The top two corners on the market are Casey Hayward and Steven Nelson, however, they may cost more than the Cowboys are willing to shell out. I know there is a contingency out there for Richard Sherman, but after calling out the owner in the media last year, it would take a Dan Quinn miracle to get him to Dallas, not impossible, but something to consider. Darqueze Dennard and Bashaud Breeland are out there and would be cheaper options.

Staying on the defensive side of the ball, defensive end depth could also be something the Cowboys may want. While they might be two-deep at each the rest of the group could potentially use a little more. This is probably low on the totem pole of needs, but injuries happen at this position, and should Randy or Tank goes down, there isn’t a ton of experience behind them. Edge has some names left and Olivier Vernon, Trent Murphy, and Justin Houston are just some of the names out there with some gas left in the tank.

There are very few “needs” unless injuries like last year happen again on the offensive side of the ball. Offensive line is always a “need” with every team, not necessarily starters, but depth is always good as we saw last season. Guard is thin with what is currently on the market, and offensive tackle still has some players to add for depth. This might be a position they look at after players get released to churn the bottom of the roster.

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The only other position the Cowboys could say they actually have a potential opening at is the backup quarterback position. Yes, they have Garrett Gilbert, Cooper Rush, and Ben DiNucci, but the experience is severely lacking behind Dak Prescott. The available free agent list is paltry at best and this would be another position that could be filled once players get released. When your best options are currently Nick Mullen, Brian Hoyer, Blaine Gabbert, Blake Bortles, and Robert Griffin, you may be better off with what you have.

Trades are certainly a possibility as the Cowboys could look to move contracts like Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, Cedrick Wilson, or maybe Michael Gallup. I doubt they would look to move Ezekiel Elliott, so barring a huge surprise, we will leave that one off the list. Those four players would save a shade over $18.4m in cap space. The issue, of course, would be finding a team willing to take on those deals.

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The Cowboys may be done for now, they may not. However, the Dallas Cowboys have certainly sent a message that they wanted to invest in defense and tried to fill as much as they thought they could. The draft was the start to filling the “needs”, but building a roster is never done as usual in football.