Dallas Cowboys: 3 solutions for the defensive line

Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports /
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. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

Trade for Whitney Mercilus

Whitney Mercilus is my candidate for this year’s “aging veteran on a bad team with an expiring contract”. The former Fighting Illini and Houston Texan is 31 years old and on the final year of his four year, $54 million contract. He had four sacks last year and already has one this year. Considering the current state of the defensive line, he’d already be an upgrade!

The Houston Texans managed to win their first game of the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the expectation continues to be that the Texans won’t winning many games this season. With Mercilus still being fairly productive in the final year of his contract, Houston might try to trade him away and still recoup some of their losses.

They could get a compensatory pick if they let him walk in free agency but that pick wouldn’t be available until the 2023 NFL draft. As many know, the 2022 NFL draft might be the most talented draft the league ever sees because of how much talent returned to school after the 2020 CFB season. The Cowboys could give the Texans a 2022 conditional fifth-round pick for Mercilus netting both teams a good deal. The Cowboys would get a good pass rusher while the Texans get a good Day 3 pick.

The Cowboys are still currently expected to make the playoffs meaning a pass rush room with DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, Whitney Mercilus, and Tarrell Basham heading into a wild card round match up could actually invoke fear into an opposing offense. Athleticism oozing everywhere, that line up of EDGE talent is incredibly versatile in alignment and might hopefully turn Dan Quinn into a more aggressive play caller.

In addition, the Cowboys could recoup a compensatory pick by letting Mercilus walk in free agency if they believe he is too expensive to bring back in 2022. Mercilus is absolutely a one-year rental but he might be more valuable than any one-year rental the team has had over the past few years. He has great length with almost 34 inch arms and has good size to line up anywhere from five to nine technique.

There are several older veterans with expiring contract but most play on good teams and are a bigger cap hit than what the Cowboys can deal with. With the Texans restructuring Mercilus’ deal and with them likely taking some cash as apart of the swap, the Cowboys could make it work with their cap situation.

light. Must Read. Dak Prescott has been brilliant, but also a bit lucky...

Next. Dallas Cowboys: 3 Takeaways from Week one. dark

In all, the Cowboys are in a bit of a pickle and will need to make a decision either with their strategy or roster. A strategic change might change the way the Cowboys approach every opponent the rest of the season, but they realize they are clearly in a title window so grabbing good players off the street might not be a bad idea! We’ll just have to wait and see…