It's been a quiet offseason in free agency for the Dallas Cowboys, but they are continuing their efforts to survey the free agent market and find themselves a bargain. The Cowboys currently don't have the cap space to make signings, but the interest in free agents and scheduled visits could be a sign that the team is close to working out new contracts for Tony Romo and Anthony Spencer. If the team does work out something with both parties, it could free up some much needed cap room to make some signings at positions of need.
As Dave Halprin posted earlier, NY media is reporting that the Cowboys have a visit scheduled with former New York Jets offensive lineman Brandon Moore. (Caveat: some in Dallas are reporting this visit isn't set up yet.) Signing Moore would be a good move because he's an experienced veteran that relies on technique and has a physical presence. Moore could be a bargain signing that could be an upgrade over Mackenzy Bernadeau. While Moore is older, he's an established guard with at least a couple years left in the tank.
There have been reports and rumors that the Cowboys are interested in addressing their needs at SAM linebacker and safety, but up until today the team has not scheduled any visits or meetings. It's now being reported that the Cowboys will indeed bring in two veterans for visits. Bryan Broaddus reports that Justin Durant and Will Allen will visit Dallas on Monday.
Names the Cowboys are actually bringing in for UFA visits Will Allen S and Justin Durant LB. Will visit Valley Ranch on Monday.— Bryan Broaddus (@BryanBroaddus) March 24, 2013
Durant would probably be the signing who would make the most impact. The Cowboys like what they have in Alex Albright and Kyle Wilber, but neither is a proven player who has started multiple games at SAM linebacker on the NFL level. The Cowboys probably want a player who can stand strong up in the box and make plays in the running game.
Pro Football Focus didn't grade him out well against the pass (-4.6), but he did grade out well against the run (+6.1). If Durant passes the tests, gives the front office and coaching staff a good vibe and accepts a reasonable contract, then this could be a very good signing for the Cowboys. Durant is a solid linebacker and has plenty of starting experience, and that is exactly what Dallas should be looking for at that SAM linebacker position.
As for Will Allen, he's been primarily a backup and special teams player throughout his career, although he does have a connection to defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin from when he started 16 games for Kiffin and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in 2006. Keep in mind since those 16 games, Allen has started just nine games since then. Last season he did start seven games for the Steelers when Ryan Mundy failed to produce in place of the injured Troy Polamalu.
Allen wouldn't be a terrible signing, but he's probably another special teams ace that could offer the team veteran experience and could fill in at safety when needed. At some point Dallas is going to have to bring in a veteran safety. Whether it's Allen or a more complete safety, they need to add more talent and depth to that position.