Things are always moving around Valley Ranch, rarely is there ever a dull moment. Since the draft Dallas has been a hot topic for a number of reasons. With that said Ive tried to 'keep up with the Jones's'.
Here I'll give my insight on what the Boys can still do to improve the team following the draft.
Free isnt always a good thing
The number 1 issue post draft is easily the Doug Free situation. In my opinion its pretty cut and dry here, cut Free and sign Eric Winston now. But obviously its not that easy. Reports are surfacing, again, that Dallas wants Free to take a pay cut and of course he wont. And we all know by now if we were to cut Free we would save $7 million now but carry over dead money into next season. Is the dead money worth cutting Free and signing Winston? I say yes, hell yes.
Here is a Comparison of Free to Winston according to PFF grades since 2010:
Need I say more. I thought it was a forgone conclusion that Winston would be a significant upgrade over Free but there have been arguments that he isnt, I just dont see how not. Winston has graded out over the last 5 season as a top 10 RT in the league. Winston also will not come at a hefty price, having already said he would play for $3 million this season. Im not saying bring Winston on as a player for the future but at 29 a 2-3 year deal isnt a bad idea. Still leaves open the option to bring on a player to groom under him if they feel no one is there now. Make it happen.
Its been well documented that Dallas passed on addressing the defensive line in the draft, the whole Sheriff Floyd thing has been blown over a million times. In my opinion baring injury (which the injury gods seem to not like us) I have complete confidence in a starting unit of Ware, Hatcher, Ratliff and Spencer. I feel ok about reserves Crawford, Lissemore and the former 2nd round pick Price. But if the cut of Free were to happen and free up $7 million maybe we could stand to address the depth.
Idonije and Okoye are interesting players in regards to the Cowboys situation. In both cases they played under current D line coach and Kiffin right hand Rod Marinelli. In Chicago they played under Rod as he led their defense as Defensive Coordinator.
Idonije in particular enjoyed his most productive years under him. At 6'7 275 lbs he played in a versatile role on the line at DT and DE. Over the last 3 seasons under Marinelli he posted 22.5 sacks averaging 50 tackles a year, rather impressive. Idonije is no young pup at the tender age of 32 so he wouldnt be in the long term plans either. But for a guy seemingly in the better stages of his career under the same system now being ran in Dallas, I think he would be worth the risk at a reasonable asking price.
Okoye is a more fascinating story. He was a top 10 pick 2007 but was the youngest player ever drafted in the first round at 19. Since 2010 hes bounced around between Tampa Bay and Chicago, the latter being his last season in 2012. Okoye is interesting to me because he would seem to fit the mold of a 3 tech guy. Since he was drafted so young hes only 25 now, leaving alot of room for improvement. The 2 seasons he did play under Marinelli he tallied 39 tackles and 5 sacks. Not impressive numbers but again for a reserve role adding another young but experienced guy to the rotation at a small price wouldnt hurt.
Between the players if I had to choose I would look into cutting Free, signing Winston and Idonije. The price for the 2 veterans wouldnt be expensive and they upgrade each line unit. Winston for obvious reasons and Idonije would add to the rotation. In any rate, pieces still need to be moved at Valley Ranch. T's need to be crossed and i's need to be dotted to round out what could be a very underrated off season.