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Cowboys Jeremy Mincey Is The Perfect Free Agent

Some appreciation for an unsung Cowboys player.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Mincey is the perfect free agent. He's not the best player ever signed in free agency, but he represents exactly how a team should use the free agent market. He's the moderately-priced veteran that you sign who then proceeds to far outperform his contract numbers. If you could get that kind of production vs. contract from every free agent, you'd have a contender.

Reading today about Mincey in this Nick Eatman article prompted me to throw a little love his way. Not only for what he did last year, but for what he could do this year, and what he may do for the Cowboys long after he's gone. Let's break those three statements down.

What he did last year

Last year, Mincey was the Cowboys only real threat from the edge for the whole season. He led the team with six sacks, he was healthy the entire year and he never stopped working when he was on the field. Along with Tyrone Crawford, they were the Cowboys only defensive linemen who stood out (until DeMarcus Lawrence got hot in the playoffs). Without him, who knows if the Cowboys defense could have held together long enough to make the playoffs.

What he could do this year

This year, Mincey should have some help. Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory, a fully-healthy and one-year-wiser DeMarcus Lawrence; if that all comes together, Mincey could become the fourth-best option outside. Sounds like his value could be on the wane. But not really. Mincey is now playing some more reps as a pass-rushing tackle in passing situations. The Cowboys envision Mincey and Crawford rushing from the inside, with some combination of Lawrence, Hardy and Gregory from the outside. That could be a very good pass-rushing unit.

What he may do for the Cowboys long after he's gone

After his time is done in Dallas, he may have helped set in motion a re-birth of the Cowboys. With Sean Lee out last year, the defense looked to Mincey as its leader. He helped Rod Marinelli keep that unit ticking even though everybody was sure they would bottom out at any moment. They didn't, they were just good enough to help Dallas go 12-4, win a playoff game, and almost win another. The Cowboys had a breakthrough year and Mincey was right there to help.

Now, this year, he's taken the young defensive linemen under his wing. He's teaching them what it means to be a pro in this league. He's trying to teach them the right way to go about things. He's a mentor, and if Lawrence and Gregory turn into the cornerstones on defense Dallas hopes they do, Mincey will have had a hand in that.

That's pretty good value for a moderately-priced free agent.

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