We have often heard Rod Marinelli describe the importance of having a quick-twitch, penetrating under-tackle in his 4-3 scheme and now the Cowboys have locked theirs down for the near future. Tyrone Crawford, a 2012 third-round pick out of Boise State, really burst onto the scene in 2014 and is projected by many pundits to up the ante this season. As Crawford is currently under contract, negotiations didn't have to end at the start of the season.
That being said, both Crawford's agent Todd France and the Cowboys got to the discussion table with a fury in hopes to reach the best possible security for Tyrone's future. The deal is reported to be worth $45 million over the next five years, with $25.7 guaranteed. Crawford recovered from a devastating Achilles injury that kept him away from the game for the entire 2013 season. However, even though the Cowboys signed veteran Henry Melton last season, he was far outplayed by the emerging Crawford and Melton was made expendable after the conclusion of the season.
PFF rated Crawford very highly in just about every statistical category and he finished the season with a whopping +29.8, including a +6.5 in run defense as well as a +21.2 in pass defense. Though he only had four sacks on the year, it was more of a product of the struggles the entire defensive line faced and less about Crawford. In fact, PFF also rated Crawford in the top-15 at the position.
At 25 years of age, Crawford looks to be another breakout candidate for this season with quite the few NFL analysts realizing his potential. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has Crawford listed among the top 15 players in his "Making The Leap" series.
He has Pro Bowl potential if he can finish plays and master his position. Much of our optimism on Crawford centers on his relative inexperience. He's only played two seasons. Achilles surgery is perhaps the toughest to recover from in football, and he looked fantastic last year. He should be more explosive another year removed from surgery and more comfortable now that he knows his position.
Crawford would be one of many defensive linemen who coordinator Marinelli helped make money, including former teammate Henry Melton. It's not like teams will be able to double-team Crawford when the Cowboys have Randy Gregory, Greg Hardy and DeMarcus Lawrence also in the mix.
Making defensive tackles into stars is exactly what Marinelli does and now Crawford will join the list that includes Hall of Famers like John Randle and Warren Sapp. The Cowboys surely hope to have a perennial Pro Bowler in the making for years to come and now Crawford's focus remains on the New York Giants this Sunday night.
Happy hunting #98!
The deal is reportedly a five year extension spread out on a six year deal including the 2015 season. The numbers were a bit shocking to some at first but it now looks as though everything is ironed out.