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Cowboys News & Notes: More Moves Coming On The D-Line?

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On Thursday the Cowboys took a step forward in beefing up the defensive front and more.

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Cowboys add size, athleticism with Cedric Thornton - Todd Archer, ESPN

There is always room for improvement at any position group but considering how the Dallas Cowboys struggled against the run and in getting to the passer in 2015, perhaps their biggest opportunity to get better is along the defensive line. Thursday saw the team make a move in that direction when the team added a former Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman to Rod Marinelli's Merry Band of Rushmen.

Thornton has the size (309 pounds) and strength to hold up against the run, but he has some quickness to push the pocket, which should help the defensive ends get pressure on the quarterback. It should also take some pressure off Crawford, the under tackle in Rod Marinelli's scheme.

HMMM, someone to push the pocket. That is something I have been asking for frequently over the last few off-seasons.

Bob Sturm on NFL free agency: If the Dallas Cowboys do get in on DE Chris Long, here's what he could offer - Bob Sturm, Dallas Morning News

Sturm makes a convincing argument for Long in Dallas, and what he could mean for the team. The upside is there, Long is no longer the player he once was but he is still more than capable when he can get on the field.

Chris Long is at a different stage of his career than he was when he was elite. But the idea that his last two years were a product of being unlucky with a couple football knocks that slowed him down and also being a huge cap number in today's NFL means that he is available at lower prices. How low he gets will likely affect the degree of interest by the Cowboys. But, Long looks active and able in the smaller doses. Would you want him at big money and 65 snaps a game? Probably not.

But, if that market allows them to use him for 50 plays at $5 or $6 million a season for 2-3 years, I wouldn't be shocked to see Long as a real solution for this team at DE. He seems to still have plenty of good football to play if you are willing to take a little risk.

Source: Cowboys free up $4.4 million in cap space with Tyrone Crawford contract restructure - Brandon George, Dallas Morning News

Jerry Jones is a lot of things, and that definitely includes his being a shrewd  businessman. The way that the numbers seem to play out here, Jerry got Crawford some help and figured out how to get the under tackle to pay for it. That really is not the case, this was built into the original contract, but it is interesting how things work out.

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Cowboys fans quick to panic over team's slow start to free agency - Todd Archer, ESPN

There was a time in the now distant past when the Dallas Cowboys saw free agency at the way to build a roster. After all, Jerry Jones was willing to spend freely in a market dominated by misers who hated to turn loose of a nickel they did not have to. Jones could buy the talent to win on a consistent basis in the pre-salary cap era. Times have changed and free agency is where the team now looks for depth not for its stars. Todd Archer takes a look at why Dallas did not go on a major shopping spree on day one, and how this was by design.

Coming off a 4-12 season, the Cowboys have needs everywhere, which they have acknowledged. But they have also acknowledged they are not going to pay exorbitant prices for free agents when there is no guarantee for success.

They have done that in the past without sustained success in signing players such as Brandon Carr and Leonard Davis, and to a lesser extent the likes of Nate Livings and Igor Olshansky.

Despite the warnings of inactivity on the opening day of free agency, the reactions by Cowboys fans ranged from erratic to apoplectic.

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As Dunbar Takes Free Agent Visit, How Might The Cowboys Address RB Depth? - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys.com

Darren McFadden and then who? That is a good question the Cowboys must answer. Will the second tier guy come to Valley Ranch via free agency or the draft? Both options are wide open as it drafting a #1 guy and trying to work McFadden in and out as the situation allows. I have my thoughts and you have yours. Phillips comes along to give us his take on what the team can and should do.

The Cowboys never surfaced as suitors for any of the free agent running backs who signed elsewhere in opening stages of free agency Wednesday and Thursday, and the team’s first three free agent visits were with quarterback Matt Moore, defensive lineman Cedric Thornton and cornerback Nolan Carroll.

It remains to be seen if Dunbar might return to the rotation as a multi-purpose offensive option when healthy. However, pairing another runner with McFadden is an offseason priority for the front office.

Antonio Cromartie Tells Michael Irvin He's "Ready to Come to the Cowboys" - Scott Crisp, NBCDFW

Sure, the Cowboys could use help in the defensive secondary, and Cromartie is better than most, but this is two years in a row that he has all but begged the Boys to show interest in his talents. Could it be that Mr. Jones fabled deep pockets are what the Jets corner is most interested, not for what Jerry can pay him but for their ability to drive up his value elsewhere? Inquiring minds don't really care, we know how the game is played.

"They're only missing one key piece and that's the piece in the secondary," Cromartie said then, per the Dallas Morning News, "and I feel like I can be that piece to help and go in and win a championship and get the Dallas Cowboys back where they're supposed to be."

Roster Rundown: Versatile Byron Jones Might Ultimately Focus On One Spot - Bryan Broaddus, DallasCowboys.com

BB, and his colleague Rob Phillips, evaluate where last season's number one pick ultimately fits in with the Cowboys long term agenda. It is nice that Jones is flexible enough to fill many roles for the team, but first round draft picks are specialists, or at least they should be, and the Cowboys will have to commit to a role for Byron in the near future. The guys from the mothership tell us where they think that should be and why.

Rob Phillips: In an ideal scenario, the Cowboys seem to be leaning toward playing Jones at safety, and he does appear to fit best there because he has excellent awareness in the middle of the field and the right frame for the position to go along with his coverage skills.

As Bryan said, he impressed the heck out of the coaching staff by accepting every challenge – nickel, dime, cornerback, free safety – and carrying out his assignments more often than not. The question will be how the Cowboys address cornerback this offseason and whether the Cowboys can indeed move Jones to safety full time. He does have the versatility to play either position, but sticking to one spot might accelerate his development.