Thus far, the Dallas Cowboys have done a really nice job at keeping an eye on the market but also re-signing their homegrown guys. In this day and age, this front office has made it clear that they aren't looking to hand out giant contracts for play earned by other teams. When you look to the future, you can see why as the Cowboys will likely be looking to extend Travis Frederick, Zack Martin and even La'el Collins down the road. It is that offensive line that has become the lifeblood of this entire organization. (Joey Ickes has put together a plan of how to do that, look for it later today).
All of this considered, the Cowboys are nowhere near done shopping the market for potential talent and have a scheduled visit plus other buzz going on. Let's look at what we're hearing and make some sense of it and also present possibly a few more guys to keep an eye on.
What's The Market For 31-year Old Edge Rusher Chris Long?
Well, seeing as his agent reached out to the Cowboys to ask for a meeting means that he probably hasn't seen a "big" offer yet. You also have to couple that with the fact that he's been free dating prior to free agency beginning. However, Long is an intriguing candidate because at one time he was playing at a very high-level. He even understood why the Los Angeles Rams cut him as he's only had four sacks over the last two seasons and in his own words 'sucked'.
Despite this, Chris Long may still have some good play ahead of him but may need to find the right environment to do so. What has happened over the last few seasons shows you that Long may best be used as a situational pass-rusher. With the Cowboys need for the position and their rotational style of play along the defensive line, Long is likely to come away feeling good about his prospects in Marinelli's 4-3. Another positive for him is the very fact that Rod Marinelli would be his coach as he is as highly respected as any in the league. For the right price, which doesn't concern me because we know that price will be low, the Cowboys could get a pretty solid contributor that doesn't affect their prospects in the draft.
Is Dallas The Desirable Destination For Eric Weddle?
There are too many links to ignore this possibility but there is no true telling on how much interest the Cowboys actually have in the former Pro Bowler. Weddle would certainly upgrade the secondary in terms of the depth chart and would likely command a starting role. However, it's important to remember that he's coming off a year where he missed three games and his production dropped quite a bit. Weddle has been at the top of some folks wishlist for some time now, but paying aging players is not the Cowboys' favorite method. Regardless, there has been tension between Weddle and the Chargers for some time and he seems to want out. San Diego has also not shown any interest in retaining him either.
Weddle is rumored to be deciding between Dallas, Oakland, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore. His family is very important to him and he's decided to take the weekend to mull that over. Oakland seems like the true team in play here as it would allow for him to stay in California and is only a short flight home. Also, Oakland is the likeliest team to pay anywhere close to his asking cost and players over there have started to recruit him. Though many fans in Cowboys Nation are trying to get him to Dallas, I would caution you to not get your hopes up with this one.
Who Are Some Guys To Keep Monitoring?
Casey Hayward has been a rumored interest per David Moore and a serious catch that I've been clamoring about for about a month now. He's a very smart cornerback that has the range and skill to be a starter here in Dallas. His rookie season saw him post the best opposing passer rating with 31.1 and he also nabbed six interceptions. He fell out of favor in Green Bay due to other guys getting signed, but had one of his best years in 2015. He graded very highly by PFF standards at 82.7 and could likely rid the Cowboys of Brandon Carr and his cap figures. Though he left without a contract, the Cowboys are also interested in former Eagle, Nolan Carroll.
Bjoern Werner is already generating the 'bust' label after he was cut by the team that drafted him in the Colts. He was drafted in the first round of the 2013 draft and has posted only 6.5 sacks in three seasons. However, looking at his best season could tell you a little more. In 2014, he started 15 games and recorded four of those sacks, 37 tackles, a forced fumble and defended some passes. After that, he only started one game in 2015. He fits the pedigree of a highly-drafted player looking for a fit. Marinelli and Will McClay have come together a few times to make something out of nothing. Werner could be another low-risk option for this defense that has holes to fill along their defensive line.
Matt Moore is not a new name by any means as the club has already met with him. He did leave without a deal and was scheduled to meet with Indianapolis until they signed Scott Tolzien. He's got familiarity with the Cowboys organization and should be able to run the style of offense they deploy. It's better for everyone if Dallas can find a way to lure him back to Dallas because the market for veteran quarterbacks is getting thinner by the day. I mean, Matt Cassel got another job and the Tennesse Titans seems to be happy about it.
Why Haven't The Cowboys Re-Signed Jack Crawford?
The Cowboys went on a roll Friday re-signing Morris Claiborne, Kyle Wilber, Charles Brown, and James Hanna. They've also tendered Ronald Leary, Jeff Heath and re-signed Rolando McClain. What's the holdup with Cowboys' fan-favorite Jack Crawford? Who knows? He was very productive for them with four sacks and has the versatility to spell them anywhere they ask him to. Now, maybe they are giving him a moment to see if anyone comes lurking but he hasn't generated much buzz.
Also, he's taken to Twitter a few times now to congratulate his teammates for re-signing. It sounds to me like this is a guy that wants to stay in Dallas, maybe they can work out a deal with him fairly soon. You would hate to see a guy they took time developing in two years go to another team. He's also the primary backup behind Tyrone Crawford and we know the Cowboys are all about that rotation.