The Dallas Cowboys have been minimal players in free agency and this has been discussed many times over. Whether it's the right move or not is still up for debate, but it was generally known they wouldn't get into bidding wars - Stephen Jones pretty much told the fanbase a few weeks ago this would be the case. Still, one area where it was thought they might spend some money was at defensive end. They never did get involved to any degree on the big names and they sat out the second wave. Now that we're down to bargain time in the NFL free agency period, could the Cowboys finally make some moves? If so, here are five targets to bolster their defensive line rotation, mainly at defensive end.
1. Jack Crawford (Dallas) - The news has been very quiet in regards to the Cowboys free agent. He hasn't been linked to any other team and hasn't been re-singed by the Cowboys. Crawford may never be a starter on a consistent basis, but he is an excellent rotational guy who could end up playing multiple positions, as he has already done for Dallas. This one makes the most sense, a player the Cowboys know, who knows the defense and is a solid contributor.
2. O'Brien Schofield (Atlanta) - It was reported early on in free agency that Dallas had an interest in the hybrid strong-side linebacker/rush defensive end. When Dallas made their switch to a 4-3 defense, it was said they wanted to emulate the Seattle Seahawks. Schofield is a former Seahawk and his old team is reportedly interested in bringing him back. He also hasn't ruled out the Falcons, but he's waiting for the right deal. Dallas could get in on the negotiations and utilize him as a hand up strong-side linebacker against the run, and a hand down pass rusher against the pass. Something they tried intermittently with Kyle Wilber.
3. Mike Neal (Packers) - Very similar to the Schofield description above. He played an outside linebacker role in the Packers 3-4 but could make the switch to hand down defensive end. Neal is also being looked at by the Seahawks who are trying to fill the role that Bruce Irvin used to play for them.
4. Jason Jones (Lions) - He's getting up there in years (turning 30) but has been a solid presence for the Lions. He had a very good year opposite Ziggy Ansah and graded out on the positive side from PFF in both run defense and pass rush.
5. Benson Mayowa (Raiders) - This one has reportedly been in the works for a few days, but Mayowa is a restricted free agent so if the Cowboys do make an offer, the Raiders could still match. So the question becomes - do the Cowboys have enough faith in Mayowa that they slightly overpay so the Raiders won't match? Let's see if they actually get a deal on paper first.
Wild Card. Greg Hardy (Cowboys) - I can't believe I am writing this, but could the Cowboys troubled free agent still be in play? Jason Garrett sounds like a man who is solid on not bringing him back, but could that soften if Hardy can be signed to a low-cost, low-risk deal? Is it even worth it considering he didn't really produce on the level expected last season?