The Dallas Cowboys went into the 2016 free agency period hoping to find a defensive end that can rush the passer. During the first wave of free agency, the prices were too rich for their tastes, so they decided to wait until the bargains came along. They settled upon restricted free agent Benson Mayowa, a former undrafted free agent who has spent time with the Seattle Seahawks and most recently the Oakland Raiders. Being a restricted free agent, the Cowboys had to shell out a fairly decent contract to keep the Raiders from matching. But is he worth it?
That's what many are asking about a guy who has only started three games in three seasons and only has two sacks overall. He certainly looks the part of a speed rusher at 6' 3" and around 240 lbs (although he looks slightly bigger than that weight). He ran a 4.65 40 and he has a lanky build with long arms. The Cowboys are banking on an improvement in his play with coaching under Rod Marinelli and possibly some extended playing time. But what is the realistic hope for Mayowa?
Todd Archer recently asked that question of Paul Gutierrez, a sports writer who covers the Raiders. Part of his response:
He has only two sacks in 30 career games. It’s hard to say he resembles an accomplished pass-rusher but his skill set is similar to that of 13-year veteran Chris Clemons, who has 69 career sacks. If the Cowboys get that kind of production and longevity out of Mayowa, I think they’d be more than happy with it.
Indeed they would be. But my initial reaction was skeptical, so I needed to look up Chris Clemons career to see if a guy like Mayowa who has done little in his first three years could end up being a productive pass rusher like Clemons. The results were a little surprising.
Like Mayowa, Clemons played little when he first came into the league and was an undrafted free agent. He only started three games in his first five years in the league. He never had more than four sacks in a year through those first five years, except for one year with Oakland when he had eight (his third year in the league). Then he got picked up by Seattle. He started all 16 games the next three years and averaged around 11 sacks a year, and had a five-year run where he averaged just over nine sacks a season.
If Benson Mayowa can come close to that, then I think we all would be happy.