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Cowboys 2017 Free Agency Focus: Mario Addison Perfect Rotational Player

At 29, Addison is showing to be a late-bloomer in the NFL, but better late than never.

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Carolina Panthers Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing our focus into free agency, much like the last offseason, we’ll be looking at quite a lot of veteran pass rushers. We’ve established that the Cowboys’ have a “Bring The Band Back Together” mantra as Joey Ickes and Landon McCool have told you via our awesome BTB podcast. They undoubtedly will focus on their in-house names before they go searching for help on the market.

Still, the Cowboys could go after a couple of targets this offseason. This is not to say that they are going to go crazy because that’s not this team’s M.O. However, in order to really put a stamp on their defense, they will look for guys that can fill roster holes and set their draft up nicely. One of those guys with potential could be the Carolina Panthers’ defensive end, Mario Addison.

DE Mario Addison, 29, Carolina Panthers, 6’ 3, 260 lbs

Addison’s story is of an NFL journeyman who has finally found himself to become a productive player in this league. Addison was undrafted in 2011 and signed by the Chicago Bears with none other than, you guessed it, Rod Marinelli as his defensive coordinator. His stay in the Windy City was short-lived as he was cut on November 21st after a game against the Chargers that saw both the long snapper and quarterback Jay Cutler go down with injuries. He only appeared in two games before his roster spot was needed.

Addison was scooped up the very next day by the Indianapolis Colts where he appeared in six games between 2011 and 2012. On October 1st of 2012, Addison was waived and placed on the Colts’ practice squad. Just eight days later he was signed off the practice squad by the Washington Redskins. Again, after limited exposure (five games), the Redskins waived him and placed him on their practice squad.

Addison was again poached from the practice squad, this time by the Carolina Panthers in December of 2012. He played in four games and even started one game where he was able to record his first career sack and a forced fumble. He slowly became a reliable rotational player in Carolina’s 4-3 alignment. Addison played in all 16 games in 2013, starting two games, recording 2.5 sacks, 21 tackles, and a forced fumble.

In the offseason of 2014, Addison signed a two-year extension with the Panthers and rewarded the team with a sack in each of the first five games. He finished the year with 6.5 sacks as a rotational player having not started a single game. In Carolina’s magical Super Bowl run of 2015, still not a starter, Addison racked up six more sacks and 23 tackles despite missing two games that season.

Though the Panthers were not a very successful team in 2016, one of the brightest moments has got to be the way Mario Addison had played. Having appeared in 14 games this season but starting only one, Addison blew up with 9.5 sacks this season, 23 tackles, a safety, two forced fumbles and a pass deflected at the line. That’s quite the stat line for a rotational player.

The Cowboys almost seem like the perfect fit for a guy that does his best work in a rotation. It’ll be hard to judge his market value as some teams may see him as a starting caliber player while others will see that he’s only started four games in six seasons. Addison will be 30 years old by the start of September which will also play a role in his value.

Dallas does prefer to look towards younger players but has shown interest in stop-gap solutions before such as Chris Long and others. Though they will likely look to the draft as their major resource in building their defense, don’t rule out the possibility of a player like Addison to bolster their defense while easing their younger players along in their development.

Addison’s path to a quality player has that Cowboys’ feel to it. In the past several years, they love to get guys like him and coach them up. Though he’s certainly classifiable as a late-bloomer, it’s better late than never. Would you be willing to give Mario a shot to become Marinelli’s latest creation?

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