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Cowboys News: Five Free Agent Options To Improve Cowboys Pass Rush


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Cowboys Need to Break Frugal Ways This Off-Season - Ben Grimaldi, Cowboys Nation
Grimaldi explains why the Cowboys need to their checkbook out of the safe this offseason. Except is it really worth breaking the bank for players like Chandler Jones, Jason Pierre-Paul, Melvin Ingram, or Nick Perry?

In the past few years, free agency for the Cowboys has meant paying their own players and waiting for the market to calm down before jumping into the fray. This has resulted in the team signing bargain players who fit their scheme and style of play.

It’s the right approach that most of the top organizations in the league adhere to and it takes discipline to operate this way. In the limited sample size, the results have been positive for Dallas, they are getting the right fits for the best price on the market. Not overspending has allowed them to keep their young core of talent, supplement the roster and should see them thrive for years to come.

However, if there was a year to loosen up the purse strings and go big game fishing, this is it. The Cowboys might not be one player away (I think that theory only seriously applies to quarterbacks), but they are one big upgrade away from becoming a major threat to win the Super Bowl for years to come.

The Pros And Cons Of The Cowboys Going After A Pass Rusher In Free Agency - DannyPhantom, Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys need some serious pass rushing help, and DannyPhantom doesn't think it's too risky to spend big money on a free agent pass rusher.

In most cases, this is a sentiment that I would agree with whole-heartedly. But when it comes to pass rushers, it’s not that big of a concern. They are one of the more reliable investments. They produce. And while it’s reasonable to expect a team to not get full value on their price, this is a hit that the team should consider taking in order to immediately get high caliber production at this position. That’s not to say go crazy and hand out Olivier Vernon type money, but bite the bullet and get a difference maker.

2017 NFL Free Agency Predictions: Jabaal Sheard is Signed to Solve Pass-Rush Problem for Dallas Cowboys - Gil Alcaraz, FOX Sports
One option that might not (completely) break the bank is Jabaal Sheard.

I’m sure fans are hoping for some blockbuster signing like Jason Pierre-Paul or Nick Fairley. However, with their current cap situation, I find a high-priced signing like that extremely unlikely. So instead of nabbing a big name, the Cowboys aim a little lower for a talent like Jabaal Sheard.

Now don’t get me wrong—Sheard is an impact player off the edge. Although he’s coming off an up-and-down year with the Patriots, he’s still very capable of providing consistent pressure off the edge. He was New England’s sack leader in 2015, but saw a surprising drop down the depth chart in 2016. Still, he managed five sacks last year and earned exceptional grades from Pro Football Focus for his work as a pass rusher and run defender.

Put simply, Sheard is a talent Dallas would love to have on defense heading into 2017. What’s better is, since he had a relatively down year in 2016, Sheard shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. He could potentially sign a deal averaging about $4-5 million per year, but that’s much more doable than the figures JPP is likely to command.

NFL Free Agency 2017: Does Charles Johnson fit Jerry Jones' "War Daddy" model - Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report
Mike Tanier walks us through potential landing options for Jason-Pierre Paul, concludes that the Cowboys won't be able to keep up in the bidding war for his services, and offers an alternative:

Charles Johnson is a soon-to-be 31-year-old 4-3 end with just five sacks in the last two campaigns.

Johnson remains an effective run defender and a better pass-rusher than his 2016 sack total suggests. Pro Football Focus credits him with 31 hurries last year; in addition to creating opportunities for others, he sometimes arrived a split second after some receiver got wide-open against the miserable Panthers secondary.

Johnson may fit Jerry Jones' "War Daddy" model as a defensive lineman, as well as the Cowboys owner's love of big names. After two down years, he also fits the Cowboys budget better than Jason Pierre-Paul.

Dallas Cowboys could swipe quality pass rusher from Bucs - Brad Austin, The Landry Hat
If DeMarcus Ware doesn't return, the Dallas Cowboys could swipe a low cost, quality pass rusher from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Austin explains:


Smith is a 26 year old, Dallas native who played at South Oak Cliff High School. He entered the NFL with little fanfare due to low sack numbers in college. The four-year defensive end recorded only 9.5 sacks in 31 games at Missouri. Smith went undrafted in 2012 before landing with the Dolphins. He was released by three NFL teams prior to signing with Tampa Bay in 2014.

The interesting aspect is previous Bucs’ head coach Lovie Smith acquired him to play end in his ‘Tampa-2’ 4-3 defense. The same defense Dallas plays. Smith was productive in the role unseating William Gholston as the starter in 2014. In two seasons he racked up 13.5 sacks over 18 starts. 2016 was wiped out by a Week 1 knee injury leading to season-ending injured reserve.

Walter Football rates Smith as the 8th best available end, two spots above Ware.

Cowboys Free Agency Focus 2017: Devin Taylor Has The Youth & Upside - Michael Sisemore, Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys are in the market for a pass rusher, and nobody can deny that Devin Taylor has the upside, Sisemore writes.

The best part about Taylor is that he is still very young and has the size comparable to another Cowboys’ lineman, David Irving. Dallas is most likely going to go after pass rushers in the draft but a veteran with upside like Taylor shouldn’t be overlooked. With the focus on bettering the rotation, what’s the harm in taking a chance on a young guy?

NFL draft digest: 5 more potential 'war daddies' for Dallas Cowboys to look at | SportsDay
Last week, Sturm looked at Charles Harris, Derek Barnett, Carl Lawson, Taco Charlton, and Takkarist McKinley. This week, Sturm's pickings are noticeably slimmer, here's a summary of his assessment.

Texas A&M's Myles Garrett: Out of reach for Cowboys.
Stanford's Solomon Thomas: Out of reach for Cowboys.
Alabama's Tim Williams: First-round talent, with a fair amount of baggage.
Florida State's DeMarcus Walker: 3-technique defensive tackle. Likely a second-rounder.
Illinois' Dawuane Smoot: Good talent, but not a high ceiling.

DeMarcus Ware back to Cowboys, Tony Romo to Broncos in free-agent swap - Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post
In a recent Q&A with fans, Kizla threw out this thought:

Here’s a modest proposal: How about the Broncos let Ware go back to Dallas and the Cowboys let Tony Romo walk to Denver? Then we’ll all keep score, tracking which old veteran can do more damage in 2017.

The idea doesn't sit terribly well with Broncos fans as the results of the poll below the article shows.

Ware Romo poll


Of course, Ware is a free agent, so nobody is swapping anything. But still ...

Check out our own poll at the bottom of this post, where you can vote on which of the five options presented above you prefer.


Landing Tony Romo would send win totals of Broncos, Texans, Bears, 49ers soaring - Larry Hartstein,
Oddsmakers believe Tony Romo is worth 1.5 to 2 wins to the team acquiring him.

Legendary oddsmaker Kenny White said that if the Broncos acquire Romo, he'd set the Over/Under in Vegas on their regular-season wins at 10.5 or 11. With Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch, Denver's win total would be 9, White said.

Here's how acquiring Romo would affect the win projections for the acquiring teams:

Denver Broncos: from 9 to 10.5 or 11
Chicago Bears: from 4 to 5 or 5.5
San Francisco 49ers: from 4.5 to 6
Hosuton Texans: from 8.5 to 10

Two Out of five NFL excutives choose Tony Romo - Daniel Jeremiah,
Jeremiah polled five personnel executives from teams with established quarterbacks and posed this hypothetical question: If your team had a glaring quarterback need, which option would you pursue to solve the problem? Two of the five chose Tony Romo:

Executive 2: Tony Romo "If you are close to winning, Romo is by far the best option. Obviously, if you are looking for a long-term solution, you would be more likely to pursue Garoppolo, (Mike) Glennon or one of the QBs in the draft."

Executive 3: Romo "I'd make a run at Tony Romo. I think he can still play at a high level."

How a Tony Romo Contract Could Work – TexansCap
Good illustration of how a new team can sign Tony Romo with a low 2017 salary cap number, even if it is built on the assumption that the Cowboys will release Romo.

Romo is scheduled to earn over $33 million dollars over the next two years, including $14 million in 2017 on his current contract with Dallas. Obviously Houston cannot match that cash flow over the two year period. Romo’s camp would need to accept some cash flexibility as well as take an under market salary to be able to play in Houston.

Bear in mind this is a pure guess on cash flow on what Tony Romo might be willing to accept to play for the Texans; making the team an immediate contender for the AFC.

4 year contract worth $53,000,000 and up to $57,000,000 with $9 million guaranteed at signing and an additional $10 million in vesting guarantees. The $9 million initial guarantee would be made up of $8 million signing bonus and a fully guaranteed $1 million salary for 2017. A $10 million salary in 2018 would become guaranteed for injury only 5 days after the Super Bowl in 2018.


Twitter mailbag: The right tackle succession plan? - Todd Archer, ESPN
In response to a reader question, Archer explains the current thinking at right tackle.

In my opinion, too many people are ready to kick Doug Free to the curb. He’s entering the final year of his deal, and if the Cowboys moved on they would save $5 million against the cap -- but they would also create a hole on their line. Free is a serviceable player, and too many people don’t believe that. Look at some of the right tackles out there. Now, can the Cowboys get better? Sure. A couple years ago they hoped Chaz Green would be the right tackle of the future when they took him in the third round, but he has not been able to stay healthy in his first two years.

While much of the early-draft focus has been on the defensive side of the ball, I think the Cowboys could look for a right tackle at No. 28. Perhaps Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk would be a fit in the bottom end of the first round. It worked with another Badger in 2013 with Travis Frederick. Ramczyk could come in and learn from Free, or if Ramczyk proves he is ready to be the guy, they could make Free the swing tackle on game day.

I’m not ready to move on from Green, but until he shows he can stay healthy I don’t know how they can write his name in anything other than pencil at this point.

Cowboys Rookie of the Year Dak Prescott reveals what he learned from Jerry Rice -
To no surprise, it has to do with work ethic.

Earlier this week, during an interview with NFL Network, Prescott revealed what he learned from Rice when the Hall of Famer visited Mississippi State during Prescott’s collegiate career.

"I just remember the importance that you put on hard work. You never took a play off. You ran the same speed whether it was the first play, second play of practice or the game-winning touchdown. You were always the same guy," Prescott said, via the Dallas Morning News. "That’s the biggest thing I got out of that and that’s something that I try to do each and every day."

Cowboys' David Irving on a low point that helped him get his life in order
Not every NFL player led a life privilege before making the NFL, as Irving explained on The Ticket KTCK-FM 96.7 recently.

When did the light go on for you in your personal life?

David Irving: It was a Tuesday night, Iowa State ... I was in jail. I got out a couple of days later. When I got out, coach (Paul) Rhoades, the first person I talked to, said I was off the team. Expected. I had my daughter living with me, my girlfriend at the time living with me. No scholarship means no rent either. I finished up my semester with like a 3.5. I took my last Pell Grant installment, instead of paying rent or anything else, I had to pack what I could in my 1996 SS Impala and drive it back to California.

After we got home, I didn't really have a place to stay. I couldn't stay with my mom, things were bad. Couldn't go to LA, my dad was in LA. I'm from Compton, so I didn't want to go back out there and get involved with that. There would be times where I was in my car, couch here, friend's house there. After a while, I had to do something. I applied for every job in San Jacinto. Wound up getting a Home Depot job. I had like six trucks myself, overnight shift, first time doing it. Forty degrees in the truck; 90 degrees in the warehouse. I ended up getting real sick. Quit the next day. That's when I realized I can't do this and trained up. God blessed me with the opportunity to be where I am now. It's crazy to be able to be here talking to you guys right now.

Once I got kicked out, I had a totally different vision. I wasn't even looking at football. Now, I'm here; my daughter's happy; I'm doing well for myself.

NFC East Notes: Are Cowboys bringing Darren McFadden back? - ProFootballRumors
Cowboys scouts are reportedly still miffed at losing Darius Jackson last season, which might mean binging McFadden back is a real possibility.

Although the Cowboys already employ running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden isn’t ruling out a return to Dallas. "I get the feeling that the Cowboys wouldn’t mind keeping me," the 29-year-old McFadden told SiriusXM NFL Radio today (Twitter link). McFadden, who only appeared in four games in 2016 after missing most of the year with injury, was mentioned in trade talks both during the summer and near October’s trade deadline. A 1,000 yard rusher just a season ago, McFadden could certainly to Dallas as a depth piece, but would receive more playing time elsewhere.

Five free agents the Cardinals should consider signing - Jeff Smith, Fanrag
Morris Claiborne and Ronald Leary are apparently options for the Cardinals, and it's always interesting to see how people following other teams think about the Cowboys' free agents.

Morris Claiborne, CB

The Cardinals may not spend huge money on a cornerback, so why not look at a guy like Claiborne who finally turned a corner last season with the Dallas Cowboys? He’s not going to break the bank, he can slide in and fill a No. 2 cornerback role. He’s also still young. While injuries are an issue for him, the low cost of signing him would make that worth it. This past season, when healthy, Claiborne was arguably the best corner the Cowboys had.

Ronald Leary, G

Leary lost his job to La’el Collins back in 2015, resulting in him starting in just four games. The Cowboys chose to keep him in 2016, though, and after Collins went down, he had to step in and fill the void. Fortunately, he did just that, starting 12 games and making sure one of the top offensive lines in football never skipped a beat. Leary isn’t going to be an inexpensive option, as he’s only 27, but he’s going to be worth every penny, as the Cardinals need to protect Carson Palmer much better this season.

Looking Ahead: Packers 2017 Schedule - Chris Wanless, Cheesehead TV
Cheesehead TV takes a look at Green Bay's 2017 schedule, which includes a trip to Dallas, and offers this bit of interesting speculation:

Thanksgiving in Dallas? The Cowboys contest will be covered far and wide regardless of where it falls on the schedule, but a Turkey Day date could amplify the hype even more. The public will no doubt be inundated with replays of the Rodgers to Cook play and Mason Crosby’s game-winning field goal (not that we’ll complain about it) and I’m sure we’ll hear all week about how motivated the Cowboys are for payback. It should also be noted that by Thanksgiving these two teams could be jockeying for playoff position.

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