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Cowboys 2017 Free Agents: The Case For And Against Re-Signing DT Terrell McClain

The Cowboys have decisions to make on their own free agents. We help make the choice for them.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As we move towards free agency, which begins on March 9, we’ll take a look at the Cowboys current unrestricted free agents in an effort to discern whether they will return or not. Today, we’ll take on a player who has played a significant role on the defensive line, DT Terrell McClain.


McClain was drafted in the third round out of South Florida by the Carolina Panthers in the 2011 NFL draft. He started a majority of the games that rookie year before a knee injury sidelined him. He was released and went to the Patriots before landing with the Texans. The Cowboys signed McClain as a free agent in 2014. Last year he started 15 games and had 2.5 sacks along with two forced fumbles.

Case For Re-Signing

McClain is a disruptive interior presence that plays both the run and the pass well. There are times when he shows a very quick initial burst and can make plays in the backfield. In addition to his 2.5 sacks in 2016, he had numerous pressures that helped other players make the splash play.

The Cowboys defense was best in the league against the run and McClain was big part of that, collecting 41 tackles on the year to lead the defensive line. McClain shows good agility for a big guy and can make plays outside of the tackle box. His history of injury may keep his price down.

Case For Letting Him Go

Did we mention the injuries? 2016 was the first time the Cowboys really got a full season out of McClain without significant injuries either interrupting the number of games played or his preparation & practice time. This is a history that extends beyond his time with Dallas, he also suffered injury in Carolina.

McClain will be 29 when the season begins, and he plays a position that is very rough on the body. Will he be able to stay healthy and give the Cowboys return on investment in 2017, and beyond, depending on the length of contract?

Teams will be looking at his 2016 tape, and apparently one team is already interested.

That could drive his price up.


McClain is a solid player in the middle and when healthy forms a nice duo with Maliek Collins. The Cowboys run defense was very good, McClain was a big part of that. The Cowboys would want to bring him back, but his injury history and interest from other teams might mean the Cowboys look to the draft for a younger replacement. They still have Cedric Thornton in the fold as a possible replacement.

Vote in the poll then hit the comments to post your take on McClain and his future in Dallas.

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