The Cowboys are the only team in the NFL to not sign at least one outside player so far in this free agency period. Could that change? News broke that the Cowboys are eyeing an offensive tackle.
The Dallas Cowboys are scheduled to meet with free agent offensive tackle Cameron Fleming beginning Monday, according to sources.
Fleming (6-6, 320) started at right tackle for the Patriots in the Super Bowl last month. The Patriots want to re-sign Fleming, but the Cowboys are in need of at least a swing tackle. Fleming has started games for New England at both left and right tackle.
Fleming started 20 of the 47 games he played in during his four seasons with the Patriots. He’s also a native Texan from Fort Hood. He played in college at Stanford and will turn 26 in September. Fleming was a fourth-round pick in 2014. He played his high school ball at Houston Cypress Creek.
Could this mean that Dallas may move La’el Collins back to guard? Hmm...
The interest in Fleming could be an indication that the Cowboys are considering moving La’el Collins back to left guard. Collins started every game at right tackle in 2017 after spending his first two seasons with the Cowboys at left guard.
The Cowboys were pleased with Collins’ adjustment to tackle but might believe they are stronger as a unit with him, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin protecting the middle of the pocket for Dak Prescott. The Cowboys signed Collins to a two-year extension through 2019 worth $15.4 million last season.
The great K.D. Drummond adds more to just that possibility. Could it happen?
While La’el Collins started slowly in his move to the right side for the first time in his career, Fleming’s up-and-down history does not seem to be the type of history that would make a return to left guard the obvious move for Collins.
Would Dallas really be improving the position by this replacement?
The move of Green to left guard was disastrous. He never clicked there, was replaced by Jonathan Cooper, and then was a shell of himself as a swing tackle when he was called into duty after Tyron Smith’s injury.
The failed shuffle seems to have contributed to Frank Pollack losing his job as offensive line coach. It appears new OL coach Paul Alexander may be interested in sending Collins back to the left side.
Speaking of offensive guard, what are the pros and the cons of taking, say, Will Hernandez of UTEP?
At 6-foot-2, 327 pounds, his is a large man. With such natural size, Hernandez does an unbelievable job at moving laterally and getting to the next level. Due to his size, many will question his ability to get to spots to finish blocks. However, his tape is indicative of a plus athlete.
Hernandez has quick feet and extremely strong hands that allows him to keep his defender from disengaging with him. With Hernandez, an NFL team will have a guy who can bully people in the running game and hold his own in the passing game as well.
Back to free agency. Dave lays out five potential targets for the Cowboys. Who would you like to see in silver and blue the most?
Defensive tackle - #41 Bennie Logan
PFT’s top defensive tackle that is still available is Ndamukong Suh, but we’re passing on him because we know the Cowboys are not going to spend the kind of money it will take to sign him. Ditto the recently released Jonathan Hankins. Bennie Logan is a quality vet who would benefit from moving back to a 1-tech position. He’s solid against the run and has enough disruption ability to influence the passing game on occasion. He’s not a stats-stuffer, but he would reinforce a shaky Cowboys interior. He was mentioned by my colleague Michael Sisemore earlier.
Safety is a position of a need for the Cowboys — especially with Byron Jones transitioning to cornerback. Who could the Cowboys look for to fill the hole in the secondary?
Tre Boston from the Chargers is both a fit and available. He doesn’t have the notoriety of Earl Thomas, but he’s a free agent and would come at a fraction of the annual cost. He has proven experience in Gus Bradley’s single-high scheme, and at 25-years-old, he’s still an ascending talent.
From a coverage perspective, Boston is a perfect fit. His experience and performance make him an instant starter with Cowboys and would push Jeff Heath is a more fitting depth role. In coverage, Boston was rated by Pro Football Focus as the NFL’s No. 9 safety last season. Jeff Heath, Dallas’ top ranked coverage safety, came in at No. 22.
With week one in free agency in the books, Moton looks towards the draft. He has the Cowboys taking a linebacker at 19 — ahead of names such as Hernandez and Marcus Davenport.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
He also believes that the NFC East team picking in the top-3 will pass on a quarterback.
The New York Giants have signal-caller Eli Manning under contract for two more seasons, with $18.6 million in dead cap tied to his contract in that time span. There’s also a no-trade clause built into his deal, per Spotrac. General manager Dave Gettleman won’t select a player at No. 2 who isn’t going to see the field for at least two years, which rules out selecting a quarterback.
Who else could the Cowboys target at the linebacker position this April? What about former Texas Longhorns star Malik Jefferson?
Jefferson looks like a prototype when you see him on the field. He’s got right around the ideal build and speed that you want in a three-down NFL linebacker.
He had a productive junior year with 110 tackles and 10 tackles for loss.
The biggest thing that stands out of tape with Jefferson is that he’s a guesser. When he guesses right the results look incredible. When he guesses wrong he leaves holes that runners exploit for big gains. He guesses wrong too often.
He’s going to be drafted highly because if he can develop his ability to read and react he has all the physical tools you can dream of for the position
After a so-so rookie season, could the 28th overall selection of the 2017 NFL Draft have a big season this fall? It’s possible.
Dallas Cowboys: Taco Charlton, Defensive End
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Taco Charlton was a disappointment initially in 2017. Then later, a light started to flicker, and toward the end of the season, there was hope that he could complete a formidable pass-rushing tandem with Demarcus Lawrence.
Charlton finished his rookie season with three sacks, two of which came over the Cowboys’ final five games. Over that stretch, he also recorded seven of his 19 tackles. He did all that while being on the field for just 38.2 percent of the Cowboys’ defensive snaps in a rotational role.
Charlton started to generate more pressure on his few opportunities and showed the pass-rushing strength that led to 10 sacks during his final year at Michigan. More snaps should be on the way for him in 2018, as long as he pushes Tyrone Crawford aside, who is entering his age-28 season after only four sacks in 2017.