Even though the mania surrounding the first part of free agency is over, that doesn’t mean teams still can’t find help. In fact, there are quite a few guys out there who could be starters or rotational players for teams. This is where the real bargain-hunting begins.
Who is still out there that might tempt the Cowboys? Glad you asked. Of course, Dallas may go into a holding pattern on free agency until after the draft, but they also might sneak in a player or two if the value is there.
Safety - Kenny Vaccaro, Tre Boston, Eric Reid
The best position to find a quality player right now is, without a doubt, at safety. And that just happens to be a position the Cowboys should be interested in. The question everyone’s asking is why is the safety market so slow? Are teams waiting on what happens with Earl Thomas, or is there something else going on?
No safety hit the jackpot in free agency, and you can grab guys like Kenny Vaccaro, Tre Boston, Eric Reid at a discount, and a handful of lesser players at the position are also available. Vaccaro, Boston and Reid are still young.
Boston seems like a player that would have cashed in by now. His breakout 2017 season would make one think he would have a multi-year contract, but he’s also being lumped into the strong safety position instead of a free safety.
Boston said his agent has spoken to the Chargers about re-signing, but the two sides have reached an impasse because “they think I’m more of a strong safety-type of player.” Value at that position is generally lesser than at free safety because playing the latter requires better range, especially in pass coverage.
One NFL team executive told Sporting News the overall lack of top-end speed among free-agent safeties is one of the contributing factors to a repressed market.
”It’s a marginal group,” the executive said. “You really don’t have one cover safety in the group. You have some decent box types like Vaccaro and Reid, but it’s primarily backup types left.”
Based on what’s happening on the market, Boston thinks he might have to sign a one-year deal again.
Boston said he hasn’t set a personal timetable for signing and is still holding out hope for a multiyear deal. However, Boston does realize at some point he might have to begrudgingly repeat what he did last offseason — sign a one-year deal hoping for something better in the future.
Defensive tackle - Jonathan Hankins, Bennie Logan
If you want a pure 1-tech that has put together some pretty good seasons, Jonathan Hankins is available. He was cut by the Colts, who now have ex-Cowboy Matt Eberflus as defensive coordinator. Are the Cowboys thinking the same way as Eberflus, that Hankins is not a fit for their system? He’s definitely a two-down run-stuffer, but he gave the Cowboys fits when he was in New York.
Bennie Logan is a veteran who could certainly step into the rotation at the 1-tech spot.
Linebacker - NaVorro Bowman, Kevin Minter
If the Cowboys want to shore up the linebacker position even more than what they’ve done with Joe Thomas, NaVorro Bowman may be worth a look. The Cowboys made a play for Bowman last year before he signed with Oakland. He went on to have a nice season for the Raiders, and is still very useful as a run-stopper in the middle.
Kevin Minter is a guy who has bounced around a bit because he never lived up to his draft status. But as a rotation player against the run, he has some value.
Wide receiver - Jordan Matthews
The Cowboys are likely done with the wide receiver position for now, they will probably wait and see what the draft brings. Matthews could be an option down the road depending on how things shake out, he’s a chain-mover that does solid work underneath. Still, a real longshot given the Cowboys crowded receiver room.
There are other positions that might make sense. They could take a flyer on a defensive end like Kony Ealy, or they may look at the offensive line market to create more competition. Of the players still available, who would you most like the Cowboys to sign?