In a couple months, the Dallas Cowboys will have a slew of new young rookies for their 2020 roster. It’s always fun to get new players, and it’s also fun to try to guess who those players might be. While we don’t have insight to the inner workings of the war room (at least not until later when selfies featuring the player rankings are leaked), we do know the landscape of the Cowboys current roster. This can at least help us identify some of he position groups the team is looking to target in the upcoming draft.
To the Cowboys credit, they don’t always overreact to need when it comes to their draft process, but that doesn’t stop us from exploring the possibilities. Today, we’re going to look at the players the team has under contract for some of the more “needy” position groups to get a sense of what areas may require more attention come draft time.
The Cowboys have some serious to work to do here as they only have a couple sixth-round picks currently under contract. Sure, one of them is Xavier Woods, and that’s good for a solid starting free safety, but beyond that - the team is severely lacking.
It probably a fair assumption that they’ll at least bring back one of their own free agents in Jeff Heath and/or Darian Thompson as those guys shouldn’t be too pricey to re-sign, but that still leaves plenty of room for improvement. After watching this team pass up on quality safety options in the draft year after year, is there any reason to hold our breath that this season will be the year it finally happens?
The Cowboys had several players in the last year of their contract at the defensive tackle position in 2019. The most notable is four-year starter Maliek Collins who has been a reliable fixture in the middle of the defensive line in recent years. Both Michael Bennett and Christian Covington were essentially just one-year rentals and will most likely look for work elsewhere.
The good news is a couple of these free agents, Antwaun Woods and Daniel Ross, are prime candidates to return as the team has more control to bring them back. Both are undrafted free agents that have done an admirable job, including Woods who has started 25 games over the past two seasons at the 1-tech position.
The Cowboys also have a couple of last year’s rookies in Trysten Hill and Daniel Wise who they are hoping make a larger contribution this year. And lastly, there’s veteran Tyrone Crawford, who is in the last year of his contract; however, there is some speculation that he could be a cap casualty this year.
Collins, Bennett, and Covington are the three DT’s who logged the most snaps for Dallas last year, so this position group could end up taking a big hit this offseason.
To keep Byron Jones or to let him go? That is the question. With both Jones and Anthony Brown hitting the market this offseason, the Cowboys cornerback position group is now in limbo. And to make matters worse, the three guys they do have under contract are only signed through the upcoming season, meaning things could look real ugly a year from now.
The Cowboys need to hit the next couple drafts with some good cornerback options so their secondary doesn’t become a huge liability down the road.
It’s hard to remember the last time the Cowboys edge rusher situation was as strong as it was last season. With DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn as the bookends, how can you go wrong?
While Tank is inked long term after signing a $105 million deal last offseason, Quinn’s status is up in the air. The Cowboys would love to bring him back, but what will be his asking price?
The team does have some young players in Dorance Armstrong, Joe Jackson, and Jalen Jelks, but they are a far cry from the bendable persistence that is Quinn. Would it behoove them to find a new young talented edge rusher early in the draft?
When Amari Cooper gets re-signed, this position group will feel a lot better as both he and Michael Gallup make an nice one-two punch at wide receiver. And depending on what Randall Cobb’s asking price will be, it’s not unrealistic to believe the front office can keep the band together.
The team also has some young options under contract for one more season. Devin Smith was a player many fans loved in training camp, but for reasons unbeknownst to fans, he was just not used very much last year. Cedrick Wilson also flashed some good play in preseason, but he has all kinds of trouble staying healthy. His four-year deal in 2018 turned to just a three-year stint after being released and re-signed last year. That means he’ll be an exclusive rights free agent after next season so essentially the Cowboys have him for two more years.
Depending on how the team handles their own free agents, the need of this position group will change. With some good eats at wide receiver usually still lingering around in the third round, the Cowboys may choose to pull the trigger if the right guy is there.
While Jason Witten and Blake Jarwin are free agents, it’s possible both are wearing a Cowboys uniform in 2020. Witten wants to play for Dallas if the cards fall that way, and Jarwin is a RFA, so there’s a great chance he’s coming back.
There is still a lot of uncertainty as this position when it comes to the future, and the Cowboys need to move on this soon before
father time runs out.
What position do the Cowboys have the biggest need?
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