So far, the Dallas Cowboys front office and scouting department has been on fire this offseason, but their work is never done. The Cowboys still need to add depth at a few key positions mainly the safety and pass rusher positions. They once again decided not to take a safety in the draft and are hoping that either Aldon Smith or Randy Gregory are able to return from their suspensions.
But, sometimes you can’t sit back and wait, you have to be aggressive if you want to win in the NFL. If the Cowboys want to continue that trend then here are three players whose fifth-year options have been declined. The Cowboys like to lie in wait before seemingly coming out of nowhere to sign or trade for a player. Well, one of these guys may just be the next player the Cowboys go after.
Haason Reddick - Linebacker/Edge
Over the past few weeks there has been a lot of talk about the Cowboys moving MIKE linebacker Jaylon Smith to the designated pass rusher position that is being added by new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. While it’s a good idea, Smith’s production at Notre Dame when rushing the passer wasn’t stellar, they should keep Smith’s speed at the MIKE position where is he able to cover tight ends and running backs out of the backfield. Instead, bring in another speedy linebacker to man that position in Reddick who fits the mold.
During his time at Temple, Reddick was consistently harassing quarterbacks with 17.5 sacks compared to Smith’s 4.5 sacks with Notre Dame. Reddick’s ability to rush the passer wasn’t utilized with the Arizona Cardinals, instead they had him playing a true linebacker position which included dropping into coverage, something he’s isn’t that good at. If Nolan is able to get his hands on Reddick and use his speed opposite DeMarcus Lawrence while still keeping Smith in the middle of the defense, it’s a big win for the Cowboys. Speed on defense is becoming a major factor in winning games and the Cowboys would have a lot of it close to the line of scrimmage.
Malik Hooker - Safety
There’s been a lot of talk about the Cowboys possibly trading for Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams for sometime now but nothing has happened. Maybe the price is too high or maybe the Cowboys have decided that they’d rather save the money and go after another safety who has more of the skill set they are looking for. Adams is a beast, but he is better suited playing around the line of scrimmage, and we know that Nolan is looking for physical corners and safeties that can get takeaways.
Hooker could be that safety, he’s more of a middle of the field cover safety with great ball skills. Since coming into the league Hooker has amassed seven interceptions while Adams only has two, and while Hooker has far fewer tackles than Adams, he is also a willing tackler in the running game so he won’t hurt you there. Hooker can also be had for a lot less than what Adams will cost the Cowboys, while getting a center fielder for a defense.
Takkarist McKinley - Edge
This former first-round pick came into the league with a lot of hype thanks to his pass rush abilities, and in his three-year career he has been able to use those skills to harass quarterbacks. McKinley’s pass rush skills and sacks (16.5) would be a much-needed addition to a defense that just lost a 11.5 sack defensive end in Robert Quinn. McKinley would also bring a versatility to the defensive line, allowing DeMarcus Lawrence and himself to switch sides on plays to create the best matchups.
But sacks aren’t the only thing McKinley would bring to the Cowboys, he’s also very good against the run and 21 tackles for loss. Another area that hurt the Cowboys last season. With the friction between McKinley and the Falcons front office showing, the Cowboys have an opportunity to get a good player on a cheap deal.
Obviously you would need to work out a new deal if you traded for one of them, especially if you traded any sort of significant draft capital for them, but sometimes you can strike a bargain in these situations.