NFL free agency seems frozen solid. After the rush of signings earlier this offseason, the COVID-19 pandemic has basically wiped out any chance of more signings. It’s impossible for teams to bring players in for visits, to perform physicals, and do all the other rituals associated with NFL free agency. Thus players who didn’t sign a contract in that period before everything totally shut down are still on the market. Once training camps open, expect the market to thaw and signings to start.
And there are some very talented players still out there, with the defensive line position particularly well represented. At the top of most rankings for remaining players sits Jadeveon Clowney who reportedly would like to play for the Cowboys. Unfortunately, his contract demands will probably be a little high for Dallas. Another player highly-ranked is Everson Griffen. There have been plenty of calls for the Cowboys to sign him, but he remains a free agent.
There is another veteran defensive end out there on the market, and he is the guy Bleacher Report suggests the Cowboys should sign.
Replacing [Robert] Quinn won’t be easy, and the Cowboys are in a bit of a bind when it comes to chasing free agents. While they do have roughly $10.5 million in cap space, they would presumably like to work out a long-term deal with quarterback Dak Prescott before the July 15 deadline.
Therefore, Dallas should be looking exclusively at budget options, which is where veteran Cameron Wake comes in. Although Wake produced only 2.5 sacks for the Tennessee Titans last season, he had a double-digit-sack campaign as recently as 2017. Wake also has experience with Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Nolan—the two were with the Miami Dolphins in 2010 and 2011, when Nolan served as defensive coordinator.
Perhaps more importantly, Wake shouldn’t cost the Cowboys the bulk of their remaining cap space.
The first thing to discuss when talking about Wake is his age. He is currently 38 years old. Unless you’re a special teams specialist, or a very good quarterback, 38 is ancient in the NFL. Wake only played in nine games for the Tennessee Titans last season because of injury, totaling 2.5 sacks. Two years ago he played in 14 games for the Dolphins and had six sacks. As noted above, in 2017 he had 10.5 sacks.
The question is do the Cowboys need another veteran defensive end? DeMarcus Lawrence is the starter on one side, and either Tyrone Crawford or Aldon Smith will likely start on the other side with the other being the rotation guy. Behind them is a grab bag of names including Dorance Armstrong, Joe Jackson, Jalen Jelks and draft pick Bradlee Anae.
Then there is the wild card, Randy Gregory. We still don’t know what is going on with his reinstatement although everybody seems to believe it will happen soon. If Gregory returns, the defensive end room is going to be pretty crowded. A rotation of Lawrence, Smith, Crawford and Gregory would be solid.
So BTB, do the Cowboys need another defensive end? And is Cameron Wake someone they should consider?