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Cowboys news: Slow start in free agency based on players Dallas is targeting

The news you may have missed from Tuesday for the Cowboys.

Miami Dolphins v New York Jets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Cowboys waiting on market for cheaper free agents - @GehlkenNFL

The Cowboys weren’t expected to be big spenders in free agency, as has become the norm, but it was revealed that this strategy was largely due to the fact that the market for players Dallas is targeting - such as Tarell Basham - has yet to develop.

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If the Cowboys really want to improve their defense, they need to quit signing cheap fixes and invest in impact players - Kevin Sherrington, Dallas Morning News

The Cowboys have earned a reputation lately for refusing to spend big money in free agency, even when it seems like the smart approach, and it’s yielded roughly the same on-the-field results. Is it time to change that?

Now, I know what you’re thinking: If the Cowboys had signed Tomlinson to just such a deal, they wouldn’t have much left for other free agents.

Better to do that than sign a half-dozen low-level vets to bargain deals, because too often you get what you pay for. Remember last year’s free agent tackles? Dontari Poe and Gerald McCoy? The Cowboys could have pumped more life from a blocking sled.

If you believe they can find a good defensive tackle in this draft, you should know it’s considered light in that category. Sure, they found Jay Ratliff in the seventh round in 2005. But if you believe they’re due another outlier, you might remember that even Ratliff needed a year of NFL seasoning before he made an impact.

What all this suggests is that if the Cowboys really want to improve their defense this season — a season that their $160 million quarterback has planned around a parade — it seems they ought to give themselves the material to do it.

BREAKING: Cowboys Sign OL Ty Nsekhe To One Year Deal - Kevin Brady, Inside the Star

The Cowboys did actually make some moves on Tuesday, even though they weren’t grabbing any headlines. Longtime swing tackle Ty Neskhe agreed to a one-year deal in Dallas on Tuesday.

Nsekhe most recently was with the Buffalo Bills in 2020, where he played just 54 offensive snaps. It took Nsekhe some time to find a home in the NFL, but during his second stint in Washington in 2015, he was able to carve out a spot for himself as a swing tackle.

Nsekhe has been in the league in some capacity since 2012, and will serve as a solid depth piece for the Dallas Cowboys’ banged up tackles in 2021.

Now between Brandon Knight, Ty Nsekhe, and Terrance Steele, the Cowboys will have a ton of competition this Summer at tackle.

Film room: How free-agent signee Ty Nsekhe fits with Cowboys, and why he’s an instant upgrade at OT - John Owning, Dallas Morning News

Ty Neskhe has quietly been one of the best swing tackles in the NFL the last few years, starting with his time in Washington. Now he’ll bring those talents to his former divisional foe.

Listed at 6-foot-8 and 330 pounds with long arms to fit that frame, Nsekhe is a giant offensive tackle who understands how to utilize his physical traits to slow opposing pass rushers. Nsekhe loves to use his length and capable punch to distort a pass-rusher’s line to the QB before running him beyond the apex of a QB’s drop.

Note how Nsekhe feigns a punch by pumping his outside hand at Kerrigan as he gets within reach. This causes Kerrigan to initiate his two-hand swipe technique, which is one of his best moves. Unfortunately for Kerrigan, Nsekhe’s hands weren’t there to swipe, which then enabled Nsekhe to land his hands and effortlessly ride Kerrigan past the pocket.

It may be hard to see in real time, but that’s the kind of subtle hand technique and effective timing that enables Nskehe to hold his own in pass protection without help — an impressive feat for a backup tackle.

Nsekhe also possesses a notable anchor against power, as he does an excellent job of hopping backward to regain leverage as he contracts his elbows to his body to create power and nullify the defender’s force. When asked to start in 2019 against Washington, Nsekhe had no problem handling Ryan Kerrigan’s power or hand technique throughout the contest, allowing one pressure against a pass-rusher who has given Dallas a ton of issues in the past.

Cowboys re-sign C.J. Goodwin - Michael David Smith, NBC Sports

The Cowboys’ much-improved special teams in 2020 was partly due to their ace, C.J. Goodwin. And on Tuesday, Dallas locked him back up for the next two seasons in an effort to keep that unit performing at a high level.

C.J. Goodwin, a cornerback who played a team-high 70 percent of the special teams snaps last season, has re-signed to a two-year deal with the Cowboys, agent Drew Rosenhaus said.

Goodwin doesn’t play much on defense, but the Cowboys appreciate his value on special teams and think he earns his roster spot even if special teams plays are all he’s there for.

The 31-year-old Goodwin had bounced around the league from the Steelers to the Falcons to the Cardinals to the Giants to the 49ers to the Bengals before spending the last three seasons with the Cowboys.

Sources — Chicago Bears, QB Andy Dalton agree to 1-year, $10M deal after Russell Wilson pursuit - ESPN Staff

A big departure from the team this offseason is Andy Dalton, whose solid play in relief of Dak Prescott this year earned him a chance to start somewhere else. On Tuesday, the Red Rifle found a home in Chicago.

Signed as the backup, Dalton was pressed into duty when Prescott suffered a dislocated and compound fracture of his right ankle in Week 5 against the New York Giants.

In nine starts (11 appearances), Dalton had a 4-5 record, throwing for 2,170 yards and 14 touchdowns, with 8 interceptions. He had his best showing in a Week 16 win against the Philadelphia Eagles, throwing for 377 yards and three scores.

Dalton had some health issues of his own during the season, missing a game after suffering a concussion against the Washington Football Team. The following week, he was put on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

At the end of the season, Dalton said his hope was to find a spot as a starter, and coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore said he had shown enough to warrant consideration from teams.

Details of Chidobe Awuzie’s deal with Bengals, comp pick implications - KD Drummond, Cowboys Wire

Chidobe Awuzie wasn’t expected to return to Dallas this offseason, but that became official on Tuesday when the cornerback inked a three-year deal with the Bengals. With that loss and the terms of his contract being published, it gave some insight into the potential comp pick the Cowboys could receive in return.

Early on Tuesday, the Dallas Cowboys lost their first high-value free agent when cornerback Chidobe Awuzie agreed to terms with the Cincinnati Bengals. The three-year deal sent the starter for 42 of a possible 64 games to the AFC, and leaves an expected void in the rotation at the position. Dallas will look to fill that void in free agency and more than likely the draft.

Meanwhile, the club got another piece in their future-building puzzle with the announcement of the terms of Awuzie’s deal. As an unrestricted out-of-contract free agent, Awuzie already was going to figure into the compensatory formula. The terms of the deal indicate he will slot in at the fifth-round compensatory level after signing a three-year pact for an average of $7.5 million a season with $9.25 million in Year 1.

While comp picks also take into considering playing time in the first year of a contract, the average value is the biggest piece. In the 2021 draft, 2020 free agents who earned an average between $6.5 million and $10 million were worth fifth rounders as compensation. That may decrease with the lower salary cap in 2021, as it dropped from $198.2 million to $182.5 million thanks to the pandemic and lost revenue.

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