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2021 Cowboys free agency: ESPN picks a center as the “perfect” free agency fit in Dallas

This seems like a really odd pick for the Cowboys in free agency.

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NFL: NFC Championship-Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

If we were to scream out into the abyss of Cowboys Nation and ask what the top need for America’s Team entering free agency is, what do you think they would say?

The smart money would be on some defensive help, besides re-signing Dak Prescott. The Cowboys had one of the worst defenses to ever play the game of football last year and while they moved on from Mike Nolan, things are only going to be different with Dan Quinn at the helm if the team gives him the proper tools to work with.

A lot of what the team needs boils down to some decisions that they have to make. If they are going to cut Jaylon Smith, the early reports are that they will not, or choose not to pick up Leighton Vander Esch’s fifth-year option, then linebacker becomes a bit more of a priority for the future. Cornerback is a need given that both Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis are hitting free agency. Safety is a need because, well, this is the Dallas Cowboys.

Offensively the truest need is at the tackle position. While we are all hoping to see Tyron Smith and La’el Collins play as much as possible in 2021, having depth is certainly a smart move.

ESPN picked “perfect” free agency fits for every team and chose a center for the Dallas Cowboys

You know how when you are driving somewhere familiar to you that there are checkpoints where you are able to discern that you are close to your destination? We are heating up right now and seeing the most familiar landmark that we know when it comes to this offseason’s free agency period.

A tell-tale sign that free agency is quickly approaching is that “perfect” fits are being found by different outlets. This week, NFL.com chose Bashaud Breeland as an ideal match for the Cowboys and while there is certainly a discussion to be had there, at the very least Breeland fits one of the team’s top needs. Ideally, the Cowboys will attack their needs so as to not pigeonhole themselves ahead of the draft.

The worldwide leader took it upon themselves to participate in this exercise and looked for a “perfect” free agency fit for every NFL team. Who did ESPN choose for the Dallas Cowboys, you ask? Green Bay Packers center Corey Linsley.

2020 team: Packers | Age entering 2021 season: 30

Both Joe Looney and Tyler Biadasz struggled at center for the Cowboys last season. And while Biadasz was just a rookie, the Cowboys could still look to upgrade the position. Linsley is a no-brainer here; he’s been one of the best centers in football over the past few seasons and then became the best center in football in 2020. He posted 80.0-plus grades as both a run-blocker and pass-blocker in 2020, the only center to do so.

To be clear here, it would be wise for the Cowboys to consider adding depth along the interior of their offensive line (it’d be wise of them to add depth everywhere in that context). They have Brandon Knight and Terence Steele (just listing options here!) as far as tackle options go, and for what it’s worth they do have Connor McGovern to work inside. Again, depth would be nice.

The thing about this, though, is that center is not that big of a need for the Cowboys at the moment. In a perfect world - since that is where we are operating - Tyler Biadasz would cement himself as the starter for 2021 and beyond like he was on the precipice of doing this past season.

Linsley is certainly a fine option for any team at center, but the Cowboys have much bigger needs to focus on and prioritize. Consider that PFF projects Corey Linsley to net a three-year deal worth $11M per year with $16.5M guaranteed.

The point of ESPN’s exercise was to use each player just once so they did have to find 32 totally different matches. Linsley again would certainly be a nice option for the Cowboys, plus there’s the obvious familiarity with Mike McCarthy from their time together with the Green Bay Packers, but this hardly feels like a “perfect” match.