Today we continue taking a look at the Dallas Cowboys’ upcoming free agents. Our third profile features 24-year-old Dorance Armstrong. The defensive lineman is coming off the best season of his career. Should Dallas look to keep him around long-term?
Player: Dorance Armstrong
Age: 24 (25 in June)
2021 Stats: 13 G, 5 GS, 28 tackles, 20 stops, 6 sacks, 36 total pressures, 23 QB hurries, 7 QB hits (Via Pro Football Focus)
2021 Review: During his four-year tenure in Dallas, Dorance Armstrong has always been held in high regard by the organization. Jerry Jones, the person whose opinion matters more than anyone, has spoken highly of Armstrong on multiple occasions.
”I’ve liked (Dorance) Armstrong,” Jones said. “I think he’s absolutely … the trick is as a young player to get as much out of every day, every rep you can. He’s really impressed me.”
Coming into this season, Armstrong had not produced all that much on the field. He had shown some flashes, but he was unable to put together a consistent season. That all changed for the former fourth-round pick in 2021, as he put together the best season of his career.
Armstrong finished the year with 36 total pressures, six sacks, and was tied for third on the team with 12 QB hits. The 24-year-old also blocked a punt that led to a touchdown against the Falcons.
This was a huge play by Dorance Armstrong to force the intentional grounding call. pic.twitter.com/DCEUtjvtEu— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) November 1, 2021
Dorance Armstrong was so close to getting the strip sack here. Ugh. pic.twitter.com/b0jGSeXGdx— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) September 13, 2021
Overall, it was about as good of a year as Armstrong could have hoped for heading into free agency.
Free Agency Outlook: It’s hard to project what the market will look like for a more under-the-radar player like Armstrong, but his next contract may look similar to what current Cowboy Tarell Basham got from Dallas last offseason. Basham signed a two-year, $5.5M deal with the Cowboys in March of 2021.
Armstrong (24) is younger than Basham (27) was when he signed his deal, but they’ve had similar production on the field. His age and upside will likely help him surpass Basham’s deal, and there could be a team that just blows Armstrong out of the water with a deal he cannot turn down, but it seems much more likely he settles for a two-to-three-year deal worth $4-5M a season.
Cowboys Fit: Out of the players we’ve profiled so far, Armstrong has the best chance to return to Dallas. The future of the Cowboys’ defensive line is very uncertain at the moment, and there’s a possibility the Cowboys could head into the 2022 season without Randy Gregory or DeMarcus Lawrence.
Feels like this is where things are heading. Stephen sounded like he was laying the foundation for it this week, and a number of people connected to the decisions are anticipating it to come to fruition.— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) February 4, 2022
Both players are still stars and wouldn't be unemployed for very long. https://t.co/QCGuArVg1i
For this reason, and the fact that the defensive line was so important to the overall success of the defense last season, an Armstrong/Cowboys reunion makes sense. Armstrong is very valuable as a rotational piece on the Dallas defensive line, and his return would help soften the blow of potentially losing Lawrence or Gregory.
Dallas likes him and he clearly won’t break the bank, so both sides should be able to work out a deal that makes sense for each party.
Final Verdict: The Cowboys won’t be making many moves in free agency, but bringing back Dorance Armstrong seems like one they might make.
Prediction: Dorance Armstrong signs a three-year deal to stay in Dallas