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Why the Cowboys should add another pass rusher in 2022 free agency

‘You can never have enough pass rushers’ is advice the Cowboys should heed.

Arizona Cardinals v Cleveland Browns Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

While the Dallas Cowboys might not desperately need to upgrade any position this late in the offseason, if there’s one thing they should consider it’s adding another pass rusher. The Cowboys did add former Ole Miss Rebel Sam Williams with their second-round pick, but it’s hard to completely rely on a rookie to generate tons of pass-rush production in his first season.

Just look back at what some of Dallas’ other second-round pass rushers have done in their rookie year. Back in 2015, Randy Gregory did not record a single sack during his 12-game rookie season. DeMarcus Lawrence also was a bit of a slow starter, as he did not record a sack during his seven-game rookie year, and totaled just nine sacks during his first 32 games in the league.

Now sack numbers aren’t everything, and there are certainly ways pass rushers can impact a game without posting a high sack total. DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2021 season is a great example of that, but you can simply never have enough pass rushers. Last season seven of the top 12 teams in sack total made the playoffs. This group of seven included the two teams that made it to the Super Bowl, with the Rams recording 50 sacks and the Bengals recording 42.

So, from a Cowboys standpoint, if they are going to go out and try to add another pass rusher, who could be some potential targets? The first name that could be a possibility is someone Dallas is very familiar with from his days in the NFC East, 33-year-old Jason Pierre-Paul.

According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Dallas had some interest in signing JPP prior to the draft.

Quinn did a ton of homework on fast, quick players with pass-rush production. That led the Cowboys to second-round pick Sam Williams (No. 56), who will work his way into the D-line rotation. Dallas now feels it has at least six capable edge rushers. At one point, it had some interest in veteran Jason Pierre-Paul, but the draft might have changed those plans.

While Pierre-Paul’s 2021 season was hindered by injuries, the veteran was a big reason why the Buccaneers were able to make the championship run they did in 2020. Pierre-Paul posted 9.5 sacks during the regular season in 2020 and was a constant pass-rush presence during Tampa’s four postseason games.

Dallas could likely get the veteran for much less than the two-year, $25M extension he signed with the Buccaneers back in March of 2020.

If the Cowboys don’t want to pursue Pierre-Paul, another potential target could be former number one pick Jadeveon Clowney. The 29-year-old had a bounce-back season with the Browns in 2021, recording 19 QB Hits, 11 TFL, and nine sacks.

Clowney signed a one-year, $8M with the Browns during the 2021 offseason. With it being May and Clowney still being unsigned, you have to believe if the Cowboys were to offer the pass rusher a one-year deal in the $5-6M range, he would have at least some interest in signing.

If the Cowboys think Pierre-Paul and Clowney would demand too much money and want a cheaper option, they could target Trey Flowers or veteran Justin Houston.

Overall, the Cowboys have enough cap space to add another impact player. If they are going to do so, targeting a pass rusher and beefing up their defensive line would be the best move.