With the first day of Free Agency starting in just a few weeks the Dallas Cowboys will likely look to sign a few free agents to fill some holes on their roster before they get to the draft. The Cowboys are usually rather patient during the Free Agency period waiting until most of the big name guys have already been signed, they normally like to sign their own players back and wait for the second or third tier players begin coming off the board before even thinking of opening up their checkbook. The Dallas Cowboys have a large load of “their own” guys who will be hitting free agency this off season.
- Brandon Carr – CB
- Morris Claiborne – CB
- Barry Church – S
- J.J. Wilcox – S
- Terrell McClain – DT
- Jack Crawford – DL
- Justin Durant – LB
- Andrew Gachkar – LB
- Ron Leary – G
- Darren McFadden – RB
- Terrance Williams – WR
- Brice Butler – WR
- Lance Dunbar – RB
- Kellen Moore – QB
- Mark Sanchez – QB
- Gavin Escobar – TE
That list is rather long and holds a few names that played a huge part of the success of the 2016 Dallas Cowboys. But as I mentioned above Dallas will end up signing a player or two that was with another team last year. With that being said I will be putting together a Dallas Cowboys Free Agent Wish List.
I will be taking into account the cap space range that Dallas should likely be in after doing the yearly contract restructures. A few days ago it was announced that both Tyron Smith and Travis Fredrick’s contracts were restructured to free up about $17.3 million in cap room putting them under the cap with more moves to be made by the start of the season. A lot of people like to mention that the Dallas Cowboys are in “Cap Hell” these two moves proved to all of those “Cap Hell” people how easy it is to turn Hell into Heaven real quick in the NFL. Don’t be surprised to see multiple more moves to be made in order to get that Cap Space even more in a team friendly area in the upcoming weeks
Wants and Needs?
First off lets point out our team needs. Defensive End, Cornerback, and Wide Receiver are without a doubt big needs for the Cowboys to target but by no means would a signing of a Running Back, Tight End, Offensive Tackle, Safety, or Linebacker be considered a luxury signing. The Cowboys have decent depth at all those positions but a injury or two with no back-up plan at the position could be brutal for the Cowboys.
With a idea of the Cowboys cap space and the positions they will need to try and target we’ll start putting together our Dallas Cowboys Wish List.
- Melvin Ingram – OLB/DE
The Chargers would be absolutely insane to let Ingram hit free agency but I have seen crazier things happen (Olivier Vernon). Ingram is the one guy who I would put all my chips in a bag and throw it at him as quickly as I can. The Cowboys don’t have much money to work with in their account but I don’t think it’s out of the question to go after Ingram. Ingram at 27 has raked up 24.5 sacks over his first four years in the league. Playing as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the Chargers scheme may scare some 4-3 teams away but not for me, Ingram listed at 6’2, 250 pounds fits the perfect body type for a right defensive end in Rod Marinelli’s scheme. Ingram plays with excellent hand usage to match with his outstanding speed. The Cowboys normally don’t like to target top tier free agents but where else does Jerry Jones expect to get his “War Daddy”.
This GIF shows you everything you need to see to be impressed with Ingram, get off + use of hands + dip + bend + explode. Perfect rush.
Terrell McClain needs to be right at the top of the list as a priority free agent for the Cowboys. McClain was fantastic for Dallas this year and as a familiar face who seemed to really enjoy his time in Dallas this signing is more likely than others. McClain does’t stuff the stat sheets but he does stuff running lanes and eat up a whole lot of double teams and he’s rather good at doing the dirty work. McClain plays with impressive power and for a man of his size plays with very quick hands. McClain offers more than just a space eater as he was able to show he can penetrate the pocket and get to the quarterback as well at the 1 technique position. McClain should come fairly cheap given his injury history and age.
Like Terrell McClain Church is a familiar face that was a well respected individual in the locker room and on the field. The Cowboys seemed to play their best defensive football when Church was healthy and in the lineup. Church had a solid seventh season in the league leading the team in interceptions and was third in total tackles. Church is a vocal leader on the defense and plays a huge role in the “bend but don’t break” style of defense Dallas likes to play. Church is an excellent run defender but plays the pass good as well. Church is someone you don’t want to play man on man with but his ability to work while the ball is in the air is one of his strengths. Church has spent his whole career in Dallas and has been one of the most consistent players on the defense for years now. Dallas will certainly look to bring Church back on a deal that makes sense for both sides.
Could the Cowboys all time leading sacker come home and try and win a ring with the team he started his career with? That is still to be determined but it makes so much sense. Ware at age 34 doesn’t have to many seasons left in his tank, but one more might be all he needs to turn things around for this Cowboys defense. Demarcus Ware is by no means chopped liver but also by no means a spring chicken. Ware’s production has dipped and his injury concerns continue to hamper him but a reunion for the two parties could be a great addition for both parties. In most NFL teams defensive meeting rooms there is normally one veteran pass rusher in the room that may not be the lead dog anymore but can mentor the younger talents. Who is that guy for the Cowboys? Tyrone Crawford… the guy whose season high sack number five? Maybe Demarcus Lawrence the guy who probably has the most talent but after a disappointing season due to suspensions and injuries couldn’t get much of anything going.. The answer is they don’t have one. All the active defensive ends on the roster are young and inexperienced. Ware would come in likely still being the best pass rusher on the Cowboys roster and try and get these guys straight. Ware had four sacks in 2016 after another injury filled season, if Ware is healthy and wants one last chance to win a ring with the team he started his Hall of Fame career with I’m sure Jerry Jones would be more than happy to set that up if the money makes sense.
When looking at the Cowboys wide receiver situation it isn’t terrible but it certainly isn’t pretty. Terrance Williams and Brice Butler are both free agents and will likely be out of the Cowboys price range. That’s where Patterson comes into play. After four years of disappointment the former first round pick finally started to get it going. Patterson took on a bigger role in the Vikings offense that led him to his career high in receptions (52) on an offense that was pretty much non-existent for the last half of the season. Patterson offers a special threat as a vertical deep threat option and a dynamic special teams player. Patterson could give you a better option at receiver to run the “Lucky Whitehead end around” play that Dallas seemed to love in 2016. Patterson would likely enter a battle with a draft pick or maybe even someone like Andy Jones for the starting “Z” in the Cowboys offense but would take over the returner role from Lucky that has been very disappointing two years in a row now.
Most fans absolutely despise Brandon Carr, the Cowboys are the exact opposite. Carr had his best season as a Cowboy last year and hasn’t missed a start in his entire career. His availability to the Cowboys has been something that have appreciated over the years. The fact that his game seemed to improve last season is a big plus as well. Carr is also a big leader in the Cowboys locker room and is a much better player than fans like to give him credit for. Carr is towards the end of his career as well and is one of the most determined players in the Dallas locker room, getting him back on a short term team friendly deal would be a great move for Dallas when you look at the cornerback position depth.
7. William Gholston – DE
Gholston is a guy I could certainly see the Cowboys going after. Likely a second maybe even third tier type of guy. Gholston played left end in Tampa Bay and wasn’t a big sack number guy. Gholston is an excellent run defender that does offer some pass rush ability. If the Cowboys want to throw all their chips in Demarcus Lawrence basket for yet another year and move him over to RDE then the Gholston signing makes a lot of sense. Gholston would likely start at LDE in Dallas and come off the field on money downs. The former Buccaneer is the “right kind of guy” and would be a great addition in regaining last seasons success in stopping the run.
In the beginning part of the article I explained how they will likely push their own free agents up the list of priority and that’s exactly what I showed here. McClain, Church and Carr all made it into the Wish List along with the bigger names in Ingram and Ware. Patterson and Gholston would be good depth signings that would be later signings into free agency, when the Cowboys seem to be most active.
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