Last week we started to look at what changes might be ahead for the Dallas Cowboys this off-season. Today we’ll continue to breakdown what else the team needs to do from within to get better for next year.
It’s easy to talk about free agency and how the Cowboys can fill the holes they have, but again, there is work that needs to be done at home before talking about any outside player. Dallas is going to be tight against the cap again this season and expect their trend of not paying big money to outside free agents to continue.
Here’s more of what to expect from the Cowboys this off-season:
Zack Martin: Before spending big dollars on any player outside the building, remember that Martin needs to be paid either this season or next. The Cowboys will assuredly exercise their fifth year option on Martin, but expect a huge deal for perhaps the best guard in football. This is your big money play this off-season and also likely means no big-time pass rusher on the open market comes to Dallas.
Ronald Leary, La’el Collins and Doug Free: Leary is probably going to get more money than the Cowboys can offer, especially knowing they have to pay the aforementioned Martin. However, the team should try their best to lock him up if possible. The odds are stacked against this from happening, but doing their due diligence may help the Cowboys bring back their best option at left guard, which might open up options with Doug Free and La’el Collins. Free seemed to wear down as the season went on and became the biggest liability along the offensive line. The team could release Free, save some money, throw it at Leary and then move La’el Collins to right tackle. Collins still hasn’t played as well as his draft status suggested and perhaps right tackle, where he has experience, is his best fit. His cheap price tag could allow the Cowboys to sign other guys on the team and Free would be on his way. Any way the Cowboys decide to go, there will be changes on the offensive line.
Jason Witten: Expect Witten to get an extension. I’ve been saying this for weeks now, Witten can still play, but his price is too high right now and the team needs some cap relief. My best guess is that Witten will extend for two years and he’ll be in the Doug Free range from a few years ago, at about $5 million per year. It will open up some money for Dallas and keep the best tight end on the roster to ride out his career in Dallas. He has at least two more years left, maybe three, and an extension will reflect that.
Tyrone Crawford: The Cowboys have moved him around for the past three seasons and even though he’s been a good soldier about it all, they can’t pay Crawford the $7.25+ million they are scheduled to pay him. He’s a prime candidate to get the Brandon Carr treatment, the team will approach him to take a pay cut. The dead money probably prevents the team from cutting him outright and restructuring him pushes money into the future, which doesn’t help. Bringing Crawford back at a reduced rate feels like the best way to go, open up some money and keep a player who is better off not having to be the main guy.
These are just a few of things (along with what was mentioned last week) the Dallas Cowboys may consider doing this off-season to stay in contention for a Super Bowl.
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