It's no secret that the Dallas Cowboys plan on improving their defense this off-season. There are a number of positions that will likely need to be addressed at some point in the draft or free agency, with likely defensive end and cornerback at the forefront.
I for one think that the defensive tackle position could use an upgrade as well.
The Dallas Cowboys big-money free agent signing last off-season was Cedric Thornton. They also drafted Maliek Collins to shore up the position, but adding another talented player to the rotation isn't out of the question.
A defensive tackle that I'm hoping is on the Cowboys radar this off-season is two-time Pro Bowler, Dontari Poe.
Dontari Poe is one of the biggest (6'3″, 346), most athletic defensive tackles in the NFL. He would add some much-needed “beef” to the Cowboys defensive line.
You may have forgotten, but Poe ran a 4.98 second 40 yard dash at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine and also put up 44 reps on the bench press. Those numbers alone helped convince the Kansas City Chiefs to draft him 11th overall.
Fortunately for the Cowboys, the Chiefs are going to have to decide between re-signing Poe or Eric Berry, likely meaning the behemoth defensive tackle hits the open market.
I honestly believe that Poe would be an excellent 1-technique in Rod Marinelli's 4-3 defensive scheme, despite the fact he is built more like a nose tackle for a 3-4 defense.
Poe's lateral agility and strength would make him a force to be reckoned with in the middle of Marinelli's defense. He could be that disruptive 1-tech this defense has been looking for and that would only help the players around him.
Poe would likely require double teams and that would free up Maliek Collins and other players along the defensive line to make plays.
A big body in the middle of the defensive line would also help keep the Cowboys linebackers clean. That could be a huge benefit to Jaylon Smith, who is projected to be the starting middle linebacker next season.
Jaylon Smith having the freedom to run and make plays would fit right into his strengths as a player and would probably take this defense to a new level.
There are a lot of reasons why Dontari Poe would improve the overall performance on the defensive side of the ball for the Dallas Cowboys. But, like with any free agent signing, it all comes down to money.
In recent years, the Dallas Cowboys have shied away from signing the top-tier players in free agency. They have instead chosen to let the market settle down a bit before finding more team friendly deals. This would suggest that Dontari Poe might not be on their radar.
Dontari Poe is likely looking to sign a contract somewhere between what Michael Brockers and Gerald McCoy received. Brockers signed a 3-year, $33,250,000 deal that averages about $11 million a year. McCoy signed a 6-year, $95,200,000 deal and averages just a little less than $16 million a year.
Based on those numbers, the Dallas Cowboys would likely have to sign Poe to a contract that averages about $13 million a year.
That's a good chunk of change to invest in a defensive tackle, but it's a move that I think would greatly help improve the entire defense.
I know everybody wants to upgrade the defensive end position, but I think a player like Dontari Poe could help improve the Cowboys pass rush just as much.