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2021 Offseason: Did Cowboys Get Better or Worse at Defensive End?

The Cowboys have seen some significant turnover at during this 2021 . Today we'll continue our “Better or Worse” review series and discuss how the needle moved for the DE position with the various comings and goings.

Dallas said goodbye to one of their high-profile defenders when signed a deal with the . They also lost longtime leader , who'd primarily played DE for the team the last few years, to early .

Thankfully, still having and on the roster mitigates some of the pain. Tank is one of the best in the game and Gregory was outplaying Aldon Smith by the end of 2020. They have the two starting positions locked down for next season.

That said, depth is the concern as two experienced veterans have now departed. What did the Cowboys do this offseason to replace them?

2021 Offseason Movement at DE

The first move came in March with a free agent ; 5th-year veteran Tarell Basham. After being a 3rd-round pick by the Colts in 2017, Basham wound up with the Jets a year later and spent his last three seasons as an defender for New York.

Basham got plenty of playing time last year with nine starts and appearances on 64% of the Jets' total defensive snaps. Though he only had 3.5 in 2020, Tarell added 13 QB hits and three forced fumbles to his stat sheet.

Dallas must think Basham has potential in their scheme after giving him a two-year deal with $3.75 million in guaranteed money. Considering the meager one-year contracts they were handing out to most in 2021, Basham's suggests some extra interest and belief in his ability.

Additionally, the Cowboys spent a 3rd-round pick this year on Iowa DE Chauncey Golston. With the athleticism to play DE and the size to potentially move inside on passing downs, especially after adding some weight, Golston could fill that Tyrone Crawford void nicely.

The rest of the is currently made up of carryover talent like , , and . Where and if these players fit into 's plans is hard to say currently.

You can hope for some second-year growth out of Anae and Carter, or a contract-year boom from Armstrong, but hope are all those are. And honestly, there's little more reason to expect Basham and Golston to just walk in and replace Smith and Crawford.

Everything with the group is a matter of hope right now; hope in Quinn's arrival as to get more out of the talent and hope that the talent will develop and perform with more opportunity. Even Randy Gregory, now being counted on like never before, has a lot to prove in 2021.

I'm excited for the potential but something has to be seen before we can be certain. For now, based on the known commodities we lost and the unproven nature of their replacements, we have to be a little worried.

Final Verdict: WORSE (slightly)

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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No way we could get any worse at any position on D…worse D in Cowboy History.


I’d say we got better slightly, Parsons though he’s
a LB , he’ll help out with his pass rushing skills as well, DQ would be smart to use him sometimes at MLB and then other times, use him as a DE and put LVE, J Smith, and Cox at the 3 LB positions


Couple that with the fact that our scheme fits our players better than last year, we should be better, unless DQ makes the dumb move of going to a 3-4

Brad Anae

Bradlee Anae will lead the reserves in Sacks and pressures. Then they should move Bradlee into the DT pass situations with Tank, Randy, Golston, and Parsons off the edge or up the gut. We need to get pressure not arm chair the “arms not long enough”, we got to get sacks and pressures. Not analysts opinions. Watch as the preseason unfolds. Armstrong has had his chances we need ballers not arm length measurements.

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