It may come to a shock to some of you, but I wouldn't expect the Dallas Cowboys to be big-time players in free agency in 2018. Okay, I know it's probably to be expected since they have developed a "bargain shopping" mentality these last few years in free agency, but that doesn't stop a lot of Cowboys fans from voicing their displeasure with this approach.
The Dallas Cowboys simply don't have the salary-cap space right now to be very active in free agency, but that could change by moving some money around and restructuring or extending a few of their current players. I still expect them to bring in a few players to provide some much-needed depth at certain positions, but they will undoubtably let the market settle before throwing their hat in the ring.
With that in mind, there are a few "bargain" FAs who I think the Cowboys should target, and as luck would have it, they are all former Penn State players. Sean Lee could become a very important recruiting tool in order to bring in some of his former teammates and Penn State alumni.
LB, Navorro Bowman
The Dallas Cowboys were supposedly interested in bringing Navorro Bowman in last year after his time with the San Francisco 49ers came to an end. Unfortunately, they never got a chance to meet with him, because he never made it out of the Bay Area and signed with the Oakland Raiders instead. But, Bowman is a FA once again and the Cowboys could have a second chance to bring him aboard.
Navorro Bowman and Sean Lee were teammates at Penn State and were a formidable pair of linebackers for the Nittany Lions. Neither Lee or Bowman are in their prime at this point in their careers, but both players still have quite a bit left in the tank. There's no denying the Cowboys could use some more depth at the LB position and Bowman would definitely provide that.
OLB/DE, Tamba Hali
Tamba Hali was recently released by the Kansas City Chiefs and that could end up being good news for the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys defensive end position is a huge question mark heading into the 2018 season and their current DEs are largely unproven, with the exception of DeMarcus Lawrence. Hali is no spring chicken anymore, but I believe he could provide some much-needed depth and veteran leadership.
Tamba Hali is entering his mid-30s and those kind of players don't typically receive "big-money" contracts in free agency, which fits into the Dallas Cowboys "bargain shopping" approach. Hali was a little bit ahead of Sean Lee's time at Penn State, but as a fellow alumni, I think he would have open ears to listen to Lee's recruiting pitch. Joining a young and up-and-coming defense could be exactly what Hali is looking for.
LB, Paul Posluszny
Paul Posluszny is another former teammate of Sean Lee's at Penn State and someone the Dallas Cowboys could show an interest in as a free agent. Like Tamba Hali, Posluszny is entering his mid-30s and isn't likely to command a "big-money" contract as a free agent. But, that doesn't mean he wouldn't be a welcomed addition to the Cowboys linebacker group.
Posluszny isn't the player he once was earlier in his career, but he will provide much-needed depth and help be yet another mentor for the Cowboys young and upcoming LB, Jaylon Smith. He could be exactly the type of LB the Cowboys are looking for and he could possibly be acquired on a veteran minimum contract.
Do any of these former Penn State players make sense for the Dallas Cowboys?
DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line
The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.
The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.
After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.
So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.
What exactly is that role, though?
I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.
Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.
Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.
If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.
This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.
New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF
On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.
Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.
In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.
This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb
Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.
Malik McDowell Is Well Worth The Risk For The Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly brining defensive lineman Malik McDowell into The Star this week for a visit, as they decide whether or not to potentially sign him for the 2019 season.
McDowell is a former second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, who fell to day two because of what scouts call "off the field" or "character" concerns. McDowell did not last long with Seahawks, as he was released in 2017 following an ATV accident in which he reportedly suffered "extensive brain and eye trauma" according to Charles Robinson.
None of us know much about who Malik McDowell is as a person, or what concerns their really should be with his health. But what I do know is that on tape at Michigan State, McDowell was a top 5-10 player in the 2017 draft class. He was a stud, and has the traits to continue to be a stud in the NFL.
The 2017 NFL Draft is chock full of talented, athletic, and productive defensive linemen. While most of the draft pundits have focused on EDGE rushers thus far, the defensive tackle class also possesses some of this year's top NFL prospects. Arguably the best of those defensive tackles is Michigan State's Malik McDowell.
Back in 2017 I wrote a full scouting report on McDowell, detailing why he earned such a high grade on my board. McDowell is a versatile linemen who is explosive off the ball, powerful and rangy against the run, and a skilled pass rusher who plays with a high motor. What more could you really ask for?
"McDowell is a patient pass rusher at times, setting up the blocker how he likes and then beating them with ease. McDowell’s ability to swipe hands off helps him greatly, but his quick swim is his most effective pass rush move.
On this play he uses that swim to perfection, forcing the center to power down to the right before swimming back to the other side."
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
When the Spartans went to a three man pass rushing front, McDowell moved to the EDGE often and made plays with his quick, active hands and impressive swim move. He was much more impressive on the interior, however, and could be a direct replacement for David Irving as an explosive and powerful 3-technique for the Cowboys.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
I love that the Cowboys are bringing McDowell in for a free agent visit. His price will likely be low, as he is yet to play in an NFL game over the last two years, but his ceiling remains very high if he is healthy. It's rare for a player with his college production, natural ability, and measurables to completely fail in the NFL.
Maybe all McDowell needs is a second chance to get his head right and prove that he belongs in the league. Maybe he flames out quickly and can't get on the field due to "off the field" stuff. Or, maybe he simply isn't healthy enough to contribute as an NFL player. Regardless, for the price he'll likely command, McDowell is well worth the risk if the Cowboys are willing to take it.
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