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3 Free Agent DTs That Might Help Cowboys Run Defense

The price of beef may be going up nationwide but it should be going down on the NFL's market. Several notable defensive tackles remain unsigned and a few of them are veteran run stuffers who might be able to make an immediate contribution for the .

In late March we tossed out Akiem Hicks as an option and the 32-year-old remains available for now. This has been a rough for many older , some of them even major stars at their positions, as teams seem to be leaning more and more on youth in their roster building.

Since we considered Hicks the Cowboys haven't done much work at . They spent a 5th-round pick on Arkansas' but other than that are bringing back the same basic cast as last year: , , , , and .

Unless Ridgeway is going to be one of the more amazing Day 3 picks in franchise or Bohanna is makes a dramatic second-year leap, counting on either of these big-bodies tackles to help Dallas' leaky run in 2022 is poor strategy. None of Gallimore, Odighizuwa, or Watkins are built to be run stoppers and Hill is going to be lucky to make the team.

That's why we're circling back to this topic. Hicks is still out there but he's not the only reputable DT still looking for a job next season. And now that we're in the middle of the May, the negotiating leverage for these players has never been lower.

You can click here for a deeper dive into Akiem Hicks. But along with him, here are two other current free agents that could suit Dallas' need.

Free agent DTs , , &

Star Lotulelei

The former 2013 1st-round pick by Carolina was released by Buffalo after four seasons. He opted out in 2020 under the policy and returned last year, but between catching COVID and personal issues he only played in 11 games.

Still, despite his struggles and absences, Lotulelei posted three for Buffalo in 2021. He was a starter in eight games while the Bills proved to be one of the NFL's stingier run defenses last season.

Now 32 years old, Star wasn't going to be a top name on anyone's free agent list. But given the COVID-related circumstances of his unceremonious end with the Bills, Lotulelei's stock may be lower than it should be.

Brandon Williams

Williams has started every game he played in for Baltimore since 2015. He was a Pro Bowler in 2018 and has been a stalwart on their for almost a decade.

While he's the oldest of the three players mentioned here, already 33, Williams' experience included playing in multiple defensive looks with the Ravens. He's been a 3-4 and , which would translate well to the Cowboys' versatile scheme.

Like Lotulelei, Brandon caught COVID in 2020 and missed a few games. It is unknown how much this impacted his performance, but any decline may have been partly why Baltimore didn't re-sign the veteran after his contract expired in March.

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The key factor in discussing any of Hicks, Lotulelei, or Williams is that they're not going to be asked to become a focal point or even a heavy rotation player in Dallas. They're all 32-33 and will likely welcome a smaller role with their next team.

Whether it's to combat age, old , or nagging effects from pandemic issues, the niche role of nose and run-stopper with the Cowboys could be a perfect fit for these veterans. A one-year deal with a potential playoff team will become all the more appealing as the offseason rolls on, and you can imagine at least one of these guys wants to continue their careers.

Naturally, we're all dubious now of the Cowboys spending any of ' precious space. But after years of watching the struggle, finding a proven plugger for the middle of the defensive line would be a worthy use of our remaining 2022 funds.

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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Matt

Neither Odighizuwa, Watkins or Gallimore, are built to stop the run? They weren’t built for ballet or sprinting! Those are big bodies. Gallimore for sure is a big ol space eating, run stopping body. Odighizuwa played really well and so did Watkins. Throw in big ol Bohanna and Ridgeway and DT is solid. I don’t think they need an old free agent addition.

VAM

Jess, the three DTs you outlined are solid players and may help, but I just don’t think the FO will invest any more dollars at the DT position. I like the Ridgeway pick late in the fifth round; thought he may be a steal there. Like the size and strength and THE attitude. Of course, this is yet be seen on the NFL field, so let’s hope for the best.

Anthony

Matt must have missed the last two playoff loses. Because what I saw was the whole defensive line getting blown off the ball. It was clearly an ass whipping on both lines. So I will take a big body run stuffing DT if he still has some tread left

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