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5 Free Agent Pass Rushers Still Available for Cowboys

Jess Haynie

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5 Free Agent Pass Rushers Still Available for Cowboys 1

The biggest concern for the Cowboys going into the 2017 offseason was needing to upgrade their pass rush. They have yet to make any moves, and one potential helper was lost when DeMarcus Ware announced his retirement yesterday. As such, it's become an even more dire concern.

While no other signing could have the novelty of a reunion between Ware and the Cowboys, there are still other free agent options out there for a veteran pass rusher. One of them, the Eagles' Connor Barwin, was discussed yesterday by one of our other writers.

Along with Barwin, here are some other free agent pass rushers that Dallas could consider. The ages provided are based on how old they'll be when the season begins:

Elvis Dumervil

DE/OLB Elvis Dumervil

Elvis Dumervil

Age: 33

After having at least 9.5 sacks every season since 2009, Dumervil's production has declined in recent years. He had just six sacks as a 16-game starter in 2015. Last season, playing in eight games and starting three, Elvis had just three sacks.

That doesn't sound great, obviously, but Dumervil's per-game production was still better than most Dallas Cowboys in 2016. Benson Mayowa led the team with just six sacks but played far more than Dumervil did for the Ravens.

Personally, I don't like Elvis as much as some of the other options on the list. However, beggars can't be choosers. If used strategically, Dumervil could still provide help to the Cowboys as a sorely needed edge rusher.

 

5 Free Agent Pass Rushers Still Available for Cowboys

Dwight Freeney

Age: 37

The oldest guy on the list, Freeney had three sacks in a reserve role for the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons. Like Elvis Dumervil, he is far from the player that used to terrorize opposing quarterbacks on a regular basis. Still, he may be able to help the Cowboys.

If you were interested in Dallas re-signing DeMarcus Ware, it would be hypocritical to dismiss guys like Freeney or Dumervil.  They were all about equally productive last season. The red flags are the same but so are any potential gains.

Chris Long

DE Chris Long

Chris Long

Age: 32

After finally getting a Super Bowl ring in a part-time role with the Patriots, Howie's boy is looking to be a starter again. He isn't quite as aged as some of the other veteran options but his declining production in recent years is a concern.

Long's last "good" season was 2013 with 8.5 sacks as a full-time starter. His last two years with the Rams saw him get just four sacks, thanks largely to injury but also a reduced role. He totaled four sacks in 2016 with New England as a situational pass rusher.

Dallas' scheme should offer Chris Long a good chance to succeed. It's similar to what he did with St. Louis for many years. However, Long's best work came as a strong-side defensive end and that's where the Cowboys already have a lot of bodies.

 

Jacquies Smith

DE Jacquies Smith

Jacquies Smith

Age: 27

Unlike the other guys on this list, Smith is still at a prime age but has had several injury issues. From 2014-2015 he recorded 13.5 sacks in 27 games, 18 as a starter and nine as a backup. He had ankle and hamstring issues that limited his availability.

Last year, Jacquies suffered a knee injury in Week One that ended his season. As a Restricted Free Agent in 2017, Smith received the lowest RFA tender from Tampa Bay that only gives them the right to match any contract he receives. With Smith being undrafted in 2012, a team trying to sign him wouldn't owe the Bucs any draft pick compensation.

Given that they weren't willing to put up an extra million or two to protect Jacquies Smith more, Tampa Bay may not be willing to match any offers. Dallas could try and get Smith for a low-priced deal, perhaps similar to the 3-year, $8.25 million they gave Benson Mayowa last year. Smith has already proven way more in the NFL than Mayowa had, but the injury concerns should drive the price down.



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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1 Comment
  • Corey

    Well maybe there is some one in Dallas with a brain. Re-signing WR Terrance Williams was a very good thing because along with Butler the entire WR corps will return intact. CB Nolan Carroll is an upgrade for the secondary, but they still need to look at the S position, and they still need a certified pass rusher. I am really hoping they don’t draft a TE in the 1st. Rd. like the rumors going around suggest. Also they may want to look at RB again this year with all of the stupid antics that Elliot is doing. He is going to mess around and get suspended. He really needs to grow up and act like a professional football player.

Star Blog

QB Dak Prescott Continues To Come Through In Clutch Situations

Kevin Brady

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Dak Prescott Continues To Be Money In Clutch Si

Dak Prescott is possibly the most criticized quarterback in all of football.

Of course, this comes with the territory of being the Cowboys starting quarterback, but each throw Prescott attempts is placed under an intense microscope, even by NFL standards. We analyze every snap of every game, looking to find where Dak was right or wrong with this reads.

There's no question, though, that Prescott has been inconsistent throughout his young career. Week to week, drive to drive, and even play to play, we seemingly have no gauge on just how Dak Prescott will perform.

One scenario where we can say with confidence he will come through, however, is when it matters most. Last Sunday, in yet another must-win game for the Dallas Cowboys, Prescott orchestrated a game winning drive to lead his team over the favored Atlanta Falcons.

The Cowboys offense was pedestrian for much of the afternoon, but when Prescott got the ball in a tied game, I felt confident he would give Brett Maher a chance to win the game. Even on the road, and even after the offense had struggled a bit through the air all day.

Prescott got the ball late in the fourth quarter, looking to answer former NFL MVP Matt Ryan's game tying touchdown strike to Julio Jones. Dak went for it all on the first play, looking for Michael Gallup deep down the sideline, but the ball fell incomplete. After that throw, Prescott went 4/5 for 45 yards, including a huge completion to Cole Beasley, putting Dallas in game winning field goal range.

This confidence in Dak Prescott is justified, as is shown by his numbers in late game situations. Prescott now has 12 game winning drives, tying him for the league lead over the last three seasons. For comparison sake, Eagles starter Carson Wentz has just 3 game winning drives over that same stretch.

Overall the box score shows a rather quiet day for Prescott, but it was exactly the kind of Sunday they need from him. He completed over 60% of his passes, ran for a touchdown, and avoided the key turnover which could have sung this close game.

He played efficient football, and gave the Cowboys a chance to win it late. Then, he did what he does best, making plays in clutch situations and coming through in the 2 minute drill.

For all of Dak Prescott's flaws, those end-of-half and end-of-game situations have been a clear strength for the young quarterback, and continued to be this week.



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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Can we Believe General Manager Jerry Jones?

Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.

Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.

Cambios de Coach

A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.

A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.

Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?

El Draft

A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.

A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.

En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.

Decisiones difíciles

La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.

Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.

Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.

No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Star Blog

Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.

Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.

Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.

Here's why those people are wrong.

Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.

Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).

Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.

There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.

Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.

Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.

Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.

Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.

And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.



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