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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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DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line

Kevin Brady

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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.



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New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF

Kevin Brady

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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.

Randall Cobb on Twitter

Randall Cobb on Twitter

https://t.co/9H9xfApFqe

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.

Davante Adams on Twitter

Go do ya thang 18. Can't thank u enough for guiding me through this thing and showing us all how to be a pro. Love u brudda I'm excited for your next chapter ✊🏾 #187

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

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.



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Malik McDowell Is Well Worth The Risk For The Dallas Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Malik McDowell, Michigan State

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.

2017 NFL Draft: Scouting Michigan State DL Malik McDowell - Slant Sports

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."

nfldraft malik mcdowell 3

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.

nfldraft malik mcdowell 4

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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