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5 Pre-draft Moves Cowboys Should Consider Making in Free Agency

Brian Martin

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5 Pre-draft Moves Cowboys Should Consider Making in Free Agency 4

It's a lot more fun to speculate about the NFL draft and which players the Dallas Cowboys could be interested in, but today I want to talk about free agency. These players aren't shiny new toys, but for the most part they are proven commodities and teams pretty much know what they're getting. It's usually the safer way to improve your team.

I know the Dallas Cowboys have stated they don't plan on being very active in free agency outside of signing their own, but they have the money to pretty much do whatever they want. That is why I decided to put together a list of five moves I believe they should seriously consider. I really think each one of these moves are possible without breaking the bank.

Continue to read below to see how I would potentially approach free agency this year. I think it's a great way for the Cowboys to free themselves up to take any player regardless of position in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft.

Bring Landon Collins to Dallas

Landon Collins

Free Agent S Landon Collins (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Last year at this time everybody was wanting the Dallas Cowboys to upgrade their safety position with Earl Thomas. This year everybody should shift their focus to a safety who's played for the Cowboys division rival the past several years, Landon Collins. He is the hard-hitting enforcer they need at strong safety.

The Cowboys need to replace Jeff Heath in the starting lineup. He's been serviceable these past few years, but his poor tackling this past season was a problem. This is an area where Landon Collins excels and he would become that Kam Chancellor type enforcer like Kris Richard had on the back end of his defense with the Seattle Seahawks.

Beef up the Defensive Line

Danny Shelton

Free Agent DT Danny Shelton

For what seems like the past decade I've been preaching about the Dallas Cowboys need to add a big space eating defensive tackle to the middle their defensive line. Someone who can clog the middle and help keep opposing offensive lineman from getting their hands on the Cowboys young talented linebackers.

I think the Cowboys can add one of these behemoth DTs without breaking the bank. Danny Shelton, a former first-round pick, would probably be my first choice. He's every bit of 340 pounds and is coming off a down year with the New England Patriots after being acquired from the Cleveland Browns via trade this past offseason. He is load to deal with in the running game and has the power to collapse the pocket as a pass rusher.

Steal Division Rival's Swing Tackle

Ty Nsekhe

Free Agent OT Ty Nsekhe

When healthy and on the field Tyron Smith is still arguably the best left tackle in the NFL. Unfortunately, he's missed a couple games in consecutive seasons due to injuries, which has made the swing tackle position behind him more important. With Cameron Fleming hitting free agency, the Cowboys could turn to their division rival, the Washington Redskins, for tackle help by signing Ty Nsekhe.

Although Fleming played pretty well in Tyron Smith's absence, I think Ty Nsekhe will not only be more affordable, but also an upgrade. Nsekhe is 33 years old, but don't hold his age against him. I think he is a starting caliber left tackle in the NFL and could even compete with La'el Collins for the starting right tackle position.

Replace Cole Beasley in the Slot

Adam Humphries

Free Agent WR Adam Humphries (Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports)

Cole Beasley seemed to be a little insulted with how the Dallas Cowboys value him both contract -wise and in the passing game, which means he's probably moving on. Luckily, there are a couple of free agents the Cowboys can bring in and be just as productive, perhaps even more so.

Adam Humphries and Jamison Crowder are two FA wide receivers I believe can come in and replace Cole Beasley. Both are younger than Beasley and both are dangerous slot WRs. Humphries a little bigger than Beasley, while Crowder is little smaller. And, both are more dangerous after the catch and would be an upgrade at punt returner as well.

Upgrade Tight End Position

Jesse James

Free Agent TE Jesse James

The best way for the Dallas Cowboys to upgrade their tight end position might be to do it through free agency. There's some pretty solid free agent TEs available this year and signing one of them would help Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz's development more than bringing in a rookie. But, like always it's going to come down to price.

Personally, I like former Pittsburgh Steelers TE Jesse James as a Cowboys FA target. He's a good in-line blocker and receiver in the passing game. He's has had some solid production in Pittsburgh, which could've been better if targeted more often in the passing game. There is also a couple of Baltimore Ravens TEs that make sense, Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle. Any one of these three would likely be an upgrade in Dallas though.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys will make any of these moves in free agency?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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Dallas Cowboys

Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency?

A season after Jason Witten's retirement, the Dallas Cowboys still have a need at tight end. Replacing a future Hall of Famer is no easy feat so it's only logical that it would take longer than a season to feel good about who's in at tight end.

The Cowboys currently have two tight ends who could be pretty serviceable going forward. Fourth round pick Dalton Schultz did a very solid job as the team's TE2, specially toward the second half of the season. He turned into a pretty good run blocker and despite only racking up 116 yards in 12 catches, he's a guy the Cowboys' offense could use even more in the future.

Also on the team is Blake Jarwin, who functioned as the Cowboys' main tight end for most of 2018. His performance against the New York Giants in week 17 made us wonder whether or not he could be an important target on the Cowboys' offense.

These two could very well have more in them than what we've seen. With a new offensive coordinator in town, tight end is a position the Cowboys could start using way more. As Bobby Belt pointed out on Twitter a few weeks ago, Scott Linehan's offense doesn't benefit tight ends very much. Before we give a verdict on what Schultz and Jarwin can do, I'd like to see them work with Kellen Moore's offense.

Bobby Belt on Twitter

One thing you consistently see when Scott Linehan takes over an offense is a drop in the starting tight end's production. Randy McMichael, Byron Chamberlain, and Jason Witten all saw drops in yards per catch, receptions per game, and yards per game once Linehan took over.

Here's the thing. If the Cowboys are not taking a tight end in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, are they really upgrading what they already have? I'm not sure we'll be convinced about that if they draft a player for the position until the third or fourth round. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating for the Cowboys drafting a TE in the second round, because I believe there are more pressing needs on the team. However, signing a veteran free agent might be the better option for upgrading the position.

Should a veteran TE be an option?

This year, there are quite a few interesting names in the tight end market. Veterans such as Jared Cook, Tyler Eifert and even Antonio Gates will be looking for a new team pretty soon. I know, that would be "getting older." But it could also mean getting better. Building a solid TE committee with a veteran leading Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz could be the way to go for this football team.

Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency? 1

TE Tyler Eifert (Aaron Doster / USA TODAY Sports)

Eifert is a great tight end... when he's on the field. Durability is his biggest weakness, as he hasn't played more than 10 games since 2016. The Cowboys could take a risk on him and constantly rotate him with Jarwin and Schultz. It may be a huge risk, but it could pay off big time. If the price is right, Eifert should be targeted by the front office.

The 2018 Oakland Raiders had a season to forget, winning only four games. Even still, Jared Cook's season was impressive. He finished the year with 896 yards and multiple 100-yard games. The biggest issue with Cook is his age. He turns 32 in April. But hey, he's literally coming off from a career year.

Jesse James is a younger guy who could also be worth it. He's not an a potent receiver, but he gets it done in the passing game and is one hell of a blocker. James could be a legit, cheaper option for the Cowboys in free agency.

There are a lot of names out there the front office could look at. Charles Clay was just released by the Buffalo Bills and Nick Boyle will be looking for new job after new arrivals pushed him out of the Baltimore Ravens' roster just to mention a few names.

We'll see what the front office's plans are soon enough, but right now, I'd say tight end is a need the Dallas Cowboys should at least try to address in free agency instead of the NFL Draft.

Tell me what you think about "Should Cowboys Address TE Need Via Free Agency?" 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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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Cornerback

Jess Haynie

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Byron Jones

Unlike other positions on their roster, cornerback appears ready to off the Dallas Cowboys stability in 2019. However, that doesn't mean the team can just ignore it this offseason. There are still a few decisions to be made.

Thanks to a shrewd move in April of last year, Dallas will be enjoying Byron Jones' services at a bargain. They picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract and will be paying him just $6.3 million next season.

That's a steal for a Pro Bowl corner, who generally make more than double that amount in a single year. But the Cowboys are still left the decision of whether or not to give Jones a long-term deal now or wait until he hits free agency in 2020.

It's easy to say that they should enjoy the discount and worry about it next year. But then you risk a second Pro Bowl trip and the lure of the open market. Byron's asking price could only go up.

Of course, Dallas could then also have the option of using the franchise tag.

Keep in mind that Jones will turn 27 this September. Dallas could decide that it makes sense to play through the rookie deal this year, franchise him in 2020, and then reassess when he's about to turn 29 years old.

If they give Byron a long-term deal now then they'll have to pay him like one of the top corners in football. It may be wise to wait.

Chidobe Awuzie, Giants

Dallas Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie

Another decision facing the Cowboys is if they think they can improve at the second starting position. It was an up-and-down year for Chidobe Awuzie, but he was playing his best toward the end of the season. Dallas could hope that a second year with Kris Richard's coaching, and just more general growth for a third-year player, will elevate Awuzie's game.

However, with plenty of cap space to work with, Dallas could pursue a solid veteran option and then allow Awuzie to play the nickel role. It would not only perhaps improve the CB2 position but also bolster depth overall.

Speaking of depth, Anthony Brown returns for the final year of his rookie deal. While never spectacular, Brown has been a gem as a former sixth-round pick with 29 career starts. He brings exceptional value and may even compete with Awuzie for the starting job.

While arguably the team's best young corner in 2017, Jourdan Lewis comes into this season with a lot of uncertainty. He fell out of favor last season, perhaps for not fitting the physical style that Richard likes. But he did manage to snag the game-clinching interception in Dallas' upset win over the New Orleans Saints.

If a scheme mismatch is the issue, the Cowboys could look to trade Lewis this offseason. He still has two years left on his rookie deal and was considered a first-round prospect by some in 2017. A cornerback-needy club might have more use for him than Dallas seems to.

If they did move Jourdan, the Cowboys might turn to Donovan Olumba to fill out the depth chart. He was one of their surprising performers in last year's training camp and spent the year on the practice squad. At 6'2", he has the size that the team seems to be looking for now in its corners.

More than likely, Dallas will ride with this group in 2019 with no big changes. I do think a Lewis trade is possible, especially with the Cowboys short on draft picks this year. But don't expect any major cap space or draft capital to go at one of the team's more solid positions.

With all the other work Dallas needs done this offseason, a little stability at cornerback is a luxury.



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Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Center

Jess Haynie

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Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Center
James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

Even with Dez Bryant's release and Jason Witten's retirement, the loss of Travis Frederick last season may have been the most damaging to the Dallas Cowboys. The team looks forward to getting their All-Pro center back in 2019 while also having a reliable backup still under contract.

Just within the last few weeks, Frederick has provided encouraging updates on his status for next year. It looks like he'll be able to participate in all offseason activities, but the Cowboys would settle for Week One. There appears to be plenty of cushion for that to happen.

Travis' absence in 2018 was seen in various ways. Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times, second-most in all the league, after just 32 and 25 times the previous two seasons. Part of that is missing Frederick's blocking ability, but also the way he would assist with reading the defense and making pre-snap adjustments.

Dallas would've loved having Frederick out there to help Guard Connor Williams, who worked with Travis throughout the offseason only to lose him in late August. It was not an easy way for the rookie to start his career.

We also saw issues in the run game. Even while Ezekiel Elliott led the NFL in rushing, short-yardage situations weren't as easy as they used to be. The Rams were able to neutralize the Cowboys' rushing attack in Dallas' playoff loss, something that Frederick might have helped overcome.

Joe Looney

Dallas Cowboys G/C Joe Looney

This isn't saying that Joe Looney did a bad job. On the contrary, Looney was more than adequate and helped keep Dallas from suffering far greater damage without Frederick.

After Joe's work in 2018, Dallas won't blink at keeping him on the $1 million salary he's due next year. It's a bargain for a backup of his quality, and especially given his versatility as an option at guard as well.

Not only are Frederick and Looney locked in for 2019, but Dallas also still has backup Adam Redmond under contract through next season. He was added after final cuts last year to be Looney's backup and should return to at least help the team through July and August.

With these guys already in place, there's no reason to think that Dallas will give much attention to the center position during the offseason.

At most, a mid-round draft pick might be used on a player who could potentially replace Looney in 2020 as the backup. Joe's contract ends next season, and he could be competitive for starting jobs with other teams at that point.

With lots of other concerns throughout the roster, Dallas is fortunate to have so much security at center. All signs are positive on Travis Frederick's return, and that is a huge boost to the team as it looks to push forward from last year's playoff run.



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