The Dallas Cowboys have done a lot of revamping when it comes to their defense this offseason. One particular area of focus has been the 1-tech defensive tackle position. In March, they signed former All-Pro Dontari Poe who is set the be the starter at nose tackle. Also, in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, they selected Neville Gallimore who will give the Cowboys another physical runner stopper on the interior who can also rush the passer. However, there's one guy that's being overlooked in this rotation at the 1-tech and that's Antwaun Woods.
The Cowboys placed the exclusive right free agent tender on Woods earlier this offseason. With only two seasons in the NFL, this meant Woods wasn't able to negotiate with any other team. After some uncertainty, he finally signed his tender back in July which will pay him $750,000 in 2020. He'll be a restricted free agent in 2021.
What that means is he'll be able to negotiate with any team. If he accepts an offer from them then the Cowboys will have “right of first refusal” which is a five-day period in which they can match any offer or refuse to, in which they could receive one more draft picks from Wood's new team. If no offer sheet is executed then his rights will go back to the Cowboys. Basically, he's playing for a big payday, which is always a motivating factor.
Over the previous two seasons, Woods has started 25 games for the Cowboys. He recorded 34 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery in 2018. Last season was a rough one, though, as multiple knee issues derailed his performance. He registered 23 tackles and a fumble recovery in 10 starts.
Now, he has the added motivation of battling the aforementioned Poe and Gallimore for snaps at the 1-tech. Poe will start more than likely but Woods won't make it easy on him and he'll without a doubt do everything he can to keep the rookie Gallimore in his rearview.
There's a lot of competition at the 1-tech spot and Woods, who's been the team's top guy at that position for a while now, faces his toughest challenge yet. As we count down the days to the season opener this position battle will definitely be one to keep an eye on.