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Contract Year Cowboys: What Role Will DL Tyrone Crawford Have?

The have had significant turnover on the this . What will these changes mean for 9th-year veteran , who is entering the final year of his contract in 2020?

One of the Cowboys' longest-tenured players at this point, Crawford has surprised many by lasting this long. He's had one of the team's worst contracts for the last five years; one of the team's most expensive defensive players without providing commensurate impact.

Tyrone has survived on a variety of factors. His versatility as a DE or DT has been the key, plus a good relationship with teammates and coaches. He's gotten by on being good enough on the field and a leader in the locker room, serving as a team captain for several seasons before 2019.

This value hasn't stopped Crawford from being targeted as a potential casualty for several offseason. Now in the final year of his deal, Tyrone costs $9.1 million against Dallas' cap and they would only have $1.1 million in dead money if he was cut.

Nevertheless, it's mid-May and Tyrone Crawford is still a Cowboy. And believe it or not, his job security may have actually increased.

The departures of and in created big voids on the defensive line. The Cowboys handled the shortage with big-name signings in and , plus drafting in the 3rd Round of the 2020 Draft.

hasn't received the same attention. The Cowboys are taking big risks by hoping in the reinstatements of and . And while they did get a 5th-round steal in rookie , expecting immediate contribution from any Day 3 pick is not smart team building.

At this point, Tyrone Crawford is the insurance policy against all of Dallas' rolls of the dice.

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Dallas Cowboys DE/DT Tyrone Crawford

The question now is if the Cowboys might be willing to cancel that policy at final cuts. By the end of August we could have Gregory and Smith looking good, plus whatever prospects like Anae, , and are showing.

Could that be enough for Dallas to go ahead and cut Tyrone Crawford, or at least look for a partner?

You can get to 11 defensive linemen very quickly without Tyrone on the roster. I just listed five above, not to mention . Then there are McCoy, Poe, Gallimore, , and at .

If there's no other out there that the Cowboys want then they don't need the cap savings from releasing Crawford at this time. But if they feel secure about their other players at final cuts, Dallas could be motivated to pocket those savings to rollover into the 2021 salary cap.

This and , assuming they happen at all, are set up to have intense competitions throughout the Cowboys' roster. The defensive line will be no different; veterans and young prospects waging war for three starting jobs (I think Lawrence might be safe) and playing time outside of them.

Tyrone Crawford comes into that fight with some real challenges. The cap savings work against him, as does this begin the last year of his contract. He doesn't project as someone who will help Dallas much in the compensatory pick formula, so keeping him for that reason isn't great incentive.

No, Crawford is going to have to be a standout on the practice field. He's also may need a few things to go his way with other players either not impressing or getting injured.

Honestly, the fact that we're still talking about Tyrone Crawford in 2020 is pretty shocking. But he keeps surviving by providing just enough value while other players haven't emerged.

That same recipe could earn him one more season with the Dallas Cowboys.

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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