As the calendar year moves along, we edge closer and closer to the 2017 NFL season. With this comes roster moves, as teams get ready for the next offseason, and we all wonder what the Dallas Cowboys free agency period will bring.
This past week the Jacksonville Jaguars released veteran defensive end Jared Odrick, making him a free agent in this year's open market. Odrick, 29 years old, was only in year two of a five year, $42.5 million deal with the Jaguars before being released.
In 2015, Odrick played all sixteen games and led the Jags in sacks with 5.5. This season, however, Odrick played in only six games and tallied just 1 sack after being placed on the Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury early in the year.
So, after missing most of 2016 and being less than a "War Daddy" when healthy, why would I be suggesting Jared Odrick be welcomed by the Dallas Cowboys during free agency? Well, he is not be the pass rusher we absolutely need, but he does fit the Rod Marinelli mold to a "T."
Jared Odrick: Versatility
Marinelli and the Cowboys love guys that can be moved around the defensive line. Last year, Jack Crawford was the perfect example of this. Though Crawford mostly played at defensive end, he did see time in the tackle rotation when necessary.
He wasn't the most productive of players, but Crawford made himself useful through his versatility.
Jared Odrick could have a similar story in Dallas. When playing in a 4-3 defense for the Miami Dolphins, Odrick saw time both at defensive end and tackle. While in Jacksonville playing in a 3-4 scheme, Odrick solely played defensive end, but was not a true "edge" player.
At 6'5 304 pounds Odrick can play both inside and out, and make himself valuable for the Cowboys regardless of what his final sack totals look like.
The Cowboys Need Defensive Linemen
The fact of the matter is, the entire defensive line is a need. After a more-than-solid rookie campaign, Maliek Collins looks like he could have a breakout season in 2017. David Irving also emerged as a potential stud, and Cedric Thornton can be a useful defensive tackle as well, but the rest of the depth chart remains in flux.
Terrell McClain is an unrestricted free agent, and may get overpaid somewhere else due to his quality play in 2016. On the outside, Randy Gregory is suspended for 2017 and the health of Demarcus Lawrence is always in question. And for the rest of the roster, who knows what you are going to get each week?
Jared Odrick is not the perfect player by any means, nor is he the double digit sack EDGE player I want in Dallas. But with that being said, Odrick is a solid defensive linemen who can fill in where and when needed to bring decent production.
As long as he remains healthy, Jared Odrick can be an aggressive rotational player who can provide a spark on every third possession or so. He would have to potentially take less money than he could get elsewhere, but Jared Odrick would fit both the scheme and mentality of the Dallas Cowboys defense if signed during free agency.
Free Agent WR Allen Hurns Plans to Sign With Cowboys
It looks as if the Dallas Cowboys will be adding yet another wide receiver through free agency. According to sources, Allen Hurns plans on signing with the Cowboys.
WR Allen Hurns just told me, "I'm going to sign with Dallas." #Cowboys
This is a move that seemed unlikely after the Cowboys signed Deonte Thompson a few days ago, but I know a lot of Cowboys Nation will be excited about this transaction.
While this move is exciting, it does create more confusion for the Cowboys and their wide receivers. It's difficult to imagine all of these WRs sticking to the roster, which means there will be some tough decisions that need to be made.
What will the Cowboys do with Dez Bryant?
Will Cole Beasley be cut or traded?
Are the Cowboys comfortable absorbing Terrance Williams' cap hit if traded or released?
Will this keep the Cowboys from drafting a WR early?
All of these questions and more will have to be answered eventually. But, one thing is for sure, things are definitely about to get interesting.
Of course, there is a bonus here for the Dallas Cowboys. Since Allen Hurns was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he doesn't count against the Cowboys compensatory picks next season.
Please stay tuned and we will continue to keep you updated on contract details and any other news involving Allen Hurns as it becomes available.
What do you think about the Allen Hurns signing?
What Signing Thompson Means for Hurns and Cowboys WR Position
UPDATE: News of Hurns saying he will sign with the Cowboys broke as this article went live.
Free Agency began a bit late for the Dallas Cowboys, but they've already done enough to get fans discussing about the latest additions to the roster. Adding help on offense, defense and special teams in form of tier-2 free agents may not be what Cowboys Nation wants to see, but I'm certain they wouldn't have enjoyed giving Sammy Watkins a three-year $48M contract, either.
However, the Cowboys are clearly in the wide receiver market after an offensively disappointing season. They have quite a few of this year's class of wide receivers prospects scheduled to visit Dallas, and they've hosted some WR free agents as well.
This week, they even signed one.
Deonte Thompson, who started seven games for the Bills last year, is coming to Dallas on a one-year $2.5M contract. The 29-year old could be the burner receiver this offense is missing and could end up being an improved version of Brice Butler for the Cowboys in 2018.
He hasn't had a great career but last season was his best year so far. Starting three games for the Bears and seven for the Bills, Thompson was able to rack up a career-high 555 yards and two touchdowns.
His best attribute as a player is definitely the speed he brings to the table and his ability to separate down the field, which he'll be looking to do on Dak Prescott's offense this season.
But there was another wide receiver visiting Dallas this week and now we wonder whether or not the Deonte Thompson signing will keep the Cowboys from targeting former Jaguars' WR Allen Hurns.
According to Todd Archer, that won't be the case.
Told the signing of Deonte Thompson does not close the door on the Cowboys' interest in Allen Hurns, who visited the team Wednesday and had dinner. Things could get interesting in the Cowboys' wide receivers' room. https://t.co/Ivt5uk9kBN
It shouldn't be. First of all, Hurns is a much better player than Thompson and would provide this offense with a receiver who can play in the "X" or in the "Z" role. We've been talking about getting Prescott a reliable target to try to give him a "best friend." Allen Hurns could be just that.
Sure, he's had a couple of down seasons, but the talent is there to take.
Simply put, the Deonte Thompson signing shouldn't stop the Cowboys from looking at WR in the first round of the NFL Draft. Allen Hurns would.
It sure would make things interesting in the wide receiver room for Dallas. Despite what many believe, Dez Bryant will probably remain a Cowboy even if Hurns is signed. Let's say the Cowboys go out there and get the 26-year old from Jacksonville and have to decide which six receivers to keep for the season.
They'd possibly have to decide among these:
- Dez Bryant
- Terrrance Williams
- Cole Beasley
- Ryan Switzer
- Allen Hurns
- Deonte Thompson
- Noah Brown
- A drafted rookie?
This is where a lot of dilemmas start taking form. Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer are basically the same player and if you're not going to use them both at the same time, do you keep them anyway? What about Terrance Williams? He could be the worst receiver to make the cut just because of his contract.
Noah Brown showed promise in 2017, are they ready to move on from him? And finally, a rookie could very well end up beating Deonte Thompson, who was guaranteed a million in his contract.
Wide receiver is indeed one of the top needs for the Dallas Cowboys. They could head to the 2018 NFL Draft needing one in the top rounds or they could be fine signing Hurns and taking a late-rounder receiver to compete in training camp for a spot on the roster.
As long as they're having a tough time deciding because they are all good, it should be fine.
Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson
The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.
Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.
The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.
Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.
Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.
For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.
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