Despite being with the Dallas Cowboys for the better part of a decade, Defensive Lineman Tyrone Crawford’s time in Dallas could be coming to an end here shortly. It may be in the best interest of the Cowboys to go ahead and cut ties with the veteran in order to do what’s best for the team.
Make no mistake though, if the Cowboys decide to part ways with Tyrone Crawford it would strictly be a business move, not at all based on performance. Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli values Crawford’s versatility to play defensive tackle or defensive end, but with a plethora of younger/cheaper options currently on the roster it’s very possible to think we’ve seen the last of No. 98 wearing the star.
Salary Cap Relief?
Tyrone Crawford’s current contract is a big reason why the Cowboys could part ways with the veteran. He scheduled to count $10.1 million against the salary cap, making him the highest paid defensive player not named DeMarcus Lawrence on the team. Does his on-field production justify such an expense?
If the Cowboys part ways with No. 98 it would result in $4.2 million in dead money, but they’d save $5.9 million in cap relief. $4.2 million is still a lot of money to swallow, but the added $5.9 million can be utilized somewhere else. Maybe towards a contract extension for Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, or Amari Cooper. Or, on an upgrade not currently on the roster.
The fact the Dallas Cowboys haven’t parted ways with Tyrone Crawford this far into the offseason likely means his job is pretty safe, but nothing is 100% guaranteed right now. After all, Crawford is still on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. With him watching from the sideline it’s providing opportunities for other players to stand out and several of them are doing just that
Current Options to Replace Tyrone Crawford
If the salary cap relief from parting ways with Tyrone Crawford isn’t convincing enough for the Dallas Cowboys, maybe the talent they’ve put together along the defensive line becomes the deciding factor. There are currently several younger and cheaper options on the roster who have stood out in offseason practices and in preseason.
Crawford’s ability to play DT or DE has been invaluable during his time with the Cowboys, so replacing him with such a player seems the most logical solution. Luckily, Dallas has a few of those kind of players already on the roster. Kerry Hyder, Daniel Wise, and even Joe Jackson have all played a little DE and DT in preseason, and have done so pretty well. All three are younger and cheaper as well.
If you take versatility out of the equation there are still plenty of options to consider. DTs like Trysten Hill, Ricky Walker, and Christian Covington fit into the equation as well as DEs Dorance Armstrong, Taco Charlton, Jalen Jelks, and Randy Gregory if/when reinstated. As you can see, there is no shortage of options to replace any production lost by parting ways with Tyrone Crawford.
Now don’t take all of this as me trying to get rid of Tyrone Crawford. That’s not the case at all. I’m just trying to draw attention to what might be in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys moving forward. They have several younger and cheaper options on the team who they may have to cut ties with to get under the league mandated 53-man roster. It might be in the best interest of the team to keep the younger talent and part ways with Crawford instead.
All of this is speculation of course. There has been no mention of moving on from No. 98 and the fact he’s still around suggests his job is likely safe. But, his 2019 contract doesn’t become completely guaranteed until after Week 1 of the regular season. The Dallas Cowboys still have time to discuss this option and the ramifications, whether good or bad, from making such a big move.