The Dallas Cowboys have made significant moves this offseason to revamp their roster on the fly with a new coaching staff, which brings in a new philosophy. As they shift from the Rod Marinelli/Kris Richard Cover-3 defense to Mike Nolan's “multiple,” press-man defense, they've needed to add players to fit this new defensive scheme.
Most of their work has been on the defensive side of the ball, and there's a possibility they could still look to the free-agent market. On Friday, RJ Ochoa of Blogging the Boys shared with us a report from NFL Network's Tom Pelissero on the Rapsheet and Friends Podcast. In discussing Dak Prescott's franchise tag situation, Pelissero addressed the possibility that the Dallas Cowboys could look to add one or two more pieces this offseason in preparation for 2020.
The other thing Pelissero mentioned is that they've “maintained interest in free agents.” Of course, there's no telling what “interest” means, but there are several names out there that could help the Dallas Cowboys improve their chances at making a run for that elusive sixth Lombardi Trophy.
On such player is Jadeveon Clowney.
Jadeveon Clowney remains the biggest fish on the free-agent market, and he would make an excellent fit for the Dallas Cowboys. His free agency has been a strange one to watch. At the beginning of March, it seemed like he would be snapped up rather quickly as teams are always looking to add pass rush talent, and Clowney was arguably the top edge rusher on the market.
During his time in Houston, Clowney rushed as both a 3-4 outside linebacker and 4-3 defensive end. With his size, strength, athleticism combination, the former number one overall pick can play several spots along the defensive line, including as a 3-technique defensive tackle in a four-man front and a 5-technique (3-4 defensive end) in a 3-man front.
Currently, Tyrone Crawford is the player that likely fits into that multiple defensive lineman role. Crawford has experience playing in multiple fronts and has had success. As much as the Cowboys like Crawford and he's an essential part of the locker room, Clowney would be an upgrade to Tyrone Crawford.
Clowney dealt with injuries in his one year in Seattle and, at times, has been labeled as inconsistent. Though he doesn't have a 10-sack season to his name, he does have a couple of nine sack seasons.
On July 14th, Todd Archer reported that there has yet to be a decision on Randy Gregory's reinstatement bid. In the report, he discussed that the team would still like to have Gregory around in some capacity. There's no telling what the hold up is there, but the longer this goes on, the less likely it feels that Gregory will be available to start the season.
Even though the Cowboys added rookie Bradlee Anae, they could still use more pass rush help. Clowney's ability to rush from several spots along the defensive line. On a one-year deal, Clowney could be the final piece to a championship puzzle.
Back at the end of June, there was a report that Clowney had the Dallas Cowboys on his short-list, but you never know if the interest is mutual. Of course, any discussion on any free agent, especially a top free agent like Clowney, will come down to price.
Having had to wait until mid-July to get a contract, it's likely that Clowney would come in with a similar price tag to 2019 acquisition Robert Quinn on a one-year deal if the Cowboys were to sign him. Like Quinn, Clowney would be playing for his next contract, and the Cowboys would be a good fit. With teams forced to pay attention to DeMarcus Lawrence and Gerald McCoy, and the Cowboys looking to blitz more under Nolan, Clowney would have the opportunity for a lot of 1-on-1's.
The Cowboys are one of the teams that will be vying for the playoffs in the NFC. On paper, they look good, especially on the offensive side of the football. The defense still has some questions that will hopefully be answered when the Cowboys report to training camp starting tomorrow with rookies. Adding a player like Jadeveon Clowney would help to assuage any fears about the pass rush in 2020.