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Dontari Poe Could be Bargain Free Agent DT Option for Cowboys

If the Dallas Cowboys are still looking for a true run-stuffing defensive tackle, an underrated option in free agency right now is veteran Dontari Poe. The former Pro Bowler is recovering from a season-ending injury in 2019, but that could help Dallas get him signed at a bargain price for 2020.

Poe, the 11th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, has been to two Pro Bowls but none since 2014. He will turn 30 this August.

Dontari has spent the last two years with the Carolina Panthers and was on his way to a major bounce-back season in 2019 before tearing his quad. Poe had four sacks in just 11 games from the DT position.

One of Poe’s teammates from last year, Gerald McCoy, just signed a contract with the Cowboys this offseason. If Dallas still feels they need help on the defensive line, perhaps that connection could help bring Dontari over as well.

The Panthers declined an option of Poe’s contract for 2020 as he would’ve counted around $10 million against the salary cap. But Dallas could likely sign him for half of that amount, if not even less, given the injury issue.

The Cowboys may feel pretty good about the DT position, though, after the McCoy signing. They still have Antwaun Woods, Trysten Hill, and Tyrone Crawford all under contract for 2020 and may add another player in the upcoming draft.

However, Poe has great size (6’3″ and around 345 lbs) and talent for playing as the “1-tech” defensive tackle. He eats up space but also provide pass rush if given the opportunity.

If fully recovered from his injury, Dontari Poe could be the best DT on the Cowboys’ roster.

There are other similar veteran options out there such as Damon Harrison or Ndamukong Suh. But depending on the money, Poe is a younger option and may be easier to get if there’s any rapport with Gerald McCoy.

We’ll see if the Cowboys are still in the market for a defensive tackle as free agency rolls along. If they are, Dontari Poe could be one of the best bargains available.

What do you think?

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Jess Haynie

Written by 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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  1. Poe would be a good addition, if medicals at good. Then that would put less pressure at the draft to reach for a lesser quality player, like we did last year drafting Trysten Hill in the SECOND ROUND. That was a really bad, wasted high pick, thanks in part to input by our former defensive coach Marinelli. Glad he is gone. If you look a GAME TAPE, Hill was NOT second round material. More like 3rd DAY guy, if at all. Marinelli has a history of bad pick input, look at the two DTs late in 2017 Draft, more wasted picks. Plus Hill has been SLEEPING at and LATE for team meetings.

  2. If we can’t get Suh or Harrison for cheap I’d be happy with Poe!! I’d rather get one of those 3 than to draft an unproven player in the draft!!

  3. I don’t entirely blame Marinelli for Trysten Hill. Rod didn’t run the draft room and he had scouts and other upper level coaches, scouts, etc to help the group decide who to pick. Hill had issues at UCF which Marinelli thought he could overlook and coach Hill up….
    New coaching (specifically Tomsula) will either make Hill swim or he will sink. This is his year to shine or flush….
    Personally I would like to see 2 dedicated 1 gap players and 3 players who can switch between 1 gap and 2 gap. Rotate for fresh 4th qtr legs and blitz more last 10 mins of game unless score dictates otherwise.

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