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.