In Michael Bennett, Dallas Cowboys Add a Difference Maker

    As other teams in the NFL make moves to solidify themselves as contenders with the deadline a week away, the Dallas Cowboys jumped into the fray yesterday acquiring Michael Bennett from the for a conditional seventh-round pick that has the potential to be a sixth-round pick. With Tyrone Crawford placed on IR last week and the potential that Dorance Armstrong could join him as well, the needed some depth at behind and Robert Quinn.

    On the inside, hasn't lived up to expectations and has proven what many thought about him when he was drafted, that he's a project.

    Adding Bennett to a Cowboys that has had some really good moments but has struggled to get interior pressure makes a ton of sense. He's a player that can step in as soon as the Cowboys are back from the bye against the New York Giants and be a playmaker for them.

    In looking at this addition it's important to assess three major elements of any player acquisition; cost, system fit, and the ability that the player brings to the table. In order to fully appreciate any addition made by the Cowboys, each of these things must be taken into account and the Dallas Cowboys nailed it with this move.


    It's incredibly difficult to do what the Dallas Cowboys have done in the last calendar year with trades, but they continue to hit home runs in terms of value given up for the player. In the Spring, they shipped a sixth-round pick to the for All-Pro Defensive End Robert Quinn and yesterday sent a conditional seventh-round pick to the New England Patriots for another productive veteran in Michael Bennett.

    Any time you can add a veteran with a history of production in the NFL for what amounts to a lottery ticket in the draft, it's a no brainer. The Dallas Cowboys have pulled that off twice in less than eight months. Sure, it's nice to have draft picks, even fifth-round picks or later, but you aren't always going to hit on a or that late in the draft. Those picks are pretty much coin flips anyway, so why not take a shot on a player that has been productive and can still help you?

    In terms of what the Cowboys had to give up for Bennett, that alone makes this trade an incredible value for the Dallas Cowboys.

    The other cost aspect that warrants review is his contract. With New England, his contract counted $6.32 million against their cap, per The Cowboys will be on the hook for $10 million in 2020 if they decide to hold onto him next year. If they decide they want to move on after this season, it only costs the team $2 million in dead money while freeing up $8.25 million in cap space next year. Depending on how this season goes, the Cowboys could absorb his contract as they're at the top of the list of teams with the most salary-cap space in 2020. Per Todd Archer of .com, the Cowboys could cut him next offseason and save $7 million in cap space with no dead money on the cap moving forward.

    This is such a low-risk move that makes so much sense for the Dallas Cowboys. He's played 16 games in six of the last seven seasons. In every season in which he's played 16 games, he's had at least seven . Five times in the last seven years he's had 8.5 sacks. That's really solid and consistent production for a player that's moved around a lot.


    Bennett slides right in as a backup at both defensive end spots and can play the 3-technique spot. When looking back at the film, there were times that they even had him lined up as the 1-technique on passing downs. He's really good running stunts and has good change of direction for a player of his size.

    Looking back at his game against the Dallas Cowboys in week 10 of 2018, he played all across the and had a fairly even amount of snaps at both right and left defensive end. He's a versatile player that will help the Cowboys in a variety of ways.

    There's been a lot of talk about how he might fit in the locker room. However, Bennett had a lot of success under Kris Richard when he was the defensive coordinator in Seattle. He was part of a team that went to the . In 12 career playoff games, he had 4.5 sacks. He's a tough player that can add another to a defense that could use some interior pressure.

    In New England, Bennett saw his decrease each week as other players might have been better fits for the Patriots . With the Dallas Cowboys, he'll get back to playing 4-3 EDGE and bump inside on 3rd down or obvious passing situations.

    Defense & Fumbles Table
    Game Game Def Fumb Fumb Fumb Tack Tack Tack Tack Tack
    Year Age Tm G GS PD FF FR TD Sk Comb Solo Ast TFL QBHits
    2009 24 TAM 7 0 1.0 3 2 1 1 2
    2010 25 TAM 13 2 1 1.0 15 13 2 3 2
    2011 26 TAM 14 10 1 2 0 4.0 39 35 4 12 8
    2012 27 TAM 16 16 3 3 0 0 9.0 41 34 7 18 18
    2013 28 SEA 16 3 4 3 1 8.5 31 18 13 9 26
    2014 29 SEA 16 16 1 0 0 7.0 47 31 16 14 19
    2015* 30 SEA 16 16 2 0 0 10.0 52 33 19 18 30
    2016* 31 SEA 11 11 5.0 34 24 10 14 19
    2017* 32 SEA 16 16 1 8.5 40 25 15 14 24
    2018 33 PHI 16 10 1 2 0 0 9.0 34 25 9 15 30
    2019 34 NWE 6 1 2.5 5 4 1 3 4
    Care Care 147 101 6 13 5 1 65.5 341 244 97 121 182
    5 yr 5 yr SEA 75 62 1 7 3 1 39.0 204 131 73 69 118
    4 yr 4 yr TAM 50 28 4 4 2 0 15.0 98 84 14 34 30
    1 yr 1 yr NWE 6 1 2.5 5 4 1 3 4
    1 yr 1 yr PHI 16 10 1 2 0 0 9.0 34 25 9 15 30
    Provided by View Original Table
    Generated 10/25/2019.


    In six games with the New England Patriots defense, which has been as good as we've seen from that organization since winning their first Super Bowl back in 2002, Michael Bennett has had some solid production. Though he's primarily been a part-time player in for the Patriots, he's recorded 2.5 sacks, five tackles, three tackles for loss and four hits. That while playing just 30% of the available defensive snaps.

    It's evident that the switch back to the 3-4 for New England hasn't been all that kind to Bennett, who's thrived in his career as a 4-3 defensive end and pass-rushing defensive tackle.

    In two games against the Dallas Cowboys in 2018, while playing for the , Michael Bennett was a monster. He recorded 3.5 sacks, nine total tackles, four tackles for loss, and nine quarterback hits.

    He hasn't had the same production through six games for the Patriots, but playing only 30% of the defensive snaps and playing out of position in a 3-4 defense has made it difficult for Bennett in 2019.

    Though the production may not be there, the burst and talent are. Against the in week one, the Patriots lined him up primarily as a 3-technique in the Patriots scheme.

    On this play, lined up in the “B gap” Bennett engages the right on the snap and uses his strength to pull the blocker off-balance allowing himself to get in the backfield really quickly. James Conner makes a nice move to avoid the loss, but the penetration is unbelievable.

    Breaking Down the Cowboys Addition of DE Michael Bennett 1

    On this next play, Bennett is able to use a nice shoulder dip to get quick penetration inside on the after again lining up in the “B gap” between the and left guard. He doesn't get the sack, but he gets to , and hurries a shorter throw likely before he would have wanted to get rid of the football.

    Breaking Down the Cowboys Addition of DE Michael BennettFilm Notes

    • Michael Bennett plays with a lot of power and utilizes a variety of pass rush moves. He's a versatile rusher that can win in a variety of ways.
    • Bennett is a disciplined player. When he was asked to play the quarterback or the jet motion in the run game, he maintained his leverage, not getting drawn down the line of scrimmage.
    • He plays with a consistent motor in both the run and pass game. Even against , when his initial rush was stymied, he'd still attempt to dislodge the block or work his way down the line of scrimmage to get into the backfield.
    • Good movement on stunts, which should fit in very well with Rod Marinelli's pass-rush packages. He and DeMarcus Lawrence will make a very fascinating tandem when the Cowboys are able to put him at 3-technique defensive tackle. Bennett loops really well and doesn't get caught up in the traffic jams that can slow your rush down.

    On the interior, Michael Bennett is too quick for guards and centers to deal with. He has a really good first step and strong hands that allows him to shed the blockers attempt to latch on. When the Cowboys played the Eagles last year, they sent help to Bennett's side of the line in the form of a to double-team him or chip at the snap before heading into their route. On one occassion the Cowboys used to cut block him to prevent him from getting the pursuit.

    As DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn continue to face double teams at a league-high rate, the opportunity exists for someone on the interior to cash in with pressures and sacks. Though Maliek Collins has had some pressures this season, he's struggled to get to the quarterback consistently or win his one-on-one battles.

    Adding Bennett to the defensive line, even at 34, gives the Dallas Cowboys another player who can win a one-on-one matchup and take advantage of the attention that their star defensive ends draw.

    ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

    In looking at each of the elements discussed above, I'd give the Dallas Cowboys an A+ for making amove that could pay dividends down the stretch in 2019 and potentially in 2020 for the low cost of a seventh-round pick. Teams that are contenders make these types of moves.

    Though this move may not have the pomp and circumstance that the trade did last year or the Robert Quinn did in the Spring, this move could be equally important for the Dallas Cowboys. With the stretch of games that they have coming after the bye and the slim margin for error, the Cowboys needed to add a difference-maker on the defensive side of the football. And at the low price of a seventh-round pick, the Dallas Cowboys did just that with Michael Bennett.

    John Williams
    John Williams
    Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.


    How can the Cowboys defeat the Colts?

    The Indianapolis Colts have been a shaky team lately....

    Booming, balanced Cowboys offense is their ticket to the post-season

    Ever since Dak Prescott’s return in week seven against...

    Cowboys vs Colts — Over/Under Reactions

    Week 13 is here, as the (8-3) Dallas Cowboys...

    Who’s in, Who’s out: Cowboys vs Colts injury report

    When the clock strikes 7:20 p.m. CT on Sunday,...


    Daily Cowboys News in Your Inbox
    Your email address:*
    Please enter all required fields Click to hide
    Correct invalid entries Click to hide

    Trending Now

    Diggs Island – Trevon Diggs is entering elite status

    It’s hard to find a cornerback that is under...

    Cowboys Reveal New Uniforms for Week 17 vs Titans

    Another uniform emerges for the Dallas Cowboys to wear...

    Why are the Dallas Cowboys Considered “America’s Team?”

    The Dallas Cowboys are one National Football League team...

    The Star: Getting Inside the Dallas Cowboys New Home

    The Dallas Cowboys star logo is one of the...

    Cowboys Nostalgia: Before Jerry Jones

    25 years ago Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys...


    I think the entire team decided to take a...

    Like Father, Like Son: Cowboys Could Regret not Drafting TE Thaddeus Moss

    When it comes to Randy Moss and the Dallas...

    Last year Kevin Burnett maintained a blog on the...

    BREAKING: Cowboys trade for DT Johnathan Hankins

    The Dallas Cowboys added to their defensive line depth Tuesday afternoon by trading for Raiders DT Johnathan Hankins. According to sources, the Cowboys acquired Hankins...

    New York Jets Wide Receiver Denzel Mims Looking to be Traded

    Wide Receiver Denzel Mims has opened up about how he feels towards the New York Jets. In a message from his agent, Ron Slavin,...

    Fact or Fiction: The Cowboys Should Consider Trading RB Ezekiel Elliott

    As we sit a month away from Dallas Cowboys Training Camp and 70 days until the start of the NFL regular season, I admit...


    1 Comment
    Newest Most Voted
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments
    Tim Hickok

    Either cowgirls or aiders take the trouble, used up pos.