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NFC East Free Agency: Key Dallas Cowboys Players

Sean Martin



Cowboys Blog - NFC East Free Agency: Key Dallas Cowboys Players 1

Following the Cowboys Thanksgiving loss to the Panthers, I took a look at five upcoming free agents that needed to make the most out of Dallas' remaining five games. Now, with just one game remaining for the 2015 season and free agency looming, let's revisit the list as well as expand on it to further figure out the 2016 future of the Dallas Cowboys.

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Dallas Cowboys Key 2016 Free Agents Cowboys Blog - NFC East Free Agency: Key Dallas Cowboys Players

Greg Hardy DE

Hardy has just 1.5 sacks since Thanksgiving, but more importantly the controversial pass rusher has not caused any trouble to conclude the season. This will likely be the most important factor the Cowboys consider when deciding the value of resigning #76.

DeMarcus Lawrence has emerged as the player we all have been waiting to see in the past weeks, and a look at the film shows that Hardy has played a role in creating matchups for Lawrence to win.

Cowboys Nation spent a significant amount of time this offseason drooling over the potential of a 2015 defensive line that included DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, Nick Hayden, Greg Hardy, and rookie Randy Gregory.

Another year of Hardy in 2016 paired with a healthy Gregory and Crawford as well as a more experienced Lawrence may finally have this defensive front playing to the consistent level we want to see.

Rolando McClain LB

A bright spot for the Cowboys this season has been a healthy Sean Lee. However, Lee's "partner in crime" Rolando McClain will be a free agent this offseason. While the Cowboys have a core of young linebackers ready to fill in if needed, there is no underestimating the impact that McClain has had - being fourth on the team in tackles.

While McClain may fall victim to another tight cap situation for Dallas this offseason, I hope the Cowboys do everything in their power to bring the middle linebacker back to play alongside Sean Lee for 2016.

Jack Crawford DE

Crawford very quietly finished third on the team in sacks this season with four. We know how much Rod Marinelli values depth along his defensive front, and Crawford would be a great piece to keep in Dallas at the right price.

Robert Turbin RB

Another Cowboys offseason is almost upon us and with that will come plenty of discussion about the running back position. While Darren McFadden has emerged to take over the lead role, the Cowboys will still need more help behind DMC - who will be in his last year of a two-year deal in 2016.

Robert Turbin has seen limited time, 30 carries to be exact, but has made the most of them by running hard and showing his value in the Cowboys blocking scheme. While a combo of McFadden and Turbin even still leaves Dallas with concerns at running back, the two players could be a dangerous tandem once taking reps with Tony Romo at quarterback.

Morris Claiborne CB

Morris Claiborne's contract time has come to an end in Dallas and for the vast majority of his time here, he has been a complete bust. However, a sudden turnaround here in 2015 by Claiborne will have the Cowboys considering bringing him back for 2016.

The Cowboys secondary will be another unit that gets a lot of offseason discussion, as Brandon Carr's future with the team is also uncertain. Byron Jones appears to have found his home at safety, leaving Carr, Claiborne, Terance Mitchell and Deji Olatoye as the current corners.

Orlando Scandrick returns in 2016 and can play the outside and the slot with equal success. Between him and Jones, the Cowboys seemingly have half the field locked up. The other half, as well as the slot, will have to be covered by any combination of Carr, Claiborne, a draft pick, Mitchell or Olatoye.

Out of those five options, assuming Carr does return, keeping Claiborne to share some time with him as well as primarily focusing on the slot seems like the Cowboys best bet - if they can make the numbers work with Morris Claiborne.

James Hanna TE

Hanna has served as the Cowboys blocking tight end this season, and losing him would leave Dallas with just Gavin Escobar and rookie Geoff Swaim behind Jason Witten. Since Escobar is mostly a receiving tight end, the decision here for the Cowboys will come down to resigning Hanna or trusting their 7th round selection in Swaim.

Lance Dunbar RB

Until his season-ending injury in week 4 at the Saints, Dunbar was the Cowboys leading receiver out of the backfield. The speedy back has had a long injury history in Dallas, and will likely not return.

Rookie Lucky Whitehead has emerged as a "gadget player" the Cowboys can use for years to come in a similar role to Dunbar, while drafting a mid-round back will also likely be a priority.

So, you tell me, what 2015 free agents should return to the Cowboys in 2016? Leave a comment below, or shoot me a tweet to @ShoreSportsNJ!

Tell us what you think about "NFC East Free Agency: Key Dallas Cowboys Players" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Pleasant NJ, no we're not how you think we are. Host of "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL.

  • David

    Let's see who we pick up in FA before we can determine who we take in the draft. I believe we let Dunbar go. I also believe Claiborne will be let go unless we can get a cheap one-year deal on him. Irving did a good job but he's not a run stuffer. Stopping the run killed us this year. We should try to resign Hardy to a 2 year deal. McClain misses too many games with injuries and suspensions. There will be some good ILB's in the second and third rounds of this draft. Resign Hanna and Turbin. Draft a corner in the first. Draft a RB in the second. Draft an ILB in the 3rd.

    • Kent

      What? No quarterback k in the draft? I think QB is a priority, and playing the free agent QB game is a loser.

    • Terry Rendon

      I see your comment is so far off base what the cowboy's needs are it not even funny. You cuts ties with McClain, Turbin , Claiborne, Dunbar and half of your so call back up players. Why we are at it you can throw in Carr also. Carr has not live up to his contract at all. It been a wast of time with him at CB. If Dallas Cowboys want to get better like they do. You go out and get Rod Marinelli the player he need to make this defense better. Through the draft or other wise. The same way with Offensive. You go out and get player who wants to play the game. But you start the Draft in first 3 rounds picking up a Beast in the LB or pick up a bell cow RB. Than pick another QB in 3th round. Don't wast your money in FA. That why they are FA because there team don't want them any more in first place.

  • Sean Martin

    Yeah I would like to see a QB in the first round. Also want to see Mo and McClain return.

  • Scott

    I think Dallas has a good team to work with , but have needs at key positions that really need addressing, I love Romo, but we have nothing behind him. Need to sign a decent back up quarterback or look at bighting the bullet and picking one in the first 2 rounds of draft. They need a young quick running back that can hit the hole and go, not dance around the line of scrimmage and wait on the hole to close. I really like Dunbar, but he cant stay healthy. Most probably wouldn't agree with me on WR, but we need a deep threat that will loosen up the coverage underneath. Dez is awesome, but defenses have no fear of anyone else at WR. LB's – I love Lee and ok with McClain, but need a dominate type ILB. Corners – Scandrick, Carr, Claiborne. I like them all, but we need a shut down corner that will allow the safeties to help in the middle and with the run. Im ok with the safeties, and believe they would be much better with the help of a shut down corner. As for the TE's – Witten is a Cowboy for life, Escobar is a good receiving TE, not much on blocking. Hanna is a good blocking TE and decent on short yardage situations. The young guy Swaim hasn't seen enough action to really comment on. As for the Free agents, I would look at trying to hold on to Claiborne as a 3 or 4 corner, sign Hardy, sign Hanna, let McClain go, Dunbar go, Turbin go. Pray that we can pick up a shut down corner in free agency, draft a top young RB and a upper tier QB in the first 2 rounds. Then look at ILB, WR, CB. That's my view, but Jerry is the one with the checkbook.

  • Paul

    My thoughts Greg Hardy – keep him or sack him? Not a huge year for him, but he continues to get double teamed on most plays which allowed DLaw single coverage where he begin to come into his own. It may come down to money. At some financial point Jerry will probably say that the money outweighs the player. Garrett avoided talking about him in post-season press conference. Not sure what that means for Hardy's future. Rolando McClain – fourth on the team in tackles despite missing games due to injuries and suspension. Would have liked do see if Damien Russell can step in. He had a nice game with 8 tackles against New Orleans and then pretty much nothing else for the year. Jack Crawford, 4 sacks on the year. Nice piece for the rotation, not a starter Robert Turbin/Lance Dunbar – would be surprised if we don't draft a RB or sign one in FA. McFadden is signed for one more year. Dunbar has a long history of injuries, Whitehead may take his place as the do-it-all back/WR – he has some quickness to him. Can Turbin be part of the RB rotation? Hard runner – if we sign Lamar Miller from the Fins, is Turbin a keeper? Morris Claiborne – he actually had some moments in 2015. Will probably come down to money. Needs to be a bargain for Dallas to keep him. A factor might be how Orlando Scandrick is coming along in rehab. Haven't heard a lot about that. I think we sign a FA (Trumaine Johnson is who I'm keeping an eye on) – and draft a CB/S. And please, find someone that will keep Wilcox off the field. Also, what to do with Carr? Bite the bullet and the contract guarantees? Keep him, renegotiate? James Hanna – bye bye. Swaim will move into his spot in the blocking game. Hanna had two drops this last game.

  • Sean Martin

    Yeah if I had to pick three guys that I would put as my "top-tier" free agents for the Cowboys, it would be Hardy, McClain, and Claiborne. Absolutely right about Hardy being a big reason for Lawrence's emergence. Not sure we can't get other guys to eat up blocks though. On the flip side of that, Hardy led the team in pressures. We've seen how good McClain and Lee are on the field together, so I definitely want Ro back. Claiborne is the one I'm not so sure about, and is probably right up there with Hardy as far as uncertainty.

Player News

Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018

Sean Martin



Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladoucer for 2018 1

Continuity is the key to good special teams play in the NFL. Already losing long-time Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the Raiders - who promptly snatched ST aces Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber in free agency - the Dallas Cowboys have announced their intentions to re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for the 2018 season.

Returning on a one-year deal, the fan favorite Ladouceur will be back to do what he does best in cleanly executing almost every special teams snap for Chris Jones or Dan Bailey to handle.

Todd Archer on Twitter

Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will re-sign with the Cowboys on Monday, according to sources, on a one-year deal. He will be in his 14th season with the franchise. Only Jason Witten, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei will have more years of...

While Jones has improved as the Cowboys' punter with each passing season, Kicker Dan Bailey actually enters 2018 as another question mark on this unit. With the general belief around the team being that Bailey will be just fine moving forward, the Cowboys will no longer have to worry about who handles long snaps next year either.

Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladoucer for 2018

Dallas Cowboys LS L.P. Ladouceur

L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Player News

Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign Linebacker Kyle Wilber

A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.


The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber:

Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.

Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.

The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.

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Player News

Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick

Kevin Brady



Orlando Scandrick

After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.

Josina Anderson on Twitter

I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.

This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.

Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.

In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.

Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.

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