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Sleeper Addition: DE Tarell Basham

It was clear after finishing 31st against the run and 20th in last season that the Dallas Cowboys had to get better in the trenches on . They did quite a bit of work on the interior during and the with the additions of , , , and . , taken in the , added some depth on the interior and the with his versatile skill set.

There was another defensive addition on the line of scrimmage during the that's flying under the radar, and that's Tarell Basham. Signed back in March to a two-year, $5.5 million deal, Basham brings versatility and experience to a pretty talented edge rush group for the Cowboys.

Basham's name isn't foreign around the city of Dallas though. After winning the MAC (2016) during his senior season at Ohio in which he amassed 11.5 sacks, Basham came in for a visit to the team facility ahead of the 2017 draft. Instead, the Cowboys went with , and the marriage only lasted two seasons.

While with the , Basham struggled to make an impact only logging 229 snaps in 16 games. After he was claimed off of waivers by the in October of 2018, his misfortune continued with just 89 snaps in 10 games.

The last two seasons have been a completely different story for Basham as he's established a reputation as a high-energy pass rusher with a non-stop motor. He's registered 1,328 snaps and 11 starts and racked up 69 tackles (eight tackles for loss), 5.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, an interception, seven passes defended, and 17 hits as a rotational .

Basham has been a pretty solid player the last two seasons according to . In 2019, he had a grade of 67.5 and a 67.1 pass-rush grade. Last season, he posted a 71.7 run defense grade (30th among edge rushers) and a 65.6 pass-rush grade.

He did his damage in New York mainly as a 3-4 outside but will spend most of his time as a defensive end with the Cowboys under . However, that type of versatility makes him an intriguing chess piece for Quinn to play with.

It hasn't taken long for Basham to buy into what Quinn is trying to do with the Cowboy's defense this season.

“Honestly, I love working with Dan,” Basham said. “But I already knew I was going to love working with Dan. Prior to working with him, I’ve heard nothing but good things about him. I heard about how into the D-line and the that he was, and that right there excited me. I always wanted to play for a coach like Dan Quinn, who I knew would make me a better player than I already was.”

Although Basham is in his first season with the Cowboys, he has a clear vision of what he needs to do and what's expected of him.

“Get off the ball and make plays,” Basham said. “That’s what they want. They want somebody to cause some chaos for the back, cause some chaos in the run game. They want somebody with a whole lot of energy, and that’s me.”

The Cowboys usually sign veterans to one year prove it deals as they did with , , and the aforementioned Urban. However, the fact that Basham was signed to a two-year deal shows they see value in what he brings to the table.

Basham has , , , and Golston to compete with for playing time. Armstrong is the only member of the bunch that has significant time under his belt as he's logged 904 snaps since entering the NFL in 2018. The other three have just 32 defensive snaps combined on the professional level.

This puts Basham in a position to be the primary edge rusher for the Cowboys outside of and . His length, speed off the edge, athleticism, and durability (played in 58 out of a possible 64 games) at 6'4 and 266 pounds have a chance to be a very important cog in a defensive unit that's looking to be a lot better than their subpar performance in 2020.

What do you think?


Written by Matthew Lenix

I write dope stuff about the Dallas Cowboys and what not.

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  1. I have a gut feeling that this will be Gregory best year but I still say Lawrence has to become the beast we have been waiting for and I like the POTENTIAL of the linebackers but the corners oh well, we will just have to wait and see and speaking of the secondary if we can’t cover well, which I believe will still be the biggest problem on defense, I would hope someone steps up to become a real saliva knocker at SAFETY (A Savage who can keep it within the rules but a Wrecker who makes a running back & a receiver think harder 4 real) until the corners get better….”Let’s Go Cowboys”!!! “Cowboy 4 Life”!!! “The Silver and Blue Is In OUR DNA”…. “Follow The STAR”

  2. You say that as if defensive tackles are the only part of the defensive line. The Cowboys got gutted on the interior last season. DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy played good football last year and Dorance Armstrong may not be a star player but he has talent and so does Bradlee Anae. Just because one area of your defensive line is bad doesn’t mean there isn’t talent there

  3. This article notes the truly bad job the defense line did in 2020, then says the Boys had a “talented edge group”. This is the fallacy of so many Cowboys articles. The reality is the defense line was bad but the writer cannot stop themselves saying the talent was good. Both those cannot be true.
    This dichotomy is how we get annual Cowboy hype.

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