The dust is beginning to settle from yet another wild NFL free agency period, and with that comes free agency grades. The time where we all discuss and rate each team’s offseason moves, without seeing who they draft or knowing how the players will actually play come the Fall.
It’s not all that fair, but hey it can be fun, no?
Bleacher Report recently released an article detailing each NFL team’s “worst” free agent signing of 2021. Defensive lineman Tarell Basham earned these dubious honors for the Dallas Cowboys.
“Basham, a four-year veteran who has just 7.5 sacks during his career, feels like a bit of a settle for the ‘Boys. While there is still undeniable upside in signing the 27-year-old to a two-year, $5.5 million contract, he isn’t the big-time playmaker who could push Dallas to the next level.”
They aren’t wrong here. Basham isn’t a big time pass rusher that can play opposite DeMarcus Lawrence, and he’s not going to be a double digit sack candidate. He doesn’t even bring the potential pass rush upside of someone like Robert Quinn did a couple years back.
But that’s fine. That’s not why he was brought to the Cowboys.
What Basham is, is a high motor defensive linemen that plays with a quick first step and a whole lot of energy. He is a solid rotation piece on a defensive line that will (hopefully) rely upon Lawrence and Randy Gregory to be the “war daddy” pass rushers.
Do the Cowboys still have holes on defense? Without question. But Tarell Basham is way closer to the solution to some defensive line depth questions than he is another problem across their front seven. Admittedly I am a little more optimistic on Basham’s potential as a rotational piece, but I don’t think this is a miss by the front office at all.
I wouldn’t hold not being a top tier pass rusher against Basham, especially when there’s no expectation for him to be that guy.