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Top 5 Free Agents That Could Fill Holes For Cowboys

Brian Martin

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Top 5 Free Agents That Could Fill Holes For Cowboys 5

The Dallas Cowboys have already filled quite a few holes to the roster so far in free agency, but that doesn't mean they are done just yet. They will continue to bargain shop and there are several quality free agents still available on the market that could come in and upgrade the roster at several positions of need.

The Cowboys have already pretty much cover themselves with their recent signings that they now can feel pretty good at approaching the 2017 NFL Draft without any glaring needs. However, they could put themselves in an even better position by finding a few more low-cost free agents.

Below are the top 5 available free agents that I think the Dallas Cowboys could add to improve the roster for the upcoming 2017 season.

Jonathan Hankins, DT

DT Jonathan Hankins

The Dallas Cowboys lost Terrell McClain in free agency to their division rival, the Washington Redskins. They didn't wait long to find his replacement and signed Stephen Paea. But, that doesn't mean they couldn't add more depth through free agency to the defensive tackle position.

Former New York Giant, Jonathan Hankins, is a defensive tackle that the Cowboys could bring in to upgrade the middle of their defensive line and weaken a divisional opponent at the same time. At 6'2", 320, he would add some much-needed beef to middle of the defense. He is just 24 years old and accumulated 43 tackles, three quarterback sacks, and one forced fumble in 2016 with the Giants.

Hankins isn't quite the pass rusher that McClain is, but he is a better run defender and could help free up things for Maliek Collins to make plays. If an affordable deal can be reached, Hankins could allow the Cowboys to solidify the defensive line and focus on other positions in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Rex Burkhead, RB

RB Rex BurkheadThere is no doubt that Ezekiel Elliott will be receiving the majority of the workload in 2017, but behind him the depth at the running back position should be a cause of concern.

Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar are both free agents and it is rumored that the Cowboys are trying to trade Alfred Morris. That means they could use a veteran and possibly use a draft pick to address the depth at RB.

Former Cincinnati Bengal, Rex Burkhead, is a player that I think would make a really good addition to the Dallas Cowboys. He probably isn't somebody that you want as a featured back, but he is more than capable of filling in. He is a tough runner and a good receiver out of the backfield. He also plays on nearly all of the special teams units.

McFadden is probably the odds-on favorite to return to the Cowboys, but Burkhead would be a more valuable asset because of all of the different things he can do for the organization.

Jairus Byrd, FS

FS Jairus ByrdThe Dallas Cowboys find themselves a little bit then at the safety position with both Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox departing in free agency. They could try and take advantage of the deep safety class, but there are some veteran free agents that could step in and add depth to the position.

Jairus Byrd isn't the ball hawk he was earlier in his career, but he could probably step and and be a Day 1 starter opposite Byron Jones. He is 30 years old and has struggled with injuries the past few years, but he did manage accumulate 82 tackles and two interceptions in 2016 with the New Orleans Saints.

Byrd's addition to the back end of the Cowboys defense would allow defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to get creative with his coverages. He would also be an upgrade over both Church and Wilcox in the passing game. Depending on his asking price, he could help solidify the safety position.

Connor Barwin, DE

DE Connor BarwinThe Dallas Cowboys already added Damontre Moore to add depth to the defensive end   position, but he is a longshot to even make the roster coming out of training camp. Moore is unreliable to say the least, which means the Cowboys could use some veteran depth for the 2017 season.

A lot of fans would like to see free agent DeMarcus Ware return, but with his recent injury history and the fact that he is a better 3-4 outside linebacker, I don't really like the fit. Plus, he recently announced that he has decided to retire. Former Philadelphia Eagle, Connor Barwin makes the most sense to me.

Barwin is 30 years old and accumulated 34 tackles, five quarterback sacks, and one forced fumble in 2016 with the Eagles. He has an infectious personality and a relentless motor that Marinelli will fall in love with. He is a great locker room guy and would provide veteran leadership for the defensive end group.

Austin Pasztor, OT

OT/G Austin PasztorDoug Free's retirement creates a hole at the right tackle position for the Dallas Cowboys.

As things stand right now, Chaz Green is a favorite to be the starter in 2017, but his reoccurring injuries is concerning to say the least. The Cowboys could stick with the status quo and let Green compete with Emmett Cleary or they could look for some veteran help outside the organization.

Veteran free agent tackle/guard Austin Pasztor could be an affordable option with position flexibility to come in and provide depth for the Cowboys in 2017. Pasztor is 6'7", 308, and started 16 games at right tackle for the Cleveland Browns in 2016. He is just 26 years old and could come in and provide competition at right tackle or at the very least provide depth at both guard and tackle because of his position flexibility.



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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8 Comments
  • Jess Haynie

    I think we’re already done at defensive tackle. They’ve added Paea to join Crawford, Collins, and Thornton. They still have Irving who can play inside. I wouldn’t tie up cap space in anyone else.

    • Brian Martin

      I agree, but with the exception of Thornton, I think everybody else is probably better as a 3-tech. They really don’t have that big body in the middle that can eat up space and keep the linebackers clean. I think Hankins would definitely be an upgrade, although probably a luxury at this point.

  • Bogart

    Terrible “take” on Burkhead. Every bit an every downer (see week 17 2016) and dude is built stout. He needs to sign else where.

    • Brian Martin

      I said he is in every down player, but probably not a RB teams will want as their featured running back. I think he would be a great fit behind Ezekiel Elliott in Dallas.

      • Bogart

        FYI…huge Buckeye guy here and Zeke fan…But anyhow, I think we should ask the patriots and what they gave Burkhead what they thing of him………..and my bad u saying this thru me off : “He probably isn’t somebody that you want as a featured back, but he is more than capable of filling in. He is a tough runner and a good receiver out of the backfield. He also plays on nearly all of the special teams units.” ….That doesn’t scream you thought he was every down guy, makes it sound as if u think good back up only. Silly me.

        • Brian Martin

          I do think of him as an every down back, just not somebody I think NFL teams would want to be their featured back for a 16 game season. With the Patriots he’ll be in a rotation, which is what I think he is best suited for. They will use him in creative ways because he is a versatile offensive weapon. That is why I wanted him in Dallas.

          • Bogart

            You heard it here folks from me…Burkhead will be main back for Pats and with 70% o the snaps……….Thx Brian, it’s been interesting.

          • Brian Martin

            70% seems little high to me, but I do believe he will be the lead back. I’m looking forward to see what he could do with more playing time.

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Where In The World Is DE Taco Charlton?

Kevin Brady

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Sean's Scout: Defense Comes Alive In Loss At LA Rams 2
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Over pretty much the last decade, the Dallas Cowboys have been rock solid with their first round picks. With selections of Ezekiel Elliott, Travis Frederick, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Leighton Vander Esch (just to name a handful), Dallas has rebuilt the core of their roster through the NFL Draft.

It's nearly impossible to bat .1000 in any round of the draft, however, and this appears to be the current case with the Cowboys' 2017 first round pick.

Defensive end Taco Charlton has not had the sophomore season that he, or anyone, had hoped for. A healthy scratch last Sunday, Charlton has only been active for 1 of the Cowboys' last 5 games, and has not recorded a sack or tackle since week 9.

Prior to disappearing with injuries and "attitude issues," Charlton had only recorded 1 sack on the season and was beginning to fall behind his Hot Boy-brethren. Defensive end Randy Gregory has reached his form over the last few weeks, Tyrone Crawford is having arguably a career year, and DeMarcus Lawrence is one of the best ends in all of football.

This doesn't leave much room for Charlton, who's now having issues even getting on the gameday roster. Rod Marinelli dodged questions about Taco Charlton earlier this week, vaguely saying they are "moving forward" and that he'd like to talk about other players on his defensive line who are performing.

Calvin Watkins on Twitter

Rod Marinelli on Taco Charlton's benching and being inactive last week: "We just keep moving along keep going forward. It's kinda been out there I'd leave it at that. I'd rather talk about our two tackles.

Charlton has not been quiet about his displeasure as of late, either. He's taken to Twitter to voice his frustrations, saying that not only is his shoulder fine but that the Dallas media is making up stories about his absence. He's also posted some cryptic tweets such as this one, with a picture of Allen Iverson and a caption reading "Every players needs that one coach to believe in them."

https://twitter.com/TheSupremeTaco/status/1072203745868554240

Maybe Taco is right. Maybe he just needs increased opportunity and a support system/coach that believes in him whole-heartedly. After all, Charlton has faced nothing but doubters and detractors since the second he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.

But in the NFL, the ultimate "what have you done for me lately" sport, it's hard to imagine he'll get that unwavering support anywhere in the league. He's going to have to "earn" his playing time, as head coach Jason Garrett spoke to earlier in the week. But with the plethora of talent the Cowboys are already putting out there on the defensive line, it's becoming difficult to see exactly where Taco Charlton can fit in on this defense.

It's possible, and fine, if it is simply not a fit between Charlton and the Cowboys at this point. But I'd also be wary of giving up on your first round pick in just his second NFL season. Another offseason with the team, working on his craft and getting fully healthy, should do Charlton wonders, and hopefully allow us to get a better read on his future with the Cowboys going forward.

Until then, we are all left to scratch out heads and wonder what in the world is going on with the Cowboys and Taco Charlton, and if the former first round pick will have a future in Dallas at all.



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Star Blog

Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC

2018 has seen the emergence of high-powered offenses in both NFL conferences. The Kansas City Chiefs sit atop the AFC and the NFC is spearheaded by the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams. Through 14 weeks, these three teams are the top three offenses in the NFL, each averaging over 30 points per game. This year, for the first time in NFL history, two teams scored more than 50 in the same game.

Thanks to this consistent impressive offensive performances, you would think "offense" is the name of the game for the 2018 NFL season. Well, not so fast, my friend. Despite sitting atop the NFC, the Saints and the Rams have recently suffered losses that indicate hope is anything but lost for defensive teams in the league.

The Chicago Bears were able to bring down the Rams last Sunday Night 15-6. The same offense that averages 33 points per game was limited to six points. Sean McVay's remarkable offense went home with no touchdowns to talk about on the plane back home. Instead, they probably discussed Jared Goff's four interceptions.

Weeks earlier, the Dallas Cowboys shocked the world when they brought down the Saints. Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas simply couldn't move the ball against Leighton Vander Esch, DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones. 13 points were all the Cowboys needed to score to beat an offense that was averaging 37 per game heading into week 13 but was only able to put up 10 in Dallas.

The Cowboys are the #4 seed with the Bears slightly ahead of them as the #3 seed in the NFC. Together, these teams have defeated the top two in the conference. Now granted, playoffs will definitely be different.

For starters, if they are to advance to the divisional round, they'll be on the road. Chicago was surely benefited by playing in such a cold weather versus a Los Angeles team. As far as the Cowboys are concerned, few times has AT&T Stadium been as loud as when they beat the Saints.

Hopefully, we'll get to see both of these elite defenses advance to the Divisional Round to  square off against this couple of high-powered offenses again. We will not only be witnessing amazing football games, but a great discussion regarding the everlasting debate between offense and defense.

For years, "defense wins championships" has been a widely accepted statement in football. The Cowboys and Bears have made that same statement resound recently with their impressive wins.

Can they do it again in January football? Can they do it on the road?

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Cowboys en Español: Los Colts No Son Cualquier Rival

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Fantasy Football - Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings - Week 2 2
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Al igual que el resto de la afición de los Dallas Cowboys, parte de mí se siente confiada respecto a este equipo visitando a Indianapolis Colts y resultando victoriosos. ¿El problema? Los Colts no son un rival sencillo de vencer. Si crees que la racha de los Cowboys los intimidará, piensa de nuevo. Los Houston Texans llevaban nueve victorias al hilo antes de enfrentarse a este equipo.

Siendo objetivos, este puede ser el partido que evite que los Cowboys cierren su temporada con ocho victorias al hilo para terminar el año con un récord de 11-5. Ni los Tampa Bay Buccaneers ni los New York Giants deberían presentar amenaza alguna contra Dallas. Lo mismo no se puede decir de Indianapolis.

Por primera vez en mucho tiempo, Andrew Luck está realmente de vuelta. Gracias a una reconstrucción de su línea ofensiva, su nivel de juego a regresado al nivel que conocíamos de él desde que llegó a la NFL. Afortunadamente para los Colts, Luck se ha mantenido sano toda la temporada y no se ve rastro alguno de sus lesiones anteriores en el emparrillado.

T.Y. Hilton está teniendo un muy buen año y sin duda alguna presentará un reto para Byron Jones y el resto de la secundaria de los Cowboys. Eric Ebron en la posición de tight end también será un dolor de cabeza para la defensiva.

Lo más interesante se dará en las trincheras. Los Cowboys han hecho un muy buen trabajo presionando quarterbacks opuestos en la temporada, pero si el centro de los Colts, Ryan Kelly está sano el domingo, se enfrentarán al mejor duo de centro-guardia en la liga actualmente. Con Quenton Nelson al lado, Luck estará muy bien protegido.

Sin embargo, Kelly no ha jugado debido a una lesión y aún está por verse si tomará el campo el domingo por la mañana. Los Cowboys hicieron un muy buen trabajo a la entonces ofensiva #1 de la liga, los New Orleans Saints, pero eso no significa que la ofensiva #8 que tienen los Colts no los retará.

Promediando 27 puntos por juego, la defensiva necesitará ayuda de Dak Prescott y compañía para ganar el partido. Dallas continúa moviendo el balón efectivamente, pero es tiempo de anotar touchdowns y no goles de campo.

Ezekiel Elliott será, una vez más, clave para la victoria. Enfrentándose a una defensiva Top 10 contra el juego terrestre, mover las cadenas con Zeke no será tan fácil. El novato Darius Leonard como linebacker ha sido algo espectacular otra temporada al igual que Leighton Vander Esch. Liderando a toda la NFL en tackleadas, estará listo para recibir a los Cowboys al Lucas Oil Stadium.

Lo más importante de este partido...

Por más impresionante que sea la racha de cinco victorias consecutivas, los Cowboys tienen que demostrar que pueden ganarle a un equipo fuerte estando de visita. Porque hay que admitirlo, Jason Garrett y su equipo no han tenido éxito fuera de casa. Claro, le ganaron a un equipo debilitado de Philadelphia Eagles y a unos Atlanta Falcons que va 4-9.

Este equipo "nuevo" de los Cowboys no ha ido contra un rival de calidad siendo el visitante. Es tiempo de demostrar que lo pueden hacer, ya que si quieren contender en postemporada, es justo lo que necesitarán... jugar bien de visita.

Sinceramente creo que los Cowboys ganan este partido. Principalmente gracias a su defensiva, pero también veo a la ofensiva dominar el tiempo de posesión en un juego de pocos puntos. Es tiempo de mantener esa racha.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Los Colts No Son Cualquier Rival" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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