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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.

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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.

Star Blog

Dallas Cowboys’ 2017 Rookies Need to Avoid Sophomore Slumps

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Ranking The Dallas Cowboys Rookies Through Week 8
Dustin Bradford / Getty Images

Right now, it’s pretty tough to predict how the 2018 Dallas Cowboys’ season will turn out. Even with Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan and Rod Marinelli all returning for next season, there’s a lot of change going on in Dallas. The Cowboys will have to deal with a lot of new position coaches as they try to get back to the top after a 9-7 season in 2017.

Obviously, there are a lot of things that’ll impact the outcome of this season.

One of those questions hasn’t been discussed much. That question is: how will the 2017 rookie class fare in their sophomore seasons? 

In 2016 and 2017, rookies were very important for this franchise.

Two years ago, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott took the NFL by storm, ending the season with a 13-3 record and the #1 seed in the NFC. Anthony Brown looked to be the Cowboys’ future shutdown cornerback, and Maliek Collins looked very promising.

Last season, the Cowboys didn’t have rookie seasons as spectacular as Dak and Zeke had in 2016 (I don’t think we’ll see anything similar in the NFL for a long time), but the rookie class ended up being a very important one for sure.

After letting a lot of veteran players walk in free agency, the team went ahead and fixed the secondary by drafting Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis in consecutive rounds, and trading up to get Xavier Woods in the sixth.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense?

Dallas Cowboys CB Jourdan Lewis, CB Chidobe Awuzie, S Xavier Woods (AP Photo / Ron Jenkins)

Jourdan Lewis made his presence felt early in the season, while we had to wait a bit to see Chidobe Awuzie in action. Both of them had surprising rookie seasons and they truly look like the future in Dallas’ secondary.

Both have shown what they’re capable of; we’ve seen them make plays and turn their heads to the ball… really, something we hadn’t seen in a long time.

Ryan Switzer didn’t get a chance to play as a wide receiver that much, but he was very impressive as a returner. He still has a long way to go, but I’m betting on Switzer to remain among the NFL’s best returners for a long time. After seeing him replace Cole Beasley in the season finale, I’ll be shocked if Dallas doesn’t give him more playing time on offense next year. He deserves a more important role.

Taco Charlton still has a lot to improve on, but surprisingly, he did a nice job during the final games of the season. It’s always premature to call a player a “bust” after a single season, and Taco’s been called a bust since the moment he was drafted. Let’s give him a chance.

For 2017, we set the bar high for the Cowboys’ sophomores.

We thought Dak Prescott would be among the best QBs in the league, that Ezekiel Elliott would pass the 2,000-yard mark, that Anthony Brown would be an ideal CB1, and that Maliek Collins could even lead the team in sacks as a defensive tackle.

There are a lot of reasons this team struggled in 2017, and some of those reasons still preoccupy us when thinking about next season.

The Cowboys will definitely need their 2017 rookies to continue playing quality football. It will be key if they want to leave a painful 9-7 season behind and get back to winning this year.

Here’s to hoping the Cowboys’ 2018 sophomores avoid the “inevitable slumps.” In a season filled with uncertainty, they’ll sure be needed.

Tell me what you think about “Dallas Cowboys’ 2017 Rookies Need to Avoid Sophomore Slumps” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: ¿Estará Dez Bryant de Vuelta en el 2018?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys en Español: ¿Estará Dez Bryant de Vuelta en el 2018?

Dez Bryant es ese jugador que incontables veces me hizo gritar y saltar de alegría con sus excepcionales recepciones y su manera de pelear el balón en el aire. Tantos momentos tan memorables con Tony Romo e incluso algunos con Dak Prescott lo han vuelto uno de mis jugadores favoritos…

Pero ahora, después de una difícil temporada de los Dallas Cowboys, los sentimientos están encontrados.

En muchos momentos, no parece que estamos viendo al Dez Bryant de antes. Claro, podemos decidir recordar esa recepción de touchdown que rompió el récord de la franquicia contra los Redskins, o esa escapada de 50 yardas en New York en la semana 14.

Pero Dez no ha sido el mismo las últimas tres temporadas. Y este 2017, todos los momentos de frustración culminaron en el partido que eliminó a los Cowboys de la temporada.

Cuando los Cowboys se enfrentaron a los Seattle Seahawks, un fumble acompañado por un pase soltado de Dez que resultó en una intercepción, todos nos pusimos a pensar.

La cosa no es que Dez Bryant sea un mal receptor. El talento está ahí, y es fácil verlo en ciertas jugadas. A veces es visible cuando atropella a algún defensivo, a veces cuando busca el balón y consigue atraparlo de una manera impresionante.

Quizá el próximo año se sacuda la mala racha que ha tenido los últimos años y encuentre una manera de ser el jugador que alguna vez fue… el problema es la cantidad de dinero que se le paga.

Después de la temporada del 2014, cuando Bryant terminó el año con 16 touchdowns y más de 1,300 yardas, el receptor estrella firmó un contrato por $70M.

Los Dallas Cowboys tienen frente a ellos una pregunta muy importante que resolver este offseason.

 

¿Deberían Deshacerse de Dez Bryant?

A pesar de tener una mala racha, la razón por la cual Dallas le diría adiós a Dez es su contrato. Dez está listo para cobrar $16.5M en el 2018 y otros 16 millones y medio en el 2019. De ser cortado, los Cowboys se ahorrarían ocho millones y medio la próxima temporada.

Suficiente dinero para firmar a un jugador que realmente haga impacto esta agencia libre.

Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (Brad Penner / USA TODAY Sports)

Normalmente, cuando hablamos de jugadores como él, hay muchos conflictos para los aficionados. Vaya, yo mismo acabo de plantear que es uno de mis jugadores favoritos, pero quizá a veces el cambio es necesario.

Sí, la producción de Dez Bryant no ha sido la misma desde la última temporada que tuvo con Tony Romo. Pero ¿es eso excusa suficiente?

Basta pensar en jugadores como Larry Fitzgerald y DeAndre Hopkins para darse cuenta de que no. Aún con quarterbacks mediocres, ambos se mantienen como receptores de elite en la NFL.

Es cierto que Dak Prescott no es el mismo QB que Romo era, y no es un jugador que vaya a lanzar pases profundos tan frecuentemente como Tony lo hacía, pero eso tampoco significa que sea algo malo necesariamente.

Este equipo le construyó un equipo a su ex-mariscal para sacarle todo el provecho al #9. Es hora de hacer lo mismo por Dak Prescott.

Insisto en que los Cowboys tienen que buscar a un WR tan pronto como en la primera ronda del NFL Draft o incluso hasta en agencia libre.

Los Dallas Cowboys tienen tantas cosas que hacer antes de la próxima temporada y decidir que hacer con uno de sus jugadores más emblemáticos de la actualidad, Dez Bryant, es una de ellas.

¿Les gustaría ver a Dez Bryant de vuelta en el 2018?

Tell me what you think about “Cowboys en Español: ¿Estará Dez Bryant de Vuelta en el 2018?” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

Brian Martin

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Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

The Dallas Cowboys clearly had a specific role in mind for Ryan Switzer when they drafted him 133rd overall in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Come to find out, that role didn’t include being involved much on the offensive side of the ball, at least not as a rookie.

After watching the way the Cowboys utilized Ryan Switzer in 2017, it’s pretty obvious the sole purpose he was drafted was to improve the special-teams play in the return game.

They clearly didn’t envision him being a part of the game plan on offense, despite the continuous outcry from fans.

Like most rookies, Ryan Switzer didn’t really get off to a fast start, and took a while to get used to the speed of the NFL. But, once he calmed his nerves and regained his confidence, he proved to be an upgrade in the return game.

Switzer ended up ranking third in kickoff returns, averaging 25 yards per return in 2017 and 12th in punt returns with almost 9 yards per return.

He also became the first Dallas Cowboys player to return a punt for a touchdown since 2013. He accomplished this against the Washington Redskins, in Week 13 when he took an 83-yarder to the house.

Surprisingly enough, using Ryan Switzer solely as a return specialist wasn’t enough for a lot of Cowboys Nation. A lot of fans wanted to see his talents utilized more on the offensive side of the ball as well, but were only left disappointed.

Ryan Switzer

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer

Getting Switzer involved in the offensive game plan just wasn’t in the cards in 2017.

He only managed to catch six passes for 41 yards and rushed four times for 5 yards. This isn’t exactly what Cowboys fans envisioned after hearing Switzer was opening a lot eyes in training camp and organized team activities (OTAs). That was the main problem.

He was hyped up so much heading into the season that fans expected to see him involved much more on offense.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, had something else in mind, but I doubt that’s the case for the upcoming 2018 season.

I really think we’re going to see an increased role for Ryan Switzer next season.

The Cowboys coaching staff should have a much better understanding of his strengths and weaknesses now that he has a year in the system under his belt. And, they’ve seen firsthand how explosive he can be with the ball in his hands.

What the Cowboys coaching staff will have to determine this offseason is just how big of a role Switzer will have next year.

Should Switzer take Cole Beasley‘s job?

Cole Beasley, like the rest of the Cowboys receivers, had a down year in 2017. We shouldn’t assume that his job is safe, especially with someone like Ryan Switzer waiting in the wings. But, is Switzer ready to take over full-time?

Tough decisions will have to be made eventually, but such is life in the NFL.

Will Ryan Switzer see an increased offensive role in 2018?

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