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
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
There 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
The 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
The 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
Doug 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.