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.
Cowboys en Español: 3 Escenarios Para el Futuro de David Irving
En la NFL, la falta de noticias en Junio generalmente significa buenas noticias. Los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys saben esto mejor que nadie y en caso de que lo hayan olvidado, David Irving se aseguró de recordarle a Cowboys Nation el porque de esta frase.
La semana pasada, se anunció que David Irving recibirá una suspensión de cuatro partidos por haber violado la política de abuso de substancias de la liga. Es la segunda suspensión que Irving recibe en años consecutivos y lógicamente, esto es preocupante para el equipo de los Dallas Cowboys.
Las últimas dos temporadas hemos visto a Irving convertirse en una pieza de suma importancia para la defensiva. El año pasado, Irving consiguió siete sacks (capturas) en sólo ocho juegos y se convirtió en un caza cabezas muy efectivo.
Demostrando ser uno de los jugadores más talentosos de su posición en la NFL, es difícil imaginar el futuro del #95 en la liga. Tras recibir un tender de segunda ronda hace unos meses (explico que es eso aquí), el futuro de Irving es muy incierto. Por eso, esta semana en Cowboys en Español, exploraremos tres escenarios posibles para el defensivo de 24 años.
#1 David Irving se va de Dallas prematuramente
Hace unos días, me dediqué a defender mi posición de que los Cowboys estarían cometiendo un error al cortar a David Irving. A pesar de que realmente despedirse de un defensivo como Irving parece muy poco probable, es un escenario que debemos discutir.
Irving ha sido un dolor de cabeza para el equipo en más de una ocasión. Dos suspensiones en años consecutivos no es una buena imagen para un jugador que busca un contrato jugoso al terminar el año.
Si Jason Garrett y la administración quieren "dar un mensaje" cortando a David Irving, ¿qué tanto serviría? Esta idea de enviar un mensaje, a la hora de pensarlo fríamente, parece una idea romántica de parte de nosotros los fans. Al final de cuentas, estamos hablando de un locker room lleno de jugadores adultos y profesionales, no de un grupo de niños.
Además, bien sabemos todos que Irving no es el único Cowboy que ha tenido problemas. ¿Será el hecho de que ha ocurrido dos años seguidos razón suficiente para dejarlo ir? Personalmente, no lo creo. Los Cowboys dejarían ir a un jugador muy bueno en una posición de necesidad.
Datone Jones, Jihad Ward y Maliek Collins podrán ser suficiente. Pero David Irving es especial en el campo. Mejor tenerlo por 12 juegos a tenerlo cero.
#2 Irving se queda para el 2018, pero no más allá
David Irving recibió un contrato de un año que le pagaba (antes de ser suspendido) 2.91 millones de dólares. Si hubiera demostrado que no era problemático y que podía mantenerse al 100% toda la temporada, probablemente hubiera recibido un gran contrato de los Cowboys o de otro equipo en la NFL.
Sin embargo, el dicho lo dice todo. "En la NFL, la disponibilidad es la mejor habilidad." Irving no se ha terminado de ganar la confianza necesaria para una gran extensión.
En este punto, Dallas puede esperar a que su tackle defensivo regrese de su suspensión, juegue doce juegos con ellos y les consiga un sack por juego por menos de tres millones de dólares. Después de eso, el equipo pude darse el lujo de dejarlo ir sin una extensión y verlo convertirse en un agente libre.
#3 Irving se queda por más de un año
En este caso, hay dos "sub-escenarios." Suponiendo que, efectivamente, Irving regresa y juega como sabemos que puede hacerlo, no será tan fácil dejarlo ir. Si llega a sorprender y demuestra que realmente es quien creemos que es y consigue diez capturas en sólo doce juegos, ¿realmente no le dará el equipo una oportunidad?
La primera opción sería asignarle la etiqueta franquicia y obligarlo a jugar un año más para un equipo que busca desesperadamente un Super Bowl.
Si se sienten cómodos dándole el salario de una etiqueta franquicia para evitar perderlo, ¿podríamos culparlos después de que les dio por ejemplo, diez capturas? Yo, personalmente, no podría hacerlo.
La otra opción, y una que podría ser la más realista, es más simple. La inmadurez y los problemas de Irving le costarán la confianza y el interés de otros equipos y es posible que en un punto, Dallas sea el único equipo que le pueda brindar seguridad de trabajo.
De esta manera, Dallas podría ofrecerle una extensión de dos, tres o más años a un precio mucho más barato que el de cualquier DT que consiga dos dígitos de sacks.
David Irving sin duda tiene un futuro incierto delante de él. Realmente sería una sorpresa verlo fuera de Dallas en el 2018, pero más allá, quien sabe lo que pueda pasar. Por ahora, esperemos que una vez que vuelva de la suspensión, esté en forma para ir detrás de los quarterbacks oponentes.
Con un poco de suerte, quizá nos olvidaremos de esto en Noviembre.
Is Kris Richard Actually Jason Garrett’s Replacement, Not Rod Marinelli’s?
Much has already been made about the Dallas Cowboys hiring of Kris Richard. He was brought in to be this year's defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator, but it's a title I don't think he will hold for long.
It has already been speculated that Kris Richard will become Rod Marinelli's successor to become the Dallas Cowboys next defensive coordinator. Marinelli in fact contemplated retirement after the completion of the 2017 season, but decided to give it another go in 2018. But, anything beyond that is unknown at this point.
It isn't that hard to believe that Kris Richard will be the Dallas Cowboys next defensive coordinator. He already has a pretty good track record as a DC from his time with the Seattle Seahawks (2015-2017). During that time, the Seahawks had one of the better defenses in the league, which is why a lot of Cowboys fans are excited about what he can do in Dallas.
This was a terrific hire by the Dallas Cowboys. Richard is one of the top up-and-coming coaches in the league today and is highly respected around the league. For him to take a step back from defensive coordinator to become the DB coach/passing game coordinator in Dallas is a little confusing.
Why would he take a step back in his coaching career to come to the Dallas Cowboys?
Before he agreed to come to Dallas, Richard interviewed for the head-coaching job with the Indianapolis Colts. To already be considered a head-coaching candidate tells you all you need to know about the trajectory of Richard's career. Again, why take a step back with the Cowboys?
We all know that Jerry Jones is a fantastic salesman. He must've been able to convince Richard that he has a chance at a big promotion sometime soon. But, would a promotion to defensive coordinator be enough for Richard? Does he have his eyes set on something bigger?
I know that I'm not alone, but Jason Garrett is on thin ice this season. If he doesn't at least get the Dallas Cowboys into the playoffs this year, he could be looking for a new job, which would create a vacancy at head coach. This could be the kind of opportunity Kris Richard is looking for.
I find it a little hard to believe that Kris Richard would be willingly to come coach in Dallas knowing that the entire coaching staff could be dismissed after the season if Jason Garrett isn't successful. That's not typically the kind of job security you look for, so something has to have been promised to him behind closed doors.
I know it's a lot of speculation right now, but I don't think it's completely out of the realm of possibility. Someone is going to have to replace Jason Garrett if he falters this season and Kris Richard is a logical choice. After all, it's kind of the way Garrett became the head coach of the Cowboys when he replaced Wade Phillips. Could history repeat itself?
Do you think Kris Richard is Jason Garrett's eventual replacement?
NFC East Position Rankings: The Quarterbacks
The long NFL offseason is finally beginning to come to a close, with teams participating in mandatory mini-camps and training camps just a month away. Still, though, there is a lot of time left before the 2018 NFL season really begins.
With that time it's always fun to rank things and put together lists. I mean, who doesn't love a good article ranking players? Over the next few weeks I'll be ranking position groups in the NFC East to see which team comes out on top.
Today we begin with the NFC East quarterbacks, arguably the most scrutinized position group in all of sports.
4. New York Giants QB Eli Manning
Though he is the most accomplished quarterback in this division, Giants QB Eli Manning comes in last in our current rankings. Manning has seen his play decline throughout the years, even being benched in favor of Geno Smith late in 2017.
With a healthy cast of pass catchers and rookie running back Saquon Barkley surrounding him, however, Manning could be poised for improvement in 2018.
The Giants offense might be the best in the league if each game was a 7 on 7 tournament, so it will be interesting to see how Eli Manning performs this season.
3. Washington Redskins QB Alex Smith
The newest starting quarterback in the NFC East is Washington's Alex Smith, and he comes in third in our rankings. Smith has gotten the reputation as a check-down artist throughout his career thus far, but when surrounded by the right talent he can be very effective.
Smith had arguably his best season to date in 2017 with the Kansas City Chiefs, but I just don't see Washington's offense being nearly as dangerous as those Chiefs were a year ago.
To me, Smith is at best a marginal upgrade over former starter Kirk Cousins, and won't bring too much of a difference over the long haul in Washington.
2. Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott
Second on our list is Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. The now third year quarterback is coming off a bit of a "sophomore slump" to end his 2017 campaign, though his first season and a half warrant him our number two spot.
I expect Prescott to look like himself in 2018, especially with the improvements the Cowboys made to their offensive line. Ezekiel Elliott should be available for all 16 games, and the turnover in the receiver group gives some cause for optimism as well.
Prescott is the former Rookie of the Year and has had a good start to his career thus far, but sorry, Cowboys fans, we can all admit Dak Prescott doesn't deserve the top spot as of now.
1. Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz
The top quarterback in the NFC East right now is Eagles QB Carson Wentz. Wentz was a legitimate MVP candidate in 2017 prior to his injury, and once returning to full health Wentz should be able to impress once again.
The Eagles offense was downright dominant while Wentz was healthy, and though they did win the Super Bowl without him, Wentz brings their productivity to another level.
And with arguably the best supporting cast of the entire division, Carson Wentz is poised for success going forward.
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