Tyrone Crawford is entering the stage in his career where his role with the Dallas Cowboys is no longer as clear-cut as it used to be. For years now fans around Cowboys Nation have been calling for his head and now that he's entering the final year of his contract under a new coaching staff, they could finally get their wish. That however isn't a sure thing though.
Today, I thought I'd take a look at what Tyrone Crawford's defensive role with the Dallas Cowboys could be in 2020. I think he falls into one of three categories: starter, backup, or progress stopper. I really think an argument could be made for any one of the three, however, I know where I would place him. Where would you?
Below are my somewhat unbiased thoughts on the topic…
As things stand right now, the Dallas Cowboys probably have Tyrone Crawford penciled in as the starter at right defensive end opposite DeMarcus Lawrence. He is the most experienced and longest tenured Cowboys defensive lineman currently on the roster. Those intangibles shouldn't be overlooked. Other than D-Law, Crawford is the most reliable and trustworthy DE on the team and that's saying something considering he's coming off of double hip surgery. His versatility is something else to take into account. It's something that endeared him to the previous coaching staff and could again with the new one.
Tyrone Crawford will count $9.1 million against the Dallas Cowboys salary cap this year, which is a hefty price tag to carry for any kind of player who's not a full-time starter. That's a tough pill to swallow, but one the Cowboys may be willing to choke down. He's a good insurance policy if Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory aren't ready to handle the lions share of the workload and his versatility to play multiple positions along the DL works in his favor as well. With questionable depth at both DE and DT, Crawford's versatility could prove to be invaluable. That alone could very likely keep him around, even if he's not the starter.
The Dallas Cowboys currently have several younger, more athletic defensive ends on the roster and that could make Tyrone Crawford nothing more than a progress stopper. It's hard enough to get younger players the reps and practice time they need to develop, but having an aging player with recent injury concerns ahead of them on the depth chart makes things even more difficult. Sometimes it's in the best interest of the team to cut ties with these “progress stoppers”, especially ones who can create quite a bit of salary-cap relief as well. Add it all up and Crawford's days with the Cowboys could be numbered.