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Which Cowboys 2021 Free Agent Addition Will Have the Biggest Impact?

We'll have a lot of new faces on the roster; some from free agency and others from the . Today I thought we'd focus in on those veteran and discuss which of them will have the biggest impact on this year's team.

This question doesn't work so well with the rookies; all eyes are on first and then everyone else. Parsons is the easy and logical pick to have the biggest impact as the 12th-overall pick in 2021 given the playing time and huge role he's almost guaranteed to have,

The picture isn't quite so clear among the additions. While you could follow the money and go with -turned-linebacker , not to mention his past appearance, some other projected starters have opportunities to be just as impactful.

One thing we can be certain of is that the correct answer will be from someone on the . The Cowboys' biggest offensive free agent addition (not counting re-signings) was 35-year-old as a potential swing . Our hope is to never actually see him on the field.

It's a bit different for guys like Neal, , and on the defensive side. These new Cowboys are all expected to start and contribute, hopefully providing upgrades from what we had in 2020 in the same spots.

When I polled recently on , it's no surprise that the responses focused on these three players.

So with this consensus established for the top three, who do I think will be the most significant addition to the roster in 2021?

The funny thing about Keanu Neal is that, despite getting the most money from Dallas and having best career so far of the three, he's also got a lot of competition to deal with. and are still here plus now there's Micah Parsons and in the mix.

Plus, it can't be underestimated that Neal is changing positions. While going from safety to linebacker may not be a big leap in certain responsibilities, it does give him an extra degree of risk and challenge from the other two.

Brent Urban is here to do what he's always done; stop the run from the DT position. Same with Damontae Kazee at safety; cover the pass and create turnovers.

Even if Neal makes a smooth transition to LB, what if LVE and Jaylon have the bounce-back seasons under Dan Quinn that we're hoping for?  What if Parsons and Cox hit the ground running and get the coaches excited?

Keanu's contract is only for one year. If the Cowboys see bright futures for any of their younger talent, Neal could quickly lose snaps to these players and have his impact potential limited.

Urban's position doesn't seem quite so precarious at DT but it's not untouchable. While he'll likely be a regular feature in the base scheme and run-stopping situations, Brent may not stay on the field long as Dallas looks to get Nevill Gallimore, , and rookie involved.

When it comes to opportunity and lack of competition, Damontae Kazee probably has the best chance of rarely leaving the field. As long as he's fully recovered from an Achilles last year, the 5th-year veteran has a chance to to bring stability as a true and more ideal partner for in the defensive backfield.

Additionally, the big play potential is where Damontae grabs my attention. Kazee had 10 interceptions from 2018-2019 for the Falcons. The entire Cowboys defense had just 16 picks over those same two years, and only 10 as a team in 2020.

Just a few interceptions will have a big effect on how we perceive Kazee. It's an advantage compared to a guy like Brent Urban, whose dirty work in the trenches won't be as noticeable or as heralded.

But in addition to the big plays, Kazee can also do a lot to help the overall solvency on pass defense. went from a diamond-in-the-rough in 2018 to an utter disaster last season. If he's even average in pass coverage, Damontae can improve things significantly in that role from the last guy.

All three of Keanu Neal, Brent Urban, and Damontae Kazee have great potential to make meaningful impacts on the 2021 Dallas Cowboys. But if I look their opportunities based on competition and projected playing time, the seem to favor Kazee most of all.

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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3 Comments

  1. Likely Bohanna takes some time to adjust to the NFL as most rookies do, but maybe as the season progresses u see him and other rookies being more impactful. Urban should be a much needed upgrade on the early down/obvious running situations , but will likely be a situational player coming out on passing downs. FS Kazee could have the most impact due to being a 3 down player, and replacing a player (Woods) who was a average at best.

    Sounds like Quinn will rotate DL/LB in and out depending on the situation. Players will have specific roles based on this and the production they show. Allows him flexibilty and keeps players fresh.

  2. I 100% agree with Don Howard!! And I think Brent Urban will get more playing time than most people think!! The only other player I see challenging him for playing time is Bohanna, while all the other players will be playing from the 3 tech position!! I think Osa Tristan Hill and Neville Gallimore will all take turns at the 3 tech position while Brent Urban will be playing at the 1 tech and 5 tech positions!! And I’m thinking Bohanna mite be a pure 1 tech player!! But who knows for sure how Dan Quinn will work it out besides Dan Quinn!! We’ll just have to wait until the season starts to find out for sure!!

  3. I hope it’s Urban because he could have a huge impact on an improved defense but probably without a lot of stats of his own but could be very beneficial to the LBS and the run D will be much better and have some third and longs which is where you generally get turnovers which this defense has desperately needed for years

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