The Dallas Cowboys and the rest of the NFL are only a few weeks into the offseason and a bevy of players have already found new teams through trades and signings. The next big event is the NFL Draft that will occur virtually April 23rd through the 25th. However, before we move forward, let's take a look back at all that the Cowboys have done.
Yesterday, Bleacher Report put out their list of the five best acquisitions of the NFL offseason so far. Unfortunately, the Dallas Cowboys didn't make the top five, but with Tom Brady going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals, and Calais Cambell to the Baltimore Ravens, it's been an eventful offseason. If the Cowboys were to make a move to sign a player like Markus Golden from the New York Giants or trade for Jamal Adams of the New York Jets, that would be a significant enough move to make waves, but they've yet to make that kind of a splash.
Their newsmakers have been more of the “value signings” in free agency. Additions like Dontari Poe, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Aldon Smith, Blake Bell, and Gerald McCoy will help the Cowboys even if they weren't big splashes.
Of the Cowboys transactions this offseason, Gerald McCoy is the most significant. His signing provides pass rush and run defense from the interior that has been missing over the last couple of years. Though former 3-technique Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins was an effective pass rusher in his time with the Cowboys, over the last couple of seasons, the Dallas interior struggled to stop the run that was most notable in their 2018 Divisional Round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
McCoy is a better pass rusher than Collins and brings a significantly better ability at run defense that should immediately improve the Cowboys defense. Getting better on the interior against the run helps at every level of the defense. Keeping the offensive linemen from getting to the second level and linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch will help them be more effective run defenders. Playing the run at a more effective rate will help put opposing offenses in longer down and distances allowing the pass rush to be more effective.
His pass-rush reputation will force opposing offensive coordinators to take note of him in their blocking schemes. While DeMarcus Lawrence will still get double-teamed a lot, it should take pressure off of potential right edge players Randy Gregory, Aldon Smith, Dorance Armstrong, or a rookie draft pick.
Gerald McCoy, though his contract won't take up a ton of cap space or make a lot of noise, his signing could be the steal of the offseason. Much like Robert Quinn last year, the effect that McCoy will have will pay dividends throughout the season.
The Dallas Cowboys still have some work to do this offseason to build a legitimate Super Bowl contender, but Gerald McCoy goes a long way toward solidifying a defense that needed better interior play from their defensive tackles.