By: Greg Rector
With the Dallas Cowboys having 26 free agents of their own to deal with, it’s a huge unknown as to what the exact needs will be for the Cowboys when they start looking at the marketplace.
My guess is the team will put the franchise tag on Prescott, and the transition tag on Cooper. So that leaves Byron Jones, as the player they need to offer enough to stay with the organization. So with $27 million going to Prescott as a franchise tag QB, the remaining $50 million or so needs to be spent wisely. I simply don’t think the team needs to go after the biggest name at various positions. I look more for the so-called second tier of free agents to be targeted by the Cowboys.
Tight end might be a good place to start looking at free agents, with two coming to mind, I think Hunter Henry will be the first target of many teams and get priced out of the Cowboys range. However, AUSTIN HOOPER, or ERIC EBRON, could be available in the price range the Cowboys would like. Hooper would be an ideal fit in my opinion. Hooper, in just 13 games had 75 catches for 785 yards, along with 6 TDs. Falcons are in a bad cap situation. Ebron would be a guy who has a chip on his shoulder after this past season with the Coltsinjury-riddled season saw him fall out of favor.
ILB Yes the Cowboys have Smith and Vander Esche, however when you hear “spinal stenosis,” right after Leighton’s name is mentioned, along with an over the hill Sean Lee (Yes please look elsewhere Sean) you suddenly don’t look so set at the position. So I would target a guy who isn’t spectacular at any one facet of his game , instead simply very solid at everything, in the Browns ILB JOE SCHOBERT. Shhh, he also had 4 picks last year. Yes, my pet peeve with the defense coming to life yet again. BLAKE MARTINEZ would also be a possibility here, however, he’s not great against the run, his strengths are coverage and blitzing.
SAFETY Ahhh yes the long, long, too long ignored position on the defense that Cowboys fans have craved for a decade. I have one target here that I absolutely love and that’s VONN BELL from the Saints. His biggest strength is as a run support safety, but his cover game isn’t shabby, nor is his blitzing. He’s also decent at forcing fumbles. If you want to take a riskier choice and pray his injury bug days are over go to JIMMIE WARD from the 49’ers. It could come very cheaply because of those injury concerns. When he’s been healthy though Ward, he has shown to be very capable.
DT Another area of concern because while Maliek Collins has been decent with flashes of excellent, he’s most likely going elsewhere as a free agent himself. Trysten Hill, the 2nd round pick a year ago was a complete non-factor last year, and may well be a complete bust. (Late to practices, sleeping when Isiah Thomas, an NBA Hall of Famer is giving a speech) So yes they could use some help here. There’s plenty of available guys at the position as well. SHELBY HARRIS from the Broncos, or his teammate DEREK WOLFE, could be good additions. I also like MICHAEL PIERCE of the Ravens.
CORNER If no agreement can be reached with Jones, well suddenly this position becomes a necessity and it might force the Cowboys to go high on the money side as well. TROY HILL of the Rams, KENDALL FULLER of the Chiefs, and RONALD DARBY of the Eagles, and MACKENSIE ALEXANDER of the Vikings would all be getting phone calls by me.
So there are some possible free agent targets at positions of need for the Cowboys.
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