After posting a third straight 8-8 record without a postseason appearance, there are some very clear-cut areas of need for the Dallas Cowboys to fill in 2014. Especially on the defensive side of the ball, as Dallas played the worst defense in the NFL last year. (and the worst in franchise history)
Although some of the needs are obvious, there are also some that you might not have given much thought about. Therefore, here is my ranking of the ten biggest areas of need for the Dallas Cowboys this offseason.
Let’s face it. Current Cowboys punter, Chris Jones, is not the worst player at his position. But he’s also far from the best. And last year’s stats support this opinion. In 2013, Jones punted the ball 77 times. (16th most in the league) His gross punting average was 45.0 yards. (19th in the league) Again, simply average.
In his favor, Jones ranked second in the NFL with 27 fair catches. This means he’s getting above average height and air time on his punts. And he tied for 8th in punts within the 20-yard line with 30. Unfortunately, the punter he is tied with obtain the same results in 21 less attempts.
For me, where a punter shines is getting the ball out of bounds within the 10-yard line. But when is the last time you remember Jones doing that? Yeah, me neither.
Jones’ is an average punter who happens to be a restricted free agent this offseason. I’m fairly certain no team will put in an offer for him, but the truth is Dallas could do better. And it would probably cost them less.
Jones is coming off a three-year, $1.395 million contract. Obviously, he’s not breaking the bank. But Jones is also far from a Pro Bowl punter. If the team signs him for the league minimum, that would make sense. Anything more means it’s time to cut bait. At the very least, the Cowboys should bring in a couple undrafted free agent punters this offseason to push for Jones’ job.