Jack’s the lad for the Dallas Cowboys in Free Agency

Aug 29, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Taylor Heinicke (6) scrambles against Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jack Crawford and defensive end Ryan Russell (99) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 29, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Taylor Heinicke (6) scrambles against Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jack Crawford and defensive end Ryan Russell (99) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys would be wise to re-sign a significant piece to their young defensive line in free agent Jack Crawford.

There’s many a disgruntled Dallas Cowboys fan around at present. Among the chaos that free agency brings, the team have been (as promised) remarkably quiet. There’s been a number of visits both confirmed and rumored. But the big names have signed elsewhere, much to the disappointment of many.

Of the NFL.com list of Top Free Agents of the top 30 only five players are yet to sign or agree a deal with a team.

The Cowboys biggest need is at defensive end. Randy Gregory is suspended for the opening four games of the year, Jeremy Mincey, Greg Hardy and Jack Crawford are all out of contract. That leaves just DeMarcus Lawrence and Ryan Russell– not quite the pass rushing force we all desire.

Ironically the best available defensive end on the NFL’s list is Greg Hardy. Hardy is currently a free agent (as highlighted by Jason Garrett on several occasions!) after a rollercoaster year in Dallas. In twelve games Hardy contributed six sacks and an interception. In some games he looked sensational and exactly what the Cowboys had wanted to add to their team. But he was also MIA too often. The young Cowboys roster needed a leader on that defensive line to dominate; unfortunately that wasn’t often enough.

Olivier Vernon was the high profile defensive end to hit free agency, but it was the New York Giants who sealed the deal for the former Dolphin with a massive $85 million contract. The cheaper option and more realistic signing was the Ram’s defensive end Chris Long. A visit had been inked into the Dallas diary but he announced via Twitter he was headed to Boston to sign with the New England Patriots.

Another one bites the dust.

It’s now looking increasingly likely that the Cowboys will need to address their pass rush via the draft. Joey Bosa and Deforest Buckner will both be in play with the 4th pick, or they may look for value in the second/third round with picks like Kamalei Correa (Boise State) or Jihad Ward (Illinois).

The downside to rookie defensive ends is their lack of production. Look at the first round defensive ends drafted the last four years and the double digit sacks required from your most pass rusher just aren’t there.

2015: Leonard Williams – 3 sacks, Shane Ray – 4 sacks

2014: Jadeveon Clowney – 0 sacks

2013: Dion Jordan – 2 sacks, Ezekiel Ansah – 8 sacks, Datone Jones – 3.5 sacks

2012: Bruce Irvin – 8 sacks , Quinton Coples – 5.5 sacks, Melvin Ingram – 1 sack, Shea McClellin – 2.5 sacks, Chandler Jones – 6 sacks, Whitney Mercilus – 6 sacks

Should the Cowboys be reliant upon a rookie, it’s highly unlikely the number of sacks the team get is increased in anyway. That being said, it’s not always about the number in the sack column. Look at 2014. The team in 2014 ranked 28th overall in sacks; yet they made the playoffs by finishing 12-4. What they lacked in sacks they produced in hustle and break up play.

A significant piece to that hustling line of Rod Marinelli’s was a fellow compatriot of mine; Jack Crawford. Jack played six games in 2014 with his best coming on home turf at Wembley in London. But it was 2015 where he really seemed to establish himself in that rotational style Marinelli likes. Throughout the year he lined up at every position on the defensive line.

In his two seasons Crawford has contributed just over 10% of the Cowboys total sacks. He doubled his tally from 2014 to 2015, if he could do so again in 2016 that’d be just perfect! Whether he is afforded the chance to do that however remains to be seen.

Crawford is currently a free agent and while there’s little talk of visits elsewhere, the Cowboys are obviously comfortable in letting him test the water to see what’s out there. Ultimately though you have to think they want him back.

"“He plays hard. He plays everywhere. He can even do some special teams work in a pinch. He can play either defensive end spot as well as the under tackle spot. In a pinch he could play the nose, although mostly in passing situations.” Todd Archer, ESPN"

Obviously Jack’s experience in the team and versatility make him desirable to the Cowboys. He’s quick off the snap and consistently gets into the face of the quarterback. My favorite trait of his though is the intensity he plays with. He never stops hustling or harrowing be it the first snap or the last, that motor just keeps on whirling.

It’s unthinkable that the Cowboys let him walk. For this Dallas defense, Jack really is the lad. Get him signed Jerry.

Next: Rumor: Cowboys willing to trade 4th overall pick

Thank you for reading the above article. It’s our sincere hope you’ll visit our site often as we work really hard to provide Cowboys fans with fresh, daily content about their favorite team. Please feel free to take part in further discussions about this topic below in our comment section. All we ask is that each participant is respectful in both their responses and towards others. Thanks again and…Go Cowboys!