Dallas Cowboys: Free Agent Targets, Cap Casualties
By Carl Daley
The Dallas Cowboys will be facing some hard hitting personnel decisions during the offseason. Here we will explore some of the changes that could be made.
The Dallas Cowboys are heading into this offseason looking to reload from a terrific 2016 season. The Cowboys will have two opportunities to expand this roster and make another run at the playoffs as this team is on the rise.
Here we will discuss two different issues Dallas will be facing during the offseason.
Top Free Agent Targets for Dallas
There are only so many names that make sense for the Cowboys in free agency this season. Dallas may have more cap space than they have had in recent memory if veteran quarterback, Tony Romo is traded, retires, or re-structures his contract. Dallas could be in for a big free agency haul if that happens however it still seems prudent to reserve cap space for future endeavors as well as re-signing some of their own players.
Several players fit the bill for Dallas in free agency on both sides of the ball. Defensive players such as inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons, defensive end DeMarcus Ware (if he does not retire), cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore, Captain Munnerlyn, and Trumaine Johnson, and finally superstar safety Eric Berry if he manages to get on the open market.
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On offense, veteran wide receiver Kenny Britt, tight end Jared Cook, or running back Matt Asiata could make solid additions to this offense. With Cowboys running backs Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar set to be free agents Asiata could come in as a much needed addition to the Cowboys running attack.
He is a powerful back that could prove to be an incredible compliment to Cowboys star, Ezekiel Elliott. Cook can come in as an effective offensive weapon as tight end Gavin Escobar will see his contract expire with the franchise. If the Green Bay Packers do not re-sign Cook then he could prove to be a more valuable offensive weapon than Escobar did during his time in Dallas.
Finally, Britt could bring a ton of firepower to this offense as he could be a solid option as a second or third wide receiver in this offense. He has been a consistent factor in the Tennessee Titans offense even during their string of bad quarterbacks. He would be much more productive in the Cowboys high powered offensive attack.
On defense, it is much simpler as the Cowboys will need to acquire a cornerback at some point during the offseason. They will likely need to grab more than one as several cornerbacks from the Dallas Cowboys will also be entering free agency. Defensive backs Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr, and Joshua Thomas will be free agents so Dallas will either have to re-sign these players or look towards some of the others in free agency.
Johnson will likely be the most sought after cornerback in free agency while Munnerlyn provides a veteran presence in the secondary. Gilmore could become the key player in free agency for Dallas as the team continues to rebuild their secondary.
Possible Cap Casualties
The Cowboys will have a lot of decisions to make in the offseason as plenty of contracts will be expiring. There are only two players who will seemingly be willing re-structure their contract to free up cap space other than Romo. Superstar wide receiver Dez Bryant just got his new contract so it is unlikely that he will re-structure it this soon however there are two players who could.
Veteran tight and locker room leader of the Cowboys, Jason Witten, is going to cost the team around $12.2 million which just seems like a bit too much. He should be able to at least knock off four million as the team looks to land either a productive corner or some offensive firepower.
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Offensive lineman Doug Free also has underwhelmed as the regular season came to a close and since he will have a cap hit of around $7.5 million so there should be some wiggle room in terms of the cap space his contract can generate. If the Cowboys can find a little extra cap space they should be able to land a couple of quality pieces to this roster.