Dallas Cowboys free agency philosophy: Two great fits

Dec 14, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett (left) and owner Jerry Jones (right) talk during warm ups before a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 14, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett (left) and owner Jerry Jones (right) talk during warm ups before a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

As Dallas Cowboys fans come to expect a tight belt during the months of free agency, here are two excellent fits for their philosophy.

After tonight, the 2016 NFL season will officially be over. Even though this past year did not end as one would have thought, it is almost impossible to look upon it as disappointing.  Any way you slice it, the 2016 season was a success for the Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas found their quarterback of the future in Dak Prescott.  They are now able to bridge the gap at that position which is vital to consistent success.  They were also able to land one of the most dynamic and complete running backs to compliment him.

With Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys could have two players capable of MVP consideration every season.

Defensively, the Dallas Cowboys added some nice young pieces in lineman Maliek Collins and cornerback Anthony Brown.  Furthermore, there is hope that lineman Charles Tapper and linebacker Jaylon Smith can contribute in 2017 as well.

All six of these players became Cowboys via the draft.  That is no mistake either.  Looking back over the last three drafts, Dallas has continued to add talent.

In 2015, the Cowboys drafted linebacker Damien Wilson and tight end Geoff Swaim in addition to their prize pick of safety Byron Jones.

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The year before that, Dallas chose defensive lineman DeMarcus Lawrence and linebacker Anthony Hitchens to go along with star guard Zack Martin.

The foreseeable future of the Dallas Cowboys will continue to center around April and May rather than February or March.

With that being said, you can still augment your talent by being smart in free agency.  This is not to say that the Cowboys will never spend big money again on a free agent.  There could be a situation that comes about that makes that a possibility.

By and large however, expect the Cowboys to center on their own free agents in 2017 with a splash of additions elsewhere.

Here is a helpful guide as to what to expect in the coming months leading up to the NFL Draft.

I think we can all agree that there are two glaring positions of need for this team going into next year.

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The Dallas Cowboys have to improve along the defensive line.  With nearly 60% of their five best options in the secondary becoming free agents, that is a need as well.  Additionally, the Cowboys could use a slight upgrade at receiver.

Looking at the free agent landscape along the defensive line, the options may seem limited at first.  A deeper scan does reveal a couple of intriguing possibilities however.

First of all, re-signing Terrell McClain is priority number one for this team in my opinion.  Beyond that, the name that I like most on this list is Buccaneers edge rusher William Gholston.

Gholston will be just 26 years old when next year starts, but already has 36 career stars in the NFL.  His numbers never “WOW” you but he does have 10.5 career sacks.  That’s only two less than Tyrone Crawford, who has started eight extra games.

Adding McClain and Gholston to the rotation, along with Lawrence, Crawford, Collins, Tapper, David Irving and Benson Mayowa sounds interesting.  Throw in a guaranteed first or second round draft pick and the Cowboys would be young, athletic and flexible along the defensive line.

In the secondary, I have already discussed how I feel Dallas should treat the situation relating to Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr.  Ultimately, there is a very real scenario in which neither return next season.  If that’s the case, Dallas will almost certainly need to go shopping for depth.

The list of names out there from which to choose is largely unappealing for one reason or another. I do see a couple that I would entertain, however, if I was running the Dallas Cowboys.

The most interesting to me is Logan Ryan from the New England Patriots.  How he holds up tonight against the Falcons passing game could determine his price tag.  Regardless of his performance, there are a lot of things to like about Ryan.

Ryan has 13 career interceptions in 64 games.  He will be 26 next season which means he is directly in his prime.  You know he’s been coached well coming from the Patriots.  There is also the bonus of his playoff success which includes two Super Bowl appearances.

He may very well go outside the Cowboys approach of “bargain shopping” but he likely won’t cost as much as others on the list.  Trumaine Johnson, A.J. Bouye and Dre Kirkpatrick could all get mega deals but Ryan could come cheaper with equal value on the field.

Just as the defensive line will require an upgrade via the draft, so too will the cornerback position.  The addition of Ryan, however, could lessen that priority some.