Dallas Cowboys: Is it time to part ways with Tyrone Crawford?

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 30: Tyrone Crawford
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 30: Tyrone Crawford /

After years of underperforming his massive contract, is it finally time for the Dallas Cowboys to get out from under defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford?

This offseason has been filled with speculation about the future of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant. Since inking a five-year, $70 million contract back in July of 2015, Bryant has failed to live up to expectations. After three years of sagging production, the Cowboys are expected to try and make the 29-year old receiver to take a pay cut to remain on the team.

Now, allow me to introduce you to defensive end Tyrone Crawford. He signed a ridiculous six-year, $45.6 million two months after Bryant inked his massive deal. And Crawford has been underperforming his contract for years as well. The Cowboys wanted to secure the former third round selection long-term as their three-technique defensive tackle, the linchpin in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s Tampa-2 defense.

Instead, Dallas starting using Crawford to fill holes along their defensive line, shifting him from inside to defensive end, and back and forth when needed. Regardless of where he lines up, the 28-year old’s numbers have been disappointing.

Last season, playing opposite of DeMarcus Lawrence, Crawford was only able to record 27 total tackles and 4.0 sacks in 16 games. And despite the low production, the 28-year old defender was still among the Top Ten highest paid 4-3 defensive ends last season.

"“Crawford tied with six other players for 11th on the defense in 2017 in tackles for loss, with just two,” wrote Nick Eatman on the team’s official website. “Stephen Paea and Datone Jones both equaled Crawford with the two stops behind the line of scrimmage. With DeMarcus Lawrence getting 14.5 sacks, you’d also like Crawford to get a little more than four sacks, knowing that he likely faced few double-teams.”"

And the bad news only gets worse as Crawford is scheduled to make $6 million in 2018, and a whopping $15 million combined for the following two years.

To put Crawford’s lack of play in perspective, rookie defensive end Taco Charlton posted very comparable numbers to the veteran in 2017. Charlton recorded 19 tackles and 3.0 sacks in 16 games. But Taco only played 399 defensive snaps last year. Crawford nearly doubled that amount with 626 defensive snaps!

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If Dallas Cowboys fans are going to get up in arms about the production of Dez Bryant the past three years, they should be equally outraged by the lackluster performance by Tyrone Crawford for the past three seasons. The six-year veteran is being paid like a top-tier defender. But he has the production of a forgettable role player. Time for a pay cut … or just cut.