With the draft just weeks away, the Dallas Cowboys work in free agency has set them up to have multiple different options come draft night.
We are just over three weeks away from the NFL draft, however the Dallas Cowboys still are in free agency mode.
Just a few weeks ago, Cowboys fans were clamoring for their team to do something, anything, to add talent. The team has certainly answered the bell, or at least attempted to do so.
The latest signing, free agent Kony Ealy, adds depth to the defensive line and provides another young pass rusher to the mix. Ealy has been a target of the Cowboys for a while. First, Dallas had interest in drafting him in 2014. Instead, the Cowboys traded up in the draft to select DeMarcus Lawrence.
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Another opportunity presented itself, sort of, last year when the New England Patriots put Ealy on waivers. Dallas was unsuccessful in their attempt to sign him as the New York Jets had a higher waiver priority.
The third time must be the charm as the Cowboys have brought him in on a one-year, team-friendly deal. Terms of the deal were not readily available, however it’s likely no more than two years and less than $3M total.
This move brings the Cowboys free agency body count up to six. It’s seven if you want to count re-signing in house free agent Joe Looney.
So, as it stands now, here is a snapshot of the Dallas Cowboys roster. Of note, I have a total of 55 players on the list. There are twenty-six, both on offense and defense, along with the usual three special teamers. Players in bold and italics are ones that are on the fringe of not making the team come September.
$96.1M assigned to the salary cap
|Dak Prescott||Ezekiel Elliott||Dez Bryant||Jason Witten||Tyron Smith|
|Cooper Rush||Rod Smith||Allen Hurns||Rico Gathers||Zack Martin|
|Jamize Olawale||Terrance Williams||Geoff Swaim||Travis Frederick|
|Cole Beasley||Blake Jarwin||La’el Collins|
|Ryan Switzer||James Hanna||Cameron Fleming|
|Deonte Thompson||Marcus Martin|
|Noah Brown||Joe Looney|
$62.1M assigned to the salary cap
|DeMarcus Lawrence||David Irving||Sean Lee||Jourdan Lewis||Jeff Heath|
|Tyrone Crawford||Maliek Collins||Jaylon Smith||Chidobe Awuzie||Kavon Frazier|
|Taco Charlton||Brian Price||Damien Wilson||Anthony Brown||Xavier Woods|
|Kony Ealy||Joe Thomas||Byron Jones||Duke Thomas|
|Charles Tapper||Justin March||Marquez White|
|Randy Gregory||Tre’Von Johnson|
$6.6M assigned to the salary cap
|Chris Jones||Dan Bailey||L.P. Ladouceur|
As you can see I have 12 “fringe” players. The Cowboys also have ten draft picks coming up in a matter of weeks.
Using this roster review as a guide should help narrow down the direction of the Dallas draft. As I have mentioned a few times over the last couple of weeks, I do not expect Dallas to keep all ten picks. Even if I’m wrong, I highly doubt all ten would make the team.
Here are a few things we can surmise as it pertains to the roster:
- The Cowboys have a definitive need for at least one running back and one, if not two linebackers. Those meeting rooms right now have too many empty chairs.
- Last year’s addition of two rookies at cornerback and a rookie safety will not keep the Cowboys from looking here either. Depending on how the draft shakes down, adding a fifth corner or fourth safety to the competition mix would be wise.
- Tight end may also be a position this team looks at, sooner rather than later.
Other than that, the Cowboys have set themselves up to have a blank check, so to speak, as it pertains to the draft. They have the draft capital and sheer number of selections to move up in round one. Dallas can just sit at 19thoverall and select whichever available player they like best. The Cowboys could even pair picks 81 & 116 to move up to the top of round three and still have a fourth round selection (137).
This type of versatility will, at minimum, make the Dallas Cowboys an interesting team to watch come draft weekend. Ultimately, it would be nice to see Dallas make the right moves to nab a few difference makers to get them over the hump.