The Dallas Cowboys need some help along the interior of their defensive line. Pro Football Focus believes they’ll find that help in free agency this offseason.
The Dallas Cowboys defense struggled last season, especially against the run. They allowed an average of 103.5 rushing yards per game, nearly 10 more yards on the ground per contest than the previous season (94.6). In fact, the Cowboys defense allowed opposing offenses to rush over the century mark 11 times in 2019.
One of the reasons Dallas struggled to stop the run is because of injuries and inconsistent play from the interior of their defensive line. The Cowboys’ biggest run-stopper, defensive tackle Antwaun Woods, played just 10 games last season due to knee, ankle, and hip injuries.
With a new head coach and revamped coaching staff in place, the Cowboys figure to be making big changes across their roster. That likely includes upgrading the defensive tackle position. And one football analytics website believes Dallas should have their eyes set on 31-year old Pro Bowl defensive tackle Mike Daniels, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next month.
Here’s what Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus wrote about his prediction that the Cowboys sign Daniels to a two-year, $10 million deal this offseason.
"“Mike Daniels’ peak years seem to be over. These past couple offseasons, he wasn’t able to sniff his three-year stretch from 2015-17 when he produced PFF overall grades of 90.3, 77.3 and 81.5. That being said, he’s still capable of being an average to slightly above average interior defensive lineman.”"
Drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Iowa by the Green Bay Packers, the connection between Daniels and the Cowboys is clear. Former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is now at the helm of America’s Team and could certainly look for players he’s familiar with to help him take Dallas back to the postseason.
Daniels had his best performance in the NFL during McCarthy’s last full season in Green Bay. In 2017, the veteran defensive tackle recorded 49 tackles and 5.0 sacks, earning his first and only Pro Bowl bid. The Packers parted ways with Daniels before the start of last season and he signed a one-year, $9.1 million deal to join the Detroit Lions.
Unfortunately, Daniels struggled with injuries during his lone season in the Motor City, playing in just nine games and recording a total of 10 tackles and a single sack.
As for the Dallas Cowboys, defensive tackles Maliek Collins and Christian Covington are both unrestricted free agents this offseason. Daniel Ross is a restricted free agent while Antwaun Woods is an exclusive rights free agent. So the Cowboys could be making some sweeping changes to the position in the coming weeks. And certainly a former Packer like Mike Daniels could be a part of those plans.