The Dallas Cowboys need to save money and get better at the same time
The NFL offseason is approaching, and general managers are preparing for one of the most difficult ones of their careers. The Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones are not in an ideal spot heading into the 2021 season.
The team has important players with expiring contracts and little room to fit them in. That means they need to find cheap additions to the team. Who will be on the market that can outplay their contract this offseason?
Sheldon Rankins, DT
The Dallas Cowboys struggled to defend the run this season. They gave up the third-most yards per run and gave up the third-most runs of 20+ yards in the NFL.
There are a couple of reasons that contributed to this. A combination of a new defensive scheme and injuries to their top two interior linemen meant the team was in for trouble.
Before the 2020 season even started, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy suffered a season-ending injury. He was in line to play a crucial role for Dallas but never even got a chance to play.
2019 second-round pick, Trysten Hill, had to prove his worth after barely getting any playing time in his rookie season. He showed flashes of promise early in the season but tore his ACL in Week 5. That means the team’s top two interior linemen heading into the season were out for the year.
On the market, this offseason is a talented young defensive tackle in Sheldon Rankins. He racked up 40 tackles and 8.0 sacks in 2018 but has had issues since then. Over the last two seasons, he played in 22 of 32 games and accumulated 30 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
His health concerns and the drop in his play mean his market value dropped. A lineman that could have cashed in the north of $10 million will now need to prove that the injuries and inconsistencies are behind him.
Dallas can offer him a one/two-year deal around $5 million-$6 million per season. Some would look at that as a high price, but that would see him outside the top-30 for defensive tackles.
The Cowboys don’t need him to play at an All-Pro level. They need him to help take the pressure off Hill and defensive end, DeMarcus Lawrence.
Rankins has the upside to be a Pro Bowler, and in a worst-case scenario, he would be a great rotation piece. The trio of Hill, Rankins, and Neville Gallimore is relatively cheap, young, and has the potential to be the best group of interior linemen the Cowboys have had in years.