Anyone who was hoping the Dallas Cowboys would make a splash in free agency was probably left disappointed. But this trend of waiting until the second or third wave of free agency to go bargain hunting is a practice that is not new to the Cowboys.
There is at least some hope surrounding the 2021 Cowboys free agency class, however. Whether it be ball-hawking free safety Damontae Kazee, strong safety/linebacker Keanu Neal or rotational edge rusher Tarell Basham.
There is at least hope that these guys will not only make the final roster but also impact the team in a positive way. Something that safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, defensive tackle Dontari Poe, and cornerback Daryl Worley failed to do.
There is one signing that, in my opinion, can have the biggest impact on the entire defensive unit. That would be the signing of defensive lineman Brent Urban.
Now finally having a playmaking free safety such as Kazee can also have a huge impact, but he is coming off a torn Achilles. Neal can also make his presence felt, but he has dealt with injuries multiple times in his professional career.
Urban came into the NFL as a fourth-round draft pick by the Baltimore Ravens out of the University of Virginia (he was also drafted into the CFL the year prior as a second-round pick). He finished out his entire rookie contract in Baltimore, then signed a one-year extension with the club following the 2017 season.
After the 2018 season, Urban signed with the Tennessee Titans in April 2019, but would later be cut in October 2019. Two days later, Urban latched onto the Bears roster where he would finish out the 2019 season, then sign a one-year extension for 2020.
In 2020, Urban played in all 16 games, starting eight of them. He finished the season with 2.5 sacks, 39 combined tackles (17 solo and 19 assists), and two tackles for loss.
According to Pro Football Focus, in 2020 Urban played 391 total snaps. He had a run defense grade of 83.7 and a pass-rush grade of 56.0.
Urban will not bring much juice to the pass rush unit, but Dallas does not need him to. That is what they have DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory for. But when it comes to taking on blocks and eating up space in the run game, Urban can flourish. He can help solidify a defensive tackle unit that includes third-year pro Trysten Hill, who is coming off a torn ACL, and second-year player Neville Gallimore.
Oh, and he will also make life easier for Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith and any other linebacker Dallas may grab in the upcoming draft. These linebackers can focus solely on their own assignments, instead of having to worry about having an offensive lineman in their face every play.
Urban is 29 years old and will turn 30 in May, so he is not a long-term answer for the defense. He falls under that category of being able to help the team right away, while also not preventing them from drafting someone at the same position in the Draft at the end of April if the value is right.
His contract is also a massive plus. Based on what he could bring to the team overall, the value certainly seems to be good.
Urban also seems to have been a fan favorite of sorts in Chicago. A lot of comments of the signing on Twitter are from Bears fans thanking him for his time in Chicago and wishing he could’ve stayed around.
A defensive tackle unit of Brent Urban, Neville Gallimore, Trysten Hill, and a potential rookie is not going to be one of the top-ranked units in the league by any means. But what Dallas Cowboys fans can hope for is that this unit can be serviceable enough to not cripple the rest of the defense. In my opinion, it will be just enough to get the job done at an average level.