You can’t get enough defensive linemen, especially if you’re the Dallas Cowboys
Despite the additions made in the 2021 NFL Draft, there are still concerns regarding the Dallas Cowboys defensive line. The atrocious 2020 defense put a spotlight on the position more than ever. Luckily for owner Jerry Jones, there is an eight-time Pro Bowler on the market.
To become a Hall of Famer, you need to be a top player for a long time. With those Pro Bowls, two First-Team All-Pro nods, and a spot on the 2010’s All-Decade team, defensive tackle Geno Atkins is that player.
Dallas’ team doctor, Dr. Dan Cooper, performed the surgery to repair Geno’s torn rotator cuff back in December. He should be cleared by July 1, giving him time to practice with whatever team signs him before the season starts.
This medical connection potentially gives Jerry an advantage to signing the lineman regarding how stable the shoulder will be. Atkins might be more comfortable playing knowing the doctor who performed his surgery would be keeping an eye on him throughout the season.
Other than last season, the defensive lineman had as good a career as one can have. The 2020 season saw a drastic drop in production, but that’s because he was knowingly playing through an injury that needed surgery. It resulted in the lowest snap total of his career and no starts.
Many general managers remain optimistic that they can field an All-Pro at a fraction of the price. Despite being cleared from his injury, his value will decrease. It is the perfect opportunity to bolster the Cowboys’ defense.
How does Geno Atkins fit in?
As of right now, there is no clear number one interior lineman with Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore battling it out, with depth players vying for a rotating spot. The biggest name of them all is the 2021 third-round pick, Osa Odighizuwa.
It is not an intimidating group of players but rather a group of individuals that need to prove themselves. Adding someone of Atkins’ nature would give the Cowboys a lethal threat in front of the opposing quarterback and someone for the youngsters to look up to.
Dallas is tight against the cap, with just over $8 million in cap space, and still their top rookies from the 2021 NFL Draft to sign. Either a player will have to pack up their stuff (likely Cedrick Wilson or Carlos Watkins), or Geno Atkins won’t be paid much at all.
While the fit is there when you look at the roster, the money does not work out, at least yet. The $700k saved by cutting Watkins can be used toward his replacement and opens up a roster spot.
How bad does Jerry Jones want the interior lineman? Moves will need to be made for Geno Atkins to join the Dallas Cowboys, but it is possible.