15 best free agent signings in Dallas Cowboys history

Deion Sanders, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
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Dallas Cowboys
Sep 7, 2008; Cleveland, OH, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Zach Thomas (55) tries for an interception as safety Ken Hamlin (26) breaks up a fourth quarter pass against Cleveland Browns receiver Syndric Steptoe (12) at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Browns 28-10. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

14. Zach Thomas, LB, 2008

Wade Phillips took over as head coach of the Cowboys in 2007 and while he inherited a strong defense from Bill Parcells, he still needed to fill a couple of holes. One of those was at middle linebacker, and in 2008, he found a one-year bridge starter that had a great campaign in Zach Thomas.

The list of accolades Thomas racked up during his 12 seasons with the Miami Dolphins is an impressive one. He was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and made seven All-Pro Teams (five selections to the First-Team and two to the Second-Team).

Thomas was also the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1996 and twice led the NFL in tackles. Still, his signing in Dallas was an interesting one since he was nearing the end of his career and was set to take on a new role as an interior linebacker in the 3-4 defense. Not only was it a new scheme but Thomas was listed at 5-foot-11 and 228-pounds, making him much smaller than players typically featured in this position.

Phillips was adamant that Thomas could get the job done and he was correct. The 13th-year pro had 94 tackles and a sack that season, which proved to be his final year playing in the NFL. Had they picked him up when he was younger, or perhaps gotten at least two years of this production from him, Thomas would be much higher on this list, but he still belongs in the top 15.