3 free agents the Cowboys should bring back in 2023
By Mitch Larson
3. Johnathan Hankins, DT
Jonathan Hankins may not have the name recognition that other pending Cowboys’ free agents do. But he was subtly impactful and it would be a bit of a blow to lose him in free agency.
The 6-3, 340lb defensive tackle came to Dallas back in October via a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders. The Cowboys received Hankins and a 2024 seventh-round pick, for a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft. He may have only played in five games for the team this year but when he put the pads on, he sure found ways to make his presence known.
Jonathan Hankins helped to solidify a big Cowboys weakness
One of the few weaknesses that the Cowboys’ defense had this past season was that teams were able to wear them down by running the football. The former second-round pick out of Ohio State was brought in to clog the middle and help shore up a defensive line that’s strength was getting after the quarterback, not stopping the run.
For the most part, it worked. He wasn’t perfect, but with Hankins on the field, Dallas’ defense allowed nearly a full yard less on the ground than it did when he was on the sideline. Hankins took away running lanes and helped to free up other defenders to get in there and make a play.
Johnathan Hankins isn’t a splashy player, but as clichéd as it is to write, he makes a lot of the plays that won’t end up on the stat sheet. Winning teams need those kinds of players.
Immediately after coming to Dallas, he played a big role in helping to solidify one of the weakest parts of their defense. Hankins’ contract isn’t going to break the bank, and the front office would be wise to bring him back.