Cowboys may now have surprising free-agent target as legal tampering period opens

Seattle Seahawks v Dallas Cowboys
Seattle Seahawks v Dallas Cowboys / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

Dallas Cowboys fans should brace for another conservative offseason, as multiple trustworthy insiders have thrown freezing cold water on Jerry Jones' all-in promise with the legal tampering period starting on Monday.

Even though another penny-pinching free agency is on the horizon, the Cowboys can still be expected to sign some players. As much as they value the draft, they don't have enough picks to fix all of their roster holes in April's showcase.

Shortcoming at linebacker and defensive tackle proved fatal in the playoffs, while running back and wide receiver are sneaky big needs as well.

The NFL Combine usually gives teams a good idea of player's markets before free agency. We learned that Tyron Smith likely won't be back with the Cowboys, and the same can be said for Dorance Armstrong and Tyler Biadasz.

In wrapping up buzz from the Combine, ESPN insider Jeremy Fowler named a surprising free agent target for Dallas: Seahawks LB Jordyn Brooks.

NFL Rumors: Cowboys could target Seahawks LB Jordyn Brooks in free agency

It's important to note that Fowler only mentioned Brooks as a "good fit." However, Fowler wouldn't name drop Brooks if he didn't hear something. That suggests there's legs to this rumor, even if it reads like an informed opinion.

A former first-round pick of the Seahawks in 2020, Brooks is from Houston, TX and starred in college at Texas Tech. He led the league with 108 solo tackles as a sophomore in 2021 and put together another strong season in 2023.

In 16 games, Brooks logged 111 tackles, eight tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, eight tackles for loss and five quarterback hits. However, he posted the lowest run-defense grade of his career, per Pro Football Focus, and underwhelmed in coverage, allowing 526 yards and a 93.2 passer rating when targeted.

Those numbers don't inspire a ton of confidence, but it's worth noting Brooks finished with run-defense grades of 65.2, 74.3 and 68.6, respectively, in the previous three seasons. He was also strapped with a rapidly declining Bobby Wagner at linebacker. That definitely didn't help.

The Cowboys need a big-bodied LB that can get downhill and tackle ball-carriers. At 245 pounds, Brooks fits that profile. He's almost 40 pounds heavier than Markquese Bell, who started at off-ball linebacker for most of the year following Leighton Vander Esch's injury, and finished the 2022 season with the sixth-most defensive stops among off-ball LBs.

PFF lists Brooks as its fourth-ranked linebacker in free agency, ahead of other notable LBs Azeez Al-Shaair, Devin White, Josey Jewell and Blake Cashman. Al-Shaair would be our pick of that group, but Brooks has elite sideline-to-sideline range and is a bully in terms of getting downhill to blow up running plays.

Again, Fowler wouldn't mention Brooks if he didn't feel there was a chance he winds up on the Cowboys. If nothing else, fans of America's Team should bookmark Brooks' name as the free agent frenzy gets underway.

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