Terrifying free agency prediction has Cowboys signing wrong NFC South star

Washington Commanders v Dallas Cowboys
Washington Commanders v Dallas Cowboys / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

We're suddenly less than a month away from the legal tampering period, which marks the start of free agency around the NFL. Much to the chagrin of fans, the Dallas Cowboys are seldom busy at the onset of the frenzy. They typically make noise in the second and third waves by re-signing their own players.

This year, though, the Cowboys might have to come out firing in order to retain the likes of Tyron Smith and Stephon Gilmore. The same can be said if Dallas wants to get it hands on the best linebackers available.

While there are some attractive prospects in this year's draft, the Cowboys' answers to their questions at LB might have to be found in free agency. The FA pool is incredibly deep this year, so Jerry Jones should (emphasis on should) be able to entice at least one marquee player.

As always, though, there are polarizing names the Cowboys should steer clear of. One player who checks that box is Devin White of the Buccaneers ... which is what makes CBS Sports' free agency predictions so terrifying.

Cowboys should sign Buccaneers LB Lavonte David in free agency, not Devin White

CBS' Chris Trapasso believes White will have a "sizable market because of his upside." That checks out, as Spotrac has White's market value at $10 million per year. He also notes the Cowboys love to add high-profile names and White certainly fills that bill as a former No. 5 overall pick and Super Bowl champion.

Simply put, White is not the profile of linebacker Dallas needs. He's an extreme liability when he isn't rushing the passer or blitzing. He often gets duped by play action, which allows QBs to carve open the middle of the defense. And when he doesn't bite, he rarely gets the job done in coverage.

In 2023, White posted a lowly 30.2 run-defense grade. His 47.4 player grade ranked 80th of 82 qualified linebackers and his -.009 PFF WAR 207th (!) at the position. He also missed nine tackles and produced the fewest tackles, pressures and defensive stops of his five-year career. Don't allow yourself to be misled by his gaudy numbers.

The Buccaneers admittedly are up against the cap. They're suffering the consequences from selling their soul to win a Super Bowl three years ago. Despite that, there's a reason they haven't re-signed White, whom they invested a top-five pick on.

Some team is going to give White a handsome contract. The Cowboys should allow that to happen and instead pursue White's teammate Lavonte David, who just wrapped another banner season in the middle of the Bucs defense.

Though 34 years old, Davis has gotten better with age. He's still elite in coverage and is as intelligent as they come at the LB position in terms of defending the run. He might prefer re-signing with Tampa Bay for a 13th season, but that doesn't mean he couldn't be enticed to lead Mike Zimmer's defense in pursuit of another Super Bowl.

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