Over the past few months, the Dallas Cowboys have added big-name players in order to fill spots that have been depleted during free agency.
Byron Jones and Robert Quinn are the biggest names to leave, but the Cowboys have also made some sort of progress in that time in order to keep this team at a playoff contender level.
Gerald McCoy – DT // Dontari Poe – DT
The Cowboys seemed to stack up names and experience on the defensive line, as they added former Pro Bowl defensive lineman Gerald McCoy on a 3 year $18.3 million contract with $9 million guaranteed.
McCoy was a five-time Pro Bowler and a one-time All-Pro that played with the Buccaneers and Panthers. Dontari Poe was signed on a one-year deal, as he came from the Panthers as well, playing alongside Gerald McCoy, so the two newly signed tackles have familiarity with each other.
The signings came in the wake of losing Malik Collins (Raiders) and Robert Quinn (Bears), and Michael Bennett in free agency so far. Bennett remains unsigned but has expressed interest in playing this season.
Could the Cowboys bring back Bennett who can play both defensive end and defensive tackle?
If the team could keep his contract under $4 million per year, they could add Bennett to a defensive line group that has plenty of NFL experience.
Anthony Brown – CB // HaHa Clinton-Dix – S
Dallas needed to make some sort of signing in the secondary after losing top free agent Byron Jones to the Miami Dolphins who made him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL at over $16 million per season. Jeff Heath also left town to the new Las Vegas Raiders on a new contract as well, but Heath was an average safety at best whom’s time had just run out in Dallas.
Anthony Brown came back to Dallas after tearing his triceps in 2019, cutting his season short. Brown is returning on a 3 year $15.5 million contract with $8 million guaranteed. Brown flashed early in his career, showing the ability to cover some of the faster wide receivers in the NFL, along with getting his hand on the ball. Recently he has regressed, but before his injury, he was showing promise again, prompting the Cowboys to bring back the four-year veteran.
HaHa Clinton-Dix is a name familiar to most fans, but even more so to new head coach Mike McCarthy, as Clinton-Dix played for the coach in Green Bay as a first-round drafted safety out of Alabama. HaHa was brought in on a one year $4 million prove-it deal as the starting safety, likely brought to play the free safety position alongside Xavier Woods. Dix played in Chicago last season and will have a chance to start here in Dallas. If he reverts back to his beginning years in the NFL, he’ll be an automatic upgrade at the safety position.
Joe Looney – OL
Joe Looney was brought back on a one year deal as well, as he has proven his worth to the team filling in at multiple positions on the offensive line. When All-Pro center Travis Frederick was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, Looney was the man to step in as the starter as Frederick took time away to deal with the illness.
On March 23rd, Travis Frederick made the announcement to retire from the NFL at the age of 29, making the resigning of Joe Looney all that more important.
The Cowboys will likely address the offensive line need in the upcoming NFL Draft, but as for now, the team is likely to use Joe Looney as the starting center. In 2018, Looney helped lead the NFL top rushing offensive with Ezekiel Elliott’s 1,434 rushing yards on the ground. Looney is a proven veteran with knowledge of the scheme and his teammates, making him the perfect stop-gap lineman until the team finds its new center of the future.
Blake Jarwin – TE // Blake Bell – TE
The Cowboys made the decision to part ways with future hall of fame tight end, Jason Witten and focus on the future of their tight end position. Blake Jarwin was handed a 4 year $24.25 million contract as the new starting tight end who flashed during the season behind Jason Witten.
Jarwin accumulated 31 receptions for 365 yards and 3 touchdowns, but was it smart to go all-in on a tight end who hasn’t reached the 1,000-yard mark in career yardage yet?
The Cowboys hitched their wagon to a young tight end who is able to run after the catch, as he averaged 5.1 yards after the catch. Jarwin has a lot to prove to the team and Cowboys Nation this season, but with Dak looking to make money this offseason as well, expect him to get his fair share of targets in the passing game.
The team also signed former Kansas City Chiefs and Oklahoma Sooner tight end Blake Bell to a one year deal as well, but mainly as a blocking option as Jarwin and Dalton Schultz struggle in that department. Bell adds depth and experience to the position needing all the help it can get.
Greg Zuerlein – K // Kai Forbath – K
Greg “Legatron” Zuerlein was signed to a 3-year deal worth $7.5 million, creating a buzz around the kicker position this offseason. Kai Forbath was also brought back on a one year deal, making it likely that Zuerlein will be the presumptive starter as he has the bigger contract. Zuerlein played under special teams coordinator John Fassel with the Rams before Fassel left Los Angeles to come to Dallas this offseason.
Forbath in 2019 made all field goal attempts (10-10) and all extra point attempts (10-10) when he joined the Cowboys in week 15. From the 40+ yard range, Forbath went a perfect 8-8, while Greg Zuerlein went 10-18 from the same range. The difference between the two kickers in the leg strength as Zuerlein has a career-long of 61 yards, and Forbath has a career-long of 51 yards.
The Cowboys are expected to have a competition between the two kickers, as they have two kickers on opposite spectrums. Forbath is a bit more accurate, while Zuerlein can kick the ball over the mountains. Who will win the battle in training camp?
The Cowboys have made the noise the fans have all been waiting for in free agency, and it seems as though they aren’t finished.
The NFL Draft is steadily approaching, and one can only hope if they’ll continue to improve. Are you confident in what the Cowboys have done so far?
Featured Image: Ron Chenoy