Well, Henry Melton made his visit and he left without signing a contract. Jared Allen is in Dallas today, and I would expect he’s looking for a decent payday as well. That being said, I think in the end, neither of these two players will be signed by the Cowboys, simply because they are out of the Cowboys’ price range. Jerry Jones is counting on the allure of the “star” to bring in some decent free agents, but the allure needs to be supplemented with ca$h in today’s NFL. Players are no longer looking to play for a certain team with rich history, or the most storied franchises out there – they want the money. Show me the money! And the Cowboys simply don’t have enough ammo in the war chest to sign any big names.
If the Cowboys stick to their guns, and not restructure anyone else like Brandon Carr or Jason Witten, then the cap will be in way better shape moving forward and I’m fine with that. All of this was planned out at the end of the season, and we’re seeing each domino fall, each roster move has already been anticipated, and its all leading to the draft. We probably aren’t done in free agency, but it won’t be any big ticket names. And you have to figure that Rod Marinelli knows what he can work with on defense with what he has right now.
Rebuilding the defense will start this year, but it’ll likely take two years to turn it towards an upward tick. We have some youth along the defensive line with Tyrone Crawford, Hayden, and Bass, but the main focus needs to be getting a “franchise” starter or two. We need more pressure guys all along the line. If we can’t bring the pressure in 2014, the secondary is going to play like last season, and it wasn’t pretty or encouraging.
Tyrone Crawford may be the key in what the Cowboys do this offseason, he has the size and versatility to play at DT or DE. If we look at Crawford’s NFL Combine stats, he would be around average for a DE this year, but his frame and size could potentially be an ideal fit to replace Hatcher as the 3-technique. If we were to put Crawford into this year’s DT pool, his numbers are right there with all the top end defensive tackles in this year’s draft. I wrote about the top end DTs that could be available for us here. Outside of Aaron Donald, Crawford’s stats would have him as the 2nd most explosive defensive tackle this year.
So, take that all into consideration, its where we’re at right now in regards to the defense. A lot of speculation right now.