Which Players Can Help The Cowboys Defense?
By: Andy Davies
The Dallas Cowboys once again go into an offseason after a disappointing season.
Ever since the 1995 season, the Cowboys have been looking to add a sixth Super Bowl. They have failed to do so, with the Divisional Round the furthest they have been.
Their 6-10 record in 2020 was their second-lowest record since the 2010 season, in a division that was there for the taking. The Washington Football Team won the NFC East in 2020 with a 7-9 record.
Dallas will be looking to bounce back in 2021 and their first stop will be free agency. Here are 5 free agents the Cowboys should target.
1. Dak Prescott (Quarterback)
This one is easy. Prescott suffered a season-ending injury during the Cowboys’ week 5 game against the New York Giants. Whilst Dallas was not getting the results, Dak was putting up the numbers.
Prescott threw for 1,856 passing yards, 9 touchdowns and 4 interceptions before his season was prematurely ended.
Whilst the jury is out on whether Prescott is a good or great quarterback, he is by far the best option available in the free agency market. Whilst Deshaun Watson wants out of the Houston Texans, the Cowboys do not have the draft picks to appeal to Houston.
2. Shaq Barrett (Linebacker)
Jaylon Smith had a great season, with the second-most total tackles amongst linebackers in the 2020 season. However, no other linebackers were anywhere near Smith’s total. Leighton Vander Esch was the next best linebacker with 69 tackles but was limited to just 10 games.
Linebacker needs to be addressed in the offseason and there is one player that every team would love on their roster.
Shaq Barrett, an undrafted free agent in 2014, won Super Bowl 55 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last weekend and was a defensive stud all season in the linebacker position, with eight sacks in the regular season and four in the postseason.
Barrett would be an excellent addition to this Dallas defense, one which would ease the pressure off Vander Esch.
3. Justin Simmons (Safety)
The Cowboys struggled defensively in 2020, with the defensive backs being regularly exposed. Rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs recorded the most interceptions in 2020 for Dallas (3) and the most passes deflected (14).
Diggs was tied at 16th across the league for interceptions and tied at eighth for passes deflected.
Meanwhile, Simmons reached the Pro Bowl with the fourth-most interceptions across the league (5). He would be a great upgrade for the Dallas secondary alongside Diggs, with the chance to help develop Diggs as well as contribute highly on the field.
4. Leonard Williams (Defensive End)
Willians would be an excellent addition to this Cowboys defense.
Dallas’ best defensive player in terms of sacks was Demarcus Lawrence (6.5), but he was tied for 36th in the entire league.
Someone who can cause some danger in the trenches can help this Dallas defense become a unit that can win games, rather than putting all the pressure on the offense. Williams can be the guy to help build this.
5. Trent Williams (Offensive Tackle)
The Dallas Cowboys were ranked 27th by PFF for their offensive line after injuries suffered to lineman Zack Martin, Tyron Smith and La’el Collins.
You can never have enough lineman and getting Williams in will help not only the starting o-line but also the roster depth, should injuries strike again.
Williams is an eight-time Pro Bowler and a move such as this would give Prescott plenty of protection as he returns to health.
Dallas does not require any offensive weapons but what they do need to upgrade the quarterback protection and the defense. Moves such as these five can help the Cowboys build towards a repeat of their 1990’s glory days.