The 2016 NFL year officially is about to really get underway on Wednesday as free agency starts, and the Dallas Cowboys may end up being pretty big players. A number of big free agents are being seen as targets for the Cowboys, who had one of the worst seasons in the history of their franchise in 2015. Defense is obviously a huge need that must be met in the offseason, and rumor has it that the Cowboys are looking at Mario Williams, Adrian Clayborn, and Pacman Jones.
As of now, it is not expected that defensive end Greg Hardy is going to be returning to the Cowboys once free agency hits. The Dallas Morning News says it is possible, but he is a troubled star and simply didn’t do enough to merit being brought back.
That being said, the Cowboys are already looking at two big-time names and talents on the defensive line, and one is recently released defensive end Mario Williams. When the Buffalo Bills let him go, many thought they were crazy, but their loss is another NFL team’s gain.
ESPN sees the Cowboys as one of the five best fits in the NFL for Williams along with the Seattle Seahawks, and a few other teams. Sure, he’s going to come at a price, but not nearly as much as he did in his first free agent run back in 2012.
Another target the Cowboys have already shown an interest in is defensive end Adrian Clayborn of the Atlanta Falcons. In 2015, he had 15 tackles and three sacks, but he’s proven to be a huge threat on the line and he’s a big body and could shore up his side of things.
Think they are going to try and sign Adrian Clayborn DE Atlanta. https://t.co/jpJUHxINiW
— Bryan Broaddus (@BryanBroaddus) March 3, 2016
He may not be living up to his first-round pick status, and he may not be able to play every down, but he’s a great rotational defensive player. Have Clayborn come in on third downs and alternate in and out to keep the d-line fresh, and he’d be well worth the price paid for him.
Now, there is one more name that has been swirling around in rumors and the Dallas Cowboys do appear to have interest in him. The expected release of cornerback Brandon Carr will leave a hole in the Cowboys’ secondary, and someone would need to fill that void.
According to Yahoo Sports, Pacman Jones is about to become a free agent from the Cincinnati Bengals and could easily step into the Dallas Cowboys’ organization.
In 2016, Brandon Carr would be one of the highest paid cornerbacks in the league with $9.1 million in base salary and an extra $4.717 million in prorated bonus money. That brings his hit to the Cowboys’ salary cap at more than $13.8 million, and that’s just insane.
Cutting Carr before June 1 would give the Cowboys an extra $6.4 million in cap space, and it’s hard to think his stats in 2015 were deserving of the money he is to be paid.
Pacman Jones, on the other hand, is a player that won’t cost nearly as much and can bring a lot of talent to any team in the NFL. He can also bring a lot of trouble and controversy, but Jerry Jones may be able to keep the cornerback happy and in check.
The Dallas Cowboys need a lot of help on defense, and have the possibility of signing Pacman Jones or Adrian Clayborn or Mario Williams. It’s hard to think they could free up enough cap space to sign all three, but getting one or two in 2016 NFL free agency would instantly improve a defense that was hurting in 2015.
[Photo via Michael Adamucci/Getty Images]