2016 was a season unlike any the Dallas Cowboys truly expected as they finished with a 13-3 record and made it to the Divisional Round of the playoffs before being eliminated by the Green Bay Packers. Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott led the way, but some things need to be corrected to take those extra steps to the Super Bowl. With that being said, there are a number of NFL free agents the Cowboys could target in the offseason.
Jon Machota of the Dallas News says that the Cowboys have done a great job of not overspending in free agency over the years even though they have made some mistakes here and there. They gave Greg Hardy big money and that didn’t work out, but if a good pass rusher does pop up, Jerry Jones may look at opening their wallet.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul – New York Giants
The Cowboys need a pass rusher and there is no denying that by any stretch of the imagination. While some may think that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has lost a step in recent years, he may honestly just need some new surroundings to bring him back to form.
In 2014, JPP finished the season with 12.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in a full 16-game season. Over the last two years, Pierre-Paul had just eight sacks and three forced fumbles in just 20 games. Fansided is reporting that it is time for the Giants to move on from JPP after he signed a one-year deal for 2016 but didn’t do anything to deserve a long term contract.
S Eric Berry – Kansas City Chiefs
Back in December, ESPN was already saying that safety Eric Berry was going to be the biggest 2017 free agent decision for the Kansas City Chiefs. It is highly doubtful that KC will be able to find the salary cap space to sign him, and that will open the door for the Cowboys and many other teams.
According to Cheat Sheet, the Cowboys could look at another Chiefs player in nose tackle Donatri Poe who could easily become a fixture on the interior of the defensive line. Either player will cost a hefty amount, but they would be worth it.
DE Sheldon Richardson – New York Jets
Going back to the point of the Cowboys needing a pass rush, if they don’t want to take a chance on Jason Pierre-Paul and want to go a bit younger, they should look no further than Sheldon Richardson. Yes, he had an off season in 2016, but looking back at his four years in the NFL, his stats are hard to ignore.
Richardson has 18 career sacks and five forced fumbles in his first four NFL seasons, and the Cowboys could likely sign him for less than JPP.
WR DeSean Jackson – Washington Redskins
Who wouldn’t want to have a talent like DeSean Jackson on their roster? While he has enjoyed his time with the Redskins, Jackson could very well end up testing the waters of free agency and it isn’t out of the question for the Cowboys to give him a look or two.
Sports Day is reporting that the Cowboys may very well end up taking wide receiver John Ross out of Washington with the No. 28 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Dallas has shown that they can do a lot of great work with rookies and Ross is being seen as a “DeSean Jackson clone.” Still, Jackson’s veteran experience would really help Dallas’ young stars if he can be had for the right price.
The Dallas Cowboys were able to overcome a lot of adversity in 2016 with the injury to Tony Romo and having a couple of rookies running the offense. Without winning or even appearing in the Super Bowl, it is obvious that there are a few holes that need to be filled and some problems that need to be fixed. The NFL free agent season in 2017 could bring about a lot of movement and the Cowboys need to focus on some of these key targets.
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