2011 NFL Free Agency: Dallas Cowboys Retain Jason Hatcher

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2011 NFL Free Agency: Dallas Cowboys Retain Jason Hatcher
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Jason Hatcher sacks Aaron Rodgers

The Dallas Cowboys' defensive line depth has been a glaring hole in the depth chart since the NFL lockout ended. That's what happens when three of your defensive ends become free agents. Marcus Spears, Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher were all free to join other teams around the NFL, leaving Igor Olshansky and Sean Lissemore as the only signed defensive ends.

After the Cowboys lost Stephen Bowen to Washington earlier in free agency, they were determined not to lose any more of their players. The Cowboys signed Marcus Spears to a five-year, $19 million contract, and today signed Jason Hatcher to a three-year, $6 million contract.

While these moves wont be considered "high impact" by any means, it does however, make a glaring weakness into a strength. Hatchers contract can be considered a value signing for the Cowboys, which averages around $2 million a season. Expect Hatcher to rotate with Spears on the right side of the line with Olshansky rotating with newly signed Kenyon Coleman on the left side of the line.

While Hatcher has not had a breakout season with Dallas yet, expect a good year for him with Rob Ryan taking over the defense. Hatcher might be considered the best pass-rushing defensive end that the Cowboys have on the roster, which should bode well for him getting more play time this season. With Ryan's attacking defense, Hatcher should make the most of his opportunities and could develop into a starter down the road.

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