Free-Agent Contracts Cowboys Must Pursue After Preseason

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2021

Free-Agent Contracts Cowboys Must Pursue After Preseason

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    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    The preseason is in the books, and the "Hard Knocks" crew has packed it up and gone home. All that's left to do for the Dallas Cowboys is to kick off the season Thursday night against the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    The Cowboys finished up the tough task of getting the roster down to 53 players and filling out a practice squad. 

    But that doesn't mean they are done making moves. An NFL roster is a constantly changing organism, and with lofty expectations this season, the Cowboys should be looking over the available free-agent options to see if there are any ways to improve the roster. 

    Considering the needs on the roster and the available talent available after all the teams have made their cuts, here's a look at three options worth a look. 

QB Cam Newton

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    If there's any team in the league that should understand the value of a competent backup quarterback, it's the Dallas Cowboys. 

    With Dak Prescott out for the season last year, the team was fortunate to have Andy Dalton. He was at least able to keep the offense afloat and went 4-5 as the starter. But with Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci as the starters, they went 0-2 and things got ugly. 

    With Dalton off to Chicago, the depth behind Prescott is scary. Cooper Rush and Will Grier are the options with DiNucci on the practice squad. The two have 55 combined passing attempts with no touchdowns and four interceptions. 

    Prescott is coming off a season-ending ankle injury and has dealt with a shoulder issue throughout camp. They are one unfortunate hit from having to turn to Rush or Grier. 

    Newton didn't put up great numbers with the Patriots last season, but he played well enough for the team to go 7-8 with him as the starter. He threw eight touchdowns to 10 interceptions while adding 12 more scores on the ground. 

CB Richard Sherman

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    This move continues to make sense despite the Cowboys standing pat with who they have at cornerback thus far. 

    Richard Sherman may be 33 years old, but there's evidence he can still play at a high level. In 2019, he had three interceptions and 11 passes defended while giving up a passer rating of 63.0 when targeted.

    That production saw a dip in 2020 when he only played five games with the Niners, but with plenty of time to get healthy again, he could be ready to return in 2021. Sherman makes a lot of sense for Dallas because of the current state of their cornerback room and his familiarity with Dan Quinn. 

    Some of Sherman's best days came when Quinn was the defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks. Now, Quinn has assumed the same role with the Cowboys and has limited options at cornerback. 

    Trevon Diggs had a great rookie campaign but going with Anthony Brown opposite of him as the starting outside corner isn't the most confidence-inspiring. Signing Sherman would give the Cowboys some much-needed veteran help at the position and a player familiar with Quinn's scheme. 

DT Kawann Short

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    The Cowboys attempted to do the "veteran on a one-year deal" to help the defensive tackle depth last year with Gerald McCoy. The vet was released before the season even started and didn't end up playing in 2020. 

    But just because it didn't work with McCoy doesn't mean the strategy should be thrown out entirely. The Cowboys struggled to stop the run in part because of lackluster play at the defensive tackle spots. 

    Now, they have a potential run-stuffing stalwart with Pro Bowl experience in Kawann Short without a home heading into the season. 

    Short has only played five games over the past two seasons due to shoulder injuries. However, when we last saw him on the field healthy, he was still a force against the run. He posted a stellar 83.7 grade from Pro Football Focus in 2018. 

    With Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore both injured, the Cowboys are thin on the interior. Short should be willing to play on the cheap to prove his worth. 

    The Cowboys would be wise to at least give him a shot.