5 Available Free Agents Still Within Dallas Cowboys' Reach
The Dallas Cowboys are focused on upgrading via the NFL draft, but there are still some available free agents who could help the team in 2014. While all of the elite players have already been signed, there are a number of veterans who could come into Dallas and potentially compete for a starting job.
The key for Dallas is signing players to low-risk deals. There aren’t any available players who come without risk—many with a significant amount of it—so the Cowboys need to make sure they account for it. Taking on risk isn’t inherently bad if the risk is accompanied by upside and is priced into the player’s contract.
That makes short-term deals with little to no guaranteed money the way to go. Here are five available free agents who won’t command much money and are still within the Cowboys’ reach.
OT J’Marcus Webb
Offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb has struggled during his short NFL career, but it’s difficult to find young, 6’7”, 333-pound offensive tackles. Still just 25 years old, it’s possible that Webb could still capitalize on his potential.
At a veteran minimum, the Cowboys would acquire a player who would become their swing tackle and also compete with right tackle Doug Free for playing time. Webb’s last visit was with the Kansas City Chiefs, according to ESPN’s Adam Caplan.
Webb played only 108 snaps in 2013 and was graded by Pro Football Focus (subscription required) as a middle-of-the-road offensive tackle in 2012.
WR Danario Alexander
First the bad: Wide receiver Danario Alexander is dealing with complications from one of his many knee surgeries, according to Fox Sports. The receiver, who might very well be injury-prone, isn’t of much use if he can’t stay on the field, so he’ll need to check out physically before being signed.
Now the good: Alexander is a rare talent. At 25 years old, he’s 6’5”, 217 pounds with good speed and, when healthy in 2012, a healthy dose of production; Alexander totaled 658 yards and seven touchdowns in 10 games that year.
Alexander’s addition, which would come at the minimum price, wouldn’t preclude Dallas from drafting a rookie at the position. In short, Alexander is risky, but that risk would 100 percent be priced into a no-guarantee deal, meaning you’re basically looking at all upside.
G Brian Waters
If you’re going to sign an older player, the offensive line is the best place to do it. Guard Brian Waters, whom Pro Football Focus rated very favorably during his time in Dallas in 2013, is hardly their guard of the future.
However, Waters can come in and compete with both Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ronald Leary. None of the trio is an All-Pro guard, but the Cowboys would have power in numbers with three good-but-not-great players, minimizing a lot of the risk surrounding the current starting duo.
DE Anthony Spencer
Of all the players on this list, defensive end Anthony Spencer is the most likely to sign with the Cowboys in 2014. ESPN’s Todd Archer thinks the ‘Boys will re-sign Spencer on a short-term deal, which makes a ton of sense.
For starters, Spencer’s market value is clearly minimal coming off of knee surgery. At 30 years old, he’s not going to command a lot of money. Again, the key is that contract, because if his risk isn’t priced into it, there won’t be value.
Spencer’s presence in Dallas would give the Cowboys a ton of flexibility in the draft. With Spencer, George Selvie and potentially Tyrone Crawford at end, the Cowboys wouldn’t be forced to reach on a player like Missouri’s Kony Ealy in the first round of the draft.
S Steve Gregory
The Cowboys aren’t in as bad of a spot at free safety as some think, with multiple young, highly athletic players on the roster. The deal that makes the most sense is no deal, i.e. let Matt Johnson, J.J. Wilcox and Jeff Heath battle for the starting gig.
However, ESPN’s Todd Archer seems to think Gregory could interest Dallas. Gregory started 11 games for the Patriots in 2013 and was decent in the run game with 79 tackles. However, if the ‘Boys are looking for a ball hawk in the back end, it seems like they could do better than a 31-year-old who has more seasons in the NFL (eight) than career interceptions (seven).