IRVING, Texas -- With so many expected free agents, including two of the best offensive players in football, the Cowboys have plenty of questions to answer here this offseason.
Some of them will be answered here before the start of the free-agent signing period on March 10. Others might take a few more weeks, and perhaps after the draft.
For now, DallasCowboys.com has come up with 10 pressing questions the Cowboys are facing this offseason and writers Bryan Broaddus, David Helman and Nick Eatman will try their best to answer them, giving a forecast of what could happen here in what should be an entertaining offseason.
Today's question focuses on the Cowboys' decision at defensive end, particularly on the left side.
What Should Cowboys Do At Left Defensive End Position?
Bryan: When you look at the current depth chart of the Cowboys on defense, there several areas of concern that they must address before the start of the season -- especially along the line at left end. I like what the front office has done on that right side with Jeremy Mincey and DeMarcus Lawrence, but with Anthony Spencer and George Selvie as unrestricted free agents, there is a hole on the other side. There are a couple of different ways they can play this and it might begin by moving Mincey over and potentially re-signing Selvie, who appeared to be a better against the run and pass rush than Spencer. Selvie looked more comfortable in the position, but that also might have been due to Spencer coming off that knee injury. If they do move Mincey and sign Selvie, then I could see them start Lawrence at the right end and look to the draft to add another edge player like Owamagbe Odighzuwa from UCLA or Preston Smith from Mississippi State. They could also go the similar route like they did with Mincey and bottom fish for player once the market settles after the first week -- maybe a guy like Tyson Alualu from Jacksonville might be in the mix but regardless the position will be addressed.
Nick: This is a tough one because there are so many factors involved, it's almost like the linebacker spot where there are several different options you could with guys playing different positions. At defensive end, I would think the best-case scenario for the Cowboys is that young DeMarcus Lawrence turns the proverbial corner and shows enough skills to consistently rush off the right side. That's where he came from against the Lions in that game-clinching play. If he can be that rusher who could battle with opposing left tackles, then moving Jeremy Mincey to the left side is ideal. But after that, the Cowboys have to decide what to do with guys like George Selvie and Anthony Spencer. Selvie probably gets a minimum deal to return and I don't think I'd make him a strong priority. Spencer won't get a ton of money but I could see Jerry Jones paying him because he's always had a soft spot for this guy. Plus, if you noticed Spencer was playing his best ball down the stretch. Coming back from Microfracture surgery is rare in this league but you could argue that Spencer completed that comeback last season. I would probably sign him to a team-friendly deal if he takes it and see if you can keep him in a Cowboys uniform for his entire career.
David: I'm going into 2015 assuming that Jeremy Mincey and DeMarcus Lawrence are going to team up to man the right side of the defensive line. Of course, the pressure and the focus are on Lawrence to live up to his billing as the No. 34 pick – but that's not the way Rod Marinelli works. It's much more likely he'll want two able-bodied ends splitting reps, keeping each other fresh. That firms up the right side of the line, at least for 2015. On the other side, I'd really like to see Anthony Spencer brought back on an affordable veteran deal. He didn't have a great season by any stretch of the imagination, but he rebounded nicely and was playing good football down the final month of the year. George Selvie wouldn't be a terrible option, but I don't think it would be a bad idea to shop around for a more viable – but cheaper – option. After all, Mincey was a cheap signing just last year. Most importantly, I think it'd be great to draft a solid left end this spring. Maybe not with the No. 27 overall pick, but somewhere in the first two or three rounds. Spencer and another highly-touted draft pick sounds like a solid tandem for the left side.