IRVING, Texas – By design, the Cowboys have had somewhat of a slower start to free agency this week, which included bringing back players from last year's team.
But the Cowboys have now added their first new player to the roster, agreeing to sign former Eagles defensive lineman Cedric Thornton to a four-year deal.
Reports indicate that the contract is worth roughly $18 million over the course of the deal, giving the Cowboys another defensive tackle to add to the rotation along with Tyrone Crawford and Terrell McClain.
Thornton actually played defensive end in Philadelphia's 3-4 scheme the past three years, but he's expected to shift inside with the Cowboys. At 6-4, 309 pounds, Thornton has the size to play the one-technique, or nose tackle spot, but is versatile enough to play the three-technique, where Crawford has started the last two seasons.
Thornton is used to taking on constant double-teams, standing up as a 3-4 end, but the Cowboys are obviously confident he can make the transition to inside. The four-year veteran has just four sacks to his name, but he amassed a whopping 171 total tackles in three seasons as a starter.
It remains to be seen what this means for incumbent one-technique Nick Hayden, who has started the last two seasons at defensive tackle for the Cowboys. Hayden is currently a free agent, though the Cowboys could potentially bring him back at an affordable price.
There's also been no shortage of speculation that the front office could invest a draft pick in this year's deep pool of defensive tackle talents.[embeddedad0]
Regardless, it looks like the Cowboys have locked up another piece of the rotation for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.