With the NFL offseason now officially underway, it's never too early to start focusing on the next order of business, which is free agency. The Cowboys have 20 unrestricted free agents who can sign with other teams starting on March 9, unless they strike a new deal with the Cowboys before then.
Over the next two weeks, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will break down each free agent, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses and the possibilities of a return in 2017.
Today, we'll continue the series with defensive lineman Jack Crawford.
What's The Deal: Crawford just completed his third season with the Cowboys, again playing multiple positions on the defensive line. He opened the season as the starting left defensive end with DeMarcus Lawrence serving a four-game NFL suspension. Crawford would make a career-high 10 starts in 2016 and he finished the regular season with 27 team-credited tackles (his largest total as a Cowboy) along with 3.5 sacks and 12 quarterback pressures that ranked fifth on defense. A versatile rotation player, Crawford played nearly exactly 50 percent of the defensive snaps during the regular season (530 of 1,055).
Cowboys Highlight: In November 2014, the England native returned from a four-game injury absence to play the Jacksonville Jaguars in his hometown of London. Crawford delivered two tackles, a sack and his first career tackle for loss and forced fumble in the Cowboys' 31-17 victory at Wembley Stadium.
Argument To Keep: Crawford re-signed with Dallas on a one-year deal last April 4, the fourth week of free agency. His market value in 2017 remains to be seen, but in some ways Crawford is the epitome of a Rod Marinelli player. He can play any position on the defensive line and has a terrific motor.
Argument To Let Go:With the NFL salary cap possibly rising again in 2017, according to multiple published reports, Crawford could have opportunities for a bigger payday and perhaps a larger role elsewhere. The Cowboys have been careful with their free agent spending in recent years, and though they've shown an inclination to re-sign their own players first, perhaps there will be another rotational option in free agency or the draft.
Bryan Broaddus' Scout's Take: Character/work ethic are at an all-time high with this player. Tremendous passion for the game but is limited as a player. Doesn't have the upper or lower body power to really be able to control the line of scrimmage – wins with effort. Doesn't anchor down or play with good balance. Will see blockers knock him off balance and wash him out of the play. Will play into blocks but just isn't good enough to get off them with any consistency. Has trouble winning those one-on-one battles. Has trouble with his hand use and it effects the way that he plays the game run and pass. Tries to be a technique player but limited in his pass rush moves. Really has a hard time bending and capturing the edge. Best trait is his ability to play up and down the line in the rotation but need to get better ability here.