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 linebacker Andrew Gachkar.
What's The Deal: Signed to a two-year deal in March 2015, Gachkar has been in a reserve linebacker/core special teams role the last two seasons. He played 190 of the defense's 2,109 combined regular-season snaps in 2015 and 2016, tallying a team-credited 20 tackles. He finished fourth on the team in special teams tackles each of the last two seasons (15 total).
Cowboys Highlight: In the Jan. 1 regular-season finale, Gachkar was productive in 45 defensive snaps – the most he's gotten as a Cowboy – with five tackles (one for loss), two quarterback pressures and a half-sack. He also had four special teams tackles against the New York Jets in 2015.
Argument To Keep: For the same reasons he signed two years ago: Gachkar, a six-year veteran, has been a steady contributor for Rich Bisaccia on special teams and he's capable of filling in at multiple linebacker spots.
Argument To Let Go:The Cowboys would have to decide whether a younger linebacker such as Mark Nzeocha is capable of filling that role, in addition to finding special teams help in the upcoming draft.
Bryan Broaddus' Scout's Take: Core special teamer that was an upgrade over Cam Lawrence when he was first signed. Front office was looking for a player that could play well on special teams but also be a bridge at linebacker. Gachkar was a more productive player for San Diego than he was during his time in Dallas. He was used mainly as a nickel player in their scheme but with the Cowboys he struggled to get on the field. His only real action on defense was early in the season against the Redskins and the final game with the Eagles where he finished with four tackles. Strength was his football intelligence. Was always going to be in the right place mentally. With the Chargers he was a better sideline to sideline player as well as cover man. There were snaps with the Cowboys where he was physically outmatched. Thought he would have been more of a factor on special teams but that just wasn't the case. Carried out his responsibilities and assignments but not that difference maker of a guy like a Jeff Heath. Have current linebackers on the roster that should allow the front office to move on from him in 2017.