MORICE WELLINGTON IIIVIRGINIA BEACH, VA
With their offseason now underway, will this be the year Dallas looks for a bonafide pass rusher or two like the Giants did?
Rob: Jerry Jones said a couple weeks ago that he anticipated the Cowboys using resources (draft picks and salary cap space) on defense this offseason, and when you look back at their last two playoff games – both against Aaron Rodgers – what was the story? The offense looked to be in pretty good shape, but the defense didn't get to Rodgers enough. It's unfortunate that starting defensive ends Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence were banged up the final part of the season. You can never have enough pass rushers, though, so I do think that's an area they address this offseason.
David: The pass rush is obviously a big need for this team, and it has been for quite some time. But I think you'll be disappointed if you're expecting the Cowboys go drop $200 million on defensive free agents, the way the Giants did last spring. First of all, they don't have the cap space to make those kind of splashy moves. On top of that, this team has developed a very clear strategy of drafting intelligently and using their salary cap space to re-sign their own. They haven't made a splashy free agent signing since 2012, and I don't expect them to buck that trend this year. It is worth noting, though, that their 2016 sack leader was Benson Mayowa – who they brought on at a moderate price last spring.
DAVID WILKIESPARTANBURG, SC
The secondary had a much better season than probably most expected. Now comes free agency with two of your starting corners. Dallas probably needs to sign at least one as well as draft one going into next season. If you can have one, do you go after Mo Claiborne or Brandon Carr?
Rob: Why can't you try to keep both? I think it's possible, and similar to the question above, you can't have enough cover corners. Carr had a good season, probably his best as a Cowboy. Claiborne got off to a good start before a groin injury sidetracked him for nine games until the playoffs. You know Scandrick is a steady veteran presence and you're encouraged by Anthony Brown's development. The Cowboys wanted Carr and Claiborne back last year, and when you think about their approach to free agency the last few years, they've been more interested in keeping their own than potentially overpaying for players they don't know as well.
David:It feels so surreal that it's already time to address this question. The best thing that could've happened for the Cowboys' corners is the development of Anthony Brown. Now, you head into 2017 with two solid options in Brown and Scandrick. I think corner will be a priority in the draft, but it would be wise to add a free agent somewhere along the line. If he can be had for a reasonable price, I would love to bring back Brandon Carr. He's "the right kind of guy," as Jason Garrett loves to say, and he has also never missed a game in nine years. That's valuable.