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Mailbag: Winners of Tank's Deal? Za'Darius Interest?


With the Packers releasing Za'Darius Smith, do you see the front office making a push for him to pair with Micah Parsons? I feel like if they draft a middle linebacker and pick up Smith, that could be a dangerous pass rush combination. – MIKE / PROVIDENCE, RI

Nick: I don't rule out anything at this point. I think Smith would be someone they'd have interest in, but that would probably be after something fell through with Gregory. To me, Gregory is the top priority in terms of a pass-rusher. But I think they've got a limit and if Gregory gets more on the open market, then the Cowboys must turn to secondary options. I think Smith would be in that category, even though he's a more proven player at this point.

David: Sounds like a tall order to me. Even after missing last season due to injury, Smith had 26 combined sacks in 2019 and 2020, and I fully expect him to have a robust market now that he's healthy. Maybe if they lose Randy Gregory to the open market, they could move enough money around to make a run at someone like Smith. Never say never, but I lean toward "probably not."

I'm at a loss for what to make of this DeMarcus Lawrence deal? What exactly happened here, and who's the winner of this negotiation? – MIKE SCHAYES / MILWAUKEE, WI

David: From what I understand, Tank actually did the thing that fans are always clamoring for players to do: altered his deal to help the overall roster. Let's not get it twisted, he's still going to make $30 million in guarantees these next two years. But at the same time, he was willing to revise the terms of his contract to keep the team from potentially cutting him. And more importantly, being able to spread his money out will help the Cowboys sign other players. This really feels like a rare instance where both sides won, and I think the roster will be better because of it.

Nick: It seems like DeMarcus Lawrence went from a guy that didn't seem like he wanted to help the team, to someone who definitely helped the team. This isn't just a win-win deal, but it seems like you can add about three more "wins" here. Not only does Tank get two full years of guaranteed money, but the Cowboys save about $13 million in cap space. And that will help them at least be competitive in signing Gregory, Hooker and Jayron Kearse. And I would imagine that was part of the deal in Tank's willingness to do this deal – if the Cowboys make an effort to keep the defensive guys together. This is a big move and one that Cowboys fans should be excited about.

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