The Cowboys Revamped Defensive Line

Four-time Pro Bowler Everson Griffen has recently signed with the Dallas Cowboys on a one-year $6 million dollar deal. The deal reportedly includes $3 million as base salary and another $3 million in per-game roster bonuses. The Cowboys have also brought in Dontari Poe, Gerald McCoy and Aldon Smith in free agency. Jerry Jones and company are clearly looking to put as much talent on the field as possible this year with these signings.

Early Injury

Per Ian Rapaport, Gerald McCoy suffered a ruptured quad tendon on August 17th. This is a tough injury for a veteran of McCoy’s size to come back from.

This devastating news is certainly not what the Cowboys were hoping for out of McCoy. The Cowboys fortunately still have Tyrone Crawford and Trysten Hill as adequate depth pieces. Rookie Neville Gallimore is touted by some analysts as the next Grady Jarrett. He’s an interior force with speed that likes to rush the passer. That’s a unique albeit coveted skillset by today’s defensive coordinators. Dallas should be satisfied with their depth options along the interior.

Aldon Smith

I forgot about Aldon Smith throughout his extensive off-field issues. Smith is a former All-Pro linebacker who hasn’t played in a game since 2015. His upside is immense if he can remain on the field and away from his vices. Imagine him rushing the passer opposite of guys like Demarcus Lawrence and Griffen. This could potentially be one of the best pass rushes the Cowboys have had in recent memory.

Head coach Mike McCarthy said recently that Smith has “looked great”.

“He’s probably about 20 pounds bigger than when I last saw him play for the 49ers. Very powerful. His length is extraordinary. He made a play in the team period on a screen that you don’t see every day — that’s for sure. He’s off to a great start. I mean, he’s hit the target in every phase that we’ve gone through, particularly with the strength and conditioning.”

Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News

If Smith stays on the field this season, then the Cowboys finally have someone else other than Lawrence and Jaylon Smith to rush the passer with. That should be music to every Cowboys fans’ ears.

Cowboys Defensive Outlook

On paper, the defense looks better than it did last year. With all the signings along the defensive line, the Cowboys look poised to present a much improved pass rush in 2020. This has the potential to significantly help out pass coverage. By having lineman who can rush the passer effectively, Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch can provide added coverage in the middle of field. Using their linebackers on blitzes in 2020 should be more efficient with an improved defensive line.

Losing Byron Jones is a huge blow but one that we had to afford. Rookie Trevon Diggs and newly signed Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix are the only other notable additions on defense. Can these two signings be enough to fill the void left by Jones? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter what you think!

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