The Dallas Cowboys did not have a good year. Starting out with Super Bowl expectations and ending in the bottom half of the NFC East was not a good look. However, there is reason for optimism that things will turn around.
Getting franchise quarterback Dak Prescott back from injury should help this team find more consistency on offense. The biggest question mark is how the defense improves.
In a year where teams are going to be struggling with salary cap there may not be a clear answer. However, something needs to be done to make Dallas competitive for next year. Ranking in the bottom half of the NFL in sack percentage, the Cowboys need to find players that have the ability to get to the quarterback.
A high-risk, high-reward type of player might be Jadeveon Clowney. The former star defensive end spent this year playing on a one-year deal with the Tennessee Titans.
Having struggled throughout most of the year ending his season with an injury and subsequent surgery did not hurt the Titans as expected. Hitting free agency off a poor year and an injury will not do anything to raise Clowney’s value on the market.
This is where the Cowboys could make their move. It was only a few seasons ago when Clowney was considered a great player and was constantly in the backfield disrupting opposing quarterbacks. There is a possibility that he could return to that original form and be a great player once again. There is also the possibility that his best days are behind him and that he is nothing more than a situational rusher at this point in his career.
If the Cowboys can sign Clowney on a one-year, low-cost deal, then this could be the perfect match for both parties. For Dallas, it would give them someone who could erupt and create pressure off the edge. For Clowney there is no bigger stage to show that you can still be a dominate player than on the biggest franchise in the NFL.
An incentive-based contract would seem to make the most sense, allowing Clowney to earn money if he proves it, and giving Dallas a cushion in case things go sideways.
Without the cap space to devote a huge contract to a defensive free agent, Dallas needs to make several risk/reward type deals to improve and this could be the biggest of any of them.
Clowney to the Cowboys may not end up happening, but they would be an ideal landing spot for him, depending on what his market is this offseason.