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Three potential targets for the Cowboys if they look to spend

The Dallas Cowboys will be trying to tie up their own potential free agents but there are players that could improve the team from outside the organization.
Credit: AP
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Damon Harrison (98) rushes in against the Dallas Cowboys during an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

DALLAS —

Everyone wants to be a Dallas Cowboy. While that might be an overstatement, there are a great many players out there who loved the Cowboys growing up and would like to wear the Star. Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa is the latest player to proclaim playing for the team he rooted for as a kid, the Cowboys, would be ideal.

Tagovailoa isn’t alone. Just as players do, fans of the Cowboys also want the best players to play for their favorite team. When a star becomes available, inevitably, the Dallas fan base wants the Cowboys to scoop them up. 

In the last week, three players have come up who fit the bill. Detroit Lions duo CB Darius Slay and DT Damon Harrison, as well as DE Everson Griffen from the Minnesota Vikings. 

Slay isn’t exactly readily ‘available’ since he remains on Detroit's roster, but the Lions are actively shopping him around the league. The Cowboys could trade for Slay and it would make some sense if they aren’t confident (interested?) in bringing back free-agent-to-be Byron Jones. However, Slay is scheduled to make over $10 million in 2020 before becoming a free agent, so any trade may mean inking Slay to a new deal.

As good as Slay is, it wouldn’t make much sense for the Cowboys to give up draft picks for a cornerback who will command a new contract that will take him well past 30-years old. Considering Slay would likely come at a higher price than his current deal, the Cowboys would be foolish to trade for Slay instead of just re-signing Jones. 

What should Cowboys do? Forget about Slay and put more stock in their own free agent, Jones. Re-sign Jones. Another former Lion, Harrison, makes for a better fit in Dallas. 

The team hasn’t had a good, big-bodied defensive tackle to man the middle of the line in a long time. Former defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli didn’t seem to have any use for the stout run stuffers with the Cowboys and the defense has suffered because of it the past few seasons. New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan prefers to have someone clogging the middle, representing a significant change.

Harrison would help solve the talent issue at defensive tackle and make it easier for the Cowboys to not be forced to zero in on a specific position with a high pick in the draft. The tackle spot is a definite need and signing Harrison also wouldn’t count against the compensatory formula that guides so many free-agent decisions these days. Harrison isn’t what he used to be, but he’s still plenty good enough to help the Cowboys.

What should Cowboys do? Make a good bid on Harrison’s services.

Vikings defensive end Griffen had enough sacks last season, eight, to give himself the option to make himself a free agent, and that’s exactly what he did. The Cowboys would make an excellent fit with former Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards on board as a defensive assistant. Griffen has 74.5 career sacks, including three years of double-digit sacks under Edwards’ tutelage. 

The Cowboys have their own edge rusher, DE Robert Quinn, on their radar as well. A choice between Griffen and Quinn may come down to preference. However, Quinn is younger and had a better year than Griffen in 2019. If Dallas is interested, price and length of years could be the decider should the Cowboys opt to go after one of Griffen or Quinn.

What should Cowboys do? The Cowboys need to make sure they take a long look. Another edge rusher needs to be in Dallas to pair with DeMarcus Lawrence and Griffen should be a legit option.

There hasn't been any word from the Cowboys about any of the aforementioned players, but that won’t stop fans from clamoring for the team to acquire talent. The question is, does the organization want any of these big-name players at the cost it would take to acquire them?

Do you think the Cowboys should be spenders in free agency or should they work on keeping their own in house? Share your thoughts with Ben on Twitter @BenGrimaldi.

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