The Cowboys have a lot of holes to fill and this coming free agency period will be important to the success of the club.
Here are some ideas of where they should prioritize (after signing DeMarcus Lawrence):
"For the purposes of this exercise, I’m going to assume that the Cowboys hit DeMarcus Lawrence with the franchise tag – because I honestly can’t fathom how that doesn’t happen. With Lawrence secured for the time being, my No. 1 priority for this team is David Irving. In just eight games this season, the guy established himself as an absolute force, racking up seven sacks. He’s still got a lot of developing to do, but he has shown just how much potential he has. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Dallas pass rush dropped off a bit when Irving was sidelined by a concussion for the final month of the season. Irving is a restricted free agent, so the Cowboys can make life easy on themselves by assigning him a tender – either first-round or second-round. If you assign him a high enough tender, I’d imagine you can scare off any potential competitors for his services. Now, this isn’t without risk. Irving started this season on the suspension list, and he missed the final month of the year. But the potential is sky high and the size of the contract should be relatively low. The Cowboys did such a great job of developing this asset for their pass rush. It’d be a shame to let him walk now."
"Anthony Hitchens doesn’t get enough credit outside this building for what he’s meant to the defense the past four years. But the Cowboys appreciate him. That’s why Stephen Jones said this week the Cowboys definitely want to bring him back in 2018. Of course, it remains to be seen what Hitchens might command on the open market. He can play all three linebacker positions in Rod Marinelli’s defense and he probably can thrive in any scheme. One thing is certain: If the Cowboys aren’t able to re-sign him, they’ll have a pretty significant depth issue at linebacker. Jaylon Smith got better and better in his role this season, and Sean Lee is dominant when healthy. But Kyle Wilber is also a free agent, and the Cowboys parted ways with veteran Justin Durant at the end of the year. Linebacker is one of those positions where you can’t have enough contributors, because it’s a position that takes its toll over the course of a season."
Source: Dallas Cowboys · Photo Credit: Keystone Press Agency