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Free Agent Overview: Options to help at defensive end thin for Cowboys

Free Agent Overview: Options to help at defensive end thin for Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys announced Thursday that DeMarcus Lawrence had surgery Thursday morning to repair the foot fracture he suffered during Wednesday’s practice. It was also reported Lawrence is set to miss 6-8 weeks while recovering from the surgery.

The injury to Lawrence comes after the Cowboys also announced Randy Gregory was placed in COVID protocol after displaying symptoms earlier this week. The defensive end will miss Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers as the team is hopeful, he can return in week three.

There isn’t much experience behind Gregory or Lawrence as the next players up figures to be a mix of Dorrance Armstrong, Tarrell Basham and Bradlee Anae. Linebackers Micah Parsons and Jaylon Smith could possibly be rotational pieces in pass rushing situations, but neither are assumed to have any full-time duties on the edge. While Dallas waits for Lawrence to return, there are a few possible options the team could turn to in free agency.

Olivier Vernon

Last season, Olivier Vernon had his second-best season in terms of sacks, nine in 14 games. His best mark was 11.5 in 2013 as a Miami Dolphins player. The Browns chose to rid themselves of his $15.5 million price tag after recording 12.5 sacks for them in two years. He has 64 sacks in nine seasons and could provide instant impact for a Dallas defense in need of a playmaker on the line. The fact Vernon is still unsigned could be seen as a negative for some, but in this situation it means he may be willing to sign one of those one year “prove it” deals Dallas has grown accustomed to taking advantage of.

Vic Beasley

A familiar face for defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is Vic Beasley who was drafted by the Falcons in 2015. He recorded 37.5 sacks in five seasons with Atlanta – including a breakout 2016 campaign where he compiled 15.5 sacks. It should be pointed out that he’s only 28 years of age and that’s still relatively young for a defensive end. In addition, the Cowboys could get him for cheap and he would be working under a familiar system with Quinn at the helm.

Ezekiel Ansah

While the 32-year-old is coming off a torn biceps and hasn’t had a double-digit-sack season since 2017, he could still have something to offer the Cowboys as a reserve. He had 2.5 sacks and 10 quarterback pressures for the Seattle Seahawks in 2019 despite playing only 32 percent of their defensive snaps.

Ansah is a long way away from his elite level days with the Detroit Lions, but he would be a valuable and likely inexpensive depth option to help keep pressure on opposing quarterbacks.


Staff Writer covering the Dallas Cowboys | Madden Legend | SFA Alum | Fascinated by Success

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