The right defensive end could make the Cowboys change their recent conservative approach to free agency.
It doesn't mean the Cowboys would spend the $85 million or more it could cost to acquire an impending free agent such as the New York Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul or Arizona’s Chandler Jones, but the Cowboys wouldn't be opposed to spending on a player with a pass-rushing pedigree who doesn't cost quite as much.
"If I have a chance to bring one of these premiere pass rushers, one of these war daddies that takes two to block, if I have a chance to get a player like that, I would,” Jones said on J Dub City (KESN-FM 103.3). "It's not a question of that. It's a question of where is he? And who gives him up if he's a veteran? Or where is he in the draft, or where is he anywhere? So, yeah, we do need pressure. We're going to try to do something about it."
Jones knows the Cowboys must improve their pass rush to enhance their chances at getting to the Super Bowl. Dallas finished 13th in the NFL with 36 sacks in 2016, five more than the previous season. They had three sacks in their playoff loss to Green Bay, but defensive backs accounted for all of them.
Maybe they would be interested in a player such as 29-year-old free-agent defensive end Mario Addison, who has 15.5 sacks over the past two seasons. Then again, Jones might decide the draft is the best avenue to fill the Cowboys' needs.
Understand, this is the same owner who said the Cowboys couldn’t spell Super Bowl in the '90s until defensive end Charles Haley arrived in a trade with San Francisco. Then the Cowboys went out and won a then-unprecedented three Super Bowl titles in four years.
The pass rush must improve, and the Cowboys know it.
"I don't know [about] big-time [free agents], but we need more pressure. And we can get that. But we've got to come to grips with how we're going to get it,” Jones said. “You can get it by compromising the fundamentals of other places on your defense by, in effect, blitzing. But those are not our style. We really want a player to stay in there that defends the run, can hold the gap, as well as when called on to crash the gap. So, we've got to make sure that we've got the personnel skills.
“We've really got it on campus, so to speak, in [DeMarcus] Lawrence and we've got it in [Randy] Gregory. They both are compromised as we sit here and speak, but they're both the type of players that we need out there.”
The problem, of course, is Gregory has been suspended for the first 14 games of the 2017 season and Lawrence has had two back surgeries and is one failed drug test away from a 10-game suspension.