Cowboys' free agency needs remain

IRVING, Texas – With Jerry and Stephen Jones as well as coach Jason Garrett in Phoenix this week for the NFL owners meetings, the Dallas Cowboys’ free agency approach will go on the backburner for at least a few days.

After signing Greg Hardy, Jasper Brinkley, Andrew Gachkar, Jed Collins and Ray Agnew and adding Corey White through waivers, the Cowboys’ shopping cart is probably filled for now.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Cowboys have $1.98 million in cap space, but that does not include the signings of Agnew and Nick Hayden.

All of this doesn’t mean the Cowboys can’t add players or won’t add players or don’t have needs.

Plenty of needs remain, and they don’t have to be costly. This is not a plea for another running back or top-three receiver or cornerback. These are mostly players to play multiple positions on gameday to make the 46-man formula work a little easier.

Offensive tackle

While I believe the Jacksonville Jaguars overpaid for Jermey Parnell, the Cowboys need to find a backup swing tackle behind Tyron Smith and Doug Free. Parnell was a valuable commodity in that spot and filled in ably in 2014. The Cowboys have Donald Hawkins, Darrion Weems and John Wetzel as candidates at the moment, but none has played a snap in a real game. Weems has been around the longest but is coming off shoulder surgery. Hawkins was active for one game last year. Wetzel was on the practice squad.

The Cowboys signed Tony Hills off the Miami Dolphins practice squad last year, and he served as the swing tackle in Free’s absence. Hills is an unrestricted free agent and the Cowboys could bring him back on a one-year deal.


No, not a starter, despite the wish of many fans who want to see the Cowboys upgrade over Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox. This is more about a special teams’ role. C.J. Spillman handled the spot last year after he was signed at the start of last season and did a quality job. He remains unsigned and could be back.

He has a fan in special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia. He knows the special teams and defensive schemes, which is a plus, and he won’t cost a lot. Another possibility is former Cowboy Danny McCray, who played for the Chicago Bears last year. He would be a core special teamer and, like Spillman, come at a good price.

Return specialist

If the season started today Cole Beasley would likely handle the punt return job and Lance Dunbar could be the kick returner. But the season doesn’t start today.

The New York Giants bowled over Dwayne Harris with a five-year deal that included $7.1 million guaranteed. Harris is a dangerous returner, but he was largely kept in check in 2014. The Cowboys, however, don’t have an in-house candidate that was the same threat as Harris. The market is pretty well picked over at this point, but a fifth wide receiver (Jerrel Jernigan) could be an option.