The Dallas Cowboys have 16 players set to become unrestricted free agents in March. In this series, we determine why a player should or should not return in 2016 and beyond.
Position: Defensive lineman
NFL experience: Four years
2015 salary: $660,000
2015 statistics: He played in every game for the first time in his career, starting one, and was credited with 18 tackles by the coaches to go along with four sacks, which was fourth on the team, 10 pressures, three tackles for loss and a pass deflection.
Why he will be back: Randy Gregory was suspended the first four games of the season. Greg Hardy is unlikely to return. Jeremy Mincey is iffy to get back. DeMarcus Lawrence is returning from back surgery. Just with a numbers game, Crawford should be back. He plays hard. He plays everywhere. He can even do some special teams work in a pinch. He can play either defensive end spot as well as the under tackle spot. In a pinch he could play the nose, although mostly in passing situations.
Why he will not be back: This will come down solely to price. With so much money available in free agency, he could get out of range of what the Cowboys want to pay him. The Cowboys aren’t the only team looking for pass-rush help. So are 31 other teams. Crawford has some 3-4 experience as well, so his market could open up to more teams.
Chance to return: Moderate. He is a good fit for what Rod Marinelli wants to do and he can play all across the defensive line. The Cowboys value position flexibility and he has some pass rush to him.