Cowboys hope for bang for buck so far in free agency

Keeping middle linebacker Rolando McClain eliminates a big draft need for the Cowboys. Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

A breakdown of the first week of free agency for the Dallas Cowboys:

Most significant signing: The only outside signing the Cowboys have made is defensive tackle Cedric Thornton, who left the Philadelphia Eagles. He will take over the nose tackle spot and give the Cowboys a good run-stuffer and somebody to push the pocket to help Tyrone Crawford. From a sheer number of snaps standpoint, Rolando McClain is the guy here, and the Cowboys hope a first full offseason with them will help his conditioning and productivity.

Most significant loss: The Cowboys did not have any significant free agents, so they haven't had any significant losses. Matt Cassel signed with the Tennessee Titans. Mackenzy Bernadeau signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The loss of Bernadeau means the Cowboys will have to find a backup for the three interior offensive line positions in free agency or the draft. There was no chance Cassel would be back.

Player they still could sign: The Cowboys need pass-rushers, and an under-the-radar name to consider is Andre Branch. He put up 14 sacks in his first four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars in mostly a backup role. He has drawn interest elsewhere so far but remains available. The Cowboys have had success with these kinds of players, like George Selvie and Jeremy Mincey, the past few years.

What's next: The Cowboys wanted to use free agency to fill some holes, and there are still some left to fill. They will look for players in their price range along the defensive line, secondary, running back and backing up the offensive line, but the names won't be flashy. Chris Long left for New England on Tuesday night. Matt Moore chose to return as Miami's backup quarterback. With how free agency has fallen, the Cowboys could find themselves going with need for a pass-rusher and quarterback in the draft.

Overall grade: C-plus. The Cowboys are doing what they said they would do in free agency: be selective shoppers and not take part in the high-priced shopping. That cost them chances to get Matt Forte and Eric Weddle, but they don't want to pay age. If you were hung up on the big-name signings, you won't like what the Cowboys have done. Thornton was an effective signing and the other signings have been efficient. Keeping McClain was a bonus as well, because it takes away a big draft need.