With free agency little more than a month away, names are starting to surface as free agent targets of the Cowboys.
Carl Nicks is the most popular name, and possibly the most legitimate possibility to sure up the interior offensive line.
Ben Grubbs is the less popular version of Nicks, and would probably come at a cheaper price, as well.
Calais Campbell, a gargantuan defensive lineman from Arizona, could also be in the cards for the Cowboys.
But there is an extremely popular free agent name out there that no one is talking about, who I think could quite possibly be at the very top of the wish list for Jerry Jones and Rob Ryan.
Let the name, excitement, and potential sink in for a moment, and hear me out.
When you watched the Cowboys last season down the stretch, the one thing even my grandmother could take notice of was the lack of a pass rush. Demarcus Ware did have another all-pro season. Jay Ratliff, despite the fact that he is still confusingly playing nose guard, was effective when not being triple teamed. The combination of Anthony Spencer and Vic Butler was adequate at times, but not close to complementing Ware enough to be effective. Ware’s lack of a sidekick was extremely evident both times against the New York Giants, as fans watched Eli Manning take a five-step drop, drink coffee, read the newspaper, and finally toss long touchdowns to Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.
Enter Mario Williams.
Up until the 2011 season, Williams played defensive end in Houston’s 4-3 defense, and was an absolute terror. In 2011, under Wade Phillips, Williams moved to outside linebacker in the 3-4 and flourished, gathering 5 sacks in games before tearing his pectoral.
Now Imagine Ware lining up on one side, Williams on the other, and Ratliff somewhere along the defensive line. Who do you shift the protection to? Who do you double-team? Imagine all three lining up in multiple spots on the defensive line and outside linebacker spots throughout the game. How can you possibly game plan for such a ridiculous amount of wrecking power? The simple answer is, you don’t. In a motion 3-4 like Rob Ryan’s, the possibilities are infinite, and nightmarish. Imagine 6 foot 6, 283 pound Williams in a Rob Ryan system that thrives on constantly shifting players into different positions. Ryan did this often with Ware in 2011, and he consequently had his second best year statistically.
Some of you will argue that the price tag for Williams will be too high. I disagree. The Cowboys, in an extremely tight salary cap situation last season, were moments away from making Nnamdi Asomugha the highest paid cornerback in football. This year, they will have upwards of $20 million in cap space to play with.
The Giants winning Super Bowl XLVI is a blessing in disguise for the Cowboys.
Nothing makes Jerry Jones’ skin crawl more than an NFC East foe winning the Super Bowl and then claiming to be America’s Team.
Nothing makes him cringe more than losing an elite free agent prospect to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Don’t think for one second that these things won’t be on his mind when he opens up his pocketbook to ensure that Eli Manning is being peeled off the turf, Michael Vick is being run into a sideline garbage can headfirst, and whatever quarterback Washington trots out will be limping back to the bench where he belongs.
Rob Ryan expressed his interest in acquiring some new toys at the end of this season, and he is going to get them.
Jerry will find a way to put Mario Williams in a Dallas Cowboys uniform next season. Bet it.