Tyrone Crawford, a ninth-year defensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys, remains on the roster despite much speculation of his release this offseason. But does surviving up to this point mean Crawford will definitely make the 2019 roster? Could the veteran still wind up among the final cuts?
Going into the offseason, Crawford’s contract was the big reason that he’d probably be let go. He’s scheduled to count $10.1 million against the salary cap, which currently makes Tyrone the most expensive defensive player after DeMarcus Lawrence.
With only $4.2 million in dead money left on the contract, Tyrone seemed like a goner given the Cowboys’ other financial needs. That $5.9 million in cap relief could help fund Lawrence’s new deal or any of the proposed contract extensions for Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, or Byron Jones. Or, perhaps that money could’ve helped them team sign an upgrade somewhere else on the roster.
Nevertheless, Crawford remained on the roster before and after the draft. He even got past the June-1st turning point. It appears the Cowboys plan to bring Tyrone to training camp.
The offseason hasn’t just been about money, though. Crawford was involved in an altercation with police is March that is still under investigation by the NFL. Could they wind up suspending Tyrone to start the year, and what impact would that then have on his job security?
Despite his history as a valued, versatile player and team captain, Crawford’s playing role in 2019 is hard to project. What does seem clear, though, is that he’s not going to be worth that high cap hit.
Dallas brought in Robert Quinn at defensive end and spent a second-round pick on Trysten Hill at defensive tackle. They also added Kerry Hyder and Joe Jackson at DE, plus veteran Christian Covington at DT. This is all in addition to bringing back Lawrence, Taco Charlton, Antwaun Woods, Maliek Collins, Dorance Armstrong, and hopefully Randy Gregory from last year.
That’s 11 defensive linemen we just named, and we didn’t even mention other young prospects like rookie Jalen Jelks or Daniel Ross. How much do the Cowboys really need to carry Crawford for another year at that overpriced salary?
Even if there was no potential suspension looming, Tyrone’s job security for 2019 would be up for debate. And if Crawford winds up being out for the first 2-4 games of the season, that could move the needle even further towards a release.
The Cowboys have all the power here. They can keep Crawford right on through camp and preseason as insurance against a major injury. He would likely jump right back into a starting role at DE if something happened to Lawrence or Quinn.
For all we know, Dallas may be planning to make him a featured player at defensive tackle. Perhaps they’ll finally be able to cut him loose as the 3-technique and not have to worry about bouncing him between two positions.
But in the end, Crawford has the worst contract on the team. The Cowboys have plenty of other options on the defensive line, and this is a move that we’ve been talking about for two years now.
We were all shocked when Dallas released Dan Bailey last year at final cuts. If Tyrone Crawford is the next major cut in 2019, based on all we just discussed, maybe we shouldn’t be that surprised.