When news broke of Randy Gregory‘s four-game suspension, that immediately sent a shock through most people’s minds. The Cowboys defensive line took a big hit and it led people to question whether this would impact free agency or the draft.
Stephen Jones has publicly said that the Gregory suspension will have an impact on free agency and the draft.
As is commonly known, Greg Hardy is a free agent, and is likely to have spent his last days with the Dallas Cowboys.
Well, what about the rest of the defensive line? This is a bigger problem than I thought.
Remaining players on the active Cowboys defensive line from 2015:
The following players are on the injured reserve list:
Then there are the practice squad guys such as:
- Efe Obada
- Michael McAdoo
This list is problematic.
Only three players on the active roster are under contract for next season. DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford and Casey Walker are the only players that finished the season healthy and active that are returning.
Not to mention that DeMarcus Lawrence is coming off of back surgery, something that is never good to hear, and Tyrone Crawford had rotator cuff surgery.
Four players ending the season on the injured reserve is a problem for obvious reasons.
You are looking at two premium defensive linemen that will return from last season and both of them coming off of surgery. The rest of your defensive line will be filled with practice squad level players and most of them are coming off of injury, too.
All-in-all, here’s the Cowboys D-Line for 2016, as it stands now:
- DeMarcus Lawrence (Back Surgery)
- Tyrone Crawford (Rotator Cuff Surgery)
- Randy Gregory (Suspended)
- Terrell McClain (Toe Surgery)
- David Irving (Fractured Wrist)
- Ryan Russell (Abdomen Injury)
- Chris Whaley (Achilles Injury)
- Casey Walker
- Efe Obada (Practice Squad)
- Mike McAdoo (Practice Squad)
Not only is that a group that doesn’t strike fear in many, there are a lot of issues plaguing each of these players. The defensive line will have to be addressed in a big way just to have some sort of a unit for next season.
Greg Hardy, Jack Crawford, Nick Hayden, and Jeremy Mincey are free agents.