The Dallas Cowboys have a lot of positions to work on going into the offseason and we’ve discussed plenty of them. We know safety has been a team need for a long time. Cornerback, defensive tackle, wide receiver and even tight end have also been thrown around as the team’s main needs. But have we mentioned defensive end enough?
DeMarcus Lawrence was often criticized for some of the Cowboys’ defensive woes, but the truth is he kept his level of play up. If you’re judging by the number in the sacks column, you might be quick to say otherwise. But when looking at more advanced pass rushing stats, it’s clear he was still playing at a great level.
On the other side of the defensive line, Robert Quinn was big for the Cowboys in 2019. He came in via a trade with the Miami Dolphins that cost Dallas a sixth round pick and a new contract for Quinn. He turned out to be a major bargain.
According to ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate, Quinn led all edge rushers with 33%. No other defender had a better percentage than 28%. When facing single blocks, only two defenders in the NFL had a win rate of over 32.5%, one of which was Quinn. The other was some kid named Aaron Donald.
Quinn will be 30 years old when the 2020 season comes around, so trying to keep him should be the plan for the Cowboys. There’s no questioning that. However, will they be able to? Quinn was seriously impressive last season and will be looking for a juicy contract. It’s not like Dallas’ to-do list before free agency is short.
They’ll be spending big money if they are to keep Amari Cooper, Byron Jones and obviously, Dak Prescott. If the Cowboys are not able to keep Quinn around, defensive end will make a considerable jump in the team’s priorities.
Randy Gregory could make a return at some point with the league expected to soften its stance on marijuana use, but we don’t really know that. The Cowboys should prepare thinking he won’t be available.
Be it through retaining Quinn, signing another free agent or looking for one in the NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys should be concerned about who will start at defensive end opposite of Lawrence.