Cowboys Could Sign Ex-Seahawks Starter to ‘Bargain’ Contract: Analyst

Mike McCarthy

Getty The Cowboys could land former Seahawks DT Shelby Harris.

The Dallas Cowboys could be an ideal destination for a notable starter.

As proposed by Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine, the Cowboys should consider signing several veterans to “bargain” contracts now that the first wave of free agency is over. One of those proposed players is none other than former Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Shelby Harris. Ballentine explains why the Cowboys should sign Harris to a one-year, $5 million deal.

“The Cowboys didn’t have the discretionary funds to sign a player like (Dre’Mont) Jones, but Harris could make sense on a cheap deal now,” says Ballentine. “He only had two sacks, but he also earned a solid 73.2 grade from PFF and registered six quarterback hits. By comparison, (Oda) Odighizuwa carried a 68.2 grade and Neville Gallimore earned a paltry 36.4. That’s just one metric, but it exemplifies the difference Harris could make on a one-year deal.”

Why Cowboys Should Sign Shelby Harris

The 31-year-old Harris has carved out a productive career as a durable starter on the interior of the defensive line in recent years. Since 2019, Harris has started all 58 of his appearances as a member of the Seahawks and Denver Broncos.

While Harris’ contract paid him $9 million annually over the past two seasons, he likely won’t come close to those earnings as a second wave free agent signee. Considering Dallas is probably seeking cheaper signings in free agency — they have $19 million in available cap space, according to Spotrac — Harris makes sense for the Cowboys. Ballentine also attributes the lack of playmaking on the interior of the defensive line last season as a reason the Cowboys should pursue Harris.

“They would be wise to invest in depth on the defensive line, too,” says Ballentine. “The Cowboys didn’t get much pass-rush help from their interior defenders outside of Osa Odighizuwa, who notched four sacks. With a ton of talent on the outside, the Cowboys would be even more lethal to opposing offensive lines with some interior talent.”

According to Pro Football Focus, the Cowboys had a number of solid — but unspectacular — players on their defensive line last season. Osa Odighizuwa — who saw 706 snaps last season — posted a 68.2 defensive grade last season. Meanwhile, Chauncey Golston posted a 69.3 defensive grade.

By comparison, Harris posted a 73.2 defensive grade, ranking 21st among all defensive tackles — with at least 100 snaps — last season.

The Cowboys ranked 22nd in rushing yards allowed and 17th in yards per attempt last season. Upgrading the interior of the defensive line could go a long way towards ensuring Dallas is a legitimate Super Bowl contender heading into next season.

Cowboys Sign Ronald Jones to 1-Year Deal

The Cowboys have found their potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement.

As Dallas moves forward with Tony Pollard as its main running back and without Elliott, the Cowboys have signed former Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers back Ronald Jones.

Via ESPN’s Todd Archer:

“A week after releasing Ezekiel Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with free agent running back Ronald Jones, the team announced Tuesday,” says Archer. “It doesn’t mean Jones, a former second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will be Elliott’s sole replacement in 2023, but the Cowboys have provided depth as a complement to Tony Pollard, who is on the $10.091 million franchise tag.”

Jones was an afterthought after signing with the Chiefs following his release from the Buccaneers last year. The 25-year-old Jones appeared in just six games and had just 17 carries for 70 yards. However, Jones has served as a starting running back before, starting for the Buccaneers for most of the season prior to winning Super Bowl LV.

In 61 games and 25 starts in five seasons, Jones has 505 carries for 2,244 yards and 19 touchdowns.

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