Coming off their worst season since 1989, the Dallas Cowboys are looking to improve a team that went 4-12 and finished in last place. An important part of the process begins on Wednesday when NFL teams can officially sign free agents.
The Cowboys have been linked to free agents on both sides of the ball. Dallas is reportedly the frontrunner to land running back Lamar Miller, and there seems to be mutual interest between the Cowboys and defensive end Chris Long.
Darren McFadden played well for Dallas in 2015, ranking fourth in the league with 1,089 rushing yards. But the team’s running game was not what it had been the previous season with DeMarco Murray, and Dallas is looking to make another addition to their backfield. Miller could be a strong compliment to McFadden after leading the Miami Dolphins with 872 yards.
Miller made the most of his 194 carries, and his 4.5 yards per carry ranked him in the top five of rushers with at least 800 yards. According to Omar Kelly of The Sun Sentinel, the Houston Texans are also in play for Miller, who caught a career-high 47 passes for 397 yards.
Dolphins RB Lamar Miller was thinking he could get a deal similar to DeMarco Murrays. I'm hearing his market is in the 4-5 mil range not 8.
— Dianna Marie Russini (@diannaESPN) March 7, 2016
Dallas reportedly looked into the possibility of acquiring Murray, who the Philadelphia Eagles ultimately traded to the Tennessee Titans. The Cowboys weren’t willing to meet the Eagles’ asking price, and they didn’t want to pay Murray what he’s currently owed on his contract.
On the defensive side, the Cowboys are looking to improve their pass rush, which was lacking in 2015. Dallas was tied for 25th in the NFL with just 31 sacks, and they are looking into the possibility of signing Long, who has played his entire eight-year career with the Rams. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Long will visit Dallas, though there’s some question regarding whether or not an official visit has been scheduled.
Per a Cowboys source, no visit has been set up yet with Chris Long. Doesn't mean it won't happen. But not set up at this time
— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) March 9, 2016
Long has been banged up in the last two seasons, recording four sacks in just 18 games. Prior to that, he had never missed a game, totaling 41.5 sacks from 2010-2013. Long has reportedly already visited with the Washington Redskins.
There were rumors that the Cowboys had been in play to sign Leodis McKelvin, but the cornerback agreed to a deal with the Eagles. Dallas missed out on McKelvin, but they prevented Rolando McClain from hitting the open market, signing him to a one-year deal worth a reported $5 million.
It won’t matter who the Cowboys sign if Tony Romo isn’t healthy next year. The quarterback missed 12 games with collarbone injuries last year, and he underwent successful surgery this week. Romo will undergo rehab for six to eight weeks, and he might not miss any of Dallas’ offseason workouts.
In 2014, Romo had his best NFL season and led the Cowboys to a 12-4 record.