Back to the well? Panthers release 2 FA who should interest Cowboys

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Alec Medford
·4 min read
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Following the NFL announcing the $180 million salary cap floor for the 2021 season, teams have gotten busy making the necessary moves to keep themselves out of financial trouble. The Carolina Panthers wasted no time, releasing two key veteran players in defensive tackle Kawann Short and free safety Tre Boston in the span of 3 days.

Both men could be on the Cowboys’ radar as free agency opens and they look to spend on a strict budget. Yes, even after the debacle of 2020’s FA haul from Carolina.

Short is the flashiest name of the two free agents. He is the one-tech, big body DT the Cowboys have so desperately needed for years now. The eight-year veteran and two-time Pro Bowler was arguably the best player on the Carolina defense. Short has racked up 32.5 sacks in his career with 24.5 coming in the span of just three seasons. This many sacks from the DT position in a 3-4 scheme is terrifying for any offense.

Of course, as with most cap casualties, there is a catch: Short has played in a combined five games over the last two seasons after both campaigns were ended by season-ending shoulder injuries. Another thing to consider is that the veteran DT is 32-years old and certainly not getting any younger. All things considered, Short should still gather interest around the league.

The Jones family is not scared to take chances on former impact players and certainly would not shy away from doing their due diligence on Short. The Cowboys rolled the dice on pass rusher Robert Quinn on a one-year deal and saw Quinn explode for 11.5 sacks in 2019. Another example comes just last season when the team signed Aldon Smith to a one-year deal after a five-year hiatus from the NFL and got great production from him in the first half of the 2020 season.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Boston is a 28-year-old free safety with plenty of experience under his belt. He has been very reliable, appearing in all but seven games of his seven-year career. In his 2020 campaign Boston posted four passes defended and a pick to go along with a career-high 95 tackles. Boston is coming off what was one of his better seasons and could be the perfect veteran presence to help guide a very young and raw secondary.

Boston is not the game-wrecking safety or the long-term solution in the secondary that fans had hoped to acquire like Jamal Adams would have been, but that does not mean Boston wouldn’t be a valuable acquisition. He is an intelligent football player who will fulfill his assignments and get the job done the way that he is asked to. He also would not cost the two first-round picks and a mega-contract necessary to acquire Adams. This is right up the Cowboys’ alley.

Neither player will demand large amounts of money on the open market and may have to resort to signing one-year “prove it” deals thanks to the lower salary cap in the upcoming 2021 season; a perfect storm for a cap-strained Cowboys team notorious for bargain shopping on the defensive side of the ball. The more likely of the two to land in Dallas? Boston has the best chance. This free-agent safety class is insanely talented and a quality role-player like Boston may slip in between the cracks.

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It is no secret that the Cowboys need to get better on defense and adding one, if not both of these veterans is a low-risk move that could give the team a large return on their investment. It could not possibly be as short-lived as the Daryl Worley and Dontari Poe era, right?

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