If the 2017 season taught the Cowboys anything, it should be that bargain shopping during free agency will not get them to the promised land. Both of this year’s Super Bowl participants were aggressive in improving their team last offseason either through trade or free agency. The Eagles added Nigel Bradham, Ronald Darby, Timmy Jernigan and Nick Foles just to name a few. The Patriots were equally aggressive in adding Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore. These additions, among others, allowed both teams to withstand a multitude of injuries.
Now, this isn’t to suggest that Dallas goes out and tries to reel in the biggest fish available. However, they do need to target a tier of free agent a bit higher than they have in years past.
The staff here at FPC Cowboys will be profiling these exact type of potential acquisitions as we lead up to the March free agent frenzy. First up, Alex Okafor.
Name: Alex Okafor
Position: Defensive End
Weight: 260 lbs.
Heading into the 2017 season Okafor was on my radar as a target that could produce. He did exactly that for the Saints in 2017 before his injury put him on injured reserve.
In 10 games Okafor tallied 47 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. He was a key cog in the resurgence of the Saints defense. Okafor defends the run very well and is extremely sound in setting and containing the edge. However, he also can get after the quarterback as demonstrated by his 18 sacks over the last four seasons.
Okafor has shown versatility over his career being able to stand up as well as put his hand in the dirt during his time with the Cardinals and Saints. A lot of that has to do with his size and athletic ability. At 6’4″ 260+lbs, he has the prototypical measurements to play the right defensive end spot in Dallas.
Had Okafor played an entire season, his market price would likely put him out of the Cowboys traditionally low price range. However, being that he is coming off an Achilles injury, he could be in line for either a one year ‘prove it deal’ or a team friendly short term contract. Both would benefit the Cowboys.
Bringing Okafor on board would bookend Demarcus Lawrence with a seasoned pass rusher who would be in the prime of his athletic career at the ripe age of 26. Factor in the wildcards David Irving and Randy Gregory, and a potential pass rushing group of Lawrence, Okafor, Irving, and Gregory has to make Cowboys fans smile.
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