While the Cowboys defense was allowing punt-less games and getting lit up by seemingly every quarterback they played, on their way to earning the second lowest overall grade from Pro Football Focus (-98.5) as a unit in 2013, Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher was busy grinding.
Once a 3-4 defensive end, Hatcher shined as the three-technique defensive tackle in Monte Kiffin’s Tampa Cover 2. In 2013, Hatcher more than doubled his career-best sack total, and was one of the most disruptive interior defensive linemen in the NFL.
Hatcher finished the 2013 season with 41 tackles, 29 of which were solo tackles, 33 quarterback hurries, 11 sacks, two forced fumbles and three pass deflections. You don’t need me to tell you that teams will undoubtedly find Hatcher’s numbers appealing when he tests the free agency market in 2014, and apparently neither does he.
“I’m going to get what I deserve, and get what I’m worth,” Hatcher said. “Age don’t matter. Whatever. If you ain’t talking what I want, I don’t want to talk to ‘em.”
I place no blame on Hatcher for wanting to capitalize on what may be his last chance at a big contract, given that he’ll be 32 before the start of the 2014 NFL season. In fact, if you go back and evaluate the three-year $6 million contract he signed in 2011, even you would agree with Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones that Hatcher outplayed his contract.
Would I like Hatcher back? Absolutely, he’s a leader who lets his play do the talking. He is a player who wasn’t shy about addressing problems head-on. However, I can’t see the Cowboys giving Hatcher the type of contract he thinks he’s worth, let me rephrase that, the Cowboys can’t be the team that gives him that kind of contract.
They gambled on four 30-year-old defensive linemen in 2013 and got burned; it can’t happen again in 2014, especially if they want to progress.