While the Dallas Cowboys are in no position to be big shoppers during free agency, Wesley Woodyard presents an ideal situation. Woodyard’s contract with the Denver Broncos is up, and after being benched for much of last season, the Cowboys could get him for a bargain. Woodyard wouldn’t be expected to emerge as a difference maker on defense, but solid play will add depth to a position where the Cowboys are in desperate need.
As long as Sean Lee is on field, he will be the leader and best player on the defense. He has proven that he can dominate at the linebacker position and is the center of this defense. The biggest problem with Lee is that he hasn’t been able to stay on the field. Lee has constantly been riddled with injuries and every time he falls, he leaves a crater in the defense.
Before last season, there were hopes that Bruce Cater could be a fantastic complement and help fill the void if Lee went down with injury. After least season, all Carter revealed was that he had talent but could not be trusted as a consistent defender. As is stands now, if Lee goes down, the linebacker position is going to be a liability for the Cowboys; even if he’s healthy, the defense as a whole could benefit tremendously from having a reliable linebacker along side Lee.
Woodyard would also see an easy transition into the Cowboys’ defense as the Broncos run a 4-3 scheme. Woodyard is capable of playing any linebacker position, which only adds to the potential depth he may add. He managed the get 84 tackles in 14 games last season, and if given an opportunity to start on the Cowboys, he can solidify one of the more inconsistent positions on the team.
An important attribute at the linebacker position in a 4-3 defense is their coverage ability. One of the reasons Lee is able to excel is because of his speed on the field. Woodyard actually ran the 40 yard dash time in 4.51 seconds, 0.20 seconds faster than Lee’s 4.71.
Acquiring Woodyard could be the best possible way to address the multitude of problems with the Cowboys’ defense. He is a cheap way to get a quality player that will leave the Cowboys with one less problem to address in the draft; it’s not even necessary to sign Woodyard to a long-term contract. While getting Woodyard may prompt the Cowboys to release Justin Durant, putting him into the lineup will allow young linebackers Carter and DeVonte Holloman to develop and potentially become the long-term solution alongside Lee.