The Dallas Cowboys signed a two-year deal with former first-round pick Amobi Okoye on Friday and the familiar name immediately sparks some interest from Cowboys fans. Although he has had a less-than-impressive start to his career, Dallas looks like the perfect landing spot.
When Rod Marinelli was put in charge of the Dallas defense, everybody understood he would make it his own. With the previous signing on Henry Melton and now Okoye, he has brought in a pair of players he coached while with the Chicago Bears.
This move makes sense for Dallas and follows suit for what it has been doing this entire offseason. There are two ways to view free agency: sign big names for big bucks or fill holes with “bargain-bin” type players and create depth.
Dallas really had no choice but to pursue the latter of the two. With its salary cap situation the way it was, it has to bank on youth and players with something to prove.
Aokye can still be molded into a very productive player and I think that’s why he wanted to continue to play for Marinelli. The two have a very close relationship dating back to Chicago and these types of relationships are undervalued in the NFL. If players truly believe what their coaches are preaching, they can accomplish amazing things. Marinelli wants to continue to build his guy up, and I think Okoye needs the guidance and care he knows his coach will provide.
It is concerning that Okoye missed all of last season with an “undisclosed injury.” However, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said he did pass his physical.
Dallas now has several options on the defensive line; Okoye would fit in at either nose tackle or defensive tackle while they also have Ben Bass, Nick Hayden, Ken Bishop, Terrell McClain, Frank Kearse and Melton in that positional group. Tyrone Crawford might also be a possibility with his defensive versatility of being able to play either defensive end or tackle.
With guys like Melton, Crawford, and Anthony Spencer coming back from serious injuries, depth is the best thing for Dallas. More guys willing to step in creates the ability to split reps and reduce the grind of the NFL season on those players’ bodies.
It is obvious Jerry Jones and company have focused their efforts in free agency and the draft on quantity over quality. Hopefully this makeshift line featuring rookies, journeymen and players coming off major injuries can provide the quality play the Cowboys need to be a serious contender in 2014.