With the secondary addressed it looks like the Dallas Cowboys defense points in the right direction but some wonder if they have enough pass rush to make it all work. Could Cliff Avril from the Detroit Lions be the last piece?
Anthony Spencer contract makes help for DeMarcus Ware critical
Part of the problem for the Cowboys isn't a pass rush. They hired Rob Ryan specifically for his aggressive, blitzing defense which needs good corners to work. It was something they didn't have last season but should in 2012 thanks to free agent Brandon Carr and rookie Morris Claiborne. The real issue is can anybody step up besides All-Pro linebacker DeMarcus Ware? Beside his 19.5 sacks, the next closest player was fellow linebacker Anthony Spencer who managed 6 along with 74 tackles and four forced fumbles. Owner Jerry Jones wants Spencer to stay but Dallas hasn't found a way to reach a new deal with the 2007 first round pick. If forced to play under the franchise tag Spencer will make $8 million. The team could franchise him again in 2013 but teams rarely do that. If Spencer leaves then the Dallas Cowboys have nobody even close to helping Ware unless they give free agency a try.
Louis Delmas and Justin Durant make Avril deal tough for Lions
One player they might look into is Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril. Last season was a breakout for him as he amassed 11.5 sacks and six forced fumbles. At 25 he is one of the up and coming pass rushers in the league and Detroit franchise tagged him to make sure he didn't get away. Whether the two sides can reach a long-term deal is another thing entirely. Avril has said from the start he feels good about the Lions finding a way to pay him but according to experts it's not that easy. The 2013 offseason could become a rough one for the team became a huge part of their defense could hit free agency along with Avril if he does play under the tag contract. Two other names include safety and secondary leader Louis Delmas and reliable linebacker Justin Durant. Either loss would hurt an already shaky defense. However since the team already has limited salary cap space they must choose where to spend their money. The defensive line is largely their only strength and while Avril is the best pass rusher the front office might reach the decision that they need to sacrifice him. If he hits free agency teams will line up to get him on their rosters. If the Cowboys are serious about their Super Bowl window then throwing money at him to get him to Dallas should become a priority.
The Detroit Lions want Cliff Avril back but it could come at the cost of Louis Delmas and Justin Durant. Should the Dallas Cowboys lose Anthony Spencer then they need to make an all-out push for the young defensive end if they want the best out of their leader DeMarcus Ware.