As the injuries pile up on the secondary for the Dallas Cowboys, their need for a stable pass rush grows. Given so much uncertainty outside of DeMarcus Ware, could they lure Connor Barwin from the Houston Texans?
Rob Ryan handcuffed by Mike Jenkins and Morris Claiborne injuries
Few had problems with the Cowboys' offseason moves through free agency and the NFL draft. The clear roster need was in the defensive secondary, and owner Jerry Jones made it his mission with his front office to fix it. They gave a huge contract to former Chiefs corner Brandon Carr and moved up several spots to draft LSU corner Morris Claiborne. Together with top corner Mike Jenkins, Dallas had hoped defensive coÃ¶rdinator Rob Ryan finally had what he needed for his aggressive, blitzing defense to work. Barely two weeks into training camp and things aren't looking very good for that to happen. Claiborne missed offseason workouts because of wrist surgery and then sprained his knee in practice. Jenkins still hasn't recover from surgery on his shoulder from last season. At this rate, neither player will make it back in time for opening day. This leaves the team right back where it started trying to find help for defensive captain DeMarcus Ware. If it won't come from the back-end, could the Cowboys find it up front?
Barwin in contract year with Whitney Mercilus right behind him
Strangely enough, another Texas team has roster issues of its own. For the Houston Texans, they must worry about their young pass rush losing much of its depth through two seasons of free agency. They already loss Mario Williams to Buffalo this year and could lose another big piece in the 26-year-old Connor Barwin. Along with J.J. Watt, Barwin had a breakout season last year with 11.5 sacks. If he has a repeat performance in 2012, he could hold some serious bargaining chips with a Texans front office having to worry about other big names like Matt Schaub and Duane Brown. Their only hope is whether rookie first-round pick Whitney Mercilus can make plays early. If so Houston could feel more comfortable letting Barwin go or even trading him. For the Cowboys, the idea isn't so crazy. Ware turned 30 this year, and their other best rusher, Anthony Spencer, becomes a free agent in February. Adding Barwin, while expensive could give Dallas a young piece for Ryan to have down the road.
The Dallas Cowboys aren't above big deals, and with Morris Claiborne and Mike Jenkins down, it falls to Rob Ryan and the front office on finding another way to keep the defense stable. Connor Barwin isn't planning to leave the Houston Texans yet, but the arrival of Whitney Mercilus can change that fast.