I’m excited with what the Cowboys have done so far this offseason, but I’m still worried about defensive tackle. This team has struggled to stop the run for years. What do you guys think? Should re-signing Johnathan Hankins now be a priority? – Michael Garcia/San Antonio, TX
Nick: I still think it remains a priority but it doesn’t seem like the Cowboys are in a huge hurry to get him. Usually, at this point in free agency, teams have their set price on what they’ll pay to their own guys and it’s up to them, and their agents, to see if a better deal comes along. I would think Hankins is in that boat. But I’ll say this as for my own opinion, I do think the Cowboys should try to make sure and get this guy back. All you have to do is look back to last year and when he got hurt, the defense struggled to stop the run again. And then he got back in the playoffs, and it was much better. He’s a difference maker because he has the body type that no one else brings to the table. I think the Cowboys want to re-sign him but if it were me, I’d make him a little more of a priority.
Kurt: For what seems like years, Nate Newton on our Hangin’ With the ‘Boys podcast has been asking for the Cowboys to sign what he calls a “big greasy,” a mountain of a man who can help slow down the opponent’s ground attack. And with all of the other moves made to strengthen the defense, doing something to help stop the run would now seem a priority. But is Hankins himself a priority? While they obviously like him and are trying to work out an agreement, consider that he played in seven games last year for Dallas, counting the playoffs, and in those outings the Cowboys gave up an average of 129.3 rushing yards. In the other 12 without him, the defense allowed 107.7. Of course, that’s not really fair to Hankins. Other facets of the game, like the score, factor in and he was normally on the field less than 40 percent of the time. Still, given that he’ll turn 31 next week, it just makes you wonder how much the team is willing to spend. The Cowboys will surely address the position in the draft, but whether it’s Hankins or someone else, hopefully they can also add to the ranks in free agency. And perhaps give Nate some piece of mind.