The Cowboys made their first significant move in free agency with reports surfacing Thursday afternoon about the team agreeing to terms with defensive lineman Cedric Thornton.
Quick Hits on Cedric Thornton:
- Thornton played his first 5 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. He joined the Eagles as an undrafted rookie free agent from Southern Arkansas in 2011. Thornton, who will turn 28 years old in June, has been a starter the past three years (46 of the past 49 games). He missed 3 games last year early in the season with a broken hand.
- With the Eagles, Thornton played a lot of defensive end. But for the Cowboys, he’ll likely move from the end to the interior and play nose tackle (what football people call “the one technique”). That’s the position Nick Hayden has played the past 3 seasons for the Cowboys. But Hayden is a free agent who has yet to be re-signed by the Cowboys or sign with another team. Sources put Thornton’s deal with the Cowboys worth $18 million over 4 seasons.
- Thornton played nose tackle as a rookie, so he has experience on the inside. His versatility to play different positions on the defensive line is a big plus. Nose tackles do the dirty work along the defensive line; it’s not glamorous, but it’s a hugely important position because he’s smack dab in the middle of the line.
- Even after adding Thornton, the Cowboys are still shopping for defensive linemen in free agency as well as the upcoming draft. Pass rush is still a major priority for Dallas.
- A native of Tarry, Arkansas (population 8,115), Thornton stayed in his home state to attend Division II Southern Arkansas in Magnolia. His university has an interesting mascot: the Muleriders.