Cowboys DE Marcus Spears' name was floated around the NFL draft in trade talks after being tendered at a lower level than backup DEs Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher. And though Spears is said to have had a solid offseason and is still with the team despite the rumors, there's a chance he could give up his starting job to either Bowen or Hatcher. NT Jay Ratliff told PFW last week he thought Bowen was ready for a breakout season, and that could push Spears into a reserve role in his final season before free agency. Hatcher also has flashed but hasn't been as effective on a down-to-down basis. The Cowboys' coaches think Bowen has great upside and would like to see him get more snaps, but there also is the idea that he might be less effective the more snaps he gets. The good news is that Spears has shown he can defend the run effectively and hold the point, and he is an excellent fallback option, having started the past five seasons. But don't be surprised if Bowen sees more time as the Cowboys try to ramp up the pressure more.
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