Stephen Jones: Cowboys taking harder look than ever at free agents’ age, injury history

Defensive tackle Henry Melton

Kirby Lee/Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Henry Melton, Jeremy Mincey and Terrell McClain have been signed, but it’s unlikely that the Dallas Cowboys are done adding defensive players.

There’s still the draft in May, and according to Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, there might be another piece or two added via free agency.

"We do have some room if the right situation was there," Jones said Friday on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. "We’d move in that direction if we saw a player we liked."

Jared Allen and Anthony Spencer are a couple of defensive ends still in play. Jones said the Cowboys would love to have both, but only at the right price.

"We can’t just spend freely, and it’s probably a good thing," Jones said. "I think we’ve really taken a stance here that we got to get value and we got to be efficient in the free agency market."

Spencer is recovering from the October microfracture surgery he had on his left knee. It’s still questionable that Spencer, who had a career-high 11 sacks in 2012, will be able to return by the start of training camp, Jones said.

With the Cowboys’ injury problems over the last couple seasons, Jones said the organization is adjusting its evaluation process when considering a free-agent signing, especially one like Spencer who turned 30 in January.

"I don’t ever want to say never, but when you talk about making your commitment long term, I will say that we’re taking a lot harder look at it than ever before," he said. "Because whether we were just unlucky or whatever it is, you certainly have to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to have to do something different.’ Certainly two years in a row, we’ve had a problem with that."

A few of the main evaluators are Stephen and Jerry Jones, head coach Jason Garrett and assistant director of player personnel Will McClay, who Stephen said is "having an outstanding off-season in terms of putting the right people in front of us."

After losing Pro Bowl defensive linemen DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher in free agency, the Cowboys are hoping the additions of Melton, Mincey and McClain have put them in position to draft the best player available and not simply reach for the best defensive lineman.

"I think when you start reaching for a particular position, you tend to make mistakes," Stephen said.

Speaking of the draft, Stephen said the Cowboys don’t feel like the wide receiver position is a pressing need. The Cowboys designated veteran receiver Miles Austin as a Post-June 1 cut earlier this month, however, Stephen said the franchise is pleased with Terrance Williams as their No. 2 opposite of Dez Bryant.

Who could pick up the extra targets that Austin received last year?

Stephen mentioned 5-foot-8 slot receiver Cole Beasley and last year’s second-round pick, tight end Gavin Escobar.

Austin was sixth in receiving on the team last year. Beasley, 24, was fifth with 39 grabs for 368 yards and two touchdowns. Escobar caught 9 passes for 134 yards and two TDs.

Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota