Cowboys Sign Former Eagles Defender to Active Roster

Justin Hamilton

Getty Justin Hamilton

Ahead of Sunday night’s showdown with Philadelphia, the Dallas Cowboys added a one-time Eagle to the 53-man roster.

The Cowboys on Wednesday signed defensive lineman Justin Hamilton, the team announced, its corresponding move after placing starting DE Tyrone Crawford (hips) on injured reserve.

Hamilton (6-2, 315) entered the NFL in 2015 as an undrafted free agent picked up by the Buffalo Bills. He was released at final cuts and had a cup of coffee with the Packers that same year.

He spent 2016 yo-yo-ing between the Seattle Seahawks’ taxi squad and the unemployment line. In 2017, upon joining Philly, Hamilton got his big break, elevated from the practice squad to the active roster. He made three appearances for the Eagles, logging three combined tackles and a half-sack.

The Kansas City Chiefs poached Hamilton in December 2017. He appeared in five Chiefs games (starting one) over the last two seasons before being released in August.

Hamilton played his college ball at Louisiana-Lafayette, where he was a four-year contributor, making 102 career tackles, 29 tackles for loss, and 14 sacks. He earned First Team All-Sun Belt Conference honors as a senior in 2014.

“Hamilton has the size and natural ability to make it at the next level,” his scouting profile reads. “His durability and proven track record of making plays along the line of scrimmage make him a viable NFL talent. If Juice does not hear his name on the final day of the draft, there will be a number of clubs ready to ink Hamilton to a free agent deal.”

Hamilton was among several players whom Dallas hosted for tryouts last month. He’s familiar with defensive coordinator Kris Richard from their days in Seattle.

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Hamilton’s Fit with Cowboys

As mentioned, the Cowboys were in need of depth with Crawford done for the year and backup DE Dorance Armstrong battling a neck injury. Armstrong “won’t do much today because it’s a padded practice,” head coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday.

Expect Hamilton, a natural run-stuffer, to slide in behind between formerly-injured nose tackle Antwaun Woods, rookie DT Trysten Hill, and position-flexible DL Christian Covington.

His addition theoretically should aid a Dallas defense that functions worse than its 12th-best NFL ranking against the run (93.8 yards per game) and the pass (238.0 YPG). If active in Week 7, he’ll look to contain the Eagles’ 15th-ranked ground game (111.2 YPG), led by Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders.

Multiple Cowboys Stars Miss Practice

To say Big D is hurting right now would be a massive understatement. They’re currently without wide receivers Amari Cooper (quad) and Randall Cobb (back), starting tackles Tyron Smith (ankle) and La’el Collins (knee), and cornerbacks Byron Jones (hamstring) and Anthony Brown (hamstring).

Garrett is hopeful that a few members of the MASH unit can practice later this week as Dallas aims to snap a three-game losing streak in the first of two matchups against their NFC East nemesis.

READ NEXT: New Report Suggests Jason Garrett Could be Fired Before Cowboys’ Bye

Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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