With over $25 million in remaining salary cap space and a roster far from rounded out, the Dallas Cowboys aren’t done shopping for proverbial groceries.
Their newest list item, per David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, is now-former Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen, who mutually separated from Minnesota on Friday, sending him to the open market. Moore claims “the Cowboys have interest here” before correctly noting the gravity of the potential acquisition.
Don’t rush to order those jerseys just yet, though. Two other local reporters heard differently after Moore teased the masses — that Dallas is not expected to sign Griffen at this time.
“And a similar answer from a Cowboys source, who says Griffen is ‘not high on our radar,'” SI.com’s Mike Fisher wrote.
Established among the sport’s best hand-in-the-dirt pass-rushers, Griffen totaled 41 tackles (11 tackles for loss), eight sacks, and an interception in 2019. He also accumulated 66 quarterback pressures, 14th-most out of all NFL edge defenders, according to Pro Football Focus.
Dallas got a first-hand look at him last November, amid their 28-24 home loss to the Vikings. Griffen stuffed the stat sheet with five tackles (two solo), four QB hits, 1.5 tackles-for-loss, and a half-sack.
A 2010 fourth-round pick who’s spent his entire career with the Vikings, Griffen has made 351 career tackles, 254 solo stops, and 74.5 sacks across 10 professional campaigns. He’s notched at least five sacks in eight consecutive seasons and has 26.5 QB takedowns over the past three years. He’s been voted to four Pro Bowls and was a second-team All-Pro selection in 2017, when he recorded 13 sacks.
Even at an advanced age — Griffen turns 33 in December — he should prompt a long list of suitors willing to splurge on his services. The Cowboys, depending on who you believe, have thrown their hat into the ring after losing 2019 sack leader Robert Quinn (Chicago Bears) and starting defensive tackle Maliek Collins (Las Vegas Raiders) in free agency.
But one must wonder how much money they’re willing to dump into the line. DE DeMarcus Lawrence got a $105 million deal last offseason, and the team just signed DT Gerald McCoy to a three-year, $20 million contract. They, too, are carrying “overpaid” DE Tyrone Crawford, who’s due to collect $8 million in base salary and count $9.1 million against the cap for 2020.
As always, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones likely has a number in mind for Griffen. And if Griffen’s own valuation doesn’t align with that number, the marriage won’t materialize.
Which — again, contingent on the source — is the expected outcome.
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Cowboys Announce Re-Signing of Two Veteran LBs
The Cowboys have now retained 10 of their 25 unrestricted free agents, agreeing to terms on new, one-year deals for linebackers Joe Thomas and Justin March. Both put pen to paper on Friday, per the team’s official website.
Capable of manning all three ‘backer positions, Thomas will continue to function as a special teams maven, and again for head coach Mike McCarthy, whom he knew from their time in Green Bay. He provides valuable depth behind Sean Lee, whom the club re-signed, Leighton Vander Esch, who’s recovering from spinal stenosis, and stalwart OLB Jaylon Smith.
March is similar in many facets. He, too, was an undrafted free agent, scooped up by the Kansas City Chiefs following the 2015 NFL draft. He landed in Dallas in 2017, having completed stops in Miami and Seattle.
He’s lower on the tentative depth chart than Thomas but will be a crucial component for new special teams coordinator John Fassel, who succeeds longtime STC Keith O’Quinn.
“You know I can’t wait to turn special teams into a real factor with Coach Fassel here this year,” March told Fisher.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL