Cowboys Sign 4-Time Pro Bowl Linebacker: Report

Mike McCarthy

Getty The Cowboys have signed LB Anthony Barr.

The Dallas Cowboys are signing one of the more notable free agents on the market.

According to a report from NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo on Wednesday, August 3, the Cowboys are signing four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Anthony Barr.

“Cowboys are signing former Vikings LB Anthony Barr, source says,” said Garafolo.

The 30-year-old Barr had been linked to the Cowboys for weeks, with Sports Illustrated’s Mike Fisher reporting back in July that a potential signing of the veteran linebacker was “still on the table.” Fisher actually referenced the idea that Barr could serve as a complementary piece to Rookie of the Year linebacker Micah Parsons.

“Here inside The Star, sources have long acknowledged to us interest in Barr, and thinking that Barr qualifies as a Micah helper, or even as “Micah Lite.” Weak-side linebacker. Rush the passer. Drop into coverage. Veteran presence. So yes, the Cowboys are aware,” said Fisher on July 6.

The veteran linebacker had spent all eight of his seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, notching four consecutive Pro Bowl berths between 2015 and 2018. While he may not be considered the star he was earlier in his career, Barr’s production remains at a solid level. Barr posted 72 tackles and a career-high three interceptions last season.

According to Pro Football Focus, Barr posted a 62.9 defensive grade and 72.3 pass-rushing grade last season. At his peak, Barr posted a 90.1 defensive grade and 90.8 pass-rushing grade during the 2015 season.

By comparison, each of the Cowboys’ linebackers — with the exception of Parsons – posted lower defensive and pass-rushing grades than did Barr last season.

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Signing of Barr is Bad News for Vander Esch

The signing of Barr possibly means that Dallas could move Leighton Vander Esch to the bench, with Barr, Parsons and Jabril Cox projecting as the possible starting linebackers.

Since being drafted in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft, Vander Esch has served as a starting linebacker. The 26-year-old has started 46 of his 52 appearances with the Cowboys, playing strongside and middle linebacker. The former Pro Bowler signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys in the offseason.

It’s worth noting that Vander Esch is due just $2 million this season and has a $1.750 million dead cap hit. In other words, he could be a possible cap casualty if Dallas opts to go with a younger linebacker.

Lamb Sends Message on Adding Veteran Receiver

While the Cowboys certainly bolstered their depth at linebacker with the signing of Barr, they could still use the upgrade at wide receiver.

Following James Washington’s injury — he’ll be out 6-to-10 weeks due to a Jones fracture — Dallas has one viable veteran receiver on the roster in CeeDee Lamb.

As the Cowboys prepare for a Week 1 showdown versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they’ll do so without Michael Gallup. Dallas’ No. 2 receiver is expected to be out for the season opener due to his recovery from a torn ACL.

According to Lamb, he’s not opposed to the idea of the team adding a veteran receiver — but he’s also confident in his younger teammates to step up.

“I mean I’m not opposed to having another vet in here,” Lamb told reporters on Tuesday, August 2. “I’m never against having help, but I like my young guys here now. I want to see what they can do in the heat of battle, and then we got Tampa in September. There’s only one way to find out.”

“The door is open for opportunity,” Lamb continued. “I feel like the younger guys are taking that opportunity and trying to do something.”



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