The Dallas Cowboys have been creating plenty of buzz with their interest in Odell Beckham Jr., but the team could be plotting another free agency move as well.
It seems inevitable that the Cowboys will add Beckham to their ranks, as the team’s top brass continues to hint and tease their desire for the wide receiver to their ranks. However, a move that can happen even before then could be ex-Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle Jerry Tillery.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Cowboys Country Staff, the Cowboys are interested in signing Tillery after his recent release from the Chargers.
“The Los Angeles Chargers are waiving former first-round defensive tackle Jerry Tillery – and the Dallas Cowboys, always looking to fortify a good defense (albeit with some run-stopping challenges as they prep for Sunday at Green Bay) would like a piece of the action,” the site’s article on the development states.
However, the site also mentions that there is a problem for Dallas: they’re far down the waiver wire at 6-2, so other teams have the chance to sign Tillery before the Cowboys can. Either way, it would be an interesting pickup for Dallas as Tillery is still relatively young and talented.
Tillery Starts NFL Career with Chargers
Part of the reason Tillery’s release from Los Angeles is surprising is that the former Notre Dame star was seemingly taking a step forward in his play in 2021. After a bit of a slow start, Tillery looked closer to first-round billing last season.
He entered the NFL in the 2019 NFL draft after an impressive stint with the Fighting Irish. The Chargers needed to round out an already strong defensive line, and Tillery was supposed to be that piece.
Tillery showed flashes as a rookie with two sacks, but Pro Football Reference shows that he struggled to produce consistently as a rookie. 2020 was a step up, as he earned three sacks and forced two fumbles.
In 2021, Tillery again bested his sack total with 4.5 and breaking the 50-tackle mark for the first time in his career. There’s no doubt that Tillery can produce, but he just hasn’t quite broken through to meet the expectations of his first-round selection.
Tillery Could Join Cowboys After ‘Competing’ Differences
Tillery’s release was one of the surprising roster moves of the past week, and it’s clear that the defensive tackle’s departure from the Chargers isn’t purely based on ability.
Los Angeles head coach Joe Staley explained that the team and Tillery had “competing visions” and that it was time for the 26-year-old to move on, according to ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry.
“Competing visions for the role moving forward and it just became clear that it wasn’t going to be a fit anymore,” Staley said. “Where we’re headed as a team wasn’t going to be compatible with Jerry and where he’s trying to go.”
To add to the story, many Chargers players had nothing but nice things to say about Tillery after his release. Star defensive lineman Khalil Mack believes that he’s going to be just fine.
“It’s unfortunate,” Mack said. “It’s something that I really don’t think I’ve been a part of that in the NFL, in the sense of the middle of the season, cut. It’s a weird situation … but at the same time he’s a talented player so whatever he chooses to do, he’s going to be able to ball out and do his thing.”