Cowboys Signing Ex-Patriots LB Amid Free Agency Rumors

Mike McCarthy

Getty Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Dallas Cowboys takes the field prior to a game.

The Dallas Cowboys are bringing a DFW area local and former New England Patriots linebacker to the Star this summer.

In terms of free agency, the Cowboys have been fairly quiet since the window began. However, the team has been linked to free agent linebacker repeatedly, with former Minnesota Vikings LB Anthony Barr the most popular link.

That could still happen, but the Cowboys have officially signed a linebacker in the meantime: Christian Sam. Sam and kicker Lirim Hajrullahu were announced as the team’s latest additions on July 8th, coinciding with the moving of LB Devante Bond to the injury reserve.

“The Cowboys had an open spot for Hajrullahu and placed linebacker Devante Bond (knee) on injured reserve to make room for Sam,” the team’s press release reads. “Who most recently played for the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL.”

As the team mentions, Sam has been plying his trade with the new USFL after failing to secure a consistent roster spot in the league. Now, the linebacker’s play in New Orleans is earning him a shot back near his birthplace of Allen, Texas.

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Sam’s Journey Back to Dallas

For the Cowboys fans who aren’t familiar with the Dallas area, Allen is a northern suburb town in the metro region, and Allen High School is where Sam first began making a name for himself, eventually attending Arizona State from 2014 to 2017.

Sam took a liking to Tempe, putting together three strong seasons. According to Sports Reference, Sam totaled 166 solo tackles, 17 tackles for loss, seven sacks, and three interceptions in his 35 games played. Despite a foot injury that sidelined him for nearly all of 2016, Sam became a vital piece of the Sun Devils roster.

That injury hindered his transition to the NFL, as following up his breakout sophomore season with another would have likely translated to a much higher draft selection. The Patriots eventually selected Sam with a sixth-round pick of the 2018 NFL draft, and his professional career began.

After having to ride the injury reserve in his first year, Sam just missed out on the final roster during the 2019 season. The Patriots released him, leading to Sam being added and released to practice squads across the league, including the Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions.

This past summer, Sam was drafted by the Tampa Bay Bandits in the USFL draft. As a Bandit, he brought down an interception and registered 35 solo tackles before being released and then signed by the Breakers.


Do the Cowboys Need Sam?

Similar to the player he’s replacing in Devante Bond, Sam has to be considered a longshot. The former Sun Devils star hasn’t played a regular-season NFL snap, while Bond has 34 appearances under his belt and was still thought of a fringe contender for the final 53-man roster.

However, the Cowboys wouldn’t be signing Sam if there wasn’t something worth looking at. He’s got fresh tape thanks to his USFL performances, and Dallas clearly liked what they saw to some degree.

Plus, Sam hailing from the DFW area doesn’t hurt his case as an option to fill the roster. The 26-year-old definitely has an uphill climb to make the final 53, but he’s at least got an opportunity to make an impression and become a practice squad player.

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