Cowboys Lose Young Defender in Free Agency to Struggling AFC Team

Bradlee Anae Jets

Getty The Cowboys lost pass rusher Bradlee Anae to the Jets.

The changes have already begun for the Dallas Cowboys as pass rusher Bradlee Anae has signed with the New York Jets. Anae’s agent David Canter announced the news on Twitter.

Anae just completed his second season with the Cowboys and his availability on the open market is tied to the team’s decision to release the pass rusher in November. The Cowboys released Anae on November 2, 2021 but re-signed the pass rusher days later after he passed through waivers unclaimed.

Anae moved from his initial rookie deal to a new practice squad contract which made him a free agent at the end of the season. After being selected by the Cowboys in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL draft, Anae played in 11 games over the last two seasons.

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Anae Signed With the Jets to Pursue ‘More Opportunities’

Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken noted that Anae seeks “more opportunities” with the Jets. With players like DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory and Micah Parsons, it was challenging for Anae to carve out a role in Dallas.

“Former Cowboys DE Bradlee Anae has signed with the Jets, per agent
@davidcanter,” Gehlken tweeted on January 19. “Anae saw 56 defensive snaps in two seasons with Dallas. He seeks more opportunities in New Jersey.”

Parsons Admitted to Being Worried About Potential Free Agent Departures

After the Cowboys’ loss to the 49ers, star linebacker Micah Parsons admitted to being concerned about the team losing key players in free agency. Parsons mentioned Leighton Vander Esch along with Jayron Kearse as particular players he would like to see return to Dallas.

“It’s really tough because I’m used to college and seeing the seniors go and you come back,” Parsons explained during his January 17 press conference. “But you got a bunch of guys [who are] like free agents soon, and I look at guys like Leighton who I call like a big brother now and I never know if I’m gonna play with him again and I didn’t come in today thinking this would be my last game with him and same like J.K. [Jayron Kearse].

“So, it’s tough and for myself, I’m emotional because I grew a bond with these guys, and if I see ’em again I hope we could play together. But I mean, it’s real emotional in there, man. I think nobody wanted this outcome and everybody really played to win, we just gotta clean things up for next year.”

The Cowboys Are Projected to be More Than $21 Million Over the Cap in 2022

Which 5 Cowboys Free Agents Would You Keep? | K&C MasterpieceThe Cowboys have over 20 players scheduled for free agency this March, and some of them were key contributors to a team that went 12-5 in 2021. If you could only keep 5 of them, which players do you have to have around? LISTEN: WATCH: or WEBSITE: FACEBOOK: TWITTER:…2022-01-19T20:02:14Z

The Cowboys’ free agency issues go well beyond Anae, who struggled to find consistent playing time on a deep defensive line. A number of key Cowboys pass rushers are also set to hit free agency including Gregory, Brent Urban, Carlos Watkins and Dorance Armstrong.

Outside of the defensive line, Vander Esch and Kearse are joined by other key Cowboys free agents like Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee. The Cowboys are already up against the salary cap, making it challenging to retain a good number of their own players. According to Spotrac, the Cowboys are projected to be more than $21 million over the salary cap.

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