The Dallas Cowboys have had a busy week of roster moves, none of which involved signing star playmaker Odell Beckham Jr. Dallas released former Texas standout linebacker Malik Jefferson from the team’s practice squad in one of the latest moves. Dallas made a corresponding transaction by signing former Eagles defensive tackle Anthony Rush.
The Cowboys signed Jefferson on July 14, 2022 but released the linebacker on August 30 as the team finalized their 53-man roster heading into the regular season. Dallas re-signed Jefferson to the team’s practice squad just one day later.
During his time at Texas, Jefferson was once viewed as one of the top defensive prospects but has been unable to firmly establish himself as a pro after being selected by the Bengals in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft. Jefferson did not take a regular-season snap during his brief tenure in Dallas.
The Cowboys signed Rush with veteran defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins believed to be sidelined for the remainder of the regular season. Both Hankins and Terence Steele were placed on the Injured Reserve list on December 14.
Despite Being Labeled a Top Prospect, Jefferson Has Just 16 Career NFL Tackles
The linebacker has 16 career tackles over his five seasons in the NFL which also included stints with the Bengals, Browns, Chargers and Colts. Heading into the draft, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compared Jefferson to former Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks.
“Jefferson has the desired combination of height, weight, speed that teams covet and draft, but his career production never matched his athletic traits,” Zierlein wrote in his pre-draft profile. “He lacks the instincts and play demeanor to be a middle linebacker and could move to a weakside linebacker spot in a 4-3 to take advantage of his athletic gifts. Jefferson has athletic talent, but needs to play with more of a glass-eating mentality to fit in with NFL linebackers. He has eventual starter talent and should become a very good core special teamer.”
Jefferson had 110 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and four sacks during his 12 appearances with the Longhorns in 2017. The linebacker notched 231 tackles, 26 tackles for loss and 13 sacks over his three collegiate seasons at Texas.
Jones on Still Possibly Adding OBJ: ‘Stand By’
Despite recently signing T.Y. Hilton, the rumors connecting Dallas to Beckham will not end, mostly because owner Jerry Jones will not let the discussions die. During the NFL owners meetings, Jones told reporters to “stand by” for a potential Beckham signing and explained why the team is still in talks about potentially adding the receiver.
“I don’t want to talk about that but stand by,” Jones told ESPN’s Todd Archer on December 14. “This thing could break. …Great players make great plays. Great ones make exceptional plays. And so I hope we advance here where a handful of great plays, if I may be arm waving about it, could be the difference in a world championship.”
CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson reported that Beckham spoke with the Cowboys on December 12 after the team signed Hilton. Jones is holding out hope that Beckham could potentially contribute during Dallas’ playoff run.
“I’m told the Cowboys & Odell Beckham Jr’s camp spoke Monday night in an effort to find common ground on basic terms & timing,” Anderson tweeted on December 13. “While a window remains open to how this season unfolds, right now OBJ’s zoning in on training & determining his best path -at the right value, per source.”