Cowboys to Re-Sign ‘Coveted’ Pass-Rusher: Report

Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy

Getty Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy

Dak Prescott was the Dallas Cowboys‘ biggest free agent, but he wasn’t their only free agent. And so, with Prescott taken care of, the team is moving on to other matters of business.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys will tender exclusive-rights free-agent defensive lineman Ron’Dell Carter.

An ERFA deal is equivalent to a one-year contract for the NFL minimum salary based on accrued seasons — $780,000 in this case.

Carter was the lone Cowboys player to enter the offseason as an ERFA. The club currently has four restricted free agents (offensive tackle Greg Senat, defensive tackle Antwaun Woods, wide receivers Cedrick Wilson and Malik Turner) as well as 16 remaining unrestricted free agents, including edge rusher Aldon Smith, linebacker Sean Lee, safety Xavier Woods, cornerbacks Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie, quarterback Andy Dalton, and offensive lineman Joe Looney.

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Stat Sheet

Carter enters his second professional season after the Cowboys initially signed him as an undrafted free agent. A “coveted” target, he chose Dallas over two-dozen other UDFA offers and was given a $145,000 guarantee upon putting pen to paper. Carter was waived at final cuts, however, and re-signed to the practice squad.

The Indianapolis Colts stole Carter from the taxi squad in September; he spent five games on the Colts’ active roster — inactive for each — before being waived in November. He was then reclaimed, closing the 2020 campaign in silver and blue.

Appearing in three games for the Cowboys, Carter notched just one tackle across 26 defensive snaps.

Carter played collegiately at James Madison University, where he was teammates with quarterback Ben DiNucci, whom the Cowboys drafted in the seventh round. The 6-foot-3, 269-pound pass-rusher was a three-year contributor for the Dukes, delivering 69 solo tackles, 48 tackles-for-loss, 23.5 sacks, and four pass breakups across 44 games.

He set career highs as a redshirt senior in 2019 by making 27 TFLs and 12 sacks, sharpening his skills as a quarterback-harasser en route to consensus first-team All-American honors.

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Cowboys Reportedly Unlikely to Re-Sign Chido

Of the many UFAs slated to hit the open market, Awuzie is among those expected to find a new NFL home. The Dallas Morning News considers the 2017 second-round pick unlikely to score a second contract from the Cowboys when free agency officially opens March 17.

The starting cornerback had an uneven season slowed by injuries. Awuzie knew 2020 was a big year as he entered a contract year. When he played, Awuzie had one interception and five pass breakups in eight games. Pro Football Reference charted Awuzie with allowing a career-high 14.8 yards per reception. The Cowboys already have a talented corner in Trevon Diggs, and maybe finding another corner in the first or second rounds is the way to strengthen this position.

Spotrac estimates Awuzie landing a four-year, $34.052 million deal that pays $8.5 million annually. That would make him the league’s 15th-highest-paid cornerback, sandwiched in between Detroit’s Justin Coleman (four years, $36 million) and Jeff Okudah (four years, $33.528 million).

READ NEXT: Dez Bryant Sends Message to Cowboys on Dak Prescott’s $160M Deal

Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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