New Cowboys Pass-Rusher Takes Brutal Shot at Jets in First Interview

New Cowboys defender Tarell Basham

Getty New Cowboys defender Tarell Basham

Tarell Basham lived up to his surname when discussing his former NFL employer.

Basham, who joined the Dallas Cowboys in March, conducted his introductory press conference with local media on Thursday. The veteran defender was promptly asked about the impetus to defect from the New York Jets, where he spent the last three seasons.

And bite his tongue, he didn’t.

“I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve played with an explosive offense. …I feel like I have done enough losing in the past,” Basham said, via the Dallas Morning News.

This, quite the departure from his reasoning to choose the Cowboys over other prospective suitors …

“I couldn’t see a reason why not. America’s Team. Publicity,” he admitted.

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Refresher on Basham

A 2017 third-round pick out of Ohio, Basham inked a two-year, $6.5 million deal with the Cowboys on March 18. He arrived having made 69 tackles (37 solo, eight for loss), 19 QB hits, 5.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception across 42 games, including 12 starts, for the Jets from 2018-2020.

Basham entered the league with the Indianapolis Colts, for whom he contributed seven tackles, four quarterback hits, and two sacks over 16 appearances before being waived by Indianapolis and subsequently claimed by New York.

As a collegian, Basham recorded 152 tackles (75 solo, 38.5 for loss), 27 sacks, five FFs and five pass breakups in 50 career games for the Bobcats. He was billed as a mid-round 2017 draft prospect following a nondescript showing at that year’s Scouting Combine.

His addition to the Cowboys drew little fanfare and was initially panned rather than praised. In April, Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay pegged the Basham signing as the club’s worst move of 2021 free agency.

Dallas had plenty of issues to address, but it failed to make flashy signings to fill the gaps. Instead of getting a marquee pass-rusher, the Cowboys’ biggest splurge was for a raw talent in defensive end Tarell Basham.

Basham, a four-year veteran who has just 7.5 sacks during his career, feels like a bit of a settle for the ‘Boys. While there is still undeniable upside in signing the 27-year-old to a two-year, $5.5 million contract, he isn’t the big-time playmaker who could push Dallas to the next level.

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Team (Role) Player

Basham is a tweener in that the 6-foot-4, 266-pounder is stuck between defensive end and outside linebacker, depending on the scheme or play-call. He’s expected to be deployed at both spots under new Cowboys coordinator Dan Quinn — “you put me there and I’ll play it” is his philosophy.

“It’s definitely going to be a new chapter,” Basham said, per the team’s official website. “But it’s a Book of Bash. We’re still on the same book. I like to tell people, it’s still the same ‘ish’ just a different toilet. I’m moving up.”

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL