Cowboys and Ex-Raiders Star a Perfect Fit Amid Free Agency Rumors

Carl Nassib

Getty Carl Nassib runs back an interception for the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly in the free agency market, and a former Las Vegas Raiders star stands out as a potential option.

While the Cowboys selected defensive end Sam Williams in the second round of the 2022 NFL draft, it still feels like Dallas hasn’t properly addressed the whole left by Randy Gregory, who signed with the Denver Broncos earlier this spring.

ESPN insider Jeremy Fowler has previously linked ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul to the Cowboys, but nothing has come to fruition. If Dallas is ready to make a move elsewhere, former Las Vegas pass rusher Carl Nassib is available and ready.

Nassib is now a free agent after spending two years with the Raiders, after previously spending time in Tampa and the Cleveland Browns. Las Vegas cut Nassib with a June 1 designation, which means he will officially hit the free agency market shortly.

Should Dallas want a player with a solid resume and something to prove, Nassib could reignite his career and help the Cowboys move. While Gregory is considered the better player due to his pay and demand, it’s important to remember that Gregory’s numbers are fairly similar to Nassib’s: both players have only totaled six or more sacks in a season twice.

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Nassib Around the NFL

After exploding with 15.5 sacks in his final season at Penn State, Nassib shot up draft boards and was eventually drafted by Cleveland in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft. At 6’7″ and 275 pounds, the former Nittany Lion star has always had the size but finally put together the production.

However, replicating those numbers at the NFL level has been a challenge. In his first two seasons with the Browns, he totaled 5.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss per Pro Football Reference. Cleveland elected to move on from Nassib accordingly, cutting him in September of 2018.

Whatever was missing in Cleveland, Nassib found in Tampa Bay. Nassib totaled 12.5 sacks over 29 games, forcing three fumbles and totaling 20 tackles for loss. The Raiders liked what they saw in the defensive end, and penned him to a $25 million, three-year contract in 2020 per Spotrac.

While the 29-year-old did earn his first interception with Las Vegas, he struggled to produce as a pass-rusher. Nassib totaled 4 sacks in 27 games, and only played in 38.5% of defensive snaps in games he was active.


Why Cowboys and Nassib Make Sense

So while Nassib has found some success at the NFL level, he hasn’t done it consistently. The reason why Dallas stands out as a fit is defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, the Cowboys defensive line and how much the former Raiders star might cost.

Quinn has shown he can maximize production across the defense through the likes of Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs. Meanwhile, Dallas still boasts a core of DeMarcus Lawrence, Carlos Watkins and Neville Gallimore on the defensive line.

With a strong foundation and the presence of competition in the likes of free-agent addition Dante Fowler Jr., there is both insurance and motivation for Nassib. If he struggles, it’s not the end of the world, but if he succeeds, it could be a massive deal.

Further, the Cowboys are “buying low,” as in investing in a proven player when their stock is low. Nassib ought to be available for a fraction of his Raiders contract. In comparison to what the Cowboys were going to pay Gregory (5 years, $70 million), a few million per year is enticing.

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