Cowboys in Race with Commanders for 4-Time Pro Bowl LB: Report

Jerry Jones

Getty Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gives a thumbs up before an NFL game.

The Dallas Cowboys may have a free agency rival in the form of the Washington Commanders as they race for a former Minnesota Vikings star.

For the better part of the NFL offseason, the Cowboys have been linked to Vikings free agent linebacker Anthony Barr. Barr is a four-time Pro Bowler and one of the most recognizable names in free agency, but has yet to find a new team.

A new update from KSTP reporter Darren Wolfson may change things, however, as the Minneapolis-based reporter is now stating that the Cowboys are still “definitely interested” in Barr and that the Commanders are in the mix too.

“[Barr has] been training as if he will be in some team’s training camp,” Wolfson said on July 19. “I texted you many weeks ago saying keep an eye on the Dallas Cowboys. So I know the Cowboys certainly are interested in Anthony Barr. Washington has also kicked the tires, but right now, I would say keep an eye on the Dallas Cowboys.”

There’s no question that Barr would be a major addition for Dallas, but the fact that training camp is almost here and the linebacker doesn’t have a team is a peculiar sign.

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Vikings Hit Homerun with Barr

For the better part of nine seasons, Barr has been one of the most prominent names on the Vikings defense. Drafted at No. 9 overall in the 2014 NFL draft, Barr quickly established himself by earning four consecutive Pro Bowl honors from 2015 through 2018.

Barr is a strong pursuer of the ball, but he also possesses legitimate coverage skills for a linebacker and also has a knack for the quarterback, totaling 17.5 sacks in nine seasons, per Pro Football Reference.

In 2020, the former UCLA Bruin missed significant game-time for the first time in his career. A torn pectoral in Week 2 sat Barr out for the rest of the season, but his rebound in 2021 shows he still has something in the tank.

Barr registered 2.5 sacks, brought down three interceptions and earned 72 combines tackles despite just playing 11 games in 2021. But while Barr proved that he is still very capable at the NFL level, it does make his next contract a weird one to navigate.

Cowboys and Commanders Biding Time?

Barr still not having a team could mean many things, but two things stick out: there is either not enough interest from NFL teams, or Barr and his agent were expecting more money than what they’re being offered.

Considering that the Cowboys and other NFL teams have been linked to Barr all offseason, it feels like the latter. If the Cowboys and Commanders are indeed in a race for the former Vikings linebacker, that’s good news for the player.

A bidding war is not what either Washington or Dallas wants, but losing a free agency race to a division rival likely stings worse. Barr would be a big addition to both defense that are already really strong on paper, and missing the chance to steal him from a NFC East rival would be a double negative.

Spotrac states that the Cowboys have $20.1 million in cap space, so they could afford to give him what the Vikings did in 2021, which was $8.64 million. Conversely, Washington has just $11.8 million available, so Barr would be a huge chunk of that space.