Cowboys Named ‘Good Fit’ to Bring Home Projected $45 Million LB

Jordyn Brooks is a potential Cowboys linebacker target.

Getty Jordyn Brooks is a potential Cowboys linebacker target.

The Cowboys enter the 2024 NFL free agency period with limited capital to spend, but certainly with plenty of needs. Offensive line depth could well be an issue, and the hunt for a No. 2 wide receiver next to CeeDee Lamb is high on the list. Possibly upgrading from Tony Pollard at running back is a need, too, and the defensive line needs help.

But the most glaring hole, and the one that probably should be getting more attention, is at linebacker, and bringing a Dallas-area native and former first-round pick back home—that would be the Seahawks’ Jordyn Brooks—could be the answer.

The Cowboys were too thin in the middle of the defense, literally: safety Markquese Bell had to slide into a linebacker spot, and though he played well, at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, he was clearly out of place. With that in mind, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler has the Cowboys in line to bulk up the position with Brooks.

As Fowler wrote on Sunday: “Dallas could be in the market for a linebacker after last season’s struggles at the position. Jordyn Brooks, a Dallas-area native and one of the top free agent linebackers, would be a good fit.”

Jordyn Brooks Should Land $11-12 Million Per Year

Brooks would be an outstanding addition, though not a cheap one. On Pro Football Focus’ list of the top free agents, he comes in at No. 50, and is the fourth-rated linebacker on the list. He was a first-round pick of the Seahawks out of Texas Tech in 2020, and has started 55 games in four years for Seattle.

PFF projects him landing a three-year, $36 million contract, while Spotrac has him at four years and $45 million.

He suffered an ACL injury at the end of 2022, but only missed one game, returning to form in 2023.

PFF wrote of Brooks: “Brooks draws tough assignments in coverage, which knocks his grade a bit, but it also illustrates the trust this defense has in him. His ability to return by Week 1 of 2023 from a torn ACL suffered in Week 17 of 2022 was extremely impressive, and he posted career highs in pass-rush grade and coverage grade this season.

“Brooks is a three down player who could continue to grow with improved health and experience.”

Cowboys Linebackers Cursed by Injury in 2023

The linebackers did appear a bit cursed for the Cowboys last year. It was back in 2019 that top linebacker Leighton Vander Esch was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, and despite surgery in 2020, the condition has been problematic, and flared up again in last year’s loss to San Francisco.

Vander Esch is expected to retire. The unwillingness of team to speak on the matter is a pretty big hint that Vander Esch will call it quits.

“We’ll let Leighton speak to that,” team VP Stephen Jones said last week. “It’s an injury issue that he’s getting his hands around. He’ll speak to that.”

The Cowboys used a third-round pick on DeMarvion Overshown out of Texas, a pick that might have been a bit of a stretch except that it was clear the Cowboys needed depth at linebacker. But Overshown injured his knee and did not play last year.

Packers quarterback Jordan Love, in a conversation with Micah Parsons, highlighted the fact that linebackers were an area the team determined to attack in the 48-32 playoff loss the Cowboys suffered.

“The key for us going into the game was we needed to run the ball,” Love said. “That was a huge thing. Obviously, we played y’all a year before and I felt like we ran the ball pretty well. I’m not trying to talk, but your linebackers — I think you had a DB playing linebacker. Our goal was to be able to run the ball and I was gonna set everything else up.”


Read More