Cowboys Sign Ex-Raiders $10 Million 1st Round Pick After 4-Year Layoff

Gareon Conley

Getty The Dallas Cowboys signed former Raiders first-round pick Gareon Conley.

The Dallas Cowboys finally signed a former first-round pick, but it may not be the one fans were awaiting. The Cowboys signed former Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley. Dallas announced the news in addition to the signing of All-UFL linebacker Willie Harvey Jr.

One of the interesting things about this move is that Conley has not taken an NFL snap since the 2019 NFL playoffs. Conley spent the final part of the 2019 season with the Houston Texans after being dealt by the Raiders at the mid-season trade deadline.

The cornerback last took an NFL snap for the Texans in the postseason on January 12, 2020. If Conley ends up making the Cowboys final roster and takes a snap this season, it will mark more than four years since the defender played in the NFL.

Conley is not exactly joining the Cowboys from off the couch. The veteran played in the UFL this season for the DC Defenders. Conley posted 25 tackles and 2 interceptions this season, which was tied for fifth in the league.

New Cowboys Corner Gareon Conley Was the No. 24 Pick in the 2017 NFL Draft

As evidenced by the near five-year layoff, Conley’s NFL career did not go exactly as planned. After a standout collegiate tenure at Ohio State, the Raiders selected Conley in the first round with the No. 24 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. Conley inked a four-year, $10.4 million rookie deal with the Raiders but was unable to land a second contract.

The corner’s best statistical season came in 2018 when Conley posted 3 interceptions, 37 tackles, 15 pass deflection and a touchdown. Heading into the NFL, Conley drew lofty comparisons with’s Lance Zierlein seeing shades of five-time Pro Bowler Aqib Talib in his game.

“Press-corner with experience at both cornerback spots and an ability to fit into a variety of coverage techniques,” Zierlein wrote in his pre-draft profile of Conley. “He plays with good top-end speed and has the ball skills to challenge and defend passes on any level.

“He can step in right away in zone coverage, but could struggle to match patterns from a pedal. He will likely be targeted by teams seeking long cornerbacks who can crowd and trail receivers down the field. He has the talent to become an early starter, but he must improve in run support.”

Gareon Conley Is Now Reunited With Former Raiders Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther

Conley’s move to the Cowboys reunites the corner with his former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, who is now the Dallas defensive run game coordinator. It will be worth watching to see if Conley is able to make the team’s final roster.

“Cowboys announced they signed CB Gareon Conley along with LB Willie Harvey,” The Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken detailed in a June 18 message on X. “Raiders drafted Conley in the 2017 first round. Paul Guenther, the Dallas defense’s run game coordinator, was his DC in Oakland in 2018-19.”

The addition of Harvey is also notable given his accolades in the UFL. Harvey led the league in tackles and was named to the All-UFL team.