Commanders to Sign Another Cowboys Player, Landing Former 11.5-Sack DE

Washington Commanders, Dante Fowler Jr, Dallas Cowboys

Getty Dante Fowler Jr. reacts after a sack.

The Washington Commanders have landed another former Dallas Cowboys player. According to Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report, the Commanders plan to sign defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.

Fowler’s numbers have declined since 2019, was one of the best at getting to the quarterback, posting a career-high 11.5 sacks. In 2023, he had 4.0 sacks and a career-low 13 tackles.

Fowler, 29, now gets another opportunity to play for his former defensive coordinator in Dallas, Dan Quinn, who is now the Commanders’ head coach. He becomes the third former Cowboy — after defensive end Dorance Armstrong and center Tyler Biadasz — to follow Quinn to Washington and likely won’t be the last.

With Fowler, Armstrong and new defensive end Clelin Ferrell and safety Jeremy Chinn, the Commanders have a chance to rebuild a defense that was the worst in football last season.

Another Reunion With Dan Quinn

Fowler’s signing marks another reunion for Quinn and the Commanders, something that was expected before the offseason began. Quinn put together an impressive defense when he was with the Cowboys, allowing the ninth fewest points in football last season.

Ben Standig of The Athletic tabbed Fowler as an option for the Commanders in a story published March 9.

“Two more Quinn favorites to fortify the defense depth and locker room voices for a room likely inhabited by rookies and random newcomers seeking cohesion,” he wrote. “This would mark a fourth professional and college stop for Quinn with Fowler (four-plus sacks in three consecutive years).”

Commanders Needed Pass Rusher

After trading Montez Sweat and Chase Young, it came as no surprise that they addressed the position in the first two days of free agency.

Bryan Manning of Commanders Wire viewed defensive end as a position of need heading into the offseason, writing about the significance of losing Young and Sweat.

“This room will look a lot different in 2024. Washington began the 2023 season with Chase Young, Montez Sweat, James Smith-Williams, Casey Toohill and Efe Obada — its top five defensive ends — all slated for free agency in 2024,” Manning wrote. “So, the Commanders spent two day-three picks on edge rushers K.J. Henry and Andre Jones Jr. in the 2023 NFL draft.

“Young and Sweat were traded at the NFL trade deadline. Smith-Williams and Toohill are not permanent starters, while Obada is a veteran and is doubtful to return. Henry showed some flashes but, right now, is more of a rotational player, while Jones failed to distinguish himself after an impressive summer,” Manning wrote. “You could see Toohill or Smith-Williams back in a rotational role, but the Commanders will hunt for two starters on the edges. While we may not know who the defensive coordinator is, or what type of scheme they will run, we do know Washington badly needs pass-rushing help.”

While Fowler isn’t as big of a name as Young and Sweat, he’s produced at a high enough level to warrant this move. Factor in Sweat’s contract and the predicted $13 million Young’s expected to land by Spotrac, moving them was clearly the right decision.

Building a cheap, veteran-led defense appears to be a smart and safe play under Quinn in his first season.

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