Dan Quinn has stepped right in and helped address the Dallas Cowboys secondary. Keanu Neal, Jayron Kearse, and Damontae Kazee have all been signed in free agency. Neal is expected to play at will linebacker, but he does have more than enough experience in the secondary as well.

Linebacker is another item on the to-do list for the Cowboys. Once seen as a strength, the linebacker position in Dallas is filled with question marks. Both Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith have injury histories and both have taken a step back on the field since their 2018 campaign.

Cornerback is a huge need on the defense, and the defensive line is another area that needs to have some upgrades. Still, the Cowboys would be smart to add a linebacker through the draft or through free agency to shore some things up.


Dallas Cowboys, K.J. Wright
Dec 24, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) is tackled by Seattle Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright (50) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

KJ Wright is one of the more well-known defenders that is still lingering on the free agent market. The long-time Seahawks linebacker put together a stellar career in Seattle, and he is now looking for a new home.

Sports Illustrated’s Mike Fisher recently reported that the former Pro Bowl linebacker has some serious interest in signing with the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, Wright calls the Cowboys “one of my dream teams”.

Wright pointed to defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as to why the Cowboys would be a good fit for him.

“Dallas has certainly always been on my list of ‘dream teams,”’ Wright tells CowboysSI.com. “With coach Dan Quinn there, and with other aspects of that team and that defense, I do think it’s one of the teams I fit in with.”

It is not rare for a player to use the Dallas Cowboys as leverage so that another team swoops in and offers more money. There is a lot of attention when it comes to potentially playing for America’s Team.

Wright’s interest seems at least a little genuine, however. Wright excelled under Quinn with the Seahawks. He also has a connection with Dak Prescott — the two of them both played under Dan Mullen at Mississippi State.

The 10-year linebacker was asked about Prescott ahead of the Seahawks Divisional Round playoff game during the 2018 season. Wright wasn’t surprised to see Prescott developing into a good quarterback.

“I knew it, man,’’ Wright said. “I saw it. When he was younger, he was always running. He was just a running quarterback. But now he’s a true pocket passer, as you see on film. He’s really good at scrambling and throwing off of his back foot like the top guys are in this league. So I’m not (surprised) with what he’s done. I knew he would be a good quarterback.’’

The Quinn and Prescott connections could certainly pay off in bringing an accomplished defender into town.


Dallas Cowboys, K.J. Wright
Sep 27, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright (50) tackles Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) during the third quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys have more than a handful of question marks at linebacker. Smith has regressed mightily since his stellar 2018 season. Vander Esch struggles to stay on the football field. The two haven’t developed into the duo that many expected after LVE’s rookie season.

Dallas did sign Keanu Neal in free agency. Neal was an in-the-box safety while with the Atlanta Falcons, but he will be in the linebacker rotation with the Cowboys. Neal has familiarity with Dan Quinn’s system — a big plus.

Quinn runs a similar defensive scheme to the one that Kris Richard ran in 2018 and 2019. Smith had his best career season in 2018, but he did have some struggles in the same scheme in 2019. Perhaps getting back to a familiar scheme with a fresh voice will help improve things in that regard.

Wright, like Neal, has experience excelling in Quinn’s defense. He also provides veteran leadership, something that he was known for in Seattle. The Cowboys desperately need more guidance and accountability on the defensive side of the ball. Wright would certainly provide that and then some.

Wright joining the mix would also give the Cowboys another body in the rotation. It would not be a big surprise if either Smith or Vander Esch have to miss any period of time with injury. The former Seahawks linebacker would be a helluva insurance plan.

105.3 The Fan’s Bryan Broaddus has said that he believes there is real smoke in the Cowboys signing Wright. The contract length might be the holdup right now.

KJ Wright would be a very solid add by the Dallas Cowboys in free agency. Wright provides veteran leadership, he has experience playing in Dan Quinn’s defensive system, and he would help alleviate some of the concerns surrounding the Cowboys linebacker corps.

The Cowboys know that improving the defense has to be a priority this offseason. Adding Wright would be the latest move to display that.

Featured image via Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports