Over the past two NFL drafts, the Cowboys have brought in a lot of talent at the linebacker position. Micah Parsons and Jabril Cox were taken in 2021, and two weeks ago Damone Clark and Devin Harper were selected.
Parsons, Cox, and Clark have a shot to be the Cowboys starting linebackers in 2023 once Clark heals from his spinal fusion surgery. With Harper taking the special teams route as he develops, the Cowboys are loaded for the future at linebacker, but depth is still needed.
Earlier this week, I wrote about how free agent linebacker Anthony Barr could come in and provide excellent depth for the Cowboys at the position. ESPN put out a piece on Thursday and predicted the fate of 10 remaining free agents, and Barr to the Cowboys was one of the featured signings.
Below is what Bill Barnwell wrote on Barr to the Cowboys:
“In 2019, the Jets signed Barr to a five-year deal in the $70 million range amid rumors that they were going to turn the linebacker into an edge rusher. Barr backed out of the deal and re-signed with the Vikings, but while he saw occasional reps on the edge, the Vikings didn’t unleash Barr as a pass-rusher. He racked up four sacks over three seasons while missing 22 games, most notably with a torn pec in 2020.
Now that he’s a free agent, what if a team took a chance on using Barr in more of a hybrid role? We saw the Cowboys unlock something truly special from Micah Parsons by using their 2020 first-round pick as both an off-ball linebacker and an edge rusher a year ago. Barr isn’t Parsons, but after Dallas lost Randy Gregory this past offseason, Barr would give the Cowboys another eligible rusher who is also capable of playing a more traditional linebacker role.
Barr and Leighton Vander Esch would each be leverage against the other’s injury history, and senior Cowboys defensive assistant George Edwards served as Barr’s defensive coordinator between 2014 and 2019.”
The former first-round pick has had some injury issues over the last two seasons. He only played in two games in 2020 after tearing his pectoral muscle. Barr played well last season with 72 tackles (third-most of his career), 2.5 sacks, three interceptions, five passes defended, and two fumble recoveries but knee and hamstring injuries forced him to the sidelines for six games.
Barr is still a serviceable linebacker and can give the Cowboys not just depth but veteran leadership for their current younger players at the position. Also, as Barnwell mentioned earlier, Barr played under Edwards for six seasons with four of them leading to Pro Bowl honors for him.
That could be a big selling point to get Barr to sign with the Cowboys, and with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn guiding the ship, this addition could potentially be a sneaky good one for Dallas.
Of course, this all depends on what Barr wants salary-wise and what the Cowboys are willing to offer. Historically, the Cowboys don’t pay big money to outside free agents, and Barr made $10 million last season so that could stop this move from happening.
The Cowboys should still explore this option regardless and put a little juice on what has been a rather quiet free agency plan so far.
Feature image via Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports