After adding four new names to their team via free agency yesterday, the Dallas Cowboys have now signed two more to bolster their defense. Former New York Jet safety Brodney Pool was signed late last night while former Carolina Panther linebacker Dan Connor signed this afternoon. Both players will have an immediate impact on a Dallas team with various holes to fill.
It took two whole days of wooing for the Cowboys to get Dan Connor to finally sign on the dotted line, but he eventually succumbed to Jerry Jones’ charms. The Penn State alum and former college teammate of current Cowboy linebacker Sean Lee had his best year as a professional last year recording a career-high 87 tackles. Connor had a rough start to his career suffering a major knee injury during his rookie campaign, which stunted his development early on. Then he played behind All-Pro Jon Beason for three seasons. But a season ending injury to Beason last year open the door for Connor and he shined.
Although Dallas will probably use him as a middle linebacker, Connor is talented enough to play outside as well. He will instantly be competing for a starting role against last year’s second round pick Bruce Carter. Carter, who was coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament, was able to contribute to the team late last year on special teams and in sporadic appearances during 3rd down packages. Coach Garrett is high on the potential of the young second year player, but is always preaching competition:
“We’re excited to see how (Carter) can progress. We feel like he has a great future, but having said that, we need more players in there.”
The signing of the 26 year old Connor most likely marks the end of the careers of Bradie James and Keith Brooking in Dallas. Both veterans are currently free agents. There were rumors concerning the possible re-signing of Brooking at one point.
Pool is a known commodity for Dallas’ defense coaches Rob Ryan and Jerome Henderson. The Cleveland Brown’s second round draft pick in 2005 played for both coaches during his tenure in Ohio. Pool signed a one year deal and doesn’t figure to be a long term solution for Dallas at the safety position. He served as a back-up to safety Jim Leonhard last year until injuries force the team to start him.
Pool also comes in with what Rotowire has been quoted as saying: “Probably one of the league’s three worst concussion worries (in the NFL).” This is clearly a stop-gap measure to give the Cowboys time to groom an eventual starter. Here’s what Head Coach Jason Garrett had to say about Pool’s abilities:
“He makes a lot of plays in the passing game and we have a familiarity with him, We think (he) has very good ball skills and is very good on the back end. He’s a guy who can come down and do all the jobs that a safety in our defensive scheme has to do. We feel like he can be a real asset for our team.”