Aug, 13, 2011; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers linebacker Dan Connor (55) runs on to the field at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

Dan Connor Prize of the Dallas Cowboys Free Agent Class?

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In the NFL some incoming rookies just get the game from the beginning. There are also those rookies who never do catch-up with the NFL game and those players usually end up out of the league after only a few years. Then there are those players, in which much like their college career came in as freshmen and took hold of the game a little more each year, those who as seniors have established their presence in the college game and the speed and intellect of the game is no longer an issue.

Dan Connor seems to be a perfect case of the later of the three types of NFL players listed above. Hampered by injury through out his first couple of years with the Carolina Panthers, Connor was drafted in 2008 byCarolina. Connor’s rookie season quickly came to a head after an ACL injury during week 3 of that season and a later fractured hip injury in 2010.

Connor finally seemed to have come into his own this last 2011 season where the former Penn State linebacker appeared in 15 games and started 11 of those for the Carolina Panthers in 2011 after Jon Beason was placed on IR after opening weekend.

Sean Lee inside linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys and Dan Connor played along side of one another as starters for both the 2006 & 2007 college football seasons. Connor was projected as a first round pick by many draft analysts but five other linebackers were selected before Connor was finally selected in round three of the 2008 NFL draft. 

It seems Dan Connor has basically been signed as an insurance policy to second-year player Bruce Carter at linebacker. Connor is perfectly capable of being a two-down thumper in the event Carter doesn’t seem to be quite ready to take handle three down duty along side teammate Sean Lee.

Of the Dallas Cowboys free agent signings this offseason, up to this point this by far is the team’s most beneficial from both a personnel standpoint and from a financial aspect. Dan Connor’s two-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys totals $6.5 million and includes a $2.7 million signing bonus, leaving Connor’s base salary at $800,000 in 2012 and $3 million in 2012-13.

If Bruce carter works out the Cowboys Dallas can cut ties with Dan Connor before the 2013 season and save $3 million toward the salary cap, essentially signing a one year insurance policy at a rate of $3.5 million, which is a quality move by the Dallas Cowboys.

Slightly overpaying for Brandon Carr and not over paying Dan Connor is what makes the move, to sign Connor, seem to be the best of the bunch from the moves made by Jerry & Stephen Jones during the NFL free agent signing period.

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Tags: Brandon Carr Dallas Cowboys Dan Connor Jon Beason NFL Sean Lee

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