The Dallas Cowboys have apparently lost two more starters, guard Ronald Leary and defensive tackle Terrell McClain, to free agency.
With several of their own players hitting free agency as the market opens on Thursday, the Dallas Cowboys are preparing to suffer heavy losses. On Wednesday, Dallas reportedly lost starting strong safety Barry Church to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Cowboys also announced they would be releasing longtime quarterback Tony Romo on Thursday.
The Cowboys did proactively agree to a one-year, $1.1 million contract with free agent wide receiver Brice Butler to try and soften the blow. And they were scheduled to visit with free agent quarterback Josh McCown as well.
But it is now being reported by several sources that Dallas is losing two more starters to free agency.
Free agent offensive guard Ronald Leary has agreed to a four-year, $35 million deal with the Denver Broncos according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. A whopping $20 million of 27-year old lineman’s brand new contract is guaranteed. Leary’s signing in Denver could also pave the way for the Broncos to land Romo.
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Leary was replaced on the Cowboys offensive line at starting left guard two years ago by undrafted free agent rookie La’el Collins. But Collins suffered a season-ending toe injury three games into the 2016 regular season.
So, Leary took over his old starting role last year and thrived, essentially earning him this massive contract in free agency. Collins is expected to return this offseason and reassume his role as the starter at left guard in Dallas.
The other starter reportedly being signed away from the Cowboys is defensive tackle Terrell McClain. The former third round selection out of South Florida in 2011 has struggled with both injuries and inconsistent play for most of his career. But last season, McClain was at times the Cowboys best defensive lineman, posting a career-high 40 total tackles and 2.5 sacks in 15 starts.
According to Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post, the Washington Redskins are signing the 28-year old McClain to a four-year deal worth over $21 million.
The Cowboys have plenty of candidates to replace McClain along their defensive line with players like Maliek Collins, Cedric Thornton, Tyrone Crawford, David Irving on their depth chart. The only question is can they be as effective, especially versus the run.