The Dallas Cowboys are allegedly looking into signing recently reinstated free-agent linebacker Daryl Washington. But would it a good fit?
The Dallas Cowboys generated some buzz on Tuesday as they were rumored to be interested in free agent linebacker Daryl Washington. The team is allegedly looking at the former Cardinals linebacker who has a lot of questions surrounding him returning to the field.
The Cowboys have been known to chances on troubled players (Rolando McClain, Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory) and it often comes with mixed results. Rarely do these players become long-term solutions but they can contribute if given a chance.
Washington’s circumstances are not ideal as he violated the league’s substance abuse policy twice with the final positive test coming in 2013. That coupled with a year of supervised probation stemming from a guilty plea to assault got him suspended indefinitely.
The 30-year-old linebacker was finally reinstated by the NFL and is now eligible to play this season. The Cowboys seem like a possible fit because of their history of taking chances on risky players.
It appears Washington has cleaned up his act. Just to be reinstated after everything he went through is somewhat amazing, as the NFL has a lot of checks and tests you need to go through prior to returning to the field. In fact, Washington hasn’t been on the field for three years! However in that time he has seemingly matured and understands that playing football is a privilege, not a right.
While he was on the field, Washington was one of the elite defenders in the NFL. more so than even Greg Hardy in his prime just for a comparison. The veteran linebacker recorded a total of 18.0 sacks, 24 pass defenses, six interceptions, 111 interception return yards, and three forced fumbles from 2010-2013.
That type of production is unbelievable, especially at the linebacker position. He would provide some much-needed depth and could be incredibly effective in Rod Marinelli’s defense.
Sure Sean Lee has come a long way and know is one of the best weak-side linebackers in the game but even he has struggled with injuries in the past. Damien Wilson and Anthony Hitchens have proven to be solid role players but they cannot generate the pressure that Washington has been able to in his short time in the NFL.
A veteran, playmaking linebacker could be the gamble the team wants to take heading into the 2017 season. Then, of course, there is the return of Jaylon Smith who is thought to be one of the key pieces of this defense as he was a top ten prospect during the 2016 NFL draft.
While Smith may be getting back to health the team would be wise to bring in a veteran who can take some of the pressure off of the young linebacker. The addition of Washington could allow Dallas to move Smith along slowly and limit his workload in what will technically be his rookie year.
The Cowboys could use a player like that to help their defense turn the corner but the price has to be right. Currently, the former Cardinal should look to earn somewhere around $2.9 million which was the same price he played for 2014.
Washington should likely be prepared to sign for less than that as he is a risky prospect and we are already knee deep in the offseason. The Cowboys do have some money to spend and could attempt to sign him to an incentive heavy deal to help this defense over the hump.
If the team works out Washington and like what they see, the Dallas-native could be wearing the Star on his helmet come the fall.