Zach Orr, Linebacker
Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Zach Orr may be the biggest risk/reward player in free agency this offseason. After posting a All-Pro level season in 2016, where he recorded 132 total tackles, five pass defends and three interceptions, Orr promptly retired in January after a neck injury revealed a rare congenital spinal condition that was considered career-threatening.
But late last month, the North Texas alum announced his desire to return to the league after receiving a far more positive medical report.
The 25-year old never filed his retirement paperwork with the NFL. And because the Ravens did not place him on their reserve/retired list, Orr is currently an unrestricted free agent. He is now making the rounds, visiting several different teams. It is unknown if Dallas is currently on that list. But he should be.
The Cowboys linebacker corps took a major hit when Damien Wilson was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon earlier this month. His future status with Dallas is certainly up in the air.
Throw in the fact that Cowboys 2016 second round pick, linebacker Jaylon Smith, who is still recovering from a devastating knee injury he suffered in college, is being very slowly implemented into the lineup; and suddenly there is a glaring need at the position in Dallas.
As the Jaylon Smith pick indicates, the Dallas Cowboys are willing to take risks on players with medical issues. And Zach Orr’s biggest obstacle will be finding a team willing to gamble on him. If the Cowboys are willing to do so, they may find themselves with a All-Pro linebacker who can jump right into the starting lineup and also allows Dallas to bring along Smith at his own pace.