The Dallas Cowboys are expected to meet with former San Francisco 49ers veteran linebacker turned free agent NaVorro Bowman this week.
In recent years, the Dallas Cowboys have been very conservative in free agency. They have opted to use the draft to build their team full of talented, younger players rather than paying overpriced veterans.
But that doesn’t mean the Cowboys are risk adverse when it comes to free agents. The signing of controversial pass rusher Greg Hardy in 2015 is proof positive of that. The move simply has to make sense, both financially and by filling a major team need.
So when three-time Pro Bowl linebacker NaVorro Bowman was released by the San Francisco 49ers last week, it would have seemed wise for the Cowboys front office to have some interest. And apparently they do.
According to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, Bowman is set to meet with both the Oakland Raiders and the Cowboys, according to an unnamed source.
But do the Cowboys actually need a player like Bowman?
Dallas’ defense against the run has suffered so far this season, as they currently rank 20th in rushing defense in the NFL. The team is giving up 118.0 rushing yards per contest.
In their last two matchups, the Cowboys have given up a whopping 328 yards on the ground to opposing offenses (Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams). And both games were played without two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Sean Lee in the lineup due to a lingering hamstring injury.
With injury concerns for the Cowboys top three linebackers in Lee, Anthony Hitchens (knee) and Jaylon Smith (knee, drop foot); Dallas could certainly use a stabilizing force within their linebacker corps. Bowman could be that player.
A four-time first team All-Pro, Bowman is one of the top tacklers in the NFL when healthy. He’s coming off an Achilles injury that limited him to only four games in 2016. And he missed all of 2014 with a ACL/MCL tear.
But Bowman is also only 29-years old, and played all 16 games from 2011-2013 and in 2015. And during that span, he racked up a ridiculous 590 total tackles and 11.5 sacks in those four seasons.
The Niners were so confident in Bowman’s abilities, they inked him to a massive seven-year, $77 million contract last August. But a regime change in San Francisco’s front office combined with the first round selection of Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster made the veteran expendable.
NaVorro Bowman is one of the league’s top run stoppers. It’s an area the Dallas Cowboys sorely need help with. So it seems like a match made in heaven. If the price is right, Dallas could suddenly find themselves with another Pro Bowl linebacker and another mentor for the young Jaylon Smith.