The Dallas Cowboys made a shocking move on Tuesday, releasing defensive end Damontre Moore and signing a veteran kicker in the pass rusher’s place.
The 2017 Dallas Cowboys will likely go down in history. And not for their play on the field. But rather for their poor decisions in free agency. And that’s saying a lot for a team who is very conservative when it comes to signing veterans who hit the open market.
In recent years, the Cowboys have adopted a philosophy to build their team via the draft rather than overpaying for free agents from other teams. And so far, that doctrine has panned out, with Dallas racking up 13 wins last season led by two rookies: quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott.
But this season has been particularly nasty when it comes to their free agents of the past two years. The biggest name to sign in Dallas last offseason was Cedric Thornton. The veteran defensive tackle was released this September by the Cowboys after signing a four-year, $18 million contract in March of 2016.
This year’s class of free agents haven’t fared any better. Cornerback Nolan Carroll and defensive tackle Stephen Paea didn’t make it through the first half of the season before leaving the team. Carroll suffered a concussion after a dreadful performance in Week Two and never returned. And Paea called it a career after struggling with a knee injury.
You can now add defensive end Damontre Moore to that growing list of failed free agent signings from this offseason. The pass rusher from Texas A&M, who was originally drafted by the New York Giants in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, was released on Tuesday by the Cowboys in order to make room for veteran kicker Mike Nugent.
In his 13th season, Nugent spent his first four years with the New York Jets as their second round draft pick out of Ohio State in 2005. He also had a seven-year stint with the Cincinnati Bengals. The 35-year old kicker was cut by the Giants in the preseason.
The Cowboys decision to part ways with Moore is a shocking one. The 25-year old was arguably the team’s best pass rusher in the offseason. But the former Aggie did receive a two game suspension to start the season for a drunk driving arrest that took place in December.
Dallas has been getting more than adequate pass rush from veterans like Demarcus Lawrence, David Irving and Tyrone Crawford. With first round rookie Taco Charlton and Benson Mayowa also on the roster, the Cowboys likely felt they were heavy at the defensive end position.
Ultimately, Damontre Moore recorded five total tackles in three games with Dallas. He was a healthy scratch for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers. Moore played just 58 defensive snaps for the Cowboys with 31 more on special teams.