Dallas Cowboys: David Irving still has much to prove

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: David Irving
GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: David Irving /

The Dallas Cowboys make it clear. If David Irving wants a payday like DeMarcus Lawrence will get, he’ll need to prove he can play an entire season.

Before the Dallas Cowboys were known as America’s Team, they had a more dubious nickname: “Next Year’s Champions”. They earned that moniker after losing in the legendary Ice Bowl and in Super Bowl V. But the name helped spur the Cowboys to get their first ring in the 1971 season.

Current Cowboys’ defensive tackle David Irving could easily be labeled “Next Year’s Superstar”. I’ve proclaimed Irving as the team’s potential breakout defender for the past two seasons. And looking forward into 2018, he could certainly be my candidate once again.

Much like those early Cowboy teams, Irving has flashed superstar potential. But for one reason or another, he keeps falling short. Last season was no different.

The Cowboys signed Irving off of the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad as a rookie back in late September of 2015. During his first season in Dallas, the undrafted free agent out of Iowa State raised eyebrows after his blocked field goal nearly gave the Cowboys a victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

During a Week Six battle against the Green Bay Packers in his second season, Irving began receiving national attention when he sacked quarterback Aaron Rodgers and caused three fumbles despite only playing 19 defensive snaps. That performance earned him more opportunities, but the young defender was unable to repeat that success.

Heading into 2017, Irving appeared primed for super-stardom. Instead, a four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance enhancing drug policy delayed his debut. When Irving did finally return, he wasted little time recording 2.0 sacks against the familiar Packers in his first game back. The 24-year old would go on to record 6.0 sacks in his first four games. Unfortunately, a concussion ended his already shorten season in Week 13.

Irving is currently a restricted free agent. But the Cowboys seem hesitant to commit to him in any sort of long term deal due to his lack of consistency. Like DeMarcus Lawrence did last season, Irving must prove he can play at a high level for an entire year.

"“ … [Irving] needs to put together a full season and consistency and all of that,” Stephen Jones told the Dallas Morning News.“ Obviously played outstanding when he was healthy. DeMarcus Lawrence put together a full, great year, and obviously that’s important. Therefore, I think it’d be real difficult to figure out something long term with David.”"

Because David Irving is a restricted free agent, the Dallas Cowboys will likely place a very high tender on him and retain his services for another year. Suddenly, 2018 becomes a prove-it season for Irving in Dallas. If he can continue on the upward trajectory he displayed last year, the young defender could easily earn himself a nice payday to remain in Big D.