Could the Dallas Cowboys actually lose David Irving?

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: Aaron Rodgers
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: Aaron Rodgers /

As the offseason is set to go into full swing, the Dallas Cowboys will be faced with a major decision regarding the future of defensive tackle David 0Irving.

Over the past three seasons, the Dallas Cowboys have seen David Irving go from a practice squad player to one of the most disruptive interior defensive lineman in the league. And even with his emergence as a potentially dominant future interior lineman who is only 24 years old, his future with the Cowboys could be in jeopardy.

Irving is currently slated to be a restricted free agent when free agency begins on March 14. It is widely believed the Cowboys will use a second round tender on Irving which would guarantee them a second round pick in return if they would decide not to match a qualifying offer from another team. If they would retain Irving for the 2018 season with the designated second round tender, his fully guaranteed salary would be $3 million. Retaining a player like Irving for only $3 million seems like a no-brainer; so why don’t the Cowboys want to commit long term?

For anyone who is familiar with Irving’s past, both with the Cowboys and before he was in the NFL, the answer is obvious. There are some character questions when it comes to Irving going all the way back to his college career at Iowa State when he was kicked off the team in 2014 due to his part in a student riot. A couple months prior to that event there were domestic violence charges against him that were ultimately dropped.

Skipping ahead to 2017, and now in his third season with the Cowboys, he was suspended for the first four games due a PED violation. In his three seasons with the Cowboys Irving has missed ten games including the final four of this season with a serious concussion where Irving has stated he suffered from severe migraines and memory loss on multiple occasions. So you can see why the Cowboys have some concern where character issues have plagued them in the past.

It is being reported that the Cowboys have reached out to Irving’s representatives to hopefully begin what will certainly be a lengthy process. You can expect the Cowboys to make every effort to retain the services of Irving not only for 2018 but for the long term as well. But how much will the Cowboys want to commit to Irving? Would they be willing to let him walk for only a second round pick?

We are seeing a very similar situation play out with defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. Lawrence finally showed the potential the Cowboys thought he had when they traded up in the second round of the 2014 draft to select him. Much like Irving, Lawrence received a PED suspension to begin the 2016 season and has had injury concerns throughout his first four seasons.

While there are certainly concerns over Irving and his off the field incidents, he is a rare talent that they will be very hard pressed to replace. While measuring at 6’8″ and 285 pounds and running a 4.84 second forty yard dash time at his personal pro day in 2015, he posses the size and speed to play both inside and outside on the defensive line.

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The combination of Lawrence and Irving is something the Cowboys have been searching for for what seems like an eternity as they have tried to solve their pass rush problems. While the Cowboys will certainly want to retain both of their disruptive playmakers, the contract negotiations and proposed structures for both players will be something worth monitoring very closely this offseason.