With a new defensive coordinator at the helm in Mike Nolan, the Dallas Cowboys could be looking to add some free agent linebackers from his previous team.
The Dallas Cowboys linebacker corps is considered one of the best in the NFL. With youthful Pro Bowlers in Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch leading the way, the Cowboys appear to be set for the next decade at the position.
Yet, the Cowboys are also set to lose much of their quality depth this offseason. Veteran linebackers Sean Lee, Joe Thomas, Justin March, Ray-Ray Armstrong, and Malcolm Smith are all scheduled to be unrestricted free agents next month.
With former New Orleans Saints’ linebackers coach Mike Nolan now entrenched at defensive coordinator in Dallas, his familiarity with some of his former players might led them to signing with the Cowboys. Here are three free agent linebackers from the Saints that Nolan could potentially bring to Big D.
A.J. Klein, OLB
A consistent starter for the Saints for the past three seasons, A.J. Klein has been a staple of the linebacker corps in New Orleans. The former 2013 fifth-rounder posted 69 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, one interception, a forced fumble, and the first defensive touchdown of his seven-year career in 2019 as a 15-game starter. Unfortunately, Pro Football Focus also gave Klein a dismal 48.4 overall grade.
Stephone Anthony, ILB
Selected 31st overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, linebacker Stephone Anthony was the Saints’ first round selection that year. But after posting an impressive 112 total tackles as a 16-game starter as a rookie, Anthony has only recorded a combined 39 tackles over the last four years as the 27-year old has started a mere four games ever since.
Manti Te’o, ILB
A second-round selection by the San Diego Chargers in 2013, linebacker Manti Te’o was never able to live up to his lofty hype coming out of Notre Dame, landing with Nolan and the Saints in 2017 as a free agent. The 29-year old found himself unemployed last season before New Orleans signed him in December after injuries decimated their linebacker corps. Te’o recorded six tackles in two starts in 2019.