Dallas Cowboys adding underrated pass rusher Tarell Basham

New York Jets outside linebacker Tarell Basham (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets outside linebacker Tarell Basham (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Dallas Cowboys have plenty of needs to address across their roster this offseason. And one area that seems to be a constant focus is finding effective pass rushers.

This past season, the Cowboys benefited from having several different pass rushers including DeMarcus Lawrence, Aldon Smith, Randy Gregory, and Everson Griffen. Yet, heading into this offseason, there seemed to be more questions than answers at the defensive end position.

Griffen was traded to the Detroit Lions in October after posting just 2.5 sacks in seven games. Smith is currently an unrestricted free agent. And Gregory didn’t play for Dallas until Week Seven last season following his latest suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Based on that information, it was expected that the Cowboys would look to free agency to add some veteran talent to their pass rushing rotation. And it now appears they have.

On Thursday night, it was reported that the Cowboys intend to sign former New York Jets linebacker Tarell Basham. According to Manish Mehta of New York Daily News, it’s a two-year deal worth $6.5 million per an unnamed source.

As an outside linebacker in the Jets’ 3-4 defensive scheme last season, Basham recorded 3.5 sacks, 36 total tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, and 13 quarterback hits. According to Pro Football Focus, he also had 32 pressures and 17 defensive stops in 2020.

The 27-year old Basham was originally selected in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts out of Ohio. He would be waived midway through his second season in Indy and was claimed by the Jets. After starting in just four games over his first three NFL seasons, Basham was a 12-game starter for New York last year.

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A solid run defender as well as being a pass rusher, the addition of the 6-foot-4, 266-pound Basham to the defensive line in Dallas (as he’ll likely transition to defensive end) should help the team’s ailing run defense. The Cowboys also added free-agent defensive tackles Carlos Watkins and Brent Urban earlier in the day to aid in that effort.