ESPN insiders list Cowboys as best fit for star free agent linebacker
At this point in the offseason, the list of available free agents left is getting smaller and smaller. The big names have already found new homes, but there are still a few gems that have yet to sign contracts. In a recent ESPN article, insider by Matt Bowen gave his opinion on the best landing spots for the top 10 remaining free agents. He believes that eight-year NFL veteran linebacker Anthony Barr’s ideal landing spot would be the Dallas Cowboys.
Barr is a 4x Pro Bowler who has spent all eight of his years in the league with the Minnesota Vikings. In 98 games started, he’s collected five interceptions, eight forced fumbles, 17.5 sacks, 44 QB hits, and 495 total tackles.
The linebacker corps for the Cowboys is pretty thick right now with Micah Parsons, Jabril Cox returning from injury, Leighton Vander Esch, and two new draftees. However, Barr could bring lengthy veteran experience that no one else on the LB depth chart has. Plus, there is no guaranteeing how Cox will be after a severe injury and if Damone Clark will even play in his rookie season.
It’s probable that the reason Barr is still unsigned is because of his age and the injuries that have plagued him in the later years of his career. The LB is 30 years old and missed six games last season. If healthy, he likely has a good amount still left in the tank. Perhaps teams don’t want to pay Barr what he feels he is worth due to his durability concerns and that’s the reason he remains on the board.
ESPN insiders believe that veteran free agent linebacker Anthony Barr would be a great fit for the Cowboys
For weeks now, Stephen Jones has promised reporters and fans that the team is “not done yet” in free agency. Yet, since the 2022 NFL Draft, no external free agents have been signed to the team. Could Barr be the move the Joneses have been waiting for?
Bowen isn’t the only one who thinks this could be a good match. ESPN writer Bill Barnwell also chimed in on how the Cowboys could use Barr to their advantage earlier this month:
"“Now that he’s a free agent, what if a team took a chance on using Barr in more of a hybrid role? We saw the Cowboys unlock something truly special from Micah Parsons by using their 2020 first-round pick as both an off-ball linebacker and an edge rusher a year ago. Barr isn’t Parsons, but after Dallas lost Randy Gregory this past offseason, Barr would give the Cowboys another eligible rusher who is also capable of playing a more traditional linebacker role. Barr and Leighton Vander Esch would each be leverage against the other’s injury history, and senior Cowboys defensive assistant George Edwards served as Barr’s defensive coordinator between 2014 and 2019.”"
Although he played in just two games in 2020 after tearing a pectoral muscle and missed an additional six in 2021 with various injuries, he’s still a quality linebacker. Depth at a shaky position is always helpful. However, Dallas probably doesn’t want to offer Barr anywhere near the $10 million he made with Minnesota last year.
This late in the free agency game, will the linebacker be willing to take a pay cut to play more football? We will have to wait and see where he lands.