Dan Quinn's latest free agency splash will infuriate Cowboys fans

Feb 27, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington Commanders coach Dan Quinn during the NFL Scouting
Feb 27, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington Commanders coach Dan Quinn during the NFL Scouting / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It was always expected that Dan Quinn would make a major splash in free agency. The Washington Commanders entered the legal tampering period with over $90 million in cap space and myriad roster holes. Things didn't get off to a roaring start for the former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator.

Quinn took some heat for the contracts he gave out to former Cowboys. First, defensive lineman Dorance Armstrong signed a three year, $33 million deal with a max value of $45 million. The guarantees are unclear, but that is extremely rich for the underrated Armstrong.

Then, Quinn turned around and signed Tyler Biadasz to a three-year, $30 million contract. Biadasz's $10 million salary currently ranks seventh among centers. That's a steep price to pay for a middling pass-protector and run-blocker.

Both deals could blow up in Quinn's face, but the newly-minted Commanders head coach has since redeemed himself with a signing that will irk Cowboys fans. Late Wednesday, Quinn landed longtime Cowboys free-agent target Bobby Wagner in the form of a one-year, $8.5 million contract.

Dan Quinn finally signing Bobby Wagner is infuriating for Cowboys fans

So let's get this straight. Wagner has been available in free agency three years in a row. Quinn was Dallas' defensive coordinator all three years. Given Quinn's history with Wagner (he coached Wagner in Seattle over 10 years ago) and the Cowboys' need for a linebacker, Wagner -- somewhat exhaustingly -- was linked with a move to Dallas in each of the last two offseasons.

The first year Quinn is not in Dallas, he splashes on Wagner? The timing is certainly interesting and opens the door for speculation.

Wagner is past his prime, but this is a quality signing for the Commanders, who also inked Frankie Luvu to a three-year contract on the first day of free agency. Luvu logged 20 pressures and seven sacks to go with 125 tackles last season. He and Wagner form an intimidating linebacker duo for Quinn's defense.

How ironic that Quinn values the linebacker position the second he leaves Dallas, right? Granted, the Cowboys' linebacker personnel was doomed once Leighton Vander Esch was lost for the season with a neck injury. That wasn't Quinn's fault. Furthermore, Quinn likely didn't have the freedom in Dallas as he does under new ownership in Washington to invest over $40 million into the linebacker position.

Our anger is directed more at Jerry and Stephen Jones than Quinn, but the former Cowboys defensive coordinator isn't blameless.

Quinn had some level of influence in Dallas' personnel decisions, including drafting Mazi Smith in the first round last year and trading up to select Eric Scott Jr. in the sixth round. The Cowboys made several internal and external defensive signings during Quinn's tenure, including Vander Esch, Dorance Armstrong, Malik Hooker, Dante Fowler, Jayron Kearse and Carlos Watkins.

Only one linebacker stands among that group. Quinn is credited with transforming the Cowboys' safety room -- and overall play of the defense -- and rightfully, so but linebacker was a point of weakness throughout his time as defensive coordinator and hardly any resources were spent to improve the personnel.

Maybe the front office prohibited Quinn from spending big on a linebacker, but it's certainly an odd coincidence that he splurged on Wagner when the opportunity was there to do the same in Dallas in 2021 and 2022.

Like we said: Infuriating.

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