Surprisingly, the Dallas Cowboys continued to make smart free agent moves on Thursday, signing former Carolina Panthers linebacker Dan Connor. The Cowboys are Connor’s second NFL team; his rookie contract with Carolina expired this off-season. The 26-year-old is a product of Penn State, where he was a teammate of Cowboys linebacker star Sean Lee.
The Cowboys needed to add depth at the linebacker position after the contracts of veterans Keith Brooking and Bradie James expired this off-season. Both players are past their prime and Dallas was ready to move on. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett believes Connor can fill the void left by the veterans.
“We’re excited to have Dan Connor in, a Penn State guy,” Garrett said. “He is the right kind of guy.
At 6’2″ and 231 lbs., Connor is similar in size to Lee and Bruce Carter, which would give a hint the Cowboys might be planning a switch the 4-3 defense if the team hadn’t foolishly used its franchise tag on Anthony Spencer last week. Connor might still be a part of a potential 4-3 if Spencer isn’t kept beyond the 2012 season. Regardless, Connor provides depth at the linebacker position, of which the Cowboys had none before he signed.
Other free agent defensive players the Cowboys signed this week are former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Carr and former New York Jets safety Brodney Pool. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones wisely let defensive coordinator Rob Ryan make the decision to sign both players. Dallas may actually be on the right track for once.