Apparently letting Dan Connor walk didn’t mean the Dallas Cowboys were set at the linebacker position. On Tuesday, the team agreed on a two-year deal with linebacker Justin Durant, although the contract won’t be signed until Dallas clears up more cap space (the team is currently $102,000 under the cap).
Dallas and former Lions LB Justin Durant agreed to a 2-year contract that will be signed once Cowboys create more cap space, per team source
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 26, 2013
A second-round pick in 2007 out of Hampton University, Durant has played six seasons in the NFL, the first four with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the last two with the Detroit Lions. He had a career-high 103 tackles with the Lions last season to go along with half a sack and three passes defended.
The Lions ran the 4-3 defense, which is what the Cowboys will run in 2013 under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Durant played outside linebacker in Detroit’s 4-3 scheme, so he will likely compete for the starting job opposite Bruce Carter this year. He has some stiff competition with youngsters like Alex Albright and Kyle Wilber looking for their first chance to start, but Durant’s experience definitely gives him a leg up.
The fact Durant has already agreed to a deal even though the Cowboys can’t afford him is interesting, especially considering the team also met with free agent safeties Michael Huff and Will Allen on Monday. Dallas will get an extra $2 million in cap space on June 1 thanks to the release of Marcus Spears, but that’s not enough to sign even one veteran free agent defender, much less two or three. The fact Durant’s deal is in place anyway even further suggests the Cowboys are very close to signing Tony Romo to a contract extension, which would instantly give the team a ton of extra cap space. Keep tabs on that right here at Rant Sports as we’ll have the details as soon as Romo’s deal is official.