The Dallas Cowboys are adding a former first-round pick to their pass-rushing unit, agreeing to a one-year contract with free agent outside linebacker Dante Fowler, the team announced. The former No. 3 overall pick was released by the Atlanta Falcons in mid-February and has been on the open market until now. Fowler is also just the second outside free agent that Dallas has brought in this offseason with former Steelers receiver James Washington being the other.
While Fowler has never previously played for the Cowboys in his career, this is a familiar situation the 27-year-old finds himself in. This signing reunites him with current Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who signed Fowler as a free agent in 2020 when he was the head coach in Atlanta. This isn’t the first time that the Cowboys have signed players with ties to Quinn as both Damontae Kazee and Keanu Neal both had roles on defense a season ago.
The addition of Fowler should help cushion the blow of losing Randy Gregory in free agency this week. The Cowboys had originally agreed to a five-year deal worth upward of $70 million with Gregory, but those negotiations collapsed as they reached the finish line and the pass rusher ended up leaving for the Denver Broncos.
After starting his career with the Jaguars in 2016, Fowler has bounced around the NFL a bit. He was traded to the Rams amid the 2018 season and would play for two years in Los Angeles. In 2019, Fowler enjoyed the most productive season of his career, totaling 11.5 sacks. After that campaign, he’s joined the Falcons for two seasons before now reaching an agreement to come to Dallas.
Last season, Fowler totaled 4.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and 36 tackles in 14 games played.