Cowboys Could Be Landing Spot for Released 4-Time Pro Bowler: Analyst

Dec 19, 2021; East Rutherford, N.J., USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy looks on during the second half of their game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys could be an ideal landing spot for a recently released four-time Pro Bowl linebacker.

As proposed by Mike Fisher of Sports Illustrated, the Cowboys could make some sense for the recently released Justin Houston. The 34-year-old linebacker was released by the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday, meaning he’ll be free to sign with a playoff contender for their stretch run as they enter the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs.

While Houston is far removed from his heyday — he was a four-time Pro Bowler between 2012 and 2015 — his experience could be a valuable addition to playoff contenders such as the Cowboys. However, as Fisher notes, Dallas already has a stacked depth chart when it comes to pass-rushing linebackers/defensive ends. If Houston is willing to sign merely for a mentorship role, then the move makes sense.

However, if he’s expecting regular playing time, he should probably look to sign elsewhere.

“But again, how would Dallas justify putting Houston on the field ahead of Dante Fowler Jr., Dorance Armstrong and Sam Williams? If Houston comes along for the ride and provides some mentorship and depth to a stretch run, so be it,” writes Fisher. “But basically any other team making a championship push makes more sense for both parties.”

As Field Yates of ESPN notes, any team claiming Houston on waivers would only owe him $194K for the remainder of the season.

“Any team that wants to acquire Justin Houston on waivers would owe him just $194K for the rest of this season, as his deal with Carolina was a minimum salary with a $4.835M signing bonus,” writes Yates. “While he’s had just .5 sacks this year, it’s a minimal opportunity cost for a team.”

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