Justin Durant to Cowboys: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2016

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Justin Durant (52) defends during an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)
Roger Steinman/Associated Press

Justin Durant has spent most of the summer lingering on the free-agent market after a disappointing one-year stint with the Atlanta Falcons. He'll get another chance to rejuvenate his value in a familiar setting after agreeing to a one-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys.  

The Cowboys confirmed Durant's signing on their official website on Monday. Rob Phillips from the team's official website reported the length of the deal for the linebacker.

Adam Caplan of ESPN reported Durant's one-year contract is worth $965k, with $200k guaranteed.

The 30-year-old Durant recorded 82 tackles in 2015 with the Falcons. He appeared in 13 games, his highest number since 2012, but struggled as Atlanta's defense fell apart. Pro Football Focus graded him a 50.3 on its 100-point scale, one of the worst ratings for a starter who was hitting the free-agent market.

The Falcons had signed Durant last March after a six-game stint with the Cowboys saw him return to form. He posted 49 tackles and two forced fumbles until suffering a torn bicep. A sprained elbow cost Durant three games last season, and he has played in all 16 games just once in his career.

A 2007 second-round pick, Durant previously played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions in addition to the Cowboys and Falcons. He has mostly failed to live up to his physical promise, recording just one 100-tackle season.

The Cowboys will likely look to him as bench depth or a spot starter. In that role, he should be mostly fine. He was bad for most of last season, but his aggregate career numbers point to a thoroughly average NFL linebacker. Those guys aren't going to move the needle much. That said, Durant's better than some of the other depth around the league who will be active negatives.

David Helman of the Cowboys' official website did note that Durant is a good fit for the team:

David Helman @HelmanDC

Cowboys' depth situation at LB looks a lot better w/ Durant back in the fold, though I'm not sure it changes their prospects at Mike.

A spot could be open in Dallas' starting lineup after the NFL hit Rolando McClain with a 10-game suspension. Durant knows the system and could work as a solid run-stuffer alongside the (hopefully healthy) Sean Lee.

Dallas is hoping his previous work with the team is a better representation of the future than last season's stint in Atlanta.


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