- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Really interesting report Tuesday afternoon on Twitter from Adam Schefter:
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
I didn't even know you could do that, which is why I find it so interesting. If you want to know about Durant specifically, it looks as though he's a candidate to be that strongside linebacker in their new 4-3 defensive alignment. This is what Scouts Inc. says about him in our free-agent tracker:
Durant had the most productive season of his career in 2012. He is a powerfully built linebacker with excellent athleticism. He is an instinctive defender who reacts quickly as plays unfold. He runs well and shows good range to overlap zones in the passing game and is effective in combination man schemes. He is a solid tackler in the open field and understands angles to leverage the ball. Durant brings consistency and leadership to the Lions.
It now appears he'll bring it to the Cowboys, but Durant's strengths and weaknesses as a player aren't want interests me about this news. What interests me about this news is the idea the Cowboys could get a player to agree to a contract with them on the premise that they have to clear cap space before they can finalize it. That tells me that they were able to present tangible evidence to this player that they will be able to clear that cap room. And that tells me that they're confident about getting long-term contract extensions done with either quarterback Tony Romo, defensive end Anthony Spencer or both.
Durant was one of three players who visited the Cowboys on Monday, along with safeties Will Allen and Michael Huff, and if they have in fact agreed to a contract with one of them, that could be a harbinger of further news on the free-agent front. The Cowboys only have about $100,000 in cap room at this point, and so at least one of those contract extensions with Romo or Spencer has to get done before they can add anyone. They'll save $7 million when they cut Doug Free, but only if he's a June 1 cut, and I don't imagine their plan is for Durant to skip minicamp while he waits until June 1 to sign. If you want to interpret this news as a sign that a new deal for Romo and/or Spencer is on the horizon, I think you're probably on the right track. That's how I'm interpreting it.