FRISCO - The smart money? There won't be enough money. But Dallas Cowboys 2019 sack leader Robert Quinn tells me he would nevertheless would love to remain in Dallas with his new "brothers.''
"Since I got here,'' Quinn says, recalling his summer arrival from the Miami Dolphins via a trade that cost Dallas just a sixth-round pick, "at first I joined a locker room full of strangers, and then they became friends and some of them became brothers.
"You love when things happen like that.''
Can things happen like that in 2020? The good news for Quinn and the 2019 Cowboys is that he flashed some of the pass-rush gifts that made him the NFL Defensive Player of the Year as a member of the Rams. The bad news for the 2020 Cowboys is that by finishing as one of the individual highlights of the 2019 NFL season for the 8-8 team (with 34 tackles, two forced fumbles and a team-best 11.5 sacks), he rejuvenated his career.
"Overall, I guess I proved to people I've still got it,'' Quinn tells me. "Personally, my standards are a little bit higher than what I achieved this year. I expect more out of myself. But I guess you can look at the pluses. In some way, it was a pretty good season.
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"But I'm hard on myself. I always want more.''
Quinn also has every right to "want more'' at the pay window. His previous contract paid him an average of $12 million APY. The franchise tag for a defensive end is about $18 million. Slot him somewhere in between there and the easy prediction is that Dallas - which has $80-plus million in cap room but has earmarked much of that dough to retain free agents Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper - will opt to not break the bank on a player who is almost 30.
"I'm only 29,'' Quinn laughs, correcting me (though his birthday is in May.)
The Cowboys' roster is presently in cupboard-is-empty status when it comes to D-linemen; part of that cap room is slated to be used to fill about 25 holes on the roster; that's how many unsigned players Dallas has. There can be answers in the 2020 NFL Draft. But when it comes to the "brotherhood''? It was Tyrone Crawford and Quinn's other Cowboys D-line "brothers'' who noted at training camp that he moves fluidly, as if he doesn't have elbows or knees, but then "strikes viciously'' at the QB ... So as CowboysSI.com was first to report, his in-house nickname became "Black Cobra.''
But, Quinn says, "It's a business - you know how it goes. I've never been a free agent before, so it's an interesting process I'm about to go through. We'll just sit back and see what happens.''