FRISCO - In a stunning change of direction, the Dallas Cowboys are signing big-name pass-rusher Everson Griffen to a one-year deal to add to their new collection of standout defensive linemen.
The 32-year-old defensive end had been a long-time star with the Minnesota Vikings as one of this era's most decorated sack masters. But Griffen also has a history of personal issues that made him less attractive than he would otherwise be.
Griffen in fact missed five games in 2018 due to some of those issues. But he did rebound in 2019 with eight sacks and the fourth Pro Bowl nod of his career. Nevertheless, the Vikings, after having given him a six-year, $75 million contract in 2017, said goodbye to him this spring.
The former All-Pro has played at least 15 games in eight of his last nine seasons, and he’s had at least eight sacks in six of his last eight years. In Dallas, he'll join a D-line crew highlighted by DeMarcus Lawrence, Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe and Aldon Smith - all of whom, like Griffen, have Pro Bowl resumes.
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The Cowboys also have a talented and versatile vet in Tyrone Crawford. And they harbor some hope that Randy Gregory might be reinstated off suspension by the NFL commissioner's office.
Griffen will of course need to go through COVID-19 testing upon his arrival at The Star and therefore his practice-field debut will come after Friday's first on-field session. CowboysSI.com can confirm that his one-year deal features only a $3 million base salary, with $3 million more available in roster bonuses.
In the meantime, the Cowboys may have used a who-you-know approach to the two new veteran D-lineman. In Aldon Smith's case, he played for Dallas D-line coach Jim Tomsula when both were with the Niners. In Griffen's case, new Dallas assistant George Edwards was his defensive coordinator when both were with the Vikings.