Justin Durant

The Dallas Cowboys have a problem at linebacker (and defense in general). One way to try and fix that is signing Justin Durant, who is familiar with the team and the defensive playbook.

The 10-game suspension slapped on Rolando McClain, probably the Cowboys best player in their front seven, is a big hit to a team that isn’t too deep at defensive line and linebacker. At this point, with the season less than two months away, it’s difficult finding an impact solution, especially with the salary cap in a troubling place for the Cowboys. So turning to Durant, who has two years of service in Arlington, seems like a logical move.

Durant played for the Atlanta Falcons in 2015, starting in 12 games and playing in 13 overall. He finished with 81 tackles and three defended passes, but was released five months ago. One other thing he has going for him is the ability to play in a number of linebacker positions. He has only 3.5 sacks in his career and usually doesn’t do too well as someone coming off the edge, but filling in for McClain is more about plugging the middle.

Durant will turn 31 in September. He’s been in the NFL since 2007, a second round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He has played for Jacksonville, Detroit, Dallas and Atlanta. He was on a three-year, $10.8 million deal with the Falcons, but completed just one of those years. McClain is going to miss 10 games, entering stage three of the NFL’s three stages of substance policy for marijuana. A very talented player, he missed four games due to suspension last year as well, still ranking as one of the best linebackers in the NFL.

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