After announcing that he won’t be back with the New England Patriots, could defensive end Chris Long be in play with the Dallas Cowboys?
During free agency last offseason, former St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long was in search of a new NFL team. He was originally drafted by the Rams second overall in 2008 and spent his entire career with a losing franchise. Free to choose his new home, Long had seemingly narrowed his choices down to the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots. Although he seemed to have genuine interest in Dallas, he eventually chose the Pats and their winning tradition.
It wasn’t the wrong choice. Long not only finally found himself on a playoff team, but he ended up winning the Super Bowl with New England. While he thoroughly enjoyed the winning season, Long apparently wants more for himself as a player.
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Long obviously feels like he has more to give the game than New England did. The Pats used him in a rotational role and he started just seven games on the season. The Virginia product wound up with 35 tackles and four sacks, and didn’t look like an aged player while doing so. Again a free agent and looking for a team that needs a pass rushing savior, could a union between him and the Dallas Cowboys happen this time around?
Dallas has had a perpetual need for a pass rusher ever since cutting DeMarcus Ware before the 2014 season. In 2015 they tried Greg Hardy—that blew up in their face—and in 2016 they tried Long, but were unsuccessful in luring him. Fresh off a 13-3 season, Dallas may look more appealing to Long now, and with Dallas unsure of their ability to secure an elite edge rusher with the 28th overall pick in the draft Long could also be a huge attraction for them.
The pairing of the two makes perfect sense. Dallas has a rather youthful line with no real pass rushing leader. With their draft position, it’s hard to think any rookie will come in and assume such a role during their first season. Long could bring a strong veteran presence who can show their younger players the right way to approach the game. He also would be able to get back to what he does best—and is longing to do more of—wreak havoc in the offensive backfield.