Getty Dallas Cowboys owner, president and general manager Jerry Jones walks the field before a game.
The Dallas Cowboys have had a “quiet” offseason by some fans’ standards, but they may be preparing to add a new piece.
On July 1, reports surfaced that Dallas is adding kicker Lirim Hajrullahu, setting up a reunion for Hajrullahu and the Cowboys after his emergency appearance last year. Now, a different “homecoming” could be underway with former Texas Longhorns star Malik Jefferson.
Eric Nahlin, managing partner of On3 Sports’ Texas blog, announced that Jefferson will visit the Cowboys in less than a week for a tryout.
“Good luck to the one and only @malikjefferson on his tryout with the Dallas Cowboys on July 8th,” Nahlin tweeted on July 1.
Cowboys fans who also love the Longhorns should be excited that the former college star gets a chance in Dallas. The Cowboys have been tied to a linebacker move in free agency almost all summer, and Jefferson could be that option.
However, the linebacker’s career in the NFL has not lived up to his billing project and cannot be considered insurance. The good news is that Jefferson is still only 25 years old, despite entering the league in 2018.
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Jefferson’s journey after Texas
Jefferson began making a name for himself while at Poteet High School in his hometown of Mesquite, Texas. Ranked as a five-star recruit and one of the best linebacker prospects in his class, Jefferson chose to stay in his home state with the Longhorns.
From 2015 to 2017, Jefferson was a crucial member of the Texas defense and his numbers in Sports Reference prove it. Over three seasons, Jefferson played in 34 games and totaled 26 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, and 79 solo tackles in his senior year.
The Cincinnati Bengals selected Jefferson in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft, but it didn’t take long for the linebacker’s NFL career to face adversity. Jefferson played almost exclusively special teams snaps as a rookie in 10 games before suffering a foot injury and being placed on injury reserve.
Cincinnati released Jefferson the following offseason, which has become the norm for the 25-year-old. Jefferson has been signed and released by NFL teams six times in four years, including stops with the Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts recently released Jefferson in May, and the player has been looking for a new home. His track record shouldn’t excite Cowboys fans too much, but a return to his home state might be the change required.
Does the former Colts LB fit in with the Cowboys?
There isn’t much reason to think that Jefferson may be the type of “improved” player the Cowboys have been linked with at linebacker. In total, the former Colts LB has played only 13 defensive snaps according to Pro Football Reference, though he has hundreds of snaps on special teams.
Special teams is probably the only way Jefferson makes the roster. Even then, the Cowboys arguably have a better set of linebackers to handle those responsibilities.
Dallas needs to think about linebacker positions, but the problem is that Jefferson doesn’t feel like the answer. However, getting a tryout with the Cowboys could drastically change his outlook for the 2022 NFL season, and could benefit Dallas as well.
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