The Dallas Cowboys passed on a pair of former Pro Bowl cornerbacks who expressed an interest in joining the team in free agency. According to Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill, the Cowboys passed on signing both Malcolm Butler and A.J. Bouye who were interested in signing with the team.
“Before veteran NFL cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and A.J. Bouye signed free agent contracts with other teams, both players expressed interest in joining the cornerback-needy Dallas Cowboys,” Hill detailed. “According to league sources, Butler and Bouye separately were essentially told “thanks, but no thanks” by the Cowboys who said they didn’t have the money sign either of them.”
Instead, Butler opted to signed a one-year, $3.25 million deal with the Cardinals, and Bouye landed a a more lucrative two-year, $7 million contract with the Panthers, per Spotrac.
The latest Dallas Cowboys news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Cowboys newsletter here!
Join Heavy on Cowboys!
Butler Snagged 4 Interceptions Last Season for the Titans
It will be worth watching whether the Cowboys were prudent to turn down signing either player. Butler is best known for his time with the Patriots which included a Super Bowl saving interception against the Seahawks in 2015. The corner made the Pro Bowl the following season and is a two-time Super Bowl champion. Butler played the last three seasons for the Titans notching four interceptions, 14 pass deflections and 100 tackles in his 16 starts last season.
Bouye made the Pro Bowl in 2017 during his first of three seasons with the Jaguars notching six interceptions, 18 deflections and 56 tackles. The corner started seven games for the Broncos in 2020.
The Cowboys passing on bolstering their secondary for financial reasons is debatable, especially given Butler’s modest deal with the Cardinals. Dallas has $7.4 million in current cap space, but we have also seen teams get creative this offseason by using voidable years to help create additional room for 2021. The Cowboys have been widely linked to top cornerbacks with the No. 10 pick in the draft.
There are still plenty of talented players available in free agency including Richard Sherman. The veteran corner has a connection to new Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn from their time together with the Seahawks.
McCarthy on Cowboys’ Defense: ‘This Isn’t a Start-Over Situation’
During Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy’s March press conference, he praised the hire of Quinn and admitted that improving the defense has been the focus of the offseason. McCarthy referenced the unit’s play in the second half of the season, noting it is not a “start-over situation.”
“Obviously, with the change in the coordinator and the coaches, we feel the direction where I see the team needs to go is going to come under the leadership of Dan Quinn,” McCarthy explained, per USA Today. “I’ve known Dan for quite some time and having the chance to be in position to hire him is definitely a huge asset to our football operations. Schematically, to the naked eye, or laymen’s terms, I don’t think we’ll see a whole lot because I think it’s important to build off of what we did accomplish the second eight weeks in our ability to take the ball away. ….Having the opportunity to hire Dan and I really like the way the staff has come together. The energy, the enthusiasm, the diversity of some of the systems, so it’s an opportunity for improvement and I think we are definitely on the right path there.”