IRVING (105.3 THE FAN) – Tap the brakes on the idea of waived Los Angeles Rams middle linebacker James Laurinaitis joining the Dallas Cowboys in free agency.
Laurinaitis, a fine player but a cap casualty, told SiriusXM Radio on Monday that his agent, Tom Condon, has informed him that numerous teams have already called to express interest. But a Cowboys source told 105.3 The Fan that Dallas is not among those callers.
The Cowboys see the 29-year-old as an “aging” player — and one they do not want to budget for at the middle-linebacker position. Laurinaitis has been making about $6 million annually and will likely command that same sort of salary going forward, as he picks a team that can “play for the Lombardi Trophy,” he said.
Dallas is presently unwilling to get in a bidding war there, even though he is a player who can make the sort of impact that Cowboys free agent Rolando McClain had made in the last two years when healthy.
Former NFL scout Bryan Broaddus of 105.3 The Fan and DallasCowboys.com said that Laurinaitis is a “three-down linebacker who would be a good fit” in Dallas’ scheme.
But McClain — with baggage that includes being on the precipice of a lengthy suspension due to his inclusion in the NFL’s substance-abuse program — last year played for near his vet’s minimum at about $750,000. So, there is a “threshold of tolerance” there. (As another example: Greg Hardy will not be invited back to the Cowboys, sources told 105.3 The Fan, because such a “threshold” essentially no longer exists.)
The Cowboys can also use some existing talent, the draft and other free-agency chases to get help alongside Pro Bowler Sean Lee. But the plans are highly unlikely to ever include Laurinaitis.