Cowboys Re-Sign Rolando McClain

MONDAY, 8:11pm: McClain’s base salary will be just $750K, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link), who adds that the linebacker can get another $1.5MM via gameday active roster bonuses.

WEDNESDAY, 8:34am: The signing is now official, tweets Todd Archer of

7:42am: After visiting the Patriots earlier this week and receiving a contract offer from New England, linebacker Rolando McClain has instead agreed to re-sign with the Cowboys on a one-year deal, reports Ed Werder of (via Twitter). According to Werder, it’ll be worth $3MM, with another $1MM available in playing-time incentives.Rolando McClain

McClain, 25, recorded 87 tackles and a sack to go along with two interceptions in 13 games for the Cowboys in 2014. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranked the former first-round pick eighth out of 60 qualified inside linebackers, and he excelled in every aspect of the game — PFF’s grades placed him eighth as a pass rusher, seventh as a cover man, and 11th as a run defender, among inside linebackers.

Despite his impressive on-field showing, McClain still has some off-field question marks. He came back from retirement less than a year ago, and has failed multiple drug tests, making him a potential suspension risk. When I examined his free agent stock last week, I speculated that he may have to settle for a one-year, prove-it deal like the ones signed by Nick Fairley and Terrance Knighton. I also noted that returning to Dallas might be the best fit for the veteran linebacker.

That third failed drug test means a four-game fine for McClain, so that penalty figures to come out of his game checks for the upcoming season. The ex-Raider has appealed the fine, but history suggests he doesn’t have a great chance of winning that appeal, barring extenuating circumstances.

The Cowboys’ linebacking corps will look much different in 2015 than it did a year ago, as regular contributors Justin Durant and Bruce Carter have signed elsewhere. McClain will be joined by incoming free agents Jasper Brinkley and Andrew Gachkar on the new-look unit. Sean Lee, who missed the 2014 campaign due to a torn ACL, will also be back in the mix.

McClain initially ranked 35th last month on my list of this year’s top 50 free agents. Only three players on that list – Michael Crabtree, Joe Barksdale, and Stefen Wisniewski – remain unsigned.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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