LB Eric Kendricks Addresses Cowboys Deal

Eric Kendricks had a deal in place to sign with the 49ers this offseason, but he ended up backing out of that agreement to join the Cowboys. The veteran linebacker reunited with Mike Zimmer in the process, and that was a factor in his decision to sign with Dallas.

“Yeah absolutely, I always appreciated Zim,” Kendricks said (via Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News). “Just the amount of defense I learned when I was underneath him. The way I watch film, the way we break things down, the install, a lot of things I learned from Zim and we had some good years and I can’t wait to continue that.”

Zimmer’s head coaching tenure of the Vikings came to an end when he was fired following the 2021 season. His dismissal (along with that of general manager Rick Spielman) came amidst reports of a rift between that pairing and the players. Kendricks himself publicly lamented the “culture of fear” which was in place under Zimmer. The latter was out of coaching for two seasons before taking the Cowboys’ DC gig.

Zimmer will be charged with replicating the success Dallas saw with Dan Quinn at the helm on defense; the unit ranked no worse than seventh in points allowed over the past three years. Linebacker is a spot filled with question marks going into 2024, though, and Kendricks figures to serve in a starting role. The 32-year-old took less money to join the Cowboys, eschewing what would have been a short-term gig as a first-teamer in San Francisco.

Kendricks had an eight-year run in Minnesota, starting 127 games along the way. He earned first-team All-Pro honors along with a Pro Bowl nod in 2019, and he has recorded at least 107 tackles every season since. The UCLA alum will see plenty of playing time in a linebacker unit which no longer includes the retired Leighton Vander Esch. Dallas will depend on Kendricks as an experienced producer alongside the likes of Damone Clark, DeMarvion Overshown and Marist Liufau. Any potential tension with Zimmer has been dealt with by now.

“I respect him fully,” Kendricks added. “We’re going to get this thing going. I had a talk with him this past weekend. We’re excited to have this opportunity to work together again and play off each other.”

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