Dante Fowler Jr.

Commanders, DE Dante Fowler Agree To Deal

Cowboys free agents continue to trek to the nation’s capital. Defensive end Dante Fowler has agreed to a deal with the Commanders, Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Fowler joins Dorance Armstrong as the latest defender set to follow former defensive coordinator Dan Quinn from Dallas to Washington. The latter is in place as head coach, and he will have multiple familiar faces along the defensive front as the team looks to re-build along the edge in particular.

Like Armstrong, Fowler occupied a rotational role as part of a deep edge contingent during his time with the Cowboys. The 30-year-old logged snap shares of only 30% and 25% over the past two years, so it comes as little surprise he will head elsewhere in search of more playing time. The Commanders will mark the fifth career team for the 29-year-old.

Fowler combined to post 10 sacks and 33 pressures during his run with the Cowboys. The former third overall pick has only managed double-digit sacks once in his career – the 2019 campaign when he was with the Falcons – and his journeyman status will continue this offseason. Fowler played on consecutive one-year pacts with Dallas, and it would come as no surprise if this Commanders accord was likewise a short-term investment.

Washington’s edge group was thinned out at the 2023 trade deadline with Montez Sweat and Chase Young beind dealt prior to the expiration of their respective rookie deals. Armstrong, Clelin Ferrell as well as hybrid linebacker Frankie Luvu – added on a big-money deal in part for his ability as a pass rusher – and now Fowler will be among players the faces brought in by Washington’s new regime.

Contract Details: CJGJ, Hardman, Cowboys

Here are some of the details on a few deals reached around the league recently:

  • C.J. Gardner-Johnson, S (Lions): One year, $6.5MM. The deal, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, is completely guaranteed with a signing bonus of $4MM and a fully guaranteed base salary of $2.5MM. The contract also includes a second, void year to spread out his cap hit. Gardner-Johnson can earn an additional $1.5MM based on incentives. There’s a potential for him to make $375,000 each for playing 70-percent of the team’s defensive snaps and/or intercepting three passes. He can make an additional $375,000 each for upping those numbers to 80% and five interceptions. Unfortunately, these potential bonuses are conditional. Even if he checks all those boxes, Gardner-Johnson will reportedly only receive his money if the Lions are in the top 16 in the league for yards allowed.
  • Mecole Hardman, WR (Jets): One year, $4.5MM. We’ve already reported some details of Hardman’s new contract. Thanks to Wilson, we have a bit more information on the incentives of the deal. Depending on receptions, Hardman can earn $125,000 if he catches 50 passes or more, $250,000 for 60, and $500,000 for 70. For yards, Hardman can receive $125,000 for 650 receiving yards or more, $250,000 for 750, and $500,000 for 850. For touchdowns, Hardman can earn $125,000 for catching six touchdowns, $250,000 for eight, and $500,000 for 10. Lastly, Hardman can receive $250,000 for a wild card win or bye, $250,000 for a divisional round win, $250,000 for a conference championship, and $250,000 for a Super Bowl win. In total, that makes $2.5MM available through incentives. The Jets are expecting big things out of Hardman, as he would’ve only earned the bottom level of each incentive once over his four-year career with the Chiefs.
  • Sean Murphy-Bunting, CB (Titans): One year, $3.5MM. The deal, according to Wilson, is fully guaranteed with a signing bonus of $2.42MM and a base salary of $1.08MM. The contract includes two void years to spread out his cap impact. Wilson reports $1.5MM-worth of incentives for Murphy-Bunting based on playing time and interceptions.
  • Dante Fowler, DE (Cowboys): One year, $3MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $1MM consisting of his signing bonus. All of Fowler’s incentives are contingent on Dallas making the playoffs. If they do and Fowler tallies eight sacks, he can earn an additional $500,000. Ten sacks gives Fowler $1MM. If Fowler plays over 55-percent of the team’s defensive snaps (and they make the playoffs), he can make an additional $250,000.

Cowboys To Re-Sign DE Dante Fowler, Want To Re-Sign DT Johnathan Hankins

Following a bounce-back season, Dante Fowler plans to stay in Dallas. The Cowboys are bringing back the first-rounder-turned-rotational pass rusher, Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News reports (on Twitter).

Fowler will be back on another one-year deal, per Watkins. The deal is worth $3MM in base value, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. Fowler will collect a $1MM signing bonus and earn $1.5MM in base salary in 2023. The contract includes another $1.25MM available via incentives, Wilson adds.

The ex-Jaguars No. 3 overall draftee totaled six sacks last season, working behind the likes of DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons. DC Dan Quinn, who was the Falcons’ HC when they signed Fowler back in 2020, will have him back in this role soon.

The Cowboys aimed to re-sign Randy Gregory last year, but negotiations fell apart late in the process. After Gregory trekked to Denver, Dallas brought in Fowler, re-signed Dorance Armstrong and drafted Sam Williams in the second round. This quantity-based approach ended up paying off for the team, and Fowler — after flaming out on a $16MM-per-year Falcons agreement — fared well as a second-stringer in Dallas.

Fowler is going into his ninth NFL season, but he is headed for only his age-29 campaign. In addition to the six sacks — his most since 2019 — the former Florida prospect added two forced fumbles and nine quarterback hits. He got there in just 343 defensive snaps. The Cowboys still have Armstrong under contract as well; the Fowler addition looks to ensure the team will run it back at defensive end in 2023.

Consistency has eluded Fowler as a pro. He missed his entire rookie season, due to an injury at the Jags’ rookie minicamp, but played a key off-the-bench role for Jacksonville’s AFC championship game-bound team two years later. After Fowler’s eight-sack 2017, he tallied just four with the Jags and Rams in 2018. In a 2019 contract year, however, the then-Aaron Donald teammate racked up career-high numbers in sacks (11.5) and QB hits (16). That preceded a rough Falcons stay, one that ended a year early. Quinn looks to have unlocked Fowler’s higher gear; can the veteran edge defender sustain it?

Clearly sensing an opportunity in what looks to be the weaker of the two conferences, the Cowboys have been aggressive since the legal tampering period began. They have added Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks and re-signed both Fowler, Donovan Wilson and Leighton Vander Esch.

This retention effort may also soon include Johnathan Hankins. The Cowboys want to bring back the veteran defensive tackle, Ed Werder of ESPN.com tweets. The Cowboys acquired Hankins from the Raiders before the deadline and used the 10-year vet as a starter and rotational D-tackle. Hankins, 31 next week, played in seven games for the Cowboys and recorded a sack in the playoffs. The journeyman run-stopper will not cost much to retain, and he looks to have another opportunity in Dallas.

Cowboys Eyeing Bobby Wagner, Want To Bring Back Dante Fowler Jr.

The Cowboys continued to pursue some big names on the defensive side of the ball. Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News reports (via Twitter) that the organization has talked to linebacker Bobby Wagner. Meanwhile, Josina Anderson tweets that the Cowboys “still have to get an agreement to the finish line” with defensive end Dante Fowler Jr..

As Watkins notes, the Cowboys are continuing to monitor the market before making a definitive move on Wagner, but it sounds like the organization definitely has interest in bringing in the veteran. The former Seahawks star spent the 2022 season with the Rams, appearing in all 17 games. While his eight-season Pro Bowl streak came to an end, the 32-year-old was still plenty productive, finishing with 140 tackles and a career-high six sacks.

Fowler spent the 2022 season in Dallas, and while he mostly served in a situational role, he proved to be plenty effective. The former third-overall pick finished the year with six sacks and a pair of forced fumbles in 17 games. Pro Football Focus wasn’t particularly fond of his performance, ranking him 82nd among 120 qualifying edge rushers, although the site did give him solid grades for pass rush and coverage.

Per Anderson (on Twitter), the Cowboys are working hard to sign Fowler to a new deal and “want him back” next season. There’s also a belief that the player “wants to be back” in Dallas next year. Fowler is one of several notable Cowboys defensive free agents, with the list headlined by linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and safety Donovan Wilson.

Cowboys, DE Dante Fowler Agree To Deal

Linked to acclaimed edge rushers in free agency, the Cowboys made their move at the position Friday. They are signing former top-five pick Dante Fowler, Todd Archer of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

This will reunite Fowler and Dan Quinn, who was the head coach in Atlanta when Fowler signed with the Falcons in 2020. The two did not stay together long, with the Falcons firing Quinn early that season. This stands to be a higher-profile partnership. It’s a one-year deal, per ProFootballNetwork.com’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter).

[RELATED: Cowboys To Re-Sign DL Dorance Armstrong]

Fowler’s production has yo-yoed during his seven-year career. He helped the Jaguars’ “Sacksonville” defense reach the 2017 AFC championship game and was a starter in Super Bowl LIII for the Rams, after a midseason trade. Fowler timed his initial contract year well, producing 11.5 sacks alongside Aaron Donald in 2019. That led to a big-ticket Falcons deal, one the team ended up regretting.

Fowler played 14 games in each of the past two seasons but did not top 4.5 sacks in either. The Falcons adjusted his three-year contract and released him earlier this offseason, allowing an early trip to the market for a player who was already on track for free agency. The Cowboys’ edge plans changed abruptly this week, when Randy Gregory backtracked on an agreement due to guarantee-forfeiture language in his contract. Gregory is now in Denver. The Cowboys pursued Von Miller as well, but a big Bills offer steered the future Hall of Famer to western New York.

Pairing with DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons stands to be a strong opportunity for Fowler to re-establish his value during his age-28 season. After his two down Atlanta years, the former No. 3 overall pick is running out of time to do so.

Falcons Release OLB Dante Fowler

Because of a 2021 restructure, Dante Fowler was set to be a free agent at the start of the new league year in March. The Falcons moved up that timetable, making the veteran edge defender available now.

Atlanta moved Fowler’s contract off its books Wednesday, releasing him a month before the start of the 2022 league year, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Because of the bonus proration, this move still tags the Falcons with more than $4MM in dead money. For Fowler, this separation is a chance for him to catch on with a team before free agency opens.

Fowler did well on the 2020 market, signing a three-year deal worth $48MM. The Falcons did not receive especially good value on the contract. The former Jaguars and Rams pass rusher registered just 7.5 sacks in 28 games with the Falcons, totaling 16 quarterback hits in that span. Fowler finished with 11.5 sacks and 16 QB hits during his Rams contract year in 2019. Fowler redoing his deal last March voided the final year of his contract.

Because of his past two seasons, it should not be expected Fowler will do nearly as well as a free agent this year. However, the former top-five pick is just 27 and has a couple of strong seasons on his resume. He recorded eight sacks with the Jags back in 2017, helping the team to the AFC championship game as a rotational rusher.

Most of the high-end edge rushers on this year’s market are older than Fowler, with the likes of Von Miller, Chandler Jones, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jadeveon Clowney and Mario Addison being among the biggest names set to be available. Fowler will have the advantage of being able to sign earlier, and it will be interesting how teams value him ahead of free agency.

Falcons Activate Dante Fowler From IR

Suddenly in the thick of the NFC playoff race, the Falcons will have their top edge rusher back in uniform going forward. Dante Fowler is back on Atlanta’s active roster.

The veteran edge defender spent three weeks on IR due to a knee injury. While Fowler has not produced for the Falcons the way he did with the Rams, the seventh-year pass rusher still represents a key defender who will be back for the 4-4 team.

Fowler, who signed a three-year deal worth $48MM in 2020, restructured his contract this year. That amounted to a pay cut, and the former top-five pick is now on track for free agency in 2022. That will make the second half of this season pivotal to the 27-year-old sack artist’s future.

After recording just three sacks last season, Fowler registered two sacks and just three quarterback hits in his first five games this year. That total, however, still leads the Falcons, who only have 11 as a team. That ranks 32nd this season.

Additionally, the Falcons placed edge defender Steven Means on IR and promoted tight end Parker Hesse from their practice squad. Means, 31, has started each of Atlanta’s games this season and was a first-stringer in 11 games in 2020.

Falcons Move Dante Fowler To IR

Dante Fowler will be sidelined into November. The Falcons placed the veteran edge rusher on injured reserve Friday, knocking him out for at least the next three games.

The former top-five pick went down during Atlanta’s Week 5 win in London and has not recovered, leading to the Falcons ruling him out for Week 7 after their bye. After not practicing this week, Fowler will be down until at least Week 10.

Despite missing his entire rookie season due to an ACL during sustained during the Jaguars’ rookie minicamp, Fowler has been durable over the past five-plus seasons. His only other multigame absence came last season, when a positive COVID-19 test led to two missed games.

Thus far in his second Falcons season, Fowler has two sacks and three quarterback hits. Fowler signed a three-year, $48MM deal with the Falcons in 2020 but accepted a pay reduction this offseason, rather than ending up a cap casualty in a buyer’s market. The contract adjustment has Fowler on track to hit free agency again in 2022, which will certainly make the second half of this season pivotal for the 27-year-old sack artist.

Falcons’ Dante Fowler Takes Pay Cut

The Falcons have a little extra room to work with. Edge rusher Dante Fowler has agreed to a pay cut for the coming year, as Jeff Schultz of The Athletic tweets.

[RELATED: Bills Trade TE Lee Smith To Falcons]

Fowler joined the Falcons on a three-year, $48MM deal last year, but didn’t produce in his first season with the team. The Florida product posted just three sacks and four tackles for a loss, versus 11.5 sacks and 16 tackles in the previous season with the Rams.

Before that, Fowler spent the first four-plus seasons of his career with the Jaguars, including a rookie campaign that was wiped out thanks to a torn ACL. The Falcons had high hopes for him, especially since he found national fame playing under then-head coach Dan Quinn at UF.

Fowler was originally set for an $18.5MM cap hit with $13MM in base salary. Terms of the revised deal have not been disclosed, but the Falcons will save on both portions.

Falcons To Sign Dante Fowler Jr.

Dante Fowler Jr. has agreed to sign with the Falcons, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. It’s a three-year deal for the pass rusher (per Rapoport). Fowler will be getting a whopping $48MM over the three years, ESPN’s Vaughn McClure tweets.

The former third-overall pick joined the Rams via trade midway through the 2018 season. He finally exploded for a career season in 2019, finishing with career-highs in tackles (58), sacks (11.5), passes defended (six), and forced fumbles (two).

Fowler had spent the first four-plus seasons of his career with the Jaguars, including a rookie campaign that was wiped out thanks to a torn ACL.

In Atlanta, he’ll be playing under head coach Dan Quinn, who actually worked with Fowler when the two were at Florida. He’ll immediately provide some reinforcement to a pass rush that recently lost Vic Beasley via free agency.

With the Falcons being low in space space, the past two days have mostly been highlighted by players they’ve released, including running back Devonta Freeman. Otherwise, they’ve extended defensive tackle Tyeler Davison and traded for tight end Hayden Hurst.

According to Rapoport, the Rams tried to retain Fowler. The team has already seen several key defensive free agents leave, including linebacker Cory Littleton (Raiders) and defensive lineman Michael Brockers (Ravens).