The Cowboys continue to cut bait on veteran defenders. After failing in efforts to trade Dontari Poe and Daryl Worley, the Cowboys will release both, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Owner Jerry Jones said that Poe’s release was due to his weight and lack of performance, and he declined to say whether Poe’s decision to kneel during the playing of the national anthem before games was a consideration (via Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com).
These moves come a day after the team shipped Everson Griffen to the Lions for a conditional draft pick. While the Cowboys are a half-game out of first place in the woeful NFC East, they are coming off one of their worst performances in many years. And Dallas’ defense will feature less experience because of it.
Poe and Worley signed with the Cowboys this offseason. A former Pro Bowl defensive tackle, Poe signed a two-year deal worth $4.5MM. This release will tag the Cowboys with more than $1MM in dead money. The Cowboys added Worley on a one-year, $3MM pact and will be hit with over $1MM in dead money from this transaction as well.
A former Chiefs first-round pick, Poe has started all seven of the Cowboys’ games this season. Worley has been a first-unit player in four contests, with the Cowboys dealing with injuries at cornerback. Dallas’ defense ranks 30th in DVOA, setting the stage for one of the most disappointing seasons in modern NFL history.
While Worley has allowed 10 receptions on 12 targets, he has graded as the Cowboys’ second-best corner — in the view of Pro Football Focus. Though, that assessment still places the journeyman outside the top 80 at the position. Worley spent two seasons with the Panthers and two with the Raiders prior to his Cowboys agreement.
Poe has been on four teams now, and his two Pro Bowl appearances came early during his Chiefs tenure. The Panthers declined his 2020 option, sending the 30-year-old back to free agency. The Cowboys signed Poe and Gerald McCoy this offseason. Prior to the midway point, they will be without both and Trysten Hill from their defensive tackle rotation.