Cowboys: Why NOW is the time to re-sign David Irving long-term

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 18: David Irving /

This is the perfect time for the Dallas Cowboys to re-sign free agent to-be, David Irving, to a shiny new contract extension. Here’s why…

It’s never too early for the Dallas Cowboys to start thinking about the future. And one free agent to-be, needs to be a part of that future. DeMarcus Lawrence? Anthony Hitchens? Sure, but who I’m here to talk about is the most underrated interior lineman in the NFL, David Irving.

Now David Irving may only be a free agent of the “restricted” variety, but that doesn’t mean the Cowboys should drag their feet in contract negotiations. Irving has been playing so well, he deserves a long term commitment. If the Cowboys don’t proactively attack his free agent status, they may not be able to afford him on the open market when he becomes an unrestricted free agent (next winter).

As discussed last month, David Irving is not only one of the best defenders on the team, but he’s one of the best in the entire NFL.

With 10 sacks in the last 12 games he’s played, David Irving averaged .833 sacks per game. Projected over a 16 game season that would give him 13.333 sacks on the year.

13 sacks isn’t just good for an interior pass-rusher, it’s downright dominant. Aaron Donald, widely considered the best interior rusher in the NFL averaged .79 sacks per game this season. Projected over 16 games that figures to be 12.5 sacks on the season.

Now is the Time

Speaking of Aaron Donald. The man is about to reset the market for interior pass rushers. The kid is going to get paid and he’s going to break records in doing so. If the Dallas Cowboys allow David Irving to play on a 1-year deal next season, and Irving continues to play like he has been, he’s going to be too expensive to sign on the open market.

But if the Cowboys try to get a deal done proactively, they stand to save tens of millions. Much like they did a decade ago with Jay Ratliff. Some may wonder, Why would David Irving want to sign an extension now, when all he has to do is wait until next winter?

To that I reply: “Mortality”.

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Mortality is an inevitable consequence of injury. As reported by…David Irving himself…he was still suffering from post-concussion syndrome weeks after the concussion occurred. The concussion suffered in November eventually prevented him from playing the rest of the season.

With CTE such a headline these days, players are increasingly frightened by effects of lingering concussions. It would be impossible not to contemplate one’s future after enduring over a month of headaches.

Professional football players are well aware of the tiny earning window they must navigate to build their nest egg.

With financial security the selling point, Irving would be happy to step up to the negation table now.

Risky Investment?

Sure. Irving served a four-game suspension to start the season and is one violation away from a year-long suspension. But David Irving has been performing like one of the top linemen in the NFL and no one seems to have noticed it yet.

Believe me, if he stays healthy for entire season and plays anywhere close to the level he’s played the last 12 games, everyone will notice. And that could be the difference between a $50 million extension and a $90 million extension.

If the Cowboys play this smart and lock Irving down for the long-term, they may be able to keep the Irving-Tank duo together for the next five seasons and let the defense ride their coattails through their respective “primes”.

Next: History says Dallas Will Make the Playoffs in '18

Managing the cap is about taking calculated gambles. And David Irving has shown he’s a highly productive player – possibly one of the most productive players in the NFL. If the Cowboys can get ahead of this and sell Irving on the long-term security of striking a multi-year extension now, they could keep their pass-rushing duo together for the foreeable future. But if they take this year-to-year and Irving continues to collect .833 sacks per game, next year will likely be his last in Dallas.