Dallas Cowboys: Why Robert Quinn may be too risky to re-sign

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 29: Robert Quinn #58 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 29: Robert Quinn #58 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys are interested in retaining Robert Quinn but the cost to re-sign him may prove to be too costly given the risk.

Robert Quinn was brilliant for the Dallas Cowboys last season. The 29-year-old edge rusher didn’t just lead the Cowboys in sacks, but he rated as the NFL’s top edge player in pass-rush win rate. Now he enters free agency on a high note and may prove to be too costly/risky for the Dallas Cowboys.

The Dallas Cowboys want to have Robert Quinn back. With a dozen starters set to hit free agency, they’d love to have most of their players back. Sadly, simply wanting a player back isn’t always enough.

On Dallas’ list of priorities it seems Robert Quinn is pretty near the top of the list. Dak Prescott is obviously the most important player to retain, followed by Amari Cooper. They seem resigned to losing Byron Jones since he’s expected to become the highest paid CB in the NFL this offseason.  That leads us to Robert Quinn.

Quinn appears to be No. 3 on the Dallas Cowboys priority list. The level of interest likely comes down to Robert Quinn’s contract demands. Spotrac estimates a market value of 3 years/$35.5 million for the soon-to-be 30-year-old.

the last time Robert Quinn had this many QB pressures was his All-Pro season of 2013 when he was just 23-years-old.

At face value, that seems like a fair price for a guy who tallied double-digit sacks last season. But given his age and his recent history of injury and production, it may be a buy-high bear stock destined to disappoint long-term.

Robert Quinn was a great pass rusher last season. That’s undeniable. You don’t luck into 11.5 sacks. But he’s not the No. 1 pass-rusher on the Dallas Cowboys. That honor goes to DeMarcus Lawrence. From a sack perspective, Lawrence disappointed last season. But as we discussed early in the offseason, sacks are a poor way to judge pass-rusher performance.

light. Related Story. Why Sacks are a poor way of evaluating DeMarcus Lawrence

DeMarcus Lawrence is going to produce better next season. Statistical regression tells us that (again, read the article linked directly above). Last season was Lawrence’s outlier season just like last season was Robert Quinn’s outlier season (they were just outliers in different directions).

The last time Robert Quinn saw double-digit sacks was his 2014 season. From 2015-2018 he averaged just six sacks per season. His 57 pressures last year were his highest total in six years. That’s right, the last time Robert Quinn had this many QB pressures was his All-Pro season of 2013 when he was just 23-years-old.

The numbers tell us last season was an anomaly, but what does the film tell us? The film tells us Robert Quinn is a special player. His flex and bend around the corner are unrivaled. Frankly, it’s amazing a 29-year-old human can do the things he’s doing. Looking at the film of years past we can see he was misused in many of his down seasons.

In a nutshell, the numbers and the film tell us two different things. What we know to be true is Robert Quinn is a great edge rusher right now. How long he stays great remains to be seen. He’s long in the tooth and relies on speed and agility, so when age does catch up with him, the decline will be apparent.

We also know he’s terrible against the run. Terrible. Last season he was solely focused on turning the corner he didn’t offer up much of a fight against the run. Pro Football Focus scored him as one of the worst run defenders in the entire NFL.

I’m the first to say pass-rush ability is twice as important as run-stopping ability but even I have my limits. Quinn was clearly focused on a new contract and the best avenue to payday is gaudy sack numbers. And that’s fine, we just have to recognize the cost of that sack total.

Should the Dallas Cowboys try to re-sign Robert Quinn?

More from Dallas Cowboys

Of course! They just need to understand last season was an outlier on his track record and chances are that kind of production will not be reproduced. We also need to recognize he does not play the run and therefore isn’t a full-time player and given his age, his best days are behind him. Robert Quinn was awesome for the Dallas Cowboys last season but that doesn’t mean Jerry Jones should re-sign him at all costs.

There’s plenty of reasons to believe he’s going to be overpaid this offseason and it may be wise to avoid spending big on a declining product. Especially since ascending players like Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and Byron Jones are in flux.

Next. Why Randall Cobb is also too costly to re-sign. dark

Essentially, the only time teams get into salary cap trouble is when they sign old players and those players decline before the contract expires (fail to perform up to expectations), and when injuries keep highly paid players off the field. Both are concerns if Robert Quinn is signed to a multi-year deal.

  • Published on 03/04/2020 at 12:06 PM
  • Last updated at 03/04/2020 at 12:06 PM