Anthony Barr’s Free Agency + the Cowboys Is a Head-Scratcher

Anthony Barr's Free Agency + the Cowboys Is a Head-Scratcher
Oct 31, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard (20) and Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) and outside linebacker Anthony Barr. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The free agency of former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr has been peppered with mentions of joining the Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets, Washington Commanders — and Dallas Cowboys.

No theory is more credible than Barr eventually landing with the Cowboys, though, as the flirtation by Dallas to sign Barr has persisted for a few months.

Barr, 30, indicated his Vikings career was kaput after the 2021 regular season ended, posting this apparent farewell on Instagram.

Anthony Barr
Instagram

And while some experts have speculated Barr’s injuries have stockpiled and perhaps led him to thoughts of retirement, the Cowboys rumor mill remains unfazed. Barr-to-Dallas is truly on-again-off-again, evidenced by a flurry of contrasting reports this week. Covering the Cowboys for Dallas Morning News, Calvin Watkins tweeted early last week:

Done deal, right? Barr in Dallas ain’t happening? Not so fast.

Days later, a different Cowboys reporter, Clarence E. Hill, appeared to reverse the Watkins tweet by writing, “Although they opened training camp without making a move on Barr, vice president Stephen Jones said the four-time Pro Bowler remains a viable option.”

Hill continued, “[Jones] said the team wanted to take a look at second-year linebacker Jabril Cox and other linebackers in training camp before making a final decision on Barr.”

Dec 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Anthony Barr. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Therefore, if Hill is correct, it’s a waiting game. The Cowboys must examine the current linebackers in real-time to decide if Barr’s services are needed. Mike McCarthy’s defense already showcases the mighty Micah Parsons and steady Leighton Vander Esch. The “third” off-ball linebacker gig is evidently a choice between existing Cowboy Jabril Cox and Barr, the unsigned free agent.

Drafted by Minnesota in 2014 at the dawn of the Mike Zimmer era, Barr played eight seasons for the Vikings, tallying four Pro Bowls from 2015 to 2018. Since the start of 2020, Barr has missed 63% of all football games, substantiating the theory that injuries are catching up to the man. He tallied a 62.9 grade from Pro Football Focus while intercepting three passes last year. If 2021 was a reasonable indicator, Barr can still play at a high level.

If Barr signs in Dallas, he’ll face the Vikings on November 20th at U.S. Bank Stadium — the team with which he posted 495 total tackles, 17.5 sacks, and five interceptions.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).