IRVING, Texas – At the start of Wednesday’s business day, the Cowboys had yet to sign a new free agent from another club.
By lunchtime, they had two new players.
The latest free agent to sign was veteran safety Will Allen, who spent the last three years with the Steelers and the previous six with Tampa Bay. Allen has just 33 starts of the 130 games in his career.
Still, he could provide stability and experience at a position of need and uncertainty. The Cowboys cut Gerald Sensabaugh to save money on the salary cap and have a pair of players returning from injuries in Barry Church and Matt Johnson.
The Cowboys likely picked Allen over Michael Huff, who also visited Valley Ranch on Monday. Huff later signed with the Ravens for $2 million per season to be the primary replacement for future Hall of Famer Ed Reed. Since the Cowboys are likely looking for a cheaper solution to their safety needs, it appears Allen was a better fit.
To make room for Allen on the cap, the Cowboys waived Anthony Armstrong, a speedy receiver they had on the roster last season before cutting him in late December. After the regular season concluded, the Cowboys re-signed Armstrong with the hope he could fully learn the offense this offseason and possibly provide a deep-threat option. While he was cut Wednesday, Armstrong might remain in the plans this season. His $630,000 base salary was needed to clear space on the cap but he could rejoin the team if/when the Cowboys sign Tony Romo to a long-term contract that will open up millions of dollars on the 2013 cap.
Earlier in the morning, the Cowboys officially signed linebacker Justin Durant to a two-year deal. Durant will likely compete for a starting job at outside backer in the 4-3 scheme. He spent the last two year in Detroit, where he had 103 tackles in 2012. He originally started his career in Jacksonville, where he was a second-round pick out of Hampton in 2007. Durant has 68 career starts in his six pro seasons.
To make that deal happen, the Cowboys restructured backup quarterback Kyle Orton’s contract, freeing up about $340,000 in cap space.
With these two deals, the Cowboys now have about $25,000 remaining on the cap for 2013.
View photos of Will Allen & Justin Durant on their previous teams >>