FRISCO, Texas - There's a very large football-playing human on the way to the Dallas Cowboys, and his name is Johnathan Hankins. The club finalized talks on Tuesday with the Las Vegas Raiders to send the 6-foot-3, 340 pound defensive lineman to North Texas in exchange for draft compensation.
This marks a return to the NFC East for Hankins, who began his NFL career as a second-round pick of the New York Giants in 2013 - one-half of the run-stopping duo that included Damon "Snacks" Harrison.
Hankins went on to sign a three-year, $30 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts during the free agency spree of 2017, but his stay was short-lived as he was released the following offseason en route to signing with the Raiders, where he's played since.
The 30-year-old logged 30 starts for the Raiders over the past two seasons (117 career starts altogether), and that's experience defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will lean on heavily in helping to refine the Cowboys run defense. Unlike rookie fifth-round pick John Ridgeway, whom the Cowboys hoped would eventually contribute in that role before being waived and claimed by the Washington Commanders, Hankins has - time and again - proven himself an impact player.
Better still is the fact he won't be asked to be the marquis guy in the middle as he was once asked to be, but he will instead join a rotation of capable interior defensive line talent such as Quinton Bohanna, Chauncey Golston, Osa Odighizuwa, Neville Gallimore, Trysten Hill and Carlos Watkins.
With practice set to resume on Wednesday in preparation for the Bears - a team that rushed for nearly 250 yards in their blowout win over the New England Patriots on Monday evening - it's expected the Cowboys will try to get Hankins ramped up quickly to give him a chance to make a contribution (or several) toward bottling up Justin Fields and a backfield that boasts both David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert.
As far as personnel goes, it's an embarrassment of riches for Quinn, who routinely has the great problem of figuring out how to structure his D-line rotation in a way that allows every impact player to be rewarded with playing time - evidenced this past week with the signing of Watkins to the active roster from the practice squad and then having to decide between Hill and Gallimore for the gameday roster against the Detroit Lions.
You can now add Hankins to this equation.