FRISCO, Texas – One is gone, but one will stay.
Jourdan Lewis has agreed to terms on a three-year deal to return to the Cowboys, insuring that at least one of their 2017 draft picks will remain in the defensive backfield moving forward. The deal has a maximum value of $16.5 million, with $8 million guaranteed.
The news comes shortly after Chidobe Awuzie signed a three-year, $21.7 million contract to join the Cincinnati Bengals. Awuzie and Lewis have been linked together throughout their NFL careers, as the Cowboys drafted them with back-to-back selections in the 2017 NFL Draft, making them the No. 60 and No. 92 overall picks in that class.
Lewis clearly comes with the smaller price tag between the two, though he also had far less opportunity over the course of his rookie contract. He has appeared in 61 of 66 possible games during the course of his career, but only 26 of those have come as starts."
The 2020 season was easily Lewis' biggest opportunity to date, as injuries to both Awuzie and Anthony Brown frequently forced the Cowboys' coaching staff to shuffle the secondary. Lewis made 13 starts last season, tallying 59 tackles and two pass breakups to go with a pair of sacks.
Lewis did the vast majority of his work in the slot last season, though he did play on the boundary frequently during his college career at Michigan, where he was an All-American.
With Lewis back in the fold, the Cowboys at least have some semblance of veteran depth in their secondary. Lewis' contract is awfully reminiscent of the three-year, $15 million deal Anthony Brown signed last offseason. Those two, combined with Trevon Diggs, gives them three experienced starters, in addition to depth signings like Rashard Robinson and Steven Parker.
It's the exact type of signing the Cowboys have become used to – a capable veteran who opens them up to make the best possible decision in the draft. And with new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn signed on for 2021, it will be interesting to see what Lewis' role looks like on his second contract, as opposed to his first.