Skip to main content


Presented by

Mailbag: Are penalties a part of free agency search?


During his interview at the Scouting Combine, Jerry Jones said one area where the Cowboys need to improve is cutting down on costly penalties. I noticed Eric Kendricks had only one penalty last season and just 10 accepted penalties over his nine-year career, which made me wonder, is penalty history playing a larger factor in trying to sign free agents this year? Like, is the team actively trying to find guys who are more disciplined? If so, I must say it's about time. – Trevor West/Phoenix, AZ

Nick Harris: I don't see it as a conscious decision to find lesser-penalized guys more than other specific needs, but when you look at the signing of Kendricks, for example, grabbing his leadership was a big reason for the acquisition and penalties play right into that. But I think when you look at the penalty approach holistically this offseason, bringing in Mike Zimmer will play a big role in mitigating unforced errors in that department. He's known for holding guys accountable and has already mentioned that there will be an intentional effort to reduce penalties next season. All in all, bringing in smart football players is a plus, but the leadership up top will ultimately make sure all 53 guys are in line going into a gameday.

Mickey: Now Trevor, think you might be taking what Jerry said a tad too literally. Sure, the Cowboys would like to cut down on penalties, especially the pre-snap ones on offense with false starts and on defense with lining up offsides or prematurely jumping into the neutral zone. But when it comes to Kendricks, the Cowboys simply knew they needed veteran help at linebacker, determined Kendricks had been a valuable inside linebacker during his career and that he was interested in re-joining his former coach in Minnesota Mike Zimmer. That he is lightly penalized would be a bonus, but certainly not a determining factor when willing to sign a one-year deal for a reported $2.5 million, and as Kendricks told, "Ultimately, I wanted the opportunity to play MIKE (linebacker) and bet on myself."

Related Content