Reports of the Dallas Cowboys signing Michael Sam to their practice squad came just one day after the St. Louis Rams left him off their own in favor of an expanded linebacker corps. According to ESPN, Sam will join the Cowboys once he passes his physical.
Sam will reportedly undergo a physical examination at the Dallas Cowboys’ headquarters Wednesday. Presuming he passes, which he likely will, the Cowboys will sign the rookie to their 10-man practice squad.
The news of Sam poised to join the Cowboys is great news for the SEC product and defensive end. It’s also great news for a Cowboys team struggling to maintain relevance.
Reports going into this year’s NFL Draft had Cowboys owner Jerry Jones all but certain to take Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel if he fell to the Cowboys. But there Dallas went, passing on Manziel twice before the Cleveland Browns traded up to pick “Johnny Football” late.
If Michael Sam joins the Cowboys as expected, Jerry Jones could finally get that high-profile rookie he was hoping for.
In the days following the NFL Draft, Michael Sam jerseys were among the top-10 best-selling jerseys. Manziel was first, while Michael Sam jersey sales hovered at sixth for some time. They have since dropped off.
The Cowboys have largely been viewed as one of the worst defensive teams in the NFL for the 2014-15 season. Even local Dallas reporters have called this year’s Cowboys defense the worst since 1960.
Sam performed well for the Rams in the preseason, but not well enough to earn a spot on a Rams defensive line that was already stacked.
In 77 pass-rush snaps for the Rams, Sam tallied three quarterback sacks, two quarterback hits and four QB hurries. That means he averaged a quarterback pressure once every 8.5 pass-rush snaps.
Those are decent preseason stats for a rookie, but Sam joining the Cowboys’ practice squad isn’t an indication that he’ll eventually crack the Cowboys’ 53-man roster. It’s also not indicative that he’ll turn the Cowboys’ defense around. One guy can only do so much on the practice field.
What the move does do is make the Cowboys defense a water-cooler subject rather than a punchline. And for the marketing machine that is Jerry Jones, that sort of relevance is reason enough to keep Sam around for the foreseeable future. Just wait for the practice photo opps with Michael Sam bearing down on Tony Romo.