(Editor’s Note: With training camp just around the corner, let’s get to know 30 Cowboys players – from rookies to established veterans – who are new to the current 90-man roster. Today we begin the series with defensive end Robert Quinn.)
How He Got Here: This is Quinn’s third NFL team since 2018, traded each of the last two offseasons due in large part to scheme fit. A Pro Bowl-caliber defensive end with the Rams from 2011-17, Quinn was traded to the Dolphins last spring after Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips converted him to outside linebacker in his 3-4 system. Quinn posted 6.5 sacks in Miami last season, but once again, an expected scheme change this year under new Dolphins head coach Brian Flores spurred trade talks. The Dolphins gave Quinn permission to speak with interested teams, and in March the Cowboys traded a 2020 sixth-round pick for the 29-year-old pass rusher. Now he’s back in a setting where he’s most comfortable: rushing with his hand on the ground in a 4-3 system.
Bet You Didn’t Know: Quinn is one of only 19 players in NFL history to record at least 19.0 sacks in a single season since the league made sacks an official statistic in 1982. He posted 19.0 in 2013, his third season with the Rams, and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Quotable: “I’m just really impressed with his work habits here. He’s a real pro, comes to work here every day: effort, details, doesn’t say much. And I’m telling you what, he’s going to be a good run defender just like D-Law (DeMarcus Lawrence). We’ve got lizards over there — racing lizards who play the run.” -Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli
Bryan Broaddus’ Take: I was excited that the front office took the opportunity to make this trade with the Dolphins for Quinn. It’s never a bad situation to target teams with a new general manager and head coach. Those teams tend to give away talented players, and in this case I believe that the Dolphins have done just that. The Cowboys didn’t have to give much in return and Quinn will be a perfect fit for a scheme that will take full advantage of his ability to attack the pocket. I am expecting a big year from him.
Role/Roster Chances: As Coach Marinelli said, Quinn is going to be a versatile lineman in the Cowboys’ defensive front. He worked at first-team defensive end throughout organized team activities and minicamp and figures to get extensive snaps in the right end rotation once Lawrence returns from offseason shoulder surgery (the Cowboys are optimistic he’ll be ready for the season opener). Adding Quinn is a significant addition in the wake of Randy Gregory’s indefinite NFL suspension; Gregory ranked second on the team with six sacks in his return to the roster last season. But even if Gregory becomes eligible to play again this year, the Cowboys now have pass rushers with Pro Bowl credentials at each edge.