Back in March when veteran linebacker Jasper Brinkley agreed to a two-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys, not a lot of fanfare surrounded the signing.
It’s no great mystery why. Brinkley has been a solid NFL player since he came into the league with the Vikings as a fifth round pick out of South Carolina in 2009, nothing more and nothing less. He’s never made a Pro Bowl or even been named a Player of the Week, and his stats don’t exactly jump off the page. In six seasons, five with the Vikings, he has 242 tackles, one sack and four passes broken up.
But in light of the announcement of Rolando McClain’s four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, the signing could be big.
With Lee on the weak side, it seems likely that Brinkley will take the snaps at middle linebacker along with second-year Anthony Hitchens in McClain’s absence. Before the suspension was announced, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett praised Brinkley’s work highly, and mentioned that he’s well accustomed to the middle.
“He’s done a nice job,” Garrett said, per the Dallas Morning News. “You can tell he’s a veteran player. He’s been in this league for a little bit now. He’s played in a couple different systems. I think he’s a natural Mike linebacker and I think he’s getting acclimated to what we’re asking him to do. We like his presence on the field and I think he’s getting better and better every day.”