Two people with knowledge of the situation say Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first 10 games next season for his second violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy in as many years.
McClain was suspended the first four games last season. He signed a second straight one-year deal with the Cowboys in March, this one worth $5 million.
The people, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the NFL has not announced the suspensions, also said defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence's appeal was denied. Lawrence will be suspended the first four game for a substance-abuse violation.
The longer suspension for McClain is dictated by rules in the NFL's labor agreement based on McClain's previous violations.
On top of McClain's suspension, Randy Gregory will also likely miss the first four games of the 2016 NFL season due to suspension. This leaves the Cowboys without both projected starting edge rushers to begin the year.
Without a surprise free agent signing or trade, the Cowboys will start the season with Andrew Gachkar, Benson Mayowa, and Ryan Russell starting for their defense, per their depth chart.
Those three have a combined 12 starts over nine cumulative seasons. That is not exactly the experience you want starting on an already suspect defense. Especially when many consider this to be the last season the Cowboys should expect Tony Romo to be elite and healthy.