The Cowboys tendered an offer to the exclusive rights free agent, worth $615,000, securing a player they hope can be an integral part of their defensive line in 2017. Had the Cowboys not tendered Irving, he would have been a free agent.
Irving played in every game last season, starting two and finished the year with 11 tackles, according to the coaches’ stats, but he had four sacks, five tackles for loss, 26 quarterback hurries, five pass deflections, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
In the first eight games of the season he never played more than 38 snaps in a game. In the final eight games, he played in more than 40 snaps five times and started the final two regular-season games.
“I think his ceiling is high,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “A lot is going to depend on him, how he wants to continue to work at it, which I think he does, continue to improve and get better, then I think he should only get better. But there’s a lot of work involved in that and certainly it didn’t just come overnight for him. He didn’t walk in this league and start having success. But I do think if he’ll continue on the path that he’s on then we think he should continue to improve.”
Irving is set to be a restricted free agent after the 2017 season, but if he continues to progress, the Cowboys could look to do a multi-year deal with him down the road.