Analysis: Signing keeps Bruce Carter hungry

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys needed to add a veteran inside linebacker, which is why they talked about the possibility of re-signing Keith Brooking.

Dan Connor is a good get for the Cowboys because, like the decision to give Anthony Spencer the franchise tag, adding Kyle Orton and Brodney Pool, it gives them protection.

The Cowboys can rave about the progress Bruce Carter made last year, but until they see him actually play defense on more than a handful of snaps in a game, they don’t really know what Carter is about. They think they know, but they don’t know.

So adding Connor, who has some starting experience, is football savvy and can play special teams, is a solid move.

It also keeps Carter hungry.

If the Cowboys did not address the inside linebacker spot, then Carter would have known he was the guy by default. And even if Brooking had returned, it would have been difficult to see him as a starter, so Carter would have won the job.

Jason Garrett endlessly talks about creating competition throughout the roster. This creates competition for Carter to show the coaches he’s ready, to work harder in the offseason and show skeptics he was worth the second-round pick the Cowboys used on him last spring.