Jerry Jones said the Cowboys had reasons for signing Michael Sam, and those reasons do not include pressure from the league office.
NBC’s Peter King reported before Thursday night’s regular-season NFL opener that league officials approached multiple teams to gauge their interest in signing Sam to the practice squad.
The St. Louis Rams released Sam on Saturday. The Cowboys signed him to their practice squad Wednesday.
“No, we were not [contacted],” Jones said on KRLD-FM. “That would not be something that I have ever done is visit with the league other than reporting a transaction. I am our voting representative with the team, and technically nobody goes anywhere unless I OK it with the league office. That’s the only way I’ve ever talked to the league about anything to do with personnel is letting them know I’ve approved a trade or the waiver.”
Instead, Jones said the Cowboys signed Sam to their practice squad because of what Sam did in St. Louis, when the defensive end had three sacks and 11 tackles in the preseason, and the fact that the Cowboys have a need at Sam’s position.
The Cowboys have six defensive ends on their active roster, with only three of them having no career sacks. As a group, they have only 62.5, led by Anthony Spencer’s 32.5. Spencer is out at least another couple of weeks after having microfracture knee surgery last October.
But Jones said Sam needs to become a better special teams player to move to the active roster. Sam played on the kickoff return and punt return teams in St. Louis.
“Well, his availability, his position,” Jones said. “He was further along than when he was drafted. We had the benefit at looking at what had happened to him, or with him, there in St. Louis. He was a good teammate, and he worked hard. That’s the big thing. He has a high motor and that really fits [defensive coordinator] Rod Marinelli. He’s a pass-rusher. He has a lot to go when he comes to working in space or a lot to go when it comes to special teams. It’s hard to be just a situational pass-rusher if you can’t be a special teams player, so he’s got a long way to go.
“He’s in a good place. First thing, as Jason [Garrett] said yesterday, the first thing for practice squad guys is by its very name it gives you practice. It allows you to practice better. That will be his primary responsibility, and he’ll get to be able to work and refine his skills. But it’s no secret we need pass-rushers, and we need some defensive linemen. We intend to use the practice squad to come and go throughout the year. We’ll evaluate them, and while we’re evaluating them, they’ll be a good a player for us to practice against in preparation for the teams that we’re playing.”