Eric Kendricks pivots from 49ers, agrees to terms with Cowboys

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Thursday, March 14, 2024

Linebacker Eric Kendricks, who earlier on Wednesday agreed to a one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers, has instead decided to join the Dallas Cowboys.

On Thursday, the Cowboys announced they have agreed to terms with Kendricks. His agreement with Dallas is for one year, sources told ESPN's Todd Archer.

Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who coached Kendricks with the Minnesota Vikings from 2015 to 2021, wanted the former Pro Bowl selection to help run his defense and Kendricks also preferred to play in Dallas, sources told Schefter.

The Cowboys had a major hole to fill at linebacker after using converted safety Markquese Bell in that spot after losing Leighton Vander Esch during the season to a neck injury and DeMarvion Overshown to a knee injury in training camp. Vander Esch is expected to retire in the coming weeks, but with Kendricks, they have someone who knows Zimmer's scheme and has been credited with more than 100 tackles in all but one season in his nine-year career.

A team captain who finished second on the Chargers with 117 tackles last season, Kendricks was released by Los Angeles as a salary cap casualty March 5 after joining the team on a two-year, $13.25 million contract prior to the 2023 season. The Chargers saved $6.5 million with Kendricks' release.

The linebacker had 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 2023.

Kendricks, a 2015 second-round pick, played eight seasons for the Vikings before he was released after the 2022 offseason. He had a team-leading 137 tackles with Minnesota in 2022, starting all 17 games.

He was selected to his only Pro Bowl in 2019, when he also was a first-team All-Pro selection. For his career, Kendricks has 1,036 tackles and 18.5 sacks in 132 games (127 starts).

ESPN's Kris Rhim contributed to this report.

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