Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Wednesday evening that the team’s release of defensive tackle Dontari Poe was primarily because of Poe’s weight and lack of production while declining to say whether Poe’s persistence in kneeling down for the national anthem before games was also a consideration.
“When you’re 30 pounds overweight and you’re not doing anything about what’s keeping you from performing well on the field, there is no reason to get into the other stuff,” Jones told ESPN.
The “other stuff” was specific to a question as to whether Poe being the only Cowboys player to take a knee for the cause of social justice during the national anthem each game was factored into his release Wednesday.
“I understand your question and I’m deliberately not going to answer it,” Jones replied. “We have a platform here but the platform on the football field has a high standard, and he [Poe] was not up to the standard. He needed to correct that and he did not. I’m going to leave it at that.”
Jones signed Poe to a two-year, $8.5 million contract as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. He was guaranteed $3.5 million on the deal.
Poe played 253 snaps, more than any other interior defensive lineman for the Cowboys, but had just seven tackles, one pass-rush hurry and no sacks.
The Cowboys also jettisoned two other defenders from a unit that has been historically bad. They traded Everson Griffen to the Detroit Lions for a conditional sixth-round draft pick in 2021. Griffen had signed a one-year, $6 million contract in August as a free agent with $3 million guaranteed.
Cornerback Daryl Worley joined Poe as a player who was released. Worley was another offseason pickup, signing a one-year, $3 million contract as an unrestricted free agent.
“You make mistakes, you move on,” Jones said. “We’re moving on but by no means are we giving up.”
The Cowboys owner did not disclose whether quarterback Andy Dalton has a chance of playing Sunday night in an NFC East game against the Philadelphia Eagles after absorbing a vicious hit to the head by linebacker Jon Bostic of the Washington Football Team on Sunday afternoon.
“Andy is in the [concussion] protocol, and the doctor will make that decision,” Jones said.