The Cowboys have shored up their linebacking corps with the signing of Akin Ayodele, reports DMN’s Todd Archer.
The Cowboys signed linebacker Akin Ayodele to a five-year contract Monday, the second free agent to sign with the Cowboys since the market opened Saturday. Guard Kyle Kosier signed a five-year, $15 million deal on Saturday that included a $5 million signing bonus.
Growing up, Ayodele, an Irving MacArthur product, served as a ballboy for some Cowboys games at Texas Stadium. The Cowboys visited with Ayodele (6-2, 251) on Saturday and finalized the agreement today. The Cowboys had extensive talks with the agent for linebacker Scott Fujita, who started the final eight games of 2005 for Dallas, but he is visiting with Jacksonville, Oakland and New Orleans.
To acquire Fujita last year, the Cowboys gave up a sixth-round pick in 2006 and a conditional fifth-round pick in 2007, but he did not meet certain playing-time requirements last season to make the Cowboys give up that pick too.
In 64 games with Jacksonville, Ayodele, 26, had 343 tackles and 8Â½ sacks with three interceptions, eight pass deflections and eight forced fumbles. He forced four fumbles in 2005, finishing with 72 tackles. Ayodele was the Jaguars third-round pick in 2002 out of Purdue, where he played defensive end and finished with 29 sacks in three years.
Update: Nick Eatman adds,
Ayodele, an Irving, Texas native and former Cowboys ball boy, spent the last four years in Jacksonville and should be an ideal fit at outside linebacker, opposite DeMarcus Ware.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
A former defensive end at Purdue, Ayodele (6-2, 246) has registered at least 100 tackles in all four pro seasons, including 150 in 2003. The outside linebacker has 8 Â½ career sacks and eight forced fumbles. Along with 100 tackles and 2 Â½ sacks, Ayodele started 11 games in 2005, but has not missed a game in his career, playing in 64 consecutive games.
He will likely start on the left side, or strong side of the defense. The Cowboys had Al Singleton starting in that spot last year before he suffered a broken clavicle in mid-season and spent the last eight weeks on injured reserve.
Clarence Hill thinks it’s a good fit for all concerned:
The Dallas Cowboys and Akin Ayodele accomplished their goals on Monday. The Cowboys filled a need at linebacker, signing Ayodele to a five-year contract. Ayodele, an Irving MacArthur graduate who played the past four years in Jacksonville, realized a dream come true by coming to terms with his hometown team.
Ayodele visited the Cowboysâ€™ Valley Ranch headquarters on Saturday, the first full day of free agency. â€œThere is no question where he wanted to be,â€ agent Mike Sullivan said. â€œHe came here first and didnâ€™t take any other visits.â€
Ayodele is a likely replacement for Scott Fujita at outside linebacker. Fujita, an unrestricted free agent, signed a contract with the Saints on Monday.
â€œItâ€™s a great fit,â€ Sullivan said. â€œHe loved his meeting with coach [Bill Parcells].â€
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