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Cowboys Re-Sign Linebacker Kyle Wilber

Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Cowboys signed linebacker Kyle Wilber to a two-year contract extension, though the terms of the deal are not yet known.

Wilber was originally drafted in the fourth round (113th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Wake Forest as an OLB for the Cowboys 3-4 defensive scheme. His versatility allowed him to stick around, and the Cowboys have played him mainly as the SAM linebacker, but have also lined him up at defensive end.

He was originally drafted to play the Sam linebacker position in Rob Ryan's 3–4 defense, because of a preseason thumb injury, he only saw limited action in his rookie season.

The Cowboys subsequently fired Ryan and hired Monte Kiffin to oversee their move to a 4-3 defense, and the Cowboys moved Wilberforce back to his college position at defensive end. Wilber bulked up for the role but never really made an impact. When injuries forced the Cowboys' hand, they finally moved him back to SAM linebacker, where he replaced Justin Durant and eventually ended up starting six games.

The switheroo continued into 2014 when the Cowboys tried him at linebacker and defensive end in the preseason, and in the regular season he saw most of his limited action as a pass rusher.

In 2015, he played in all 16 games, starting six at SAM linebacker. He recorded 27 tackles (one for loss), four quarterback pressures and two passes defensed on 224 defensive snaps. Just as importantly, he played 354 snaps on special teams, the most of any player on the roster, and tied for the team lead in special teams tackles (9) with Jeff Heath and Damien Wilson. He also returned a blocked punt for a touchdown in the second game of the season against the Eagles.

The Cowboys like him for his ability to adapt, like him as a scheme-versatile plug-and-play guy, and really value him as a core special teams player.

After Rolando McClain, Wilber is the second of their own free agents the Cowboys have signed, though they did tender Ronald Leary and Jeff Heath previously. Perhaps they can now also swing a deal for James Hanna?

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